Kamalaya. We dare to call it paradise….

December 5, 2014 in THAILAND | Comments (597)



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Breakfast breads take or leave detox

 It took only a short while, and my daughter got an almost FIERCE look and said. I have to say — Kamalaya must be paradise…

We were here at this destination spa to recover from stress and burnout like so many others. Arriving at a hotel lobby where Buddha reclined over a lily pond, we were handed our private programme of “activities” – 11 hours of treatments that involved little more than lying in total pleasure getting massages to hands, feet, head, back and body…
Then programme in hand we had lunch – the biggest surprise of all. We knew we were going to have healthy food but we had no idea what the food would really be like.
Healthy food may not sound so delightful – harking back to days when mummy said: eat your food its good for you, If you dont – you wont get any dessert,,,
But then illness and allergies changed all so desserts became punishment not reward. “White” (sugar, dairy, starch) left you feeling bad.
Suddenly here is a menu that is thick like a book and full of delights – most of them without sugar, starch and dairy, most not fried….but more than that. Not just negatives, positives. With time we found the food to be full of colour, form and taste . inviting. More about that later.

We soon realized that Kamalaya though a destination spa is nothing like a clinic. It is more like a cosmopolitan village in stunning tropical scenery, warm and friendly, designed to give you back your joy in living-. Some pleasures are good for you …


No one forces you to do anything at Kamalaya. It is up to you. You can get involved in activities from morning to night, or just lie on a sunbed on the beach with a healthy (or less healthy) drink.


Most people however choose a package of health treatments. Since it was founded in 2005, dedicated detox packages have been the number one favourite at Kamalaya. Now the Stress & Burnout programme has passed detox in popularity due to the increasing stresses and strains felt by young business people and professionals. Under repeated stress the body suffers, you can get inflammation, aches and pains, sleep disorders – and drastic loss of energy. Adrenal Burnout! Kamalaya comes to the rescue with detox food, low in inflammatory properties, and calming treatments for the nervous system.


The lightest of the Burnout packages is Relax & Renew. This is designed as a super-relaxing holiday and includes some 11 hours of treatments, mostly massages of different kinds. The next step up is called Asian Bliss and includes also personal meditation, and a choice of reike (hands on healing) or Chinese medicine (acupuncture etc.). The most intense Burnout package, the 14 days Balance and Revitalize Comprehensive, includes also personal mentoring, Ayurvedic massage and the amazing Shirodhara therapy – an ancient Ayurvedic treatment that involves dropping warm oils onto the head and body. All packages include relaxing massages.

