Spa Cuisine joy...

There is such joy in staying at a Spa Resort when you experience the amazing care and attention given to the spa cuisine and their spa wellness treatments.  Keemala in Phuket is just that place. 

We are thrilled to share with you a couple of delicious recipes, so you can create and share them with your loved ones.  Of course, the best way to delight in Keemala's wholesome spa cuisine would be to be on a holiday with your loved one. Not only because their wonderful staff would be creating them for you, but because you'd simply be relaxing with your feet up looking out to ocean, swimming in your private pool, exploring the little village of Kamala and then retreating to the Mala Spa. Bliss!

Tomorrow start your day with...

Banana 1pc
Mango  1/2pc
Almond milk  2tbs
Cacao powder  1tsp
Seasonal fruits  1/2cup
Mixed nuts, chopped  1tbs
Chia seeds  1tsp
Goji berries  1tsp

1. In a high-speed blender combine banana, mango, almond milk and cacao powder and blend until smooth.  Pour into a serving bowl
2.  Arrange season fruits on top of the smoothie and top with the remaining ingredients.  Serve fresh.
Keemala - breakfast smoothie bowl
Another wholesome meal to create that can be served for either lunch or dinner and would delight any vegetarian or vegan is Keemala's signature dish:

Fresh baby spinach  400g
Fresh strawberries  10pcs
Avocado  1 whole
Smoked coconut flesh  200g
Edible flowers  5g
Pink peppercorn  5g
Sea salt  5g
Sicilian lemon oil  20ml

Creamy Cashew Nut Dressing
Organic cashew nut  800g
Fresh lemon juice  50ml
Garlic, finely chopped  30g
Chives, chopped  15g
Fine Himalayan salt  20g
Smoked coconut water  200g

1. In a food processor add organic cashew nut, fresh lemon juice, garlic, chives and smoked coconut water and pulse until well blended.  Season with salt to taste.
2. In a large bowl, add fresh baby spinach, strawberries, avocado and smoked coconut flesh and mix well. Top with edible flowers and crushed pink peppercorn.  Add sea salt and Sicilian lemon oil to taste. 
3.  Add dressing to the salad and toss just before serving.
Keemala - signature spa cuisine dish - Spring Spinach Salad
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Asia Spa Awards 2018...

To be invited to be a participating judge and then attend the annual AsiaSpa Awards in mid November was a great delight.  To be amongst industry persons from across many countries was inspiring. Here is an update from Asia Spa.....

14th Annual AsiaSpa Awards Recognise the Industry’s Finest

Hong Kong’s most anticipated spa and wellness event of the year, the 14th annual AsiaSpa Awards took place on November 15 at W Hong Kong with the glamorous occasion attended by representatives of the region’s outstanding brands. The 2018 Awards honoured nominees, industry icons and guests, for an evening themed ‘Tokyo Blue’.

A panel of 20 judges selected the best in the business across 26 categories. Awards were presented to spas, hotels and resorts, retreats and products recognised for raising the bar of product and treatment standards.

The elegant evening saw more than 400 professionals celebrate the winners who have demonstrated stellar products and services within the region’s best spas and resorts. These included Maia Spa, Fusion Maia, Da Nang City, Vietnam, which took home ‘Spa of the Year (Southeast Asia & the Pacific)’, while ‘Spa of the Year (North & West Asia)’ went to Chuan Spa, Cordis Hong Kong. Exception Marine, Thalgo was awarded ‘Anti-Ageing Product Line of the Year’, and MDNA Skin, MDNA Skin was recognised as ‘Natural Product Line of the Year’. Gaya Island Resort, Sabah, Malaysia, received ‘Destination Hotel/Resort of the Year’, while The Sukhothai Shanghai, China, was ‘Urban Hotel of the Year’.

“This year’s AsiaSpa Awards are even more special because we’re celebrating the magazine’s 15th anniversary. We’re really proud of the staying power we have in the publishing world as an authority on all things spa and wellness in the region. It’s encouraging to see the commitment to improvement in the industry with so many professionals who are genuinely passionate about delivering authentic wellness through alternative therapies. They are the heart and soul of any spa and we celebrate their valuable contributions to this business. We are also delighted to announce Intraceuticals as our main sponsor for the 2019 awards,” says Stephanie Shiu, editor-in-chief of AsiaSpa magazine.

We at AsiaSpa would like to express our gratitude to our event sponsor, Lapidem Tokyo and special thanks to W Hong Kong for sponsoring this year’s stunning venue. We are also thrilled to have the support of Sans Souci as our trophies sponsor this year. Sans Souci is a Czech producer of bespoke decorative lighting fixtures with over 12 years of experience and expertise in hospitality projects and interior design jobs around the world.

