HOME AND AWAY
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.