i.sawan spa cottages in the Grand Hyatt Erawan set out to change Bangkok’s reputation into becoming the City of Madonnas. VE HANDOJO tries the life-changing treatments.
“She always has the 60-minute treatment before starting a concert,” claims my spa consultant upon my four minute personalized check-in to the fifth floor of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, where i.sawan is located. “We have two of the machines here.”
I immediately jumped at the rare opportunity of becoming just like Madonna, and scheduled the one-hour Rejuvenate Oxygen Infusion treatment on the final day of my stay in one of the six spa cottages in the i.sawan complex. Saving the best for last is my creed. After checking in, we passed by a refreshing swimming pool, steaming under the heat of the Bangkok daylight. Frangipani trees, lush hedgegrows, and white daybeds spelled a La Isla Bonita charm. A shaded path lead us to a mini-courtyard where five cottages were lined in a half circle. They all looked humble, but a sheer elegant surprise welcomes every guest who opens the door to enter any one of them.
My Cottage, 504, just like the others, was a 100m2, nicely scented home with a living room, bathroom with soaking tub, steam room with rain shower, scrub table, treatment space combined with walk-in wardrobe and twin vanities, and a king-sized bedroom with access to a private indoor patio. Now, if only they can tear down those sight-blocking sky train railways, the view from the patio would be perfect.
World famous American interior designer Tony Chi is the one responsible for the urban interpretation of the word ‘i.sawan’, or ‘fifth level of heaven’, where the Elephant (or “erawan”) God rests.
Although spa-related vocabulary such as wellbeing, rejuvenation, tranquility, or serene are the main keywords of the design theme, Chi gives high technology the space to fit in. Lights are dimmed with a remote controller, internet connections run fast and free, and plasma televisions are installed in the living room, bedroom, and bathtub. A preset iPod sits nicely in its dock, a DVD player blends harmoniously with the earthy color palette, and – my favorite – the toilet seat is heated, and sprays water to discreet parts, then drys them. Yes, they’ll make you feel like a virgin.
The itinerary within my spa cottage was filled with a well-stocked custom-covered collection of literature – poetry, mystery, romance, love, drama, inspirational, classic novels, and of course a Gideon Bible. Tunes by Mark Barrott of Music Styling Company were available to loop in the slim CD player, while selected DVD’s could be requested at the spa concierge.
Inside the fridge were choices of ice cream, yogurt, fresh fruit, and juice that come with the package. Tea and a Lavazza coffee-maker were set to help me start up every morning. The cottage was simply a perfect place to come home to after a manic six-hour shopping spree in the Chatuchak weekend market.
Gym-bunnies flocked inside The Greenhouse where they could run wild on treadmills facing a petite bamboo garden. Filled with residents and members, The Greenhouse has a wide range of exercise programs – yoga, aerobics, ballroom dancing, pilates, taichi, Thai boxing – and is equipped with the latest Technogym playthings from Italy. I tried getting into the groove by half-squatting and vibrating using their new power plate. Who was I fooling? After fifteen minutes of the supposedly one hour program, I quickly headed to The Juice Bar outside, seeking some thirst quenchers.
After this, I headed to The Breezeway, a casual outdoor dining and lounge area just beside the curvy swimming pool, serving a mix of light Thai and Western dishes. The city’s ray of light started to decorate the background of the pool as the sun went down. It was time for my choice spa treatment for the day.
Fifty percent of i.sawan’s clientele are males wanting to be vogue, hence the “Man Space” treatment line was invented. This includes five types of facial, two body wraps, two body exfoliations, three body massages, and a luxury manicure and pedicure using paraffin wax – all specially designed for men. My female therapist nodded when I asked her to give the strongest punch during the 50-minutes Renewal Body Exfoliation session using neem, rice bran, and black sticky rice to generate healthy skin, promote collagen formation, and pamper dry or sun-damaged skin. “May I use my elbow, Sir?” she asked before shortly knocking me out effortlessly.
During my stay, I had my feet wrapped in paraffin wax, and a head-to-toe massage in the Thai way. On the final day, as planned, I wanted my face to know what it feels like for a girl. Intraceuticals treatment apparently meant having it showered with oxygen infusion. After being cleaned up, my face skin felt something like super tiny needles tickling it gently. My extra honest theurapist suggested the infusion to be focused around my eyes to make them “look like you’re back to thirtysomething”. But, I am thirtysomething!
I flew back home the next morning, and at dinner time, my friends spoke the same language as the Intraceuticals theurapist – how my eyes looked fresh and free of any humiliating lines. Now, if I could actually look fresh after coming out of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, then something in Bangkok must have gone right. And, I’m not sure it was just the facial alone.
It must’ve had something to do with the flawless service to bring me back my sanity. It must’ve had something to do with the exclusive Comfort Zone bathroom amenities inside my spa cottage. It must’ve had something to do with the healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Breezeaway.
The i.sawan experience had been like an answered prayer. If you spot some bodyguards posing near the pool, guarding the discreet path leading to a particular cottage which is separated from the other five, chances are the goddess herself is resting there. My lucky star was not with me, so I did not manage to spot any material girls. That’s alright. I may not come back as the perfect Madonna, but at least now I know how to not end up as Cher.
i.sawan Residential Spa & Club
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Floor 5