And the AsiaSpa award winners for 2018 are:
Spa of the Year (Southeast Asia & the Pacific)          Maia Spa, Fusion Maia, Da Nang City, Vietnam
Spa of the Year (North & West Asia)                         Chuan Spa, Cordis Hong Kong
Urban Spa of the Year                                                 Bliss Spa, W Hong Kong
Day Spa of the Year                                                    Lapidem Tokyo Spa, Tokyo, Japan
New Spa of the Year                                                   PANPURI WELLNESS, Bangkok, Thailand
Men's Spa of the Year                                                 The Ritz-Carlton Spa, The Ritz-Carlton,                                                                                                       Millenia, Singapore
Eco-Spa of the Year                                                    Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Gold Coast,
Medi-Spa of the Year                                                  Dii Wellness Medi Spa, Bangkok, Thailand
Destination Retreat Program of the Year                    7-day Ayurvedic Journey, Anantara Spa,                                                                                                      Anantara Tangalle Resort, Sri Lanka
Spa Treatment of the Year                                          Bamboo Fusion Massage, Willow Stream SPA,                                                                                            Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China
Couple's Treatment of the Year                                  Vitality of the Hearts, Holistic Sanctuary and                                                                                                Healing Sanctuary Spa, The Farm, Philippines
Men's Spa Treatment of the Year                               Pedi:MENi: Cure by Bastien Gonzalez, The                                                                                                  Oriental Spa, The Landmark Mandarin                                                                                                    Oriental, Hong Kong
Medi-Spa Treatment of the Year                                High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Aesthetic                                                                                                Facial, Sense of Tough, Hong Kong
Innovative Spa Treatment of the Year                        MARGY'S Monte Carlo Prestige Facial with                                                                                                Platinum Mask, Morpheus Spa, Morpheus                                                                                                Hotel, Macau, China
Professional Spa Product Line of the Year                 BioPhyto, Christina
Results-Orientated Product Line of the Year              Hydrating Collection, Aromatherapy Associates
Anti-Ageing Product Line of the Year                        Exception Marine, Thalgo
New Product Range of the Year                                  Ampoule Concentrates Grand Cru, BABOR
Natural Product Line of the Year                                MDNA Skin, MDNA Skin
Men's Product Line of the Year                                   Muscle Ease Blend, Subtle Energies
Spa Cuisine of the Year                                               Kamalaya Cuisine, Kamalaya Wellness                                                                                                         Sanctuary and Holistic Spa, Koh Samui,                                                                                                   Thailand
Destination Hotel/Resort of the Year                          Gaya Island Resort, Sabah, Malaysia
Urban Hotel of the Year                                              The Sukhothai Shanghai, China
Family-Friendly Hotel/Resort of the Year                  Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Eco-Hotel/Resort of the Year                                      Fivelements, Bali, Indonesia
Romantic Hotel/Resort of the Year                             Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali, Indonesia


An Inspiring Change...

It was a lovely winter's day when Eranthi and I caught up and had a wonderful chat.  She really is one inspiring lady...

SWT: We’ve known each other well over a decade; tell us why you got into the spa wellness industry?
After eight years climbing the corporate ladder in the 90’s and having two kids in quick succession both under the age of three I felt I was missing something. I wasn’t getting that same sense of fulfilment from my career and at the ripe old age of 31 felt burn out!  I was searching for a way to live a more meaningful life. The key turning point was coming home close to midnight after a 15 hour day and not having spent any of it with my babies.  I decided then that this wasn’t the life I wanted.  I left my well-paying job, had a 6 month hiatus and then felt the urge to get back into action - as I decided I wasn’t cut out to be a full-time stay at home mum!  I investigated a few different industries and then settled on the spa industry which in the early 2000’s had just started to get popular.  I was drawn to the concept of spa as a healing centre, somewhere that busy and stressed out people could escape to and gain a moment of respite.  I decided then that I wanted to offer a sanctuary of calm and peace for other busy people, parents and corporates who were struggling with the pressures of a too busy life. It was about offering a place of escape and restoration, where they would feel nurtured and cared for.

