Joanne’s review of Kamalaya
Kamalaya is a beautiful wellness sanctuary perched against the Indian ocean on the sleepy, Southern side of Koh Samui in Thailand. Kamalaya’s name means ‘Lotus (kamal) Realm (alaya)’, an ancient symbol defining spiritual growth.
Since opening in 2005, Kamalaya’s offering has developed from fantastic detox holidays and luxury yoga retreats to a whole array of wellness retreats which blend Western and Eastern healing therapies. Healthy holidays to combat stress and burnout are on the increase, as well as sleep enhancement and emotional balance. A sign of the times!
The landscape at Kamalaya is divine; centred around a monk’s cave that once served Buddhist monks as a place of meditation and spiritual retreat, the resort hosts varying levels of rooms, suites and private villas dotted around a gently sloping hillside which ends on the beach, gentle waves lapping the shoreline.
Kamalaya’s wellness programs have developed organically over the years. Believing in the healing power of nature, the resort aims to reconnect guests with nature and back into rhythm within themselves. The wellness team at Kamalaya are so welcoming that I felt totally nurtured and supported. I also felt entirely comfortable as a solo female traveller.
Kamalaya is like a healing village, with two herbal steam caverns (so nice to escape into), plunge pools to cool off in and two swimming pools, including one which is great for swimming laps. There is a Yoga Pavilion which overlooks the ocean and an air-conditioned Yoga Sala. Personally, I adore practicing yoga outdoors with a view to die for! The Shakti Fitness centre is a cool place to join your personal trainer and features all state of the art equipment needed to raise your rpm.
When we send our guests to Kamalaya we’ve usually gone through a process of defining what they really need to focus on before choosing a suitable wellness program and fine tuning it with them in mind. All healthy holidays include an initial wellness consultation on arrival to allow the team to understand aims and any health concerns. As well as any personal training, private yoga or consultations, all healthy vacations include Asian healing spa therapies and really tasty healthy meals. At the moment wellness retreats cover;
Holistic Activity Calendar
As well as each guest’s own personal program, I loved the group Holistic Activity Calendar, which is open to all guests. You can jump into any of these classes when it suits you. I like that you’re not forced to join in if you feel like you need some peace yet it’s also a great opportunity to meet and practice with like-minded souls.
Each morning starts with gentle practices such as Pranayama (balanced breathing) or Qi Gong, followed by Yoga then Pilates and ending the day with meditation. There are also opportunities to enjoy your surroundings with Thai temple tours, Samui island tours and a market night (additional fees apply on these). You can be as busy or as restful as you choose and I love that.
In addition to holistic health programs and the daily activities, Kamalaya also welcomes wellness experts from all corners of the globe throughout the year. They offer an introduction to their services during your stay and you then have the option of booking a private consultation with them in addition to your program. Some of the world’s most highly regarding holistic health experts come to Kamalaya, such as Mental and Physical Health Therapist Paul Emery and Holistic Healing Expert and Published Author Nicky Kassapian.
Entry level Hillside Rooms offer garden or sea views and are situated amongst natural boulders and greenery, close to the yoga pavilion. These are perfect for those experiencing their first luxury wellness retreat and are great value for money!
The suites also come with ocean, jungle or valley views are a more spacious, often with a tropical, outdoor shower or bathtub.
With ocean or valley views, these private villas are tranquil havens; beautifully decked out, they feature large balconies with relaxing daybeds.
A new addition to the resort, the superior suites are set within a three storey building on the hillside, all with spectacular sea views, stunning interiors and large balconies.
One of the highlights at Kamalaya is the super healthy cuisine and I’d definitely suggest joining a cooking class to take home some of their recipes. The main Soma restaurant has sublime views over the coastline and outlying islands. It hosts both intimate tables and a superb community table which is welcoming for solo travellers who don’t want to dine alone. The Amrita Cafe is a serene spot for lunch, with a detox menu, salads and a BBQ for freshly caught fish. The Alchemy Tea Lounge serves up appetisers, desserts, juices, herbal infusions, a wide range of teas, wines, and elixirs based on Taoist and Thai herbal blends.
Overall, I think Kamalaya has it all; enviable location right by the sea on the tropical island, easy to reach (less than half an hour from Koh Samui’s cute airport and within easy reach of Bangkok), health and wellness programs to kick start a healthier lifestyle in a nurturing environment and delicious healthy cuisine.
If you’re interested in visiting Kamalaya please contact us: