SPA STYLE

Song Saa’s three must-try treat­ments.

Elle (Canada) - - Escape -

SPACE WALK I was a lit­tle in­tim­i­dated to try un­der­wa­ter med­i­ta­tion. At night. In the ocean. Wear­ing a weight belt. And us­ing a scuba breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus that I’d never tried be­fore. Thank­fully, the re­sort’s yoga teacher prepped me with a guided breath­ing ex­er­cise to help slow my heart rate be­fore I went un­der. With the re­as­sur­ance that I would only be in shal­low wa­ter just me­tres from shore and have a dive mas­ter care­fully watch­ing over me, I let my­self sink to the sandy bot­tom where I be­gan to breathe in (one, two, three, four) and out (one, two, three, four). I let my arms and legs float freely, and be­cause the wa­ter was vir­tu­ally the same tem­per­a­ture as my skin, I could hardly sense them at all. It felt like I was drift­ing in space. As I swirled the wa­ter with my arms, what looked like gal­ax­ies of tiny sparkly stars be­gan to ap­pear— phos­pho­res­cent plank­ton that came from a nearby man­grove for­est. To top it off, I could also see the al­most-full moon glow­ing above the wa­ter’s sur­face. Though I couldn’t see the real stars, I knew they were out there. Can an earth­bound per­son re­ally sense what it’s like to float in space? I cer­tainly felt like I was light years away. SOAK IT IN Re­turn to your villa af­ter din­ner to find your two-per­son tub laid out for the Still­ness Bath Rit­ual. Can­dles, flower pe­tals and pots of laven­der oil and co­conut milk await. Just add wa­ter. DREAM BIG Book the sig­na­ture Bless­ing Night Spa Rit­ual, a se­ries of scrubs, soaks, mas­sages and poul­tice treat­ments that to­gether make for the ul­ti­mate jour­ney to sleep.

Angkor Wat is one of the largest and most un­usual tem­ple com­plexes in the world—and it’s even more in­cred­i­ble to take in dur­ing (and af­ter) an af­ter­noon rain­storm. As I ex­plored the tem­ple of Ta Prohm, just one ex­am­ple of the Kh­mer ar­chi­tec­ture that spreads out over 400 square kilo­me­tres, the hot, heavy and hu­mid skies burst al­most in­stan­ta­neously with big, warm rain­drops. Other vis­i­tors quickly dis­ap­peared be­neath pas­sage­ways and hud­dled be­low some of the gi­gan­tic silk-cot­ton trees that have fa­mously grown into (and in many cases taken over) the sand­stone walls that date back to the 12th cen­tury. When the rain started, I hap­pened to be stand­ing at one of the most fa­mous tree-wall fu­sion points (a spot fea­tured promi­nently in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), and I sud­denly had it al­most all to my­self—which was es­pe­cially lucky since I vis­ited on the last day of a busy two-week-long holy fes­ti­val. As the rain shower sent sweet drops down my back and shoul­ders, I soaked in the fu­sion of man- and na­ture-made mag­nif­i­cence (like a carved rock face per­fectly sur­rounded by a curv­ing tree trunk). As quickly as it came, the rain was gone. Dis­tinct sun­rays be­gan to split the clouds and light up the wa­ter-soaked ru­ins, bring­ing out the in­ten­sity of the green mosses that coat many of the crum­bling stones and lend­ing an ex­tra sense of peace to a site that has been a con­tin­u­ous place of wor­ship for hun­dreds of years. STAY Orig­i­nally built in the 1930s, the Raf­fles Grand Ho­tel d’Ankor in Siem Reap is just a 10-minute drive from the tem­ple. Book one of the pool vil­las—each has a pri­vate pa­tio that opens onto a lush court­yard with an ex­pan­sive swim­ming pool. Take an evening dip and in­hale the scent of the sur­round­ing frangi­pani trees. n

Bayon tem­ple (right) is one of the most iconic sites at Angkor Wat. Here, the 37 still-stand­ing tow­ers each fea­ture up to four large carved faces—mak­ing for a lot of serene smiles to size up.

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