Polished, reliable, and often a little lifeless seems a fair description of high end hotel spa facilities. Though frequently wonderful, there are few surprises or off-script moments to be found, making for a relaxing if not predictable visit.
But for your next spa appointment, I encourage you to think outside the box. Beyond the big name chains sits a hotel spa that surprised me at every turn. The recently opened Lavana Grand sits nestled within the Hotel Eugenia, a stunning colonial-style building on Sukhumvit Soi 31. If you take the BTS to Phrom Pong or Asok, just call ahead and reception will send a free tuk tuk to collect you.
It’s the second facility to be launched by the owners, and quite different to its more traditional sister spa on Sukhumvit Soi 12. It’s dark when I arrive, but the Eugenia is lit up by amber spotlights beautifully highlighting the old world-style architecture of this late 19th-century-style house. Walking through the doorway is like stepping back in time, into a room adorned with antique furniture, rich tapestries, and luxurious fabrics. Though grand, the décor is charming and homey, and I’m put at ease by the friendly staff.
My experience begins with a cup of hot beal fruit tea in the lobby—a museum of art and teak furnishings—before being taken to my treatment room. Situated on the first floor, a set of wooden steps surrounded by intricate balustrades and twinkling chandeliers leads me there, past a landing of carefully curated ornaments and objects. I make a mental note to feed my Instagram with shots of this beautiful venue on the way out.
My room is a vast space, simple but elegant and perfectly in keeping with the colonial style of the property. It even has its own bathroom, complete with a broad, copper, free-standing tub, which is filling with warm water as I arrive, in preparation for the Secret Healing Herbal Bath (B800). Though the therapist can’t tell me exactly what ingredients go into their secret mix, I’m enjoying the relaxing soak nonetheless, my first chance at a proper bathe in months.
I take advantage of the “medicinal and herbal qualities” of the herbs for 30 minutes, before hopping on to the massage table for a Balancing Four Hand Massage (B2,450 for one hour). Exactly as the name suggests, this treatment utilizes four hands—that’s two therapists—to unknot tight muscles and reduce tension. Hands gliding and kneading in-sync, they each focus on a different area, able to dedicate a little more time on problem zones than they would working solo.
I’m checked on throughout to make sure I’m comfortable, but this is no superficial, fall-asleep-on-the-table massage. My masseurs work on my knotted shoulders tirelessly, often painfully, to rid them of their gnarled muscles. I flinch, but they persist, telling me gently, “Just one more time.”
When the hour is up, one masseur remains to complete my treatment with some chiropractic techniques. Bones click from my shoulder blades to my spine, but suddenly I feel looser, more open. In fact, my whole body feels great, awake, in a way I’ve never experienced post-massage before. The momentary pain was worth it, and I find I walk a little taller, straighter than I did before. When my muscles grow weary once more, I will be back.
By Annaliese Watkins
1F, Hotel Eugenia, 267, Sukhumvit Soi 31
Open daily: 9am-10pm | Tel: 088 083 7300