Six Senses Hideaway – Samui

Is the ideal destination for couples, young or old who are seeking a romantic, peaceful journey back to nature. I wonder if our peals of laughter and squeals of pleasure bothered the guests in the neighbouring villas… Naw, I doubt it… at least, theirs didn’t bother us!

Electric sunsets, champagne cocktails and Thai inspired tapas cart-wheeled across my daydream, but the soft yet insistent voice cut through my reverie. “Madame,” she said, “Madame!”. It must have been the hot rocks. After a most delicious massage I awoke drenched in lavender scented aromatic coconut oil, feeling like a giant flower. I had fallen asleep as my petite masseuse administered the “Hot Stones Therapy” at the spa in the Six Senses Sila Evason Hideaway & Spa Resort on Koh Samui. The therapy involved hot lava stones from Hawaii, four hands and a heap of warm lavender scented coconut oil.

Pure Bliss! The perfect way to start a vacation.

Vacations are all about choices. Where to go, what to see, where to eat, where to stay are just a few of the questions we have to deal with when it comes time for that annual, semi-annual or monthly pilgrimage to paradise. I’m so pleased I made the Sila Evason choice. There are few things I haven’t experienced over the years when I’ve been fortunate enough to get away – for work and for play. One thing that has eluded me over the course of my travels is sampling a stay in a private, secluded villa that would be like a home away from home, except on a more grandiose scale. The opportunity for such an escape recently presented itself, and true to my quest for all things different and decadent, I accepted an invitation to be a guest at the Sila Evason Hideaway. As soon as we arrived we felt like we’d truly taken a step out of the ordinary. Instead of deadlines, traffic and pollution, we were met with leisure and tranquillity, rustic relaxation and natural surroundings.

Koh Samui has been settled for about 1500 years. The first arrivals here were Chinese fishermen who found the island on old maps from the Ming dynasty. Fishing, and later coconuts were the first major source of revenue in the past, but now tourism and property development bring in the big bucks. The resort is tucked away on the north east shore on a headland spread across 20 acres of indigenous plantings and offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and outlying islands. There are 66 separate split level villas – like private guesthouses in a giant garden peninsula. Guests with a yen for complete privacy can claim one of the pool villas with its very own infinity swimming pool enclosed in a private garden with a personal butler, in-villa dining and entertainment.

The large bathroom, freshly flower-strewn each day, has a sunken tub and separate outdoor shower, both of which have only a bamboo wall surrounding the secluded garden. The key to luxury travel is attention to detail – no amenity can be overlooked, no comfort neglected. This is something you can always count on at an Evason property. Almost equally important to personal pampering is privacy. When the world’s wealthy sunbathe in bikinis or sail the seven seas, total seclusion is key. Money is no object for those who seek a little anonymity and discretion from the world of fame and fortune – the Evason seemingly effortlessly achieves this.

Dining on
The management team and staff are professional, friendly, efficient and courteous – they really make you feel at home and as if any little thing you may desire, no matter how obscure, it is right at the tip of your fingers. I chose the option of lunching in my room, or rather, on my private patio by the pool on my second day. The island abounds with tropical birds I’d never seen before, but they’re obviously used to visitors. I had to defend my breadbasket from a couple of red, black and white feathered thieves. The resort features its own varied and inventive cuisine in all of its open-air fisherman village style restaurants and private dining decks that overlook the ocean. They are rapidly creating a reputation not for just being a fantastic resort, but for serving up some of the best food available on Koh Samui. With their own herb garden they are able to use the freshest herbs, vegetables and organic greens.Evason is an acknowledged industry leader in environmental responsibility. Through careful consideration of the effects that operating systems, materials and purchasing policies have on the environment, they are continually developing new initiatives and procedures to minimise their ecological impact. All timber used comes only from renewable and recycled sources.

Flowers are everywhere: frangipani, bougainvillea, jacaranda, orchids, and hibiscus. Every time I returned to my room, the maid had rearranged the towels and folded the clothing I’d discarded on the rattan couch – then carefully placed fresh flower blossoms in the folds. The sunsets each evening were symphonies of pastels and the night sky was full of constellations. There was a half moon while I was there, so fortunately its light was bright enough to guide us down the winding path to our villa after dinner.

Six Senses Hideaway Samui – A SALA Property
9/10 Moo 5, Baan Plai Laem, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand Te 66 77 245 678

Review by AK

Landaa Giraavaru

Landaa Giraavaru, a short sea-plane journey away from Malé Airport, amidst the Indian Ocean’s idyllic coral island retreat, the Maldives, is the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.

Herbal bath-tubs, steam benches, mud treatments, yoga and juice bar complete the ever-so-gorgeous spa offerings. Several open-air treatment areas, tucked away amidst the lush tropical grounds, are a particularly marvellous touch. Alternatively guests can choose from the over-water treatment rooms or opt for the Ayurvedic Retreat. Their speciality is the panchakarma procedure, a series of five therapies that comprise ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatments. Willing guests must
commit to a 14 day package as it involves a prolonged period of detoxification via diet – just the thing if you’re looking for a full overhaul of body and mind either pre-beach or post Christmas.