Aika - Lighthouse
SWT: What enticed you to get into the spa wellness arena?
I wanted to create a space for true healing rather than just somewhere to have a nice pampering treatment.  The concept of my spa ‘Spa Samsara’ was to create a total journey of wellness and our mission was to ‘take you on a journey of discovery by delighting your senses, inspiring your mind and uplifting your spirit.’  From day one we offered naturopathic consultations with an experienced naturopath, Ayurvedic consultations with an accredited Ayurvedic doctor from Kerala, Shiatsu with a Japanese therapist, Thai massage with a Thai trained therapist and Reiki healing from a Reiki master, along with the usual conventional spa treatments such as massage, body treatments and facials.  Our clients loved coming into our sacred space which I designed to be a calm and nurturing environment with an Asian influence.

SWT: You’ve created Aika Wellness, I’m impressed with you research, knowledge & integrity. Why Aika, an Ayurvedic product?
I grew up in Sri Lanka and spent my childhood there before my family migrated to Australia in the mid 80’s.  I was surrounded by what I now understand as an Ayurvedic lifestyle but at the time this was just how we lived.  We ate in line with what was freshly available and I remember that food was always sourced daily from the markets and each meal was cooked with the correct amount of spices and herbs to create a balanced meal.  The flavours (rasa) and combination of dishes at each meal was carefully considered and my maternal grandmother who lived with us was a great cook and would decide if the food needed more saltiness, sourness, sweetness or bitterness.  Food was classified as either heating or cooling and when we were sick my sister and I were given herbal remedies and daily oil massages were the norm.  We would only see an allopathic doctor on the rare occasion and most of our childhood illnesses were treated at home by my grandmother’s and mother’s natural knowledge of herbal medicine handed down over years.  Ayurveda is my heritage and these memories stayed with me long after I came to Australia which is why I was determined to include Ayurveda in my spa and I’m so proud that Spa Samsara was the first spa in Melbourne to include Ayurveda as a modality.

Over the nine years I ran my two beautiful spas I began to research ingredients in skincare and was shocked to find that the products I stocked in my spa contained many questionable and synthetic ingredients.  I was quite upset to have been told by the skincare companies who I trusted that these products were natural and organic when in fact they were not.  As I continued my research I discovered that over the course of an adult woman’s lifetime, we put over 2 million chemicals and ingredients on our skin – that’s a huge amount!  I began asking: how do these chemicals behave once they are inside the body? What harm do they cause? How does our body eliminate or store these chemicals? How do they contribute to toxic body burden? As our skin absorbs over 60% of what we put on it, we really need to make sure the things we put on our faces and bodies aren’t harmful to our skin or our overall health.

I started to look for a 100% organic and pure range that was not only safe but also luxurious and one that offered true wellness beyond beauty and fitted into my holistic spa.  As I kept researching I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of certified organic, luxurious and safe spa products that offered a wide selection of treatments which could be tailored for each individual’s specific needs. I loved nurturing my clients and knew what they wanted: they wanted pure, certified organic skincare products they could trust.

I realised that if I wanted the type of skincare that I would be happy to use on myself and my clients then I would need to create it.  Because I have a degree in psychology I understand the importance of emotional and mental health and the way they impact on our physical and overall wellness.  I wanted to create products that contributed to people’s whole health, wellbeing and peace of mind, beyond just skin.  An Ayurvedic range was the natural choice for me as it is the world’s oldest and most complete system of wellness and health, encompasses physical, mental and emotional health and is the system of healing that I grew up with.   It was also important to me to create a product range that authentically backed up it’s claims of being organic and was certified organic to the highest level possible in Australia.

I spent years researching Ayurveda, developing our own formulations, setting up our own certified organic manufacturing facility ‘The Lighthouse’, going down the avenue of getting organic certification for all Aika products and after 14 years of concentrated research and development I finally launched Aika in November 2017 .  To my utter delight Aika won the Organic Cosmetic of the Year by Australian Organic in our launch year which is testament to Aika’s quality and purity.

Aika Vata
SWT: Yes, congratulations on being 100% certified organic and winning “Australian Organic Annual Award” for 2017. No easy feat?
No it was a long hard road!  It took me years to research certified organic suppliers as we need to show certification for our entire supply chain, from soil to your skin.  As we have over 120 individual ingredients in over 30 products this took quite a while!  We also get audited annually and have to maintain countless records of all our purchasing, formulations, manufacturing, ingredient and label claims, storage and distribution in line with organic certification principles and ecological sustainability.  Winning the award as the best organic skincare range in Australia in 2017 our launch year was amazing and totally validated all that hard work!

SWT: Because it’s an Ayurvedic skin care, is it difficult to determine which product a person should choose?
Despite being complex in creation Aika is beautifully simple to use. The products are created specifically for each Ayurvedic dosha or mind-body type.  If you know what Ayurvedic dosha you are it is simply a matter of picking the products in that dosha range.  If you are unsure then we have an interactive online quiz that you can take which guides you to discover your predominant dosha.

