By Bernard Burt
Privacy is the new mantra for spa-goers. Forget locker rooms, showers with strangers, and assembly-line schedules. Whether you spa alone or with a special person, here's how to enjoy privacy plus special treatment at extraordinary new resorts.
Four Seasons Takes Thailand
When you arrive, the concierge sounds a ceremonial gong, and opens massive wooden gates to reveal the Four Seasons Resort on Thailand's Koh Samui Island. The hilltop spa seems suspended among coconut palms, while villas line jungle-clad paths to the beach. Bill Bensley, architect of the Four Seasons resort in Chiang Mai and the Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, combined comfort with high-style Asian design for Koh Samui. Cantilevered among mango and jackfruit trees, sixty gated villas are reached by wooden boardwalk. Glass-walled bedrooms with shell-shaped bathtubs and pools look out on islands in the Gulf of Thailand. For more privacy book one of the two beach villas at water's edge, or one of the larger residences nestled on the hillside. Succumb to Thai healing in the Baan Thai where a welcoming foot wash, and Thai massage with luk pra kob steamed compress scented by lemongrass, and yoga-like stretches awaits.
Then call for a buggy to transport you to the spa and hilltop restaurant, Lan Tania, where sunset views come with such indigenous dishes as coconut beef curry and steamed fish with lemongrass. For more information visit www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui
Paradise Found: The Cove at AtlantisÂ
When the Atlantis Resort opened on Paradise Island, a Bahamian family resort with casino, the Mandara Spa was an oasis of tranquility. Now a new building takes Mandara's Balinese inspiration to a higher level of privacy. The journey begins when you cross a glass bridge and water garden to your own private spa villa suite, where treatments and a private bath are all yours to enjoy for an afternoon or full-day escape. Treatments include such ingredients as lime, ginger, and lavender, and are followed by a mug of herbal tea and fruit.
At the adult-only pool, luxe beach cabanas await. Finish the day with an in-suite massage and aromatherapy bath by a Mandara therapist.
For more information call (888) 528-7155 or visit www.thecoveatlantis.com.
Beyond Beaches: The Water Club at Borgata
The name means â€œlittle villageâ€ in Italian, but The Borgata was built to bring high rollers back to Atlantic City. New Jersey's tallest hotel, the 43-story glass tower has 2,002 guest rooms, a casino, and restaurants by such celebrity chefs as Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck. Escape to Spa Toccare, where personal service and privacy complement spacious lounges for men and women. Private changing rooms adjoin soaking pools and steam/sauna rooms.
Opening next spring, the 43-story, $400 million Water Club at Borgata will feature Immersion, a two-story â€˜spa in the sky' with 16 themed treatment rooms styled to suit your mood. The Water Club will also feature five heated poolsâ€”indoor and outdoorâ€”including a 25-yard infinity-edge lap pool. Go top tier in the 800-bedroom tower, or serviced condo residences.
Borgata is an easy East Coast getaway located just 120 miles south of New York City and 60 miles east of Philadelphia. Located close to Atlantic City beaches and Boardwalk, it can be reached by plane, train, bus, and car. For more information call (609) 317-1000 or visit www.theborgata.com.
Awesome Aussies: Gwinganna's New Oz
Reverse seasons with a workout down under at Australia's new spa sanctuary, Gwinganna. A lifestyle retreat overlooking the Pacific (featured in the Sept/Oct. issue), the new signature suites complement a thirty-four-room day spa that is nestled amongst tropical gardens. Meadows slope to lush forest trails, a cricket pitch, and cluster of heritage buildings where Gwinganna came to life under Fitness First health clubs owner Tony de Leede. The 500-acre resort has a state-of-the-art Kinesis exercise system, infinity-edge swimming pool, yoga pavilion, lectures on lifestyle issues, and bushwalks.
Aussies from all walks of life praise the food, staff, and lodging. But I'm amazed that a place like this exists only thirty minutes from the surfer beaches of Queensland's Gold Coast. Now you can combine both, for a day, weekend, or week-long retreat in Oz. For more information visit www.gwinganna.com