The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

SINCE 1994, Banyan Tree Spa in Phuket has been the pre­mier place to go for mas­sages, fa­cials and all man­ner of heal­ing treat­ments. Open from 10am to 10pm, there are 25 treat­ment rooms, many in pitch-roofed garden pavil­ions as or­na­mented as tiny palaces. In 2001, Banyan Tree Spa Academy opened here, the first fa­cil­ity in Thai­land to train pro­fes­sional ther­a­pists (more than 1000 to date). If you’ve been hang­ing out in the cen­tre of busy Phuket, Banyan Tree Spa will feel like a blessed oa­sis; go for a three-hour Royal Banyan sig­na­ture ses­sion, in­clud­ing an oil-free Thai acu­pres­sure mas­sage to im­prove blood cir­cu­la­tion and the ap­pli­ca­tion of pouches filled with fra­grant herbs; then have a light lunch at Tamarind with its well­ness menu of sashimi, lightly bat­tered tem­pura and spicy Asian sal­ads. The best ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion within the Banyan Tree Phuket re­sort en­clave is a Sanc­tu­ary Villa with sparkling pool and an open-sided Thai sala that con­verts to a spa treat­ment pavil­ion. Never was pam­per­ing so easy and so close to hand — progress from bed to pool to your pri­vate spa sa­lon with­out a jot of ef­fort. The Banyan Tree Spa is a ter­rific op­tion for cruise pas­sen­gers with a port day in Phuket — book ahead and take a taxi from the ship­ping ter­mi­nal. More: banyantree.com.

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