SWT:  What I also love about Aika Wellness is that it gives comfort and insight to an individual that self-care rituals do need to change. What is an ‘Arise’ and ‘Retreat’ ritual?
Ayurveda places great importance on Dinacharya or daily rituals to take care of our body, mind and spirit.  Aika products and rituals are created in line with this concept of Dinacharya and our body’s natural circadian bio-rhythms and encourage us to set aside precious time each day to devote to our self-care.  Our body’s needs in the daytime are different than that at night.  We have created products that are ideal to use in the morning which we call our ‘Arise Ritual’ products and those that are ideal for night time which we call our ‘Retreat Ritual’ products.  These rituals help you bookend your day with a sacred act of self-care and inner reflection and each product comes with a little ritual card, instructions on how to use it and affirmation to help you achieve this.

SWT: A final cheeky question. What’s your little bad vice?
I am rather partial to the French diet and love nothing better than a nice glass of organic wine and some delicious organic cheese and chocolate at the end of the week while putting my feet up.

SWT: That sounds delicious and bliss. Well done!

Take a look, do the dosha quiz and do try Aika Wellness.  Eranthi's passion, dedication and knowledge to creating Aika is inspiring.  I'm predominately Vata and am looking forward to using the Vata Body Polish and rejuvenating around my eyes with the Tri Dosha Eye Balm! ~ Karen owner Spa Wellness Travel

OFFER:  Try Aika Wellness now and you'll receive a 15% saving with your first order and free shipping for orders over $100 within Australia.  What Spa Wellness Travel is thrilled to extend to you is a FREE body polish of your choice for orders over a $100 - remember to put VATA, KAPHA or PITTA body polish in the notes at check's all yours!  Expires end of November 2018.  Visit Aika Wellness now to reap the benefits. 


Massage.  It is a word we have all heard of and it is not to be taken for granted.

A slow inhale-exhale then I calmly express “that was fabulous. Thank you.” That’s what I said as my Li'Tya kodo massage came to end at Mud Day Spa.  It is not the first time and I’m sure it will not be the last time that I thank and feel a sense of gratitude after surrendering to the skilful hands of the spa therapist or masseuse. It’s that feeling of being in the moment and having released all thoughts and angst of the world and reality of outside.   

Life has a strange way of operating with some days or weeks being more emotionally strenuous than others.  We’ve all felt it, that sometimes there are aspects of life that we are attached to that can be emotionally draining for a few days, weeks and months. Then at times there’s the same matter that eases off only to reappear with a feeling of never really disappearing.  The variance of life’s up and down events can be of little or extreme shock, drama, sadness or frustration which can cause emotional tension to rise.  Tension is an indicator that life has been a tad stressful; those felt symptoms of back/neck ache, headaches, light headed/dizzy, irregular breathing, irritable, gastrointestinal changes, worry, rapid heart rate, poor concentration, forgetfulness and difficulty quietening the mind or low energy may just be your trigger. 

hot stone massage
If you can relate to any of this, take a moment and ask yourself “when can I take a moment from life to surrender and rejuvenate at a day spa?”.  The array of massages are all benefiting, try and make a promise to yourself that one day you will tick off all the massage options within their spa menu.

Some massages that maybe available on a spa menu:
Swedish/Relaxation        Aromatherapy         Hot Stone            Deep Tissue       Shiatsu                
Lomi Lomi            Kodo Massage             Thai             Balinese           Signature        Pregnancy

Here are a few of our favourite day spas within Australia I suggest you book in for a massage:

Park Hyatt Melbourne
Dome Spa Retreat                                        

 Not sure which massage will benefit you most, well discuss it with the receptionist on booking. But, often the description and your intuition will serve you correct.
Remember massage is not just about releasing stiff muscles, the power and benefit of having a skilful therapist and the comfort of nicely appointed treatment room – yes, sound, temperature, aroma and equipment make a difference - to release some pent up emotion.  You are more than the physical!

Wish to take a Spa Wellness Travel package staying at a stunning spa resort or spa wellness retreat, well contact us here: T: 03-5254 1411

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

Finally, I was heading to Sri Lanka and excited as it has taken me nearly two decades to get there!  A lot changes in that time; initially my reason was for the remoteness and beaches, but now I’d discovered Ayurveda is very much a part of the Sri Lankan life.

