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Our Review: Chiva-Som in Thailand

Imagine a haven of peace nestled in the heart of Thailand’s tropical wilderness, where refined luxury goes perfectly with the ancestral art of well-being. It’s here, in Hua Hin, a renowned seaside resort three hours’ drive from Bangkok, that you’ll find Chiva-Som,a unique destination that promises a holistic transformation of body and mind. Founded in 1995 by the Rojanastien family, pioneers in the field of wellness, Chiva-Som has earned an international reputation for its holistic, personalized approach. 30 years on, is Chiva-Som still one of the world’s top spa destinations? Pascal Languillon, CEO of Luxe Wellness Club, went on site to investigate. Here’s his story.

A place to relax and unwind (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

An essential reference in Thailand

Nestled in lush gardens on the waterfront of Hua Hin, a Thai town 185 kilometers south of Bangkok, Chiva-Som includes huge outdoor spaces, such as open-air yoga pavilions and an open lobby. Tall palm trees and dense vegetation line the paths, with wooden bridges spanning natural ponds populated by large fish…It’s magnificent!

Chiva-Som is on the beach in Hua Hin (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Kate Moss, among the most famous guests, has helped keep Chiva-Som in the pages of luxury magazines for quite some time. After long refusing to develop its brand, Chiva-Som inaugurated its first establishment outside Thailand, the Zulal Wellness Retreat in Qatar, which I was also lucky enough to test…

A magnificent estate, with lake and tropical vegetation (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

From the moment I arrived, I was charmed by the peaceful, serene atmosphere that reigns at Chiva-Som. Warm, attentive staff greeted me with a smile and escorted me to my suite. A photo of me was taken so that the staff could recognize me. Clever. Speaking of photos, you should know that the first rule is to switch off your phone ! The use of electronic devices is forbidden in communal areas, and staff will be quick to remind you of this kindly but firmly if you try to take photos. (fortunately I obtained special permission to take the photos in this article, but only at certain times…). This rule not only preserves the calm and confidentiality of our customers, but also, and above all, promotes a digital detox that’s good for your health .

Iconic treatments in typical surroundings (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The Chiva-Som adventure begins with a tailor-made interview, ensuring that each guest’s stay is perfectly aligned with their personal goals. Faced with my own work-related stress challenges (does that surprise you?), I’ve opted to focus on exercises that help me relax, stretch deeply and improve my mental focus…

The estate exudes an undeniable joie de vivre (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Impeccable rooms

I was lucky enough to stay in one of Chiva Som’s most beautiful suites, the Golden Bo, which has its own private terrace with outdoor shower and sea view. I discovered a veritable cocoon of well-being, decorated with elegance and refinement, overlooking lush tropical gardens and the Andaman Sea. The soft bedding, Egyptian cotton sheets and luxurious welcome products contributed to my feeling of immediate relaxation.

My room of the Golden Bo Suite (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

A large light cavity just above the bed diffuses a soft golden glow… The bathroom is immaculate, with plenty of mirrors from top to bottom. In my closet, I found a set of pyjamas ideal for relaxing or going to the spa. I loved these pyjamas so much that I bought them when we left.

The laundry service allows guests to have four items washed free of charge each day: when you return to your room around 4 p.m., you’ll find them ironed to perfection, either hung or neatly folded. The must for me was also the fact that my butler unpacked my suitcase for me on arrival, and again set about carefully folding my clothes on departure so that everything could fit.

An exceptional spa with 70 treatment rooms

A spa with 70 treatment rooms! It’s an impressive figure, as few places in the world can match it… The spa is divided into men’s and women’s zones, each equipped with its own far-infrared sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, plunge pool and relaxation area. The establishment also offers a kinesis studio, as well as activities such as Pilates, aquagym and fitness. The Watsu pool and hydrotherapy suites are impressive.

The resort also looks stunning at night (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

By participating in individual sessions with Chiva-Som experts, from yoga teachers to naturopaths and physiotherapists, I was able to try out a variety of techniques designed to modify my physiological state. Trained at the Chiva-Som Academy, each member of staff has a high level of competence, which is evident in the gestures of the treatments they perform.

Meditation highly recommended (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

I had the privilege of discovering a multitude of enriching treatments and activities. Traditional Thai massage and shiatsu massage loosened muscle tension and calmed my mind. In spaces dedicated to calm and serenity, I took part in yoga and meditation classes that enabled me to reconnect with my body and cultivate mindfulness.

Thai massage (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

I loved Chiva-Som’s signature treatment, very slow and gentle at the same time, which brought me to a level of total fulfillment. The “invigorating” treatment is intriguing – it feels a bit like getting slapped on the body for 20 minutes, but it’s supposed to be good for fighting cellulite. Last but not least, a “Deep Blue Cleanse” facial was of the highest quality, using in-house cosmetics.

The hotel features a large indoor pool (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The state-of-the-art gym features TRX and Neurac. I was intrigued by the VisionBody, a unique electrostimulation training device. It’s said that 20 minutes of electrostimulation with VisionBody is equivalent to 4 hours of gym work… VisionBody lets you intensively train every muscle in the body with total freedom of movement. So I tried it out with the sports coach for an hour… Verdict: it’s not particularly pleasant, but it’s effective!

Technology is an integral part of Chiva-Som. A diagnosis of my facial skin using the top-of-the-range VISIA machine (also used by the highly reputed Clinique La Prairie) was then analyzed by a doctor of aesthetic medicine… He gave me lots of advice on how to reduce wrinkles, combat spots and all the other signs of skin ageing. Botox, lasers, hyaluronic acid injections, it’s all possible here.

Aesthetic consultation (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Admittedly, the treatment program can be demanding for some, but the magnificent surroundings allow you to relax and recharge your batteries. The “wellness consultant” takes blood pressure readings at the beginning and end of the stay, and I’ve noticed that mine has dropped in the space of just a few days. I also lost a kilo without it being my goal and without feeling hungry thanks to the tasty and healthy cooking. Another positive point.

Dietary cuisine with plenty of flavour

The Taste of Siam restaurant boasts the finest location, right on the waterfront. Breakfast and most meals are served here. The Emerald Room is Chiva-Som’s other, more refined restaurant, serving contemporary cuisine where you can design your own pescatarian dish, with the freedom to specify your protein, cooking method and accompaniments.

The Taste of Siam restaurant enjoys a privileged location (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The beautifully prepared dishes are served in portion-controlled portions and are virtually free of unnecessary salt, oil or sugar. Desserts are made with natural ingredients and fruit only, while soups are boiled with flavoursome herbs and spices.

The ingredients, especially the fresh produce, come mainly from Chiva-Som’s organic vegetable garden. This explains why every meal at Chiva-Som is a veritable explosion of color and flavor.

Unlike other centers dedicated to detox and weight loss, not all the food is vegetarian, and there really is something for everyone. I was able to eat chicken, fish and even desserts.

Delicious breakfast by the sea (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Our video

Our feeling

Chiva-Som fully deserves its reputation as one of the best places in the world to follow a wellness program. We were won over by the impeccable facilities, the quality of service, the delicious food, and the digital detox! This 30-year-old resort has improved with age, and after its complete renovation in 2020, it remains at the pinnacle of luxury wellness. A must!

Luxe Wellness Club

Book Chiva Som

Rates: Around 6,000 to 10,000 euros per week per person, depending on program and room. Enjoy exclusive Luxe Wellness Club benefits.

Call us for the USA: +1 (646) 980 6652 or for the UK: +44 20 4577 3258 to discuss your holiday plans.

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