Agent Experience: Wellness at Amatara Phuket

Anne Rogers, Wings Away Travel

A five-night stay at a wellness retreat in the tropics would be the dream of most hard-working small business owners, but for a retail travel agent, used to daily promotion and selling of such things, it is especially enticing. So, to win a five-night stay at the Amatara Wellness Resort in Phuket was a bit “lotto-like” for me, and gratefully redeemed earlier this year.

Reception is warm and inviting; beginning with an airport meet and greet, and a one hour road transfer, throughout which there is much to remind us that Phuket is definitely not the sleepy paradise it once was. But this is very quickly forgotten when we drive into the beautiful Amatara compound, located in the extreme south of the island — a wonderful haven, and a world away from the madness outside.

Check-in takes place in a giant open air pavilion looking over the resort and out to sea. Nearby is the enormous wellness centre with its hilltop position — and 100 stairs to and from!

Traditional hotel-style acommodation is combined with villas which tumble down to the waterfront along winding pathways, lined with gorgeous tropical vegetation. Ours is an Ocean View Pool Villa, and it is superb — enormous, beautifully designed, and blessed with a private courtyard and plunge pool — we wish to stay forever. Our package is all-inclusive with a number of beautiful restaurants and bars around the resort serving outstanding meals and drinks.

Fellow guests are a mix of those following the various wellness programs, and others simply relaxing in a fine resort. This is a wonderful thing about Amatara: it is designed for exactly that. My husband accompanied me, and I was able to pay a hotel-only rate for him — an option available to all guests.

Eager to do justice to such a wonderful opportunity, and my first experience of such a holiday, I diligently completed the questionnaire sent to me on confirmation, and signed up for everything I felt I could benefit from– from a one hour session with a nutritionist,pilates and Qi Gong, to a wonderful one-on-one cooking class — a total of 25 activities.

“I diligently completed the questionnaire sent to me on confirmation, and signed up for everything I felt I could benefit from”

I don’t want to leave our villa,but my hard core daily program runs to two A4 pages, with concurrent appointments beginning at 8am each morning.It resembles a job, and I treat it as such, keen toexperience all of the “wellness” activities. Some were familiar, others totally foreign; some were pleasant; others less so. Most of my experiences were a success and insightful; others an abject failure (my first ever yoga lesson, and a session with a flaky cosmic healer were firmly in this category, and worthy of a stand alone story!).The resort staff are outstanding, especially the highly qualified therapists, consultants and instructors in the wellness centre.

We are so fortunate as agents to enjoy experiences such as this, and on such occasions, I always apply my “would I spend my own money on this”?test.The answer this time is very definitely “yes” and we are already planning a return fully paid visit to Amatara — not least for my very favourite activity — the Hammam treatment!