“It was a night of celebration the Thai Spa industry has never seen before. There were some expected winners but also many surprises too, showing the broadening base of quality spa operators in the kingdom,” says Andrew Jacka, president of the Thai Spa Association.
Big winners on the night included the Banyan Tree line of spas based in Phuket, Samui and Bangkok, taking four of the top honors – Innovative Spa Treatment, Spa Product, Amazing Hotel Spa and Amazing Resort Spa.
Banyan Tree’s heavenly sounding bamboo-based treatment, where heated bamboo is and applied to the body for increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, won over voters for its eco-approach, as did its standard of locally sourced spa products.
Hua Hin-based Chiva-Som International Health Resort also won the three awards for innovative Spa Cuisine, Environmental Conscience and Spa Educator. Chiva Som uses its own organic farm for its cuisine, uses solar power and has its own water filtration system and operates an international standard spa school.
The most prestigious award handed out – The Hall of Fame award – was presented to a lifelong advocate of the Thai spa industry, Naphalai Areesorn, current editor-in-chief of Thailand Tatler. Naphalai founded the Thai Spa Association and was its first president now acts as an adviser to the association.
“Without her work and belief 10 years ago to set up the association, and on-going support right up until today, none of this would have been possible,” said Andrew.
All winners were voted by event exhibitors at the Thai Spa Convention, spa operators, consumers and the Thai Spa Association Board. To ensure voting transparency, all votes were tallied by KPMG Thailand.
The evening also featured aconcert by leading songstress Jennifer Kim and celebrated saxophonist, Koh Mr. Saxman and a performance of a professional troupe of dancers in intricate costumes, which performed two contemporary dances, choreographed to the theme of spa and wellness.
Andrew took the occasion to announce that this would be his final year as president of the association and expressed his hopes for the success of the event as the industry continues to evolve.
“We really broke ground with this event. This is the first time that we’ve ever done anything like this and we really celebrated the Thai Spa industry. It was a phenomenal event.
“I’m very proud at what the Thai Spa Association has been able to achieve. At the end of the day it was a team effort … an incredibly gratifying and humbling thing to be a part of.”
Award categories and winners:
Industry: Innovative Spa Cuisine – Chiva-Som International Health Resort; Innovative Spa Treatment – Rainforest Indulgence, Banyan Tree Spa Samui; Innovative Spa Menu, Angsana Spa Laguna Phuket; Environmental Conscience – Chiva-Som International Health Resort; Natural Products – Parutee; Organic Products – SpaRitual; Creative Spa Design, Coqoon Spa, Indigo Pearl Phuket; Spa Product, Banyan Tree Gallery and I plus Q; Spa Education, Chiva-Som International Academy; New Spa – So Spa Sofitel So Bangkok.
People’s Choice: Traditional Thai Experience – Waree Raksa Hot Spring Spa Krabi; Amazing Day Spa – Waree Raksa Hot Spring Spa, Krabi; Amazing Hotel Spa, Banyan Tree Bangkok; Amazing Medical or Wellness Spa – Rarin Jinda Wellness Spa Chiang Mai; Innovative Marketing Campaign, Rarin Jinda Wellness Spa Chiang Mai; Amazing Resort Spa – Banyan Tree Spa Samui.
Exhibition: Best Booth Design – Valonika.
Hall of Fame – Naphalai Areesorn.