My gal and I recently had an amazing opportunity to visit Kamalaya Koh Samui, a top wellness resort in Asia that has repeatedly won the World Spa Awards “Worldwide Health & Wellness Destination of the Year”.
For 4 days we swapped Bangkok for pure bliss…
My gal went in a different direction and chose the “Yoga Synergy” program. She felt her confidence building throughout the program and is eager to continue to learn more.
When you think of “wellness resorts” you might get the impression it’s a place where you’re going to have to live on wheatgrass smoothies and be forced into awkward kumbaya sessions until you finally drink the chakra Kool-Aid. Kamalaya is nothing like that. The programs are tailored to what you want to experience, the accommodations are luxurious and focused on comfort, and the daily changing menus offer many dishes that will satisfy any diet from vegan to devout carnivore.
Now is a great time to focus on your physical, spiritual, and mental well being and I can think of no place better to do it than in one of Asia’s top wellness resorts. If you’re looking to swap your scene with pure bliss this article is for you!
First a video!
This video we made of our experience at Kamalaya captures the natural beauty of the resort, the luxurious accommodations, amenities, and incredible food options on offer to guests. I think once you view it you’ll understand why this resort is so highly regarded.
For a deeper dive into what they have to offer and impressions from our personal experience read on…
During our visit, we stayed in a Sea View Suite. These 65 sqm suites offer plenty of space filled with luxurious comforts. To ensure you rest well Kamalaya offers a “Sweet Dreams Pillow Menu” that has 5 different types of pillows as well as a mattress topper and lightweight bed sheets. Simply choose what bedding you need to achieve your best comfort.
We slept very comfortably with luxury 100% duck-down pillows.
The room we requested had a large bath and shower on the balcony (privacy was not an issue with that view). Bubble bath with a sea view? Yes, please.
Every morning I’d wake up to birds singing their songs then slip into a bathrobe to enjoy a nice cup of tea on the balcony. The view was incredible and if you’d like to experience it ask for Room 28 when you make your booking!
Whatever you’re looking for Kamayala offers a variety of accommodations that are sure to make you have an enjoyable stay.
After checking in and stowing our luggage away in our room, our first activity since we were both participating in wellness programs was to visit the Wellness Sanctuary. This was so we could receive our initial wellness consultation and our proposed schedule for our chosen programs.
Before receiving the consultation we first experienced a Bioelectrical impedance analysis. This simple test uses weak electrical currents to estimate your body composition, specifically your body fat, muscle mass, and water composition. It’s quick and you don’t feel a thing.
Based on the results the consultation included lifestyle suggestions, possible adjustments to the program schedule, and recommendations for what food and drink to enjoy from the menu while staying at the resort.
Kamalaya offers a range of wellness programs and since every individual is unique these can be adjusted to further tailor the experience to their goals. For example, a part of the program I chose included a body scrub/lotus wrap. Some folks would dig this but being wrapped up like a burrito is not my thing. I instead opted to change it to a Kati Vasti massage, which made my lower back purr like a kitten.
If like me your idea of wellness means feeling pampered and completely relaxed I highly recommend their Relax & Renew program.
My gal raved about her “Yoga Synergy” program experience and the expert personal instruction she received from the visiting practitioner, Valeri Alken. Though she’d been practicing yoga at home these past couple of years, this program taught her better form, more focus on her breath, and how to create a yoga routine that she’d be happy with in our home. The program also incorporated some massage sessions to soothe those sore muscles after the more vigorous yoga sessions.
No matter your yoga experience this program will help you make real improvements.
Other things to do…
Kamalaya offers a weekly schedule of holistic activities. Most cost nothing for guests to participate in such as Qi Gong, Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama, and Water Aerobics. We experienced the Qi Gong and Pranayama sessions (which I highly recommend if want to dip your toe into mindfulness exercises). If you’re feeling social they also offer complimentary Tea Sharing sessions throughout the week at the Alchemy Lounge at reception.
But if you just want to do your own thing there is much to offer at the resort!
Lounge at the leisure pools…
My personal favorite place at the resort (when not being pampered at a massage or dining table) was the leisure pool area. I’d park myself in a cushioned sun lounger and a staff member would magically appear with cool drinks and ask if I’d like fruit and tea. I would, please.
After making some progress reading my book I’d reward myself with a dip in one or both of the leisure pools. Did I mention my goal for our stay was to relax?
Kamalaya offers an indoor gym with cardio training equipment on the first floor and weightlifting stations and barbells on the basement level. If you want to get your steps in on the treadmill or pedal some miles on a stationary bike you will love the unobstructed sea view before you.