Setting up Spa Wellness Travel in 2001 I was curious to Ayurveda and thought I could do little self-assessments on my family and friends what their dosha was, but I sooner discovered there are many components to Ayurveda. Sri Lankan Ayurveda has a long written history of almost 3000 years, but the knowledge has been handed down orally for many more thousands of years. Here is a brief insight to the complex structure of Ayurveda:
Just as the modern medicine is based on physics, chemistry, botany and Zoology, Ayurveda is based on Indian or Hindu Philosophy. The theory of macrocosm and microcosm. That is the man is an epitome of the greater universe. It believes that the matter is composed of five elements (Panchamaha buta).They are Prithvi (earth or hardness), AP (water or liquid), Theja (fire or energy), Vayu (gases state of matter) and Akasha (ethereal state of matter). It is said that matter to exist there should be Kala (time) and Dik (space). With the addition of Manas (mind) and Atma (soul), the matter becomes animate. These components are called the Nithyadravyas or eternal elements.It is very difficult to give exact English equivalents to there highly technical Sanskrit terms. In the universe there are the sun, moon and wind, in the same manner in all living things there are the motion, the liquid component, and the heat or energy component. They are called Vatha, Kapha and Pittha respectively. The human body is composed of Pancha maha butas ie the five basic elements. In the human body they are explained in terms of Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala. Life is the union of body, sense organs, mind and soul.The dosha are vata, pitta, kapha. The 7 Dhatus are Rasa (chyle or nutrient fluid), Rakta (blood), Mansa (muscle tissue), and Medas (fats), Asthi (bone, connective tissue), Asthi majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (reproductive elements or the vital substance). The three main Malas or excretions are purisha (faces) mutra (urine) and sweda (sweat). The doshas when exist in dynamic equilibrium help to maintain the human body in a healthy condition. Then they are called Dhatus. Any disturbance in this equilibrium causes malfunction and results in disease. In that event they are called Doshas. Thus Vata, Pitta, Kapha, are alternatively called Dhatu or Dosha depending on the effect they have on the functioning of the body. ~ Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka Government
After my water plane landed in Kandy it was a meandering hours drive through varying little Buddhist and Muslim villages that soon had me at Santani Wellness, Sri Lanka’s newest spa wellness retreat.  The architectural design of the lobby, dining area, spa centre and sixteen free-standing structures is award winning.  I loved the streamline and eco concepts embracing concrete, timber and recycled materials.  Meal time was filled with anticipation wondering what Executive Chef Wajira Gamage with a profiled career spaning France and Sri Lanka working with prestige such as Taj Hotels, Ceylon Tea Trails before joining Santani would be serving.  He advised:
“the philosophy behind his menu is based on the traditional Ayurveda principles. In Ayurveda there are six tastes or “Rasas” – sweet, sour, salty, bitter pungent and astringent, it is recommended that each taste should be included in every meal.  Thus, by incorporating all six tastes in your meal and adjusting the amounts to your personal constitution will help maintain a balanced nutrition and good health, as well as feeling satisfied and eliminating food cravings”. “Taste is made from the same elements that make up the dosha known as space, air, fire, water and earth. Each taste has an effect on each of the three doshas known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  When your dosha is are out of balance these six tastes can help repair these imbalances”.  

Then that takes us on meeting resident Dr Ravi Sooraj.  Always favouring a Shirodhara if it appears on a spa menu, I mentioned this to Dr Ravi, who advised “certainly, it will help with insomnia”.  Well, waking the next morning it was like I had been in a very heavy sleep, sure I woke during the night, but then instantly I was back in my heavy sleep of comfort.  My facial the next day deepened by level of relaxation and I can say the use of natural products had my skin glowing for days; as my friend, Laura, can attest to went I met with her days later.  Morning yoga and lazing by the infinity pool watching birds dart here and there with the hills and swaying grasses behind all made for a deserving time away from my work home routine!  That morning yoga class holds another fond memory with the sound of woman about to commence their work in the tea plantation. 

An Ayurvedic experience whether it be a singular spa treatment or a week long program, do I recommended it? Of course!  

BOOK any Ayurvedic package or a Santani Wellness package with Spa Wellness Travel before 31 May and you’ll receive:
OFFER: Santani special room rate must book before 12 May or Stay 7 / Pay 5 Nights with a Santani Wellness package.
GIFT: a Spa Ceylon Ayurveda gift with any Ayurveda or Santani reservation during May - I carry the Pink Lotus Almond in my handbag!

Contact Spa Wellness Travel at T: 03-5254 1411 or email us at Reservations