AN AQUATIC ESCAPE
Recharge from the pressures of big-city life at The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket.
Wellness enthusiasts bound for Phuket should make a beeline for The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket for a rejuvenating stay like no other. The resort’s Spa Naka has recently scooped up four accolades at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2017, reflecting its high standing among thousands of professionals in the hospitality industry. These awards include the titles for Best Luxury Spa Village in Asia and Southeast Asia's Best Luxury Day Spa; it was also named as Thailand's Top Luxury Hideaway Spa and the Best Luxury Countryside Spa in the nation. Guests at Spa Naka will be pampered with the latest offering on the spa menu, a one-to- one Watsu experience that combines shiatsu pressure points, gentle stretches, and the sensation of weightlessness while floating in a 35° C pool. This creates a calm, soothing environment that allows for deep physical and mental relaxation in just a few minutes. During Watsu session, you’ll experience a reduced heart rate, deeper and slower breathing, and a noticeable drop in muscle tension. Watsu is an energyboosting treatment that has a wide range of benefits: eliminating fatigue, aches and pains, stress, and sleep disorders, while improving blood circulation, joint range of movement, breathing, and body tone. Each guest who signs up for the treatment will be left in the capable hands of Somchai Wetchakul, who has nine years of knowledge and experience as a certified Watsu practitioner under his belt. Located off the northeastern shores Thailand’s most popular island destination, The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket offers guests a welcome respite by the Andaman Sea. The boutique resort takes its name from the idyllic setting on Naka Yai Island, which lies within easy reach of Phuket International Airport via a 20- minute drive and a five- minute speedboat ride. Sweeping views over Phang Nga Bay and back toward Phuket can be enjoyed from the property, where guests bed down in just 67 villas appointed with plunge pools and tropical gardens. Thai cuisine and other flavors of the region are celebrated at a foursome of restaurants and lounge bars, while recreational activities are focused on the resort’s natural environs with hiking, biking, water sports, and snorkeling all available right on its doorstep.
tionably placed crosswalks, shadowy tunnels, and disused tracks made navigating the area around the station an unpleasant prospect for pedestrians. People tended to stay away, and the neighborhood took on a somewhat dilapidated character as a result.
But Seoullo 7017 has brought entirely fresh perspectives on the district, as well as new means of exploring it. Walkways now lead directly from the park into glistening new buildings that seem to be multiplying, as well as to historic markets and sights in the vicinity, like the city’s old gates and walls. Taken in at leisure from above at dusk, Seoul Station’s quasi-Moorish main dome, the LED pyrotechnics splashed across office towers, even the traffic lights, meld into breathtaking visual crescendos. Cars are forced to navigate around broad pedestrian islands where children can now roam (relatively) freely.
While not without its detractors, Seoullo 7017 is admirable in terms of what it says about the city’s priorities. By adapting an obsolete overpass that was widely viewed as an eyesore, the government hopes to show it is “moving past an era of rampant demolition, based on the idea of erasing and writing a new history” toward a “new era of urban generation that seeks to repair and reuse,” says Lee Soo-yeon, general manager at the Seoullo 7017 Management Office.
“The opening of Seoullo 7017 marks more than the birth of a new attraction,” Lee adds. “It’s a declaration that Seoul belongs to the people, and does not cater only to the vehicles that fill its streets.”
Of course, if sheer
scale is what you’re after, Seoul can cater to that too. The city’s other landmark opening of 2017 was the Lotte World Tower, the latest addition to the global supertallskyscraper family. Viewed from a distance— easy enough to do from just about anywhere in the city—there’s something almost sinister in the way the tower looms over the surrounding department stores and apartment blocks, like so many petitioners gathered humbly at its feet. Get a bit closer, and it’s easier to admire the building’s obvious grace; the way its bulbous base tapers into a delicate “lantern” tip that flares to life at dusk; the pale glass exterior designed to evoke Korean porcelain.
At 555 meters, Lotte World is not the tallest building on the planet (it ranks fifth). But it is the highest in Korea by a long stretch and has a few other vertical records up its sleeves, including the world’s fastest elevator and highest glassbottomed observation deck. The latter, at 500
Clockwise from above: Relaxation by the sea; a Royal Horizon Pool villa; the resort’s award-winning Spa Naka.
The walk-through aquarium at Lotte World Mall.