Pamper yourself with a course of treatments and therapies to rejuvenate body and mind in these fabulous spas. As Thailand has proudly managed itself as the “Spa Capital of Asia”, many spa centers have been in operation in Bangkok and major tourist cities such as Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui, and Chiang Mai, serving the growing needs of both local and international spa lovers.
Thai spas have been renowned globally in recent years. Like other booming businesses, they compete and share the market segments with overseas counterparts in the vibrant capitals of the world. The country’s spa quality has magnetized mutually beneficial joint ventures and cooperative partnerships to invest on the industry, resulting in the blend of the Thai traditional art of healing and contemporary Western spa treatments. Over the next few years, the requirements on the Thai spa commerce as well as the international growth of Thai spas are expected to soar up significantly, thereby making the spa market mature and increase.
A combination of cultural heritages and diversities makes Thailand an attractive spa destination. The Thai spa experience embraces a choice of indigenous resources, unique traditions and local wisdom that have been passed down through centuries. It therefore clearly depicts the very essence of traditional Thai living. Recognizing the lucrative opportunities for spa business, spa operators look into this ancient trove to create and provide the best spa products. Hospitable services and the friendly nature of the Thai people ensure worldwide spa recipients utmost satisfaction and impressive spa experience.
The key factors for the success of Thai spas include the quality and variety of services, the price range, the friendliness and the welcoming ambience. Tourists will discover in Thailand a fusion of Western leisure concepts and traditional Asian wellbeing therapies. “Thailand is now perceived as the Spa Capital of Asia, probably because we have as many as 450 spa centers throughout the country,” says Apichai Jearadisak, President of the Thai Spa Association, “Our spa experience is famous for four distinctive charms,” he explains. “Firstly, our spa practitioners are naturally service-minded and always smiling. Secondly, most of our spa venues are designed with unique Thai characteristics intrinsically appreciated by foreigners. Thirdly, Thai massaging techniques are world famous, And last, but not least, exotic spa products such as massage balls or Thai herbs truly open a whole new experience for foreign customers.”
As Thailand has proudly managed itself as the “Spa Capital of Asia”, many spa centers have been in operation in Bangkok and major tourist cities such as Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Chiang Mai, serving the growing needs of both local and international spa lovers, The kingdom’s unrivaled spa reputation comes from the professionalism, the unyielding pursuit of excellence and the fighting spirit of its spa operators. Thanks to the increase in demands for spa services in recent years, entrepreneurs and investors have discerned an emerging business opportunity. New hands have jointed a movement heading to success, inciting the growth of Thailand’s spa commerce and spurring the spa boom.
Since 2004, Thailand has also established itself as “Center of Excellent Health of Asia”. Led by the Ministry of Public Health, this five-year strategic plan centers on three focal points: medical services, healthcare services and Thai herbal products. The three main products under the “Healthcare Services” category are health spas, traditional Thai massage and long-stay healthcare products and services. In the beginning, four major destinations were targeted for the health and wellbeing venues – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Samui. In 2005, ten additional provinces with high development potential for health tourism have been added to the plan. The Thai government realizes that it is of vital importance to offer assurance to spa guests and visitors to Thailand that safety, hygiene and service quality are top priorities.
Thailand’s spa sectors have enjoyed remarkable expansion. A study conducted by Intelligent Spas reported a growth of 64% for the period 2000-2002. Between June 2001 – June 2002, some 230 Thai spa ractitioners drew a total of 3.3 million spa users, out of which 2.5 million or 79 per cent of the country’s total spa clientele were overseas spa patrons contributing a total of US$ 85 million to Thailand’s foreign exchange earnings. In 2004, Thai spas continued to register strong growth. They earned 5.3 billion Baht in revenue, exceeding the original target by nearly ten per cent. The 2005 revenue was approximately 6,7 billion Baht, an increase of 26 per cent. And in 2006, the total revenue is again expected to go up.
