We were drawn in by the award-winning wine cellar. In the end, we were intrigued by the wellness resort. That’s what happens when a couple of gluttons spend a long weekend at a Thai luxury wellness resort in Phuket, Thailand.
We learned about Amatara Wellness Resort during our recent trip to Singapore. The pictures of the property looked amazing, but most luxury properties in Phuket do. Particularly for folks living in Bangkok. They offer a perfect break from the noise and congestion of the big city. And, with a flight to Phuket costing about $30 and only taking an hour, it is the easiest place for us to grab a beach break.
What caught our eye about Amatara Phuket, though, was that they have an award-winning wine list. That is somewhat a rarity in Thailand, as it is hard to find good wine. And, yes, we enjoyed a luxury dining experience at The Grill, with perfect wine pairings off of their award-winning list.
But, fine wine and dining were not the focus of this particular visit, even if it is the focus of so many of our trips. In this case, our focus was on relaxation and wellness.
Eating Healthy at a Thai Luxury Wellness Resort
Amatara Phuket is a top Thai luxury wellness resort, and wellness was indeed our goal. We ate most of our meals at The Retreat, a healthy eating venue that works in conjunction with the spa manager at Amatara to offer alternative dining. I will say, after being assaulted by vegan and raw cuisine during our time living in Bali, I was skeptical.
The Retreat is a small and peaceful restaurant, at the base of a hill. It is located in a quiet part of the Amatara property, with a small infinity pool and a direct view overlooking the water. The staff was lovely, and the menu was not nearly as Ubudian as I expected. Sure there were dishes with quinoa, kale, and hemp seed oil. But the focus was on less fried food and cream sauces, and really just well-prepared dishes, in appropriate portions.
Our favorite dish was the spicy Thai beef salad, yam nua yang, which one of us ordered each time we dined at The Retreat. The Retreat also offered a selection of healthy juice and smoothie options, along with organic wines. But, because we were trying to be healthy, we skipped the wines in favor of carrot and beetroot or aloe and coconut juices. I am just as surprised as you are that we were well behaved. But, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get a little healthy during our luxury wellness resort retreat.
Spa Treatments at a Thai Luxury Wellness Resort
Amatara Phuket offers loads of different options for guests wanting a full detox experience. You can show up at the resort and enjoy happy hour cocktails and eat burgers by the pool. They also offer full wellness retreats, which include all meals, special menus, and wellness treatments. We sort of fell somewhat in the middle. We ate most of our meals at The Retreat and the resort scheduled a series of unique spa treatments and experiences.
First, we tried the Thai yoga massage. Similar to a traditional Thai massage, which involves lots of interactive stretching and pulling, the Thai yoga massage incorporates breathing. My therapist often instructed me to inhale and exhale as she twisted me, gently, into a human pretzel. By the end of the 90-minute treatment, I was sort of shocked at how relaxed I felt. The following day, I woke sore, but in an entirely good way. As if some of my muscles, which haven’t been fired much since I stopped practicing yoga, were suddenly woken up.
Second, we met with a Physiotherapist for a consulting session and treatment. I tried to research this treatment on the Amatara Phuket website. I couldn’t find much of a description other than “physiotherapy.” I, honestly, did not know what that was.
I spent about 90 minutes total talking with the therapist about my lifestyle. She spent most of the time looking at my spine, which is a mess. This is not news to me at all. I’ve had back problems all my life. They were exacerbated while living in Bali because of my rigorous yoga schedule, and the crazy backbends and inversions I was constantly putting myself into. It resulted in a compressed lower spine, and in the last two years, sciatica. I am a total spine mess.
My physiotherapist, though, didn’t stress out with how messed up my spine was. Instead, she used some ultrasound and heat therapy, along with manual manipulation, to reduce the stress in my shoulders and lower back that causes a lot of the pain. She also walked through about a dozen different stretches and alignment exercises I can do daily to help correct some of these problems.
Now, I will say, she suggested I do all dozen or so each and every day. I noted that I don’t have the time to do each and every one, ever day. Who does? So, she worked with me on which ones were most important and would offer the greatest benefit to preventing the pain from my sciatica. That was extremely helpful.
The most unique treatment we had during our luxury wellness retreat was the only Thai hammam in Southeast Asia. I experienced a luxury hammam treatment in Dubai a few years ago. In that case, I was placed on a warm stone table and was hosed and scrubbed until I was ready to pass out. It was a unique experience, and I have always wanted to try it again.
The Thai hammam at Amatara took things one step further than my experience at The Palace Downtown Dubai. The hammam space itself is simply lovely. The spa treatment walks through over a half a dozen individual steps, from sauna to steam, to the hammam bath itself, where we were scrubbed within an inch of our lives. The treatment continued with an icy cooldown, a mud mask, and ultimately ended with a relaxing rest in a salt cave. All total, the treatment took almost two hours and was followed up with a 60-minute aromatherapy massage.
After the full three hours of treatment, my body felt relaxed. I was ready for bed. With each consecutive treatment, I started to understand more and more about what a luxury wellness resort can offer. Yes, we get Thai massages and foot massages regularly in Bangkok. How can we not, when our favorite spa in Bangkok is so close to our apartment.
Check out our YouTube video of Amatara Wellness Resort
But, this experience offered something more. It did feel more like a retreat. When we weren’t eating healthy at The Retreat, or experiencing our spa treatments, we had plenty of time to sit by the pool and relax. I honestly felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
My only complaint? I had to return to the big city, to the real world. All good things must come to an end.
Heading to Phuket?
What to do in Phuket: Go for a Thai yoga massage!
Find more Thai food tips in our Southeast Asia food travel guide.
We were supported by Amatara Phuket during our wellness retreat, but all opinions are, as always, my own. Room rates start at $230 a night and luxury wellness retreats start at $645 a night.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.