Why Away In Style loves it:
If you’re really in the mood to push the boat out (no pun intended) you can take advantage of the Four Seasons Explorer, an 11 cabin, three deck catamaran which will cruise you around the atolls less travelled for a few days; a diver or nature-lovers dream and all suitably luxurious.

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali

Como Shambhala Estate is positioned on the fringe of Ubud, overlooking the Tjampuhan Valley. Coconut palms and
banyan trees surround the property, a mountain stands to one side and the river Oos flows beneath. The place makes you feel like writing poetry.

This luxurious spa retreat offers a combination of ancient and modern therapies, including traditional healing
wraps. Javanese essential oils feature among the extensive spa menu. Yoga and meditation are offered on
a one to one basis courtesy of their experienced instructors.

Why Away In Style loves it:
We can’t think of anywhere nicer for a week-long yoga retreat.


Chiva Som Thailand


A three hour drive down the eastern coast of Thailand from Bangkok airport delivers you to the resort of Hua Hin, home of the Chiva Som



If there is a Grand-Daddy of the Spa world, Chiva Som is it. These guys are the kings, the overlords, the Jedi masters, if you will, of the Spa world. Whether you want to disappear off the face of the planet for a while, only to emerge ten days later energized, radiant and with a new outlook on life or you just want to let go of your stress and be massaged into oblivion, this is the place to be. The focus here is ostensibly on Wellness, the theory being that a physically and mentally “well” person will inherently be a relaxed, balanced person. Besides the spa, which offers a wealth of super-luxe, super-effective treatments, the property houses a medical holistic centre, Medi-spa, offering a range of non-invasive laser procedures, Botox and Restylane injections, physiotherapy plus a fleet of counsellors and naturopaths. Chiva Som is a jack-of-all-trades and, thankfully, a master of all.

Why Away In Style loves it:

Because you know you’re in the best hands in the world.

Metropolitan Bangkok

The Thai capital has never really been known for stylish places to stay.

Everything about the Metropolitan Bangkok – from its graphic, post-modern exterior to its sleek and eyecatching lobby – exudes a cool, contemporary aura. A hip and happening hotel set back in a quiet part of South Sathorn Road in the heart of Bangkok’s CBD (it’s just behind the French Embassy), the Metropolitan is everything it promises to be and much, much more. The minute you arrive, smartly dressed staff (their uniforms are designed by Yohji Yamamoto) efficiently register you with minimal hassle and escort you to your room. A warm pot of Mulberry tea is then brought to you while you are unpacking your suitcase; a nice touch in this busy, harried world where homogeneity in services has become the norm. The guestrooms are clean and calming, not to mention soothing, for the senses. Dark-wood flooring contrasts with the spare aesthetic of the interior. Modern lighting gives the rooms a very seductive ambience. Beige slate bathrooms have a luxurious feel, even though it is stripped of any clutter and embellishments, testimony to the skill of interior designer Kathryn Kng. A Chinese meditation chair and a yoga mat add to the new-age element that would be appreciated by those who can tell the difference. The brainchild of Singaporean style maven, Christina Ong, the Metropolitan Bangkok is a sister to the hotel of the same name in London – a property already deeply entrenched in the psyche of Europe’s smartest set.

The swimming pool deserves a special mention for the clever way it is partially concealed from the view of the entrance and lobby, yet visible enough to impart a cooling effect on a hot Bangkok day. A separate entrance and the Thai capital has never really been known for stylish places to stay. Sure, there’s the Oriental and the Peninsula but they don’t exactly rate high on the cool scale. But in Bangkok, things don’t stay still for long, writes Ong Chin Huat exteriorprivate lift transports guests to the pool, an ingenious solution for guests who prefer to keep a lower profile in their swim suits. But the jewel in the Metropolitan crown must be its spa, Shambhala. Developed in line with the group’s flagship retreat at Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the massages and facials are reason alone to warrant a stay. Therapists honed by experience gathered from Parrot Cay transport you to Cloud 9. Shambhala also make their own bath and body products that utilise essential oils like geranium, lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus. The Metropolitan boasts 2 restaurants that are already making waves in culinary circles. Cy’an is a Mediterranean seafood restaurant with major influences coming from Moorish cuisine. Overseen by Australian chef Amanda Gale, the food is light and innovative. Glow, appropriately located adjacent to the spa, serves healthy, fresh organic food with an emphasis on energising juices rich in living enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Those wanting a detox or are recovering from a hangover could do worse than try their wheatgrass juice shot – freshly squeezed juice from actual crops grown on the premises. And finally there’s the Met Bar – the bar that shoots up the mercury on A-list in London – replicated for fans here in Bangkok. Sexy and stylish, it’s a members-only club (luckily hotel guests are allowed too) where the sleek and chic are in their element. Try the Tom-yam martinis because, like everything else in the Metropolitan, they are unique, unforgettable and leave you wanting more!