Making a choice
With a choice of over 70 treatments grouped into these packages, it can be very hard to choose. But no need to worry about putting all our eggs in one basket. Doing stress and burnout you can engage in a gentler detox as all foods suitable for detox are labelled on the buffet or a la carte menu.
The important thing to know is that the packages include full board. You can eat healthy, amazingly delicious food choosing freely from both the buffet and a la carte menus.
To show what amazing value you get: at Select Collection (www.selectcollection.se/info@selectcollection.se) you can book a 7 night stay at Kamalaya including accommodation, transfer, a Relax & Renew package of treatments (11 hours of treatments in total), and all inclusive food & drink (without alcohol) from 27500 SEK including flight from Stockholm and a wellness voucher for EUR 150. A week of top value luxury with so many dimensions, from body to soul.
Sensuality and warmth
Kamalaya is a gift to the senses, starting with the vistas and the smell of flowers and incense. We had a spacious sea-view villa with white corner sofa and big terrace. Our outdoor bathroom was drenched in the perfume of tropical flowers as a tree leant over the curved brick wall.
There are also some delightful waterfront villas with own pools. High up and popular with young people are the seaview suites and the well sized and lowest priced hillside rooms. Opening soon are some luxury suites with phenomenal views, up near the new gym and the yoga platform.
The resort is built in tropical gardens under very tall palm trees, with a tumbling freshwater stream through it all. It’s a steep slope and at every point you can see the glitter of the sea stretching over to the silhouette of offshore islands.
The stream runs down to goldfish ponds beside a freeform pool among magical sculptures. The restaurants all have sensational views.  So do the treatment rooms – 40 of them. Drenched in pleasurable sensation after a massage, you open your eyes, and are stunned over again by the brilliance of the vistas.
Now you wander out to a lookout place to sink into a sofa for a ginger or lemon grass tea in a tiny earthenware pot and wonder at the magic of life. If you had forgotten joy existed, now you will remember.
If you want, you can meet people, or stay in total privacy, dining in your accommodation or sitting alone at tables with a view. 
If you choose to sit at the community tables, as we sometimes did, you will likely meet artists, singers, business people and academics, researchers, housewives, therapists, and mothers on their annual visit while the husband looks after the kids. You see couples, men together, women together, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. (Children are allowed but keep a very low profile). 
The service is memorable. Looking over my shoulder during a meal one of the waitresses asked me: “Are you looking for your friend? She is up at the heated pool in the Wellness area.”
How did she know all that? It felt like a genuine part of caring.
Losing weight is a pleasure
Food is central to Kamalaya’s charms. Losing weight here (sustainably) is a pleasure. And if you are actually instructed to gain weight (as we were) – life is a fest.
At Kamalaya you learn that healthy food can be far more delicious than unhealthy food. Eaten with pleasure and no worry over the consequences, totally fresh, full of choice, taste and colour.
So many people in the modern world suffer vague unpleasant symptoms – not just caused by stress but by fried food, white starch and sugar – like aching muscles, creeping sensations, flatulence, restless nights. Our millions of years of human evolution did not prepare us for refined food, and our bodies don’t tend to cope.
After a plane journey you may feel even worse so it takes a few days to feel really good and rested. But you will notice results.
The choice of food is vast – the menus go on and on – everything from Thai and international vegetarian to meat and fish.  Labels guide you to a detox diet – without sugar, dairy and wheat – if you want to go that route.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices in dozens of health giving combinations can be ordered almost all day long, each long glass adorned with orchids or pieces of pineapple.
We enjoyed many memorable dishes from those three heavy “books” the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Lobster and mango salad with cocounut and wasabi dressing; roasted pumpkin and sunflower seed dumplings with balsamic vinegar and ruccola; quinoa sushi with tamarind sauce; chilled avocado soup with galanajulienne; Vietnamese spring rolls with steamed rice wrapping around poached prawns with vegetables and chili sauce were among my favourites. Though if I have to choose one it would be the baked black cod with avocado, cucumber and watermelon mustard sauce. Cries of delight were also heard from those enjoying the Australian lamb filled with Zucchini and fig caponata.
Desserts are astounding, and good for you.  How about raw chocolate and avocado cake? Or chocolate mousse without dairy or sugar. It’s like a dream come true.
After a punishing health diet, one girl here was like a soul reborn. She had felt in a prison, unable to dine out as so little was available in Sweden. Suddenly the world of joy and plenty has come to her – without breaking her regime.
Thank you, thank you, thank you…
I was in the Wellness area’s change rooms, where women come and go from their treatments, wrapped in sarongs.
Hearing talk about an astounding meditation session with Smitha, a young woman burst out: “Smitha…isn’t she amazing. She can see into your soul!”
She explained what lead her to Kamalaya and Smitha – her business. “I have had so much stress with my company growing fast and five of my best consultants going on maternity leave. I needed a holiday. I thought of going to a dedicated detox resort to lose weight, luckily I didn’t. I registered for detox at Kamalaya but at my wellness consultation they pointed out I was in far too fragile state for heavy detox – I had adrenal burnout.
“So I am doing a stress and burnout programme to help me run my business – including time with a mentor, Smitha.”
She added with delightfully British irony: “I thought that she would help me write a business plan – instead she got me to find emotional obstacles from my childhood. She is amazing.”
Several people had found Kamalaya by accident (or divine luck). They asked their travel agents for a holiday resort where they could swim and have good food and maybe some yoga. They found so much more…
A song writer from Sydney, who merely came for a holiday by the sea said: “When I got here I was given a wellness consultation so I enrolled for Relax & Renew (5 night package) spread over 10 days. I go running up the mountain on my own trail (5 km) – use the gym and do relaxing treatments. Evenings I go to my room (a seaview suite) to write songs.”
In particular he found the Indian Head massage utterly amazing. Then he went on to try meditation with Smitha. With the addition of yoga and mocktails (instead of cocktails) he ended up very inspired and ready to keep up a healthy lifestyle on return to Sydney.
Several had chosen to do a la carte treatments for a spiritual path of healing and self discovery.
I found one of these guests next to me at the lookout point. She was staring at the view but suddenly could not keep it to herself.
“I want to cry it is so beautiful,” she said, adding she would have her last swim and then return to Australia today. Some 10 minutes later I was in one of the lunch dining salas as she ran past to the beach. She stopped by one of the mentors, and was beaming, radiating with bliss and joy.
“I just have to say thank you,” she said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you…”
At any one time Kamalaya boasts 60 to 80% repeaters!  Most resorts in November on Koh Samui were running at 50% – it is the rainy season on the island – but Kamalaya was at 80% occupancy.
Everyone I spoke to wants to come back – everyone felt Kamalaya was their own special place. As we do…
Getting to feel good
You don’t always feel good straight away. You can feel jittery waking in the morning with the old stress habits of what shall I DO now, unable to sit still. But it soon passes.
The great thing is you start your day facing mountains of papaya and bitter sweet pomelo, wheat grass shots to stimulate your immune system…and if you wish it, cappuccino, omelettes, pancakes….or raw salads, quinoa bread and many other choices. 
Meanwhile you have a sense of purpose with your programme of treatments … you feel pampered and taken care of, and begin to feel life’s potential – one of Kamalaya’s stated aims.
Starting early in the morning before breakfast you can keep even more active by including the complementary programme of activities.
Start the day perhaps with hatha yoga way up on the yoga platform with far views over the sea. Follow with pranayama breathing or yoga and meditation. In the afternoon you could perhaps join a tea ceremony, pilates session, tai chi, aqua aerobics at the pool, or a power walk. 
There is a changing programme of visiting practitioners, world leaders in their field. These are not included in the packages, but they do offer appetizers as part of the complementary activities.
In all this you meet wonderful people BUT more important you meet yourself…the part you will take onward with you home again. The part you need to treasure…
Leaving Kamalaya is a sad moment. It’s not easy to go back to the world…
But for days afterwards we felt a warm glow,  enriched by the experiences of peace and harmony, the moments of self knowledge, and the dream of returning one day to Kamalaya.
Next time though  – we will stay two weeks!

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