Chiva-Som is a multi-award-winning luxury health resort which has established itself as one of the world’s best destination spa retreats. Meaning ‘haven for life’ in Thai, Chiva-Som offers guests and idyllic escape to retreat and focus solely on revitalising your mind, body and soul in calming surroundings.
Located in the town of Hua Hin, a former fishing village turned popular hotspot for royalty, Chiva-Som holds an exclusive beachfront location 185km south of Bangkok. While I was initially hesitant about the 3-hour drive to the hotel, I wasn't surprised to see that Chiva-Som had thought of everything to make my journey as comfortable as possible; the relaxation started as soon as I got into the luxury Mercedes transfer with a neck pillow, blanket, wifi, water and snacks waiting on my seat.
As soon as I stepped foot into Chiva-Som's seven acres of peaceful, lush grounds, I immediately noticed an air of calm amidst the tranquil and natural surroundings. The resort comprises of just 54 rooms and suites with some overlooking the ocean and some tucked away in the verdant gardens. I stayed in a Thai Pavillion Suite which was had been recently refurbished, along with the rest of the resort, with a contemporary Thai look and blended in beautifully into the natural landscape. My suite was spacious with a walk in wardrobe, lounge area, balcony and a private outdoor sala which I used as my reflection area to do some journaling in the wellness journal provided.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that a pair of pyjamas and robe hung up in the wardrobe for me to wear around the resort as well as a reusable water bottle for me to use and take home as a souvenir. The resort also offers 4 complimentary pieces of laundry each day which meant that I could pack less and leave space for souvenirs from the local night markets. I was further reassured that that I was going to have a very pleasant stay here when my butler knocked on my door to ensure that i was comfortable and that I was happy with the pillows and mattress topper provided, whilst also informing me that the complimentary minibar was equipped with healthy drinks and snacks. Prior to my stay, I had already completed a preference form to note my hair type for shampoo and my preferred essential oil for the burner lit in your room in the evenings.
To maintain the peacefulness of the resort and to respect the privacy of the many the VIP guests, Chiva-Som has a no phone and cameras policy in the public areas; for those wanting to connect, guests can use electronic devices in the library or rooms. Out of habit, my hand would initially twitch to reach for my phone to take photos or scroll through my social media but the encouragement of a digital detox really allowed me to disconnect and really take in the beautiful surroundings around me.
Chiva-Som prides itself as global pioneer in wellness and lifestyle transformation and having won multiple awards including ‘Best Destination Spa in the World’ and ‘Thailands Best Wellness Retreat’, there’s no doubt that integrative wellness is at the core of this health and wellness resort.
There are 15 retreats to choose from with different focuses from relaxation to weight loss to gut health and more; each retreat incorporates all six of Chiva-Som’s trademark wellness modalities: spa, fitness, physiotherapy, holistic health, nutrition and aesthetic beauty. Each programme includes a daily relaxation treatment which is complemented by a choice of treatments and activities supporting your personal retreat programme.
For my 3 night stay, I chose the ‘A taste of Chiva-Som’ programme which allowed me to build a good foundation for my holistic wellbeing experience. My initial consultation with my wellness consultant consisted of a further in-depth discussion of my health and wellness consultation which I had completed prior to my arrival where she recommended the best treatments to suit my health goals. I mentioned to my wellness consultant that I had been feeling burnout recently and was also feeling constantly bloated and she explained to me that stress can impact the health of the gut and digestion so recommended the best treatments to support my health issues and and create a long-term blueprint for getting healthier and happier.
Over the next 3 days, I started my journey of lifestyle transformation and emotional healing through a programme of treatments which included Chi Nei Tsang, a gentle, deep massage of the abdomen to help the organs function in a more efficient manner, which in turn is believed to enhance physical and emotional well-being and a physiotherapy session where my physiotherapist kneaded out the stress and tension which I’m told I am holding in my shoulders and neck which was affecting the blood flow to my brain. Between treatments, I take advantage of the spa facilities including a jacuzzi, steam room, plunge pool and relaxation area in the women’s spa area.
There’s a wealth of facilities and activities at Chiva-Som to support you in transforming those unhealthy lifestyle habits including 10 – 12 fitness classes per day to choose from such as aqua boxing, Pilates and pranayama. My wellness advisor recommends joining the stretching classes each morning to loosen up any tight muscles and increase blood flow to set myself up for the day. I also join the legs, bums & tums class and HIIT class which leaves me aching and grateful for my private super stretch session which follows after.
I am particularly impressed to learn that Chiva-Som has 70 treatment rooms to accommodate the 54 bedrooms and also regularly host visiting health practitioners specialising in different fields including healing, holistic health and structural integration in addition to their comprehensive treatment menu which offers more than 150 treatments including genomics testing, watsu, LPG treatments and Neurac therapy to name a few.
The head chef explains to me that the Chiva-Som philosophy of nutrition is created around the view that your diet is inextricably connected to your long-term health. The food was always exceptionally healthy and nutritious with many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables coming straight from the resort’s organic gardens and despite the dishes all being low fat, low salt, low sugar and low calories, I never felt restricted in any way.
Breakfast and lunch is served buffet style in the ocean-front Taste of Siam restaurant with a daily variety of dishes served alongside a variety of seasonings and spices with nutritional benefits. In the evenings, guests can choose between the fine dining pescatarian menu at the Emerald Room or a traditional healthy Thai menu in Taste of Siam where guests a enjoy a glass of wine or champagne after 6pm.
Who’s Chiva-Som for
Chiva-Som is ideal for anybody looking to invest in one's wellbeing for complete rejuvenation and renewal and to transform any unhealthy lifestyle habits in a nurturing and luxurious environment. My short stay was a great kickstart to learn how to work towards my goals of de-stressing and easing my digestion and I was left feeling lighter in my mind and body.