Outside of the gym they have a lap pool with a nearby shower and changing room. You can also lounge around the pool area if you want to soak up some rays.
For over 2 centuries the Arjan Cave has been an active site for meditation by the local monks and is considered today to be the heart of Kamalaya. In fact, when John Stewart, one of Kamalaya’s founders, discovered the small cave it was the genesis that sparked the inspiration for the development of the wellness resort.
The cave offers a serene spot for quiet reflection. But remember, it is a cave. So during the rainy season don’t be surprised if water collects in it.
For those with a spiritual mindset, aside from the cave, there are also many other places dotting Kamalya’s landscape for meditative reflection.
Sun and sand…
You don’t have to go far to channel your inner beach bum at Kamalaya. Their private beach offers sun lounger beds facing the shallow bay with attentive staff on hand to serve. When the tide is high, guests seeking adventure can check out a kayak to paddle about.
Take the plunge!
After massage treatments, I liked to spend some time in the steam cavern and then soak in the nearby plunge pools (there are 3 of them). These amenities are available to guests to enjoy anytime they’re up for a steam and a soak!
During the stay, I had loads of massage therapists who made me feel good. But THIS woman made me feel the BEST! Chef Chompoo has been working at Kamalaya since the 3rd day of their opening in 2005. She is the rockstar that makes that kitchen roll out some great meals. Delicious dishes with lobster, fish, chicken, and even ostrich kept us fueled throughout our stay–further contributing to my “relaxation”.
Trust me, when you dine at Kamalaya you will feel starstruck wanting her autograph and to take pictures with her, too. I looked forward to every meal we had. In fact, there were times I’d be in the middle of eating a meal and looking forward to the next one! At the resort, meals are served at two locations, the Amrita Cafe and the Soma Restaurant.
Lunches are served at the Amrita Cafe. Located near the leisure pools, it offers diners a dining experience from private huts that are surrounded by idyllic lotus ponds facing the beach area.
The menu changes daily with a variety of inspiring vegetarian dishes as well as barbecue specials of grilled seafood and poultry. The food philosophy is “LOW SUGAR, LOW SALT, LOW FAT, LOW DAIRY”. Notice the absence of the word “NO” in this philosophy. What is NOT missing in these dishes is FLAVOR.
Wherever possible, recipes use natural or unprocessed sugars along with sea salt. Fats come from seeds and healthy cold-pressed oils. There are few dairy options on the menu with goat yogurt, goat cheese, and nut and seed milks as healthy alternatives. High-quality fish that are high in Omega content such as salmon, cod, and sardine are available. While meats that are high in protein and low in fat such as chicken, ostrich, and lamb are also available.
Our days began and ended at the Soma Restaurant. That’s because this is where breakfast and dinner are served at Kamalaya. Located near reception, the restaurant overlooks the resort valley and sea.
Their menu also changes daily and you can be assured that the “special of the day” is truly special. Some of our favorites were ostrich and rock lobster. All of the dishes are beautifully presented and we unfailingly enjoyed them paired with a red or white from Kamalaya’s wine list.
One piece of advice I would give would-be diners, make sure to save room for dessert. These desserts, especially the chocolate ones, are absolutely decadent and a must-have to finish off a great meal!
Feeling full after a large meal? No problem. Integrated with the restaurant is the Alchemy Tea Lounge where you can enjoy a cup of tea or more vino.
Embrace the day!
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Soma Restaurant’s view and menu don’t disappoint the day’s beginning. The menu is a list of things you can mix-n-match to create your own perfect start to the day. There’s are so many combinations of egg dishes, soups, fruits, bread, grains, and more that you’d have a hard time getting bored with breakfast.
One thing I would definitely recommend is the “breakfast shots” menu. No, it’s not that kind of party. There’s no tequila in these. These are healthy shots. Check them all off: turmeric, kale, gotu kola, and ginseng. Drink them in that order, too. Trust me, it’s the ultimate way to kick-start your day!
Normally when my gal and I go on a vacation we come home feeling like we need a vacation. That’s because even though we go to relax we often find ourselves punishing our bodies just as much as we try to pamper them.
Often we sacrificed our backs with hard mattresses and abused our bodies with unhealthy food and drink choices (for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anything in between those meals).
But when we woke up the first morning of our stay at Kamalaya we noticed something very different from our usual getaways. We felt good. We were well-rested and feeling focused. Strangely, every day of our stay we seemed to feel better and better. By the time we were checking out we felt completely relaxed and yet also completely energized.
It’s why we vowed to return.
If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway that makes you feel wonderful by the end of your stay, this is a place that you’ll want to revisit as well.
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Kamalaya I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie and travel gems). However you choose to reach out, I’d love to hear from you!