Metropolitan, Bangkok, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel 662 625 3333


Review by AK


Chi Spa

Chi Spa

The Chi Spa opened in April of this year and is situated right in the heart of Beijing, within the city’s luxurious Shangri-La hotel.

Festooned with Burmese, Chinese and Tibetan artefacts, Beijing’s Chi Spa is truly an idyllic urban escape. Fusing ancient healing traditions, philosophies and rituals from China and the Himalayas, Chi’s approach, unsurprisingly, is all about yin and yang, otherwise known as balance. Signature holistic therapies include: CHI Balance, Himalayan Healing Stone Massage, Mountain Tsampa Rub and Yin Yang Harmonising Massage; all are geared to releasing blockages in key meridian points throughout the body and in so doing
restoring balance and harmony to both mind and body.

Why Away In Style loves it:
Creating a true escape within a buzzing city can be difficult to achieve. Chi does it with aplomb.

Banyan Tree Spa

Banyan Tree Spa

Banyan Tree Spa Lijiang is nestled just south of the Jade Dragon Snow mountain in China’s Yunnan province. The town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 10 years.

Banyan Tree doesn’t mess about – its approach to wellness and pampering is all about serenity and peace. Therapists draw on the Chinese five elements philosophy, whereby metal, water, wood, fire and earth are harmonised with the positive yang and negative yin energies within the body. Treatment packages include the appropriately named Cherish, Balance and Vigour.
Particularly special is the Royal Banyan, a 210 minute long treatment which includes a green tea scrub, massage, signature facial, lavender bath and more-ish refreshments.

Why Away In Style loves it:
The history and beauty of the area are a marvel to behold. Go here for something a little outside the ordinary.

The Spa

The Spa

Some 36 floors above the heaving metropolis of Tokyo sits The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, otherwise known as the Spa in the Sky.

Separate his and hers areas both feature vitality pools, water lounges, crystal steam room and dry saunas besides a mind-boggling array of therapies designed to treat mind, body and soul. Oriental Harmony, a signature treatment, honours the ancient elements of Chinese therapy, known as Tui Na, which help to open and stimulate the meridians of the body, thus increasing the flow of energy and replenishing vitality. Also, it feels great.

Why Away In Style loves it:
The view from your massage bed. Have a treatment after sunset for the full effect.

Huile a la Lavande

Christophe Robin

As the new season approaches, you may like to refresh your appearance by changing your hair color to a light one. However, coloring and highlight will damage and weaken our hair, causing dryness and split ends. Together with sun exposure, sea and swimming pool water, hair condition will even get worse.  To provide your hair, use Christophe Robin Huile à la lavande as a protective treatment! It contains high cencentration of plant oils to nourish, moisturize hair and preserve its color, leaving your hair shiny and healthy! 

Huile à la lavande  (Lavender oil) HK$ 340 / 100ml

Christophe Robin is now available exculsively at Lane Crawford Times Square.?Telephone: (852) 3485 7432

Chinatown Entertainment

CHINATOWN Entertainment Emporium a Hot Ticket for Shanghai World Expo Corporate Hospitality
Exclusive VIP boxes for 4-12 Guests with champagne and whiskey for RMB 8,888
Exclusive VIP booths at Gosney & Kallman's CHINATOWN with a grandstand view of the fun and fantasy of Shanghai’s high-kicking 1930s heyday are hot tickets for corporate hospitality at this year’s World Expo. CHINATOWN’s second level booths can host between 4 to 12 guests and offer a private bar and bathrooms at the entertainment emporium, as well as VIP waitress services. It is the perfect venue for entertaining business clients or for meetings, incentives and conference events (MICE).  Themed booths such as the Absinthe Booth and Lovers Booth are also available and options can incorporate cigar and caviar packages, in collaboration with sponsors Don Cervantes Cigars and Black Pearl Caviar.
The entire second floor can also be booked for exclusive birthdays or special events catering for up to 70 guests.
?In anticipation of a particularly great demand during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the private booths are currently being promoted until May at just RMB 8,888.
The package also includes two complimentary bottles of Laurent Perrier Champagne and two bottles of fine Scotch whiskey, plus a refreshing fruit platter.
With all public venues in Shanghai becoming non-smoking from March 1 onwards, CHINATOWN’s third floor is being converted into a dedicated private ‘Smoking Bar’.
Says General Manager Anna Patterson, “We appreciate the global trend for public areas to be smoke-free, but also respect the rights of our guests to smoke in private if they wish, just as smoking rooms are provided in airports.”  Reviving the glamour of bygone Shanghai, CHINATOWN presents an intoxicating mix of cabaret, vaudeville and Broadway live variety floorshows with stunning showgirls and extravagant costumes.
It has become a must-see Shanghai attraction and one of the most memorable nightlife and event venues in the world.
CHINATOWN is open from Wednesday-Saturday from 8pm-2am.
Tel: +86 21 6258 2078
Address: 471 Zha Pu Lu, crossroad Wujin Lu

12 March 2010