As spas evolve from sanctuaries of physical relief to sanctums of mental restoration, one burgeoning wellness enterprise is anticipating the next progressive step with services and facilities that recalibrate the soul.
Scheduled to launch Mar. 1 at The Andaman — a Luxury Collection Resort in the foliage-shrouded archipelago of Langkawi — V Integrated Wellness offers all the staples of a modern-day holistic center, and then some.
‘Yes, to therapeutic muscle treatments, yes yoga and yes a world-class fitness center," said Christina Low, V Integrated Wellness’s wellness director. "But there has to be more than that. Our visitors want more engagement and inspiration. They want to leave Langkawi with a new spirit."
Enter activities and amenities such as meditation retreats, guided nature walks, sunrise yoga classes and a food menu inspired by the "Tree of Life," a sacred symbol that serves as a metaphor for how the universe is connected — the basis of V Integrated Wellness’ philosophy.
A butterfly farm — an intimate relaxation garden within the confines of a 10-million-year-old rainforest — is in the works, too.
Located 30 kilometres off the northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi is renowned for its peerless combination of ancient tropical woodlands and paradisiacal white-sand beaches. In 2007, it became the first Southeast Asian destination to win entry into the Global UNESCO Network of Geoparks.
Set on the big island’s northwest tip between the lush Mat Chincang Mountains and picturesque Datai Bay Beach, the first V Integrated Wellness center (another is slated for the region by 2012) embraces its singular surroundings.
The spa, ranked sixth among overseas spas in this year’s Conde Nast Traveller (UK) Readers’ Travel Awards and rebranded V Botanical Spa, is perched high on the verdant hillside with bird’s-eye views of the bay.
Organic treatments — such as Awakening and Bliss, rituals that feature the use of 100-percent certified organic Intelligent Nutrients skin-care products — are conducted in the five open-air villas that branch out from reception and on the beach, where a pair of Miami-style cabanas sit but steps from the placid waters of the Andaman Sea.
In the morning, that same kilometre crescent of sand — which National Geographic called out in the 2008 edition of The 10 Best of Everything — serves as the platform for sunrise yoga sessions.
A few paces inland, on the jungle side of The Andaman’s south wing, the butterfly farm — a place "where guests can go and relax and watch some of Asia’s rarest species of butterflies flutter about freely," says Selvam Raman, the resort’s environmental manager — is being developed.
On the resort’s 4th floor, V Integrated Wellness’ 400-square-metre fitness facility (V Fitness) beckons with a glassed-in workout area under a canopy of sky-scraping trees and advisors educated in innovative programs such as functional training, a method that promotes strength and agility in every-day activities.
V Healthy Cuisine trades on the abundance of nutritious foods found in and around Langkawi and reflects the culinary team’s keen understanding of what constitutes healthy fare. Items such as Seared Sea Scallops with Marinated Wild Mushrooms and Daikon Sprouts and Lime Tofu Cheesecake with Honey Oat Crumble exemplify the dynamic menu.
"From fresh saltwater fish to indigenous herbs and spices, the best ingredients are right on our doorstep," said Low. "We feel fortunate to have that kind of bounty at our fingertips, but our guests are the real beneficiaries."
Source = V Integrated Wellness