If the Pictionary clue was “tropical paradise,” you can bet I’d be drawing Anantara Hua Hin on my mental sketchpad. Part of the hotel’s allure is its hidden location; it’s fantastically private. It’s also achingly beautiful – epic beaches crowned by stunning Thai pavilions that merge seamlessly into the landscape. You could be forgiven for mistaking the resort for a jungle village, one belonging to a tribe with a fondness for walk-in wine cellars, Belgian waffles and bubbly Jacuzzis.
Tropical in every sense, I follow my hibiscus-haired therapist through vibrant, verdant gardens to the spa for a Merudanda massage. She applies Ayurvedic oil medicated with healing herbs onto my back, then lifts and stretches limbs with expert care, working blood flow toward the heart to improve circulation. By the end of this restorative treatment, she’s relaxed stiff or sore muscles accumulated from my red-eye flight from Toronto.
The spine is the seat of chakras, from where all nerves spiral out to the periphery. Merudanda massage aims to release stress built up in the back, improving the flow of energy.
Perched on the sands of Thailand’s traditional royal seaside playground lies Anantara Hua Hin, a tranquil coastal retreat within easy reach of Bangkok. The spa is reason alone to check in here, with its stunning views of sparkling, lotus-fringed lagoons. Each of the seven spa suites is set in its own individual garden courtyard with dual outdoor “rain” showers suspended in bronze cages modelled on traditional Thai artifacts.
Treatments combine rich local ingredients, including plant infusions expertly blended to achieve delicate flavours, luxurious aromas and sweet serenity. Designed in the style of an ancient Thai village, lush gardens invite you to discover multiple leisure options outdoors, while in suite you’ll find all the amenities for an idyllic escape. Wooden and pebble walkways weave their way round water and rock features to the prized Lagoon Wing – each floor plan spacious, private and adorned with sun-trap terraces. Another reason well-heeled sun-seekers flock here is the food. With eight dining venues, running a delectable gamut of flavours from rock lobster on shaved fennel to spicy Massaman curry, even the most persnickety diner finds something to savour.
Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa at 43/1 Phetkasem Beach Rd., Thailand; 66-32-520-250; huahin.anantara.com; 90 minutes for $140.
Special to The Globe and Mail