The spa philosophy in the Land of Smiles is adopted and adapted into uniquely traditional Thai style, making its spa treatments a whole lot different from those provided at many other spa centers in the world. An imported spa formula combined with a distinctive Thai touch has won the world’s heart, Readers who partook in the 2002 “Conde’ Nast Traveller” survey pointed out that apart from airline and accommodation, health and spa facilities in Thailand are of premium and great value for money. A fascinating tropical place that boasts an amazingly natural and cultural diversity, Thailand is considered one of the world’s most popular holiday spots. This is a marked plus that enhances the country’s fundamental strength as a charming spa destination.
So what is a spa? Most people describe the spa as an oasis where one visits when in need of stress-relieving indulgence. It is also a lifestyle and solution to lessen strain and anxiety – the two most menacing rivals of modern living. The real test of the spa is the quality of the overall experience and the end results delivered. The International SPA Association (ISPA), a globally-recognized professional association representing over 1,000 health and wellness facilities and providers and the voice of the spa industry worldwide defines the “Spa Experience” as being “Your Time to Relax, Reflect, Revitalize and Rejoice.” There is a lucid consensus that while spas also offer “look good” beauty treatments along with “feel good” treatments, spas go beyond superficial pampering.
There are four types of spas actually, as classified by the ISPA. The “day spa” is a spa offering a variety of professionally administered spa services to clients on a day-use basis. The “destination spa” is a spa whose sole purpose is to provide guests with lifestyle improvement and health enhancement through professionally administered spa services, physical fitness, educational programming and on-site accommodations. Spa cuisine is served exclusively. The “resort/hotel spa” is a spa owned by and located within a resort or hotel property providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices, The “medical spa” is where individuals, solo practices, groups and instilulions comprised of medical and spa professionals whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment which integrates spa services as well as conventional and complimentary therapies and treatments.
Most of the existing spa category in Thailand is hotel/resort spas. The Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin is the country’s only destination spa. In the 2002 “Conde’ Nast Traveller” readership survey, it was ranked the world’s number one destination spa by an overwhelming 92.58% and labeled “the number one sensation in overseas destination spas.” The Bangkok Dermatology Center and Bamrungrad Hospital have recently been facelifted to this spa trend. Hotel/resort and destination spas attract largely overseas patrons, while the day spas principally cater to domestic clients.
Thailand has created a comprehensive variety of spa techniques and services. Most distinguished Thai spas feature various interesting treatments that go beyond the health and beauty services available in the average beauty salons. The typical Thai spa menu includes traditional Thai, Swedish, Javanese and Sports massages, therapies for jet lag, reflexology, foot massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, skin care treatments such as facials, mud and body wraps, scrubs, treatments for hair, skin and face, acupressure, hydrotherapy, herbal steam rooms and floral baths. Thai spa experience also comes with mind and body activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, stress management and holistic wellness, among a host of other things.
Thai spas seem to be more thriving in the future. Hotel/resort spas have still been the leading growth of the spa sectors, The trend is anticipated to continue with an increasing number of hotel properties in Thailand launching their own spa products. Many more luxury hotels will be adding spa facilities and offering their own line of spa treatments and services. Since more and more new operators predominate the market, survival of the fittest will be determined by the ability to differentiate oneself. Those who make the effort to go beyond beauty salon-style pampering will most find the venture into the spa business more sustainable and economically beneficial.
It is expected that the promising trend of Thai spas in 2006 underscores the holistic healing, encouraging many spa providers to evolve into fully integrated health and wellness centers providing medical-oriented services, alternative treatments and lifestyle elements, aside from general spa techniques. The introduction of Thailand’s first full-fledged ayurvedic center attached to the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. in Chiang Mai in 2006 highlights this holistic trend. Leading hospitals are also staring to harmonize their medical services with new spas and wellness centers. Krung Siam St. Carlos Medical Center manages the award-winning St. Carlos Medical Spa, which offers more than 100 medical wellness treatments. Bangkok General Hospital is adding the finishing touches to a Rehabilitation Center that will include a spa and fitness center, Bumgrungrad International has an in-house Vital Life Wellness Center providing weight-loss, anti-aging and wellness programs.
Discover Thailand Magazine /
The International SPA Association (ISPA) /
The Tourism Authority of Thailand and The Thai Spa Association