The Banyan Tree Group has rolled out a new healthy living concept at its properties around the world, including Banyan Tree Samui and Banyan Tree Krabi in southern Thailand, which have set aside a selection of pool villas and suites dedicated to holistic and wellbeing pursuits.
The “Wellbeing Sanctuary” initiative was launched on October 1st at both resorts, and provides guests with an opportunity to combine a leisure vacation with a daily program designed to enrich mind, body and soul — from meditation to Thai boxing, from massage and hydrotherapy to nature trails and sailing lessons — complemented with a nutritious diet and personal consultations.
“When guests book a Wellbeing Sanctuary, they have the flexibility to choose their own activities,” said Remko Kroesen, Area General Manager overseeing both hotels. “Before arrival, we send them a questionnaire so they can stipulate their goals, and our practitioners will be on hand throughout their stay to ensure they have every opportunity to connect with nature, discover a sense of deep relaxation, and find balance.
“And when they leave, we will consult and provide suggestions that will help fine-tune and inspire their daily routines, and assist them on their journey.”
Each of the villas selected for the Wellbeing Sanctuary has been adapted with various wellbeing amenities — a mini-bar stocked with fresh juices and herbal teas instead of alcoholic drinks, a yoga mat, stretch bands, and even a Tibetan singing bowl — and hosts an outdoor pool and hot jet pool.
On Koh Samui, Wellbeing villas come with a luxurious infinity pool, while at Krabi, each room opens onto a private garden, ideal for private self-wellbeing activities.
Teams at Banyan Tree Samui and Banyan Tree Krabi, which are both located on tranquil picture-perfect beaches, have tailored holistic itineraries based on Banyan Tree’s “8 Pillars” principle (Dietary Awareness; Physical Vitality; Cultivate the Mind; Sleep & Rest; Harmony with Nature; Learning & Development; Bonding & Connection; and Sustained Practices).
“When we dream about a tropical beach vacation, we see ourselves relaxed and content, lying in a hammock under palm trees, looking out to a calm sea, without a care in the world,” says Bikram Keshari Patra, the Wellbeing Practitioner at Banyan Tree Samui. “However, the reality can often be very different — we are still stressed about work; we worry; our minds refuse to switch off.
Guests to the Wellbeing Sanctuary are welcomed with a healthy organic juice, and are given the chance to consult and select their preferred schedule for the day ahead. Following their flight, many may opt for a relaxing oil massage, followed by a long hot soak in their tub with bath salts. Typically, a morning may begin with yoga and meditation, followed by a hearty but heart-friendly breakfast. But there’s always time to just lie by one’s own private pool and soak up the sunshine and the view. Very quickly, the pressures of daily life are forgotten.
Good sleep is one of the Wellbeing Sanctuary’s guiding principles. Upon returning to their villa after evening turndown service, a guest will discover a different sleep ritual recommended and set up, such as bath salts or a lemon & lime steam facial.
One of the highlights of any Banyan Tree visit is the spa, and nowhere more so than in Thailand where regular massage is considered a cornerstone of good health. The resorts have introduced four new massages specifically for patrons of the Wellbeing Sanctuary: Restorative Detox; Sleep Essentials; Mobility Stretch; and Urban Relief.
“Following a long journey, a new arrival might be recommended to unravel with a 90-minute Restorative Detox massage,” said Banyan Tree Spa Samui manager Naphasawan Badklang, a veteran of 15 years’ experience with Banyan Tree spas, including spells in Sri Lanka, China, and the Seychelles. “For this type of massage, our therapists will apply a signature oil made from coriander seed and cinnamon bark. The detox massage is ideal for draining lymph nodes and removing toxins, while at the same time stimulating blood circulation.”
Like Samui, Banyan Tree Spa Krabi also offers a hydrotherapy treatment known as The Rainforest, described by Spa Manager Bussayawan Chanchai as “a tropical sanctuary of water jets, steam rooms, and water massage pumps,” which culminates in the visitor lying face up on a heated tile bed, sipping herbal tea — a thoroughly tranquilizing experience.
And of course, no step toward wellbeing would be worthwhile without a carefully thought-out diet. Wellbeing Sanctuary customers at Banyan Tree’s restaurants will now be provided two menus — one with all the delicacies one would expect from a fine wining n’ dining holiday, including house specialties of both Thai and Western cuisine; and the other a Wellbeing Menu offering a variety of organic dishes, vegan and vegetarian options, and freshly squeezed juices.
But that’s not to say that a nutritious meal is a boring meal. At Banyan Tree Samui, one may begin the day with a fresh cantaloupe or papaya juice accompanied by a “Raw Vegan Berry Breakfast Bomb” of cereal, nuts and berries, followed by guacamole omelette, chives waffles or quinoa pancakes. Wellbeing guests will also be served a healthy Afternoon Platter with juice every day as part of their package.
Jakkrit Traibun, the Executive Chef at Banyan Tree Krabi, recently introduced a plant-based menu based on the produce from his on-site organic garden. Among his signature dishes are Southern Thai Turmeric Rice and a delightful Pumpkin Avocado Mousse.
Krabi is among the newest destinations in Banyan Tree’s quiver. The 72-key resort, which opened in October last year, is tiered into a hillside at serene Tubkaek Beach, a 40-minute drive from Krabi International Airport. It is surrounded on three sides by nature: a forested national park to the rear and far side, while overlooking one of Thailand’s most iconic natural wonders: the famous towering limestone cliffs that jut out of the sea in Than Bok Khorani National Marine Park.
Having navigated successfully the challenges of constructing and opening a 5-star hotel during a global lockdown, Banyan Tree Krabi was rewarded for its efforts recently at the 2021 International Hotel & Property Awards in London where it won the Best Design prize for Asia-Pacific Hotel Under 200 Rooms.
Jointly designed by Architrave and Asset World Corporation (AWC), facilities at the hotel include two restaurants, a beach bar, a kids’ club, a fitness center, a meeting center, an elevated outdoor wedding deck, and the aforementioned rainforest-themed spa.
Similarly, Banyan Tree Samui is nestled into a lush tropical hillside with spectacular views over a sapphire sea. The 38-acre property is rich in flora and plantlife, and its private white-sand cove is flanked by coral reefs, which the resort’s Sustainability Team protects and regenerates.
No stranger to awards for sustainability and eco-friendliness, this year Banyan Tree Samui was voted by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine as one of Southeast Asia’s Top 10 Hotels and Resorts.
Banyan Tree began rolling out its Wellbeing Sanctuary programs in March 2021, beginning in China, and is progressively launching at its resorts worldwide as each destination re-emerges from the pandemic.
“We believe that more travelers will be focused on their health in the post-covid period, and we want to be there to support them,” said Haruethai Maneerat, hotel manager at Banyan Tree Krabi. “Of course, many guests will still want to enjoy wining and dining, touring the sights, and that’s fine. But we anticipate that many others will be looking for a quieter, holistic, and more introspective journey.”
For more information about Banyan Tree’s new Wellbeing Sanctuaries, go to: https://wellbeing.banyantree.com/