Bangkok’s Battle of the Spas
Published: April 2009
By Laura Begley Bloom
Bangkok may well have more hotel spas per square block than any other city on earth. Now, two of the top names in town, the Peninsula and the Oriental, are going head to well-massaged head with new developments. So how do they stack up?
THE PENINSULA VS. THE ORIENTAL
The Peninsula (www.bangkok-peninsula.com) The old spa packed a big punch, despite its diminutive basement location. On December 1, the hotel opened a sprawling 19,070-square-foot spa building, replete with Thai design elements such as stone walls in the pattern of traditional weaving.
The Oriental (www.mandarinoriental.com) A boat ride across the river from the main hotel building, the 14-year-old Oriental Spa made headlines of its own this winter, with the debut of the Ayurvedic Penthouse, bringing the total size of its spa complex to an impressive 21,000 square feet.
The Peninsula The new three-story space next to the infinity pool is intended to provide a holistic retreat from the frenetic city. Guests can book full-day packages that include healthy cuisine, served poolside.
The Oriental Legendary general manager Kurt Wachtveitl spearheaded the ayurvedic center. In contrast to the spa—which looks like a traditional Thai house— it is a modern update on Indian style, with wooden massage beds from Kerala
The Peninsula Spa consultants Espa designed the menu, which includes a Jet-Lag Eliminator, volcanic-stone chakra balancing, and a couples massage in a dedicated suite. All treatments begin with a tea ritual and ginger foot-buff.
The Oriental The Oriental makes sure each guest has a flawless experience, both in the spa and the new center, where an ayurvedic doctor will consult with guests to recommend traditional shirodhara treatments or weeklong healing regimens.
The Peninsula A smart move. Though some treatments have an anywhere-in-Asia quality, the space lives up to the hotel itself—hushed and undeniably luxurious.
The Oriental While the environment is more ascetic, the trendsetting Oriental delivers in the innovation department, proving its commitment to showcasing healing practices from across Asia.