Tucked away on the 5th floor of the city center Erawan Hyatt is i.sawan spa, which one of the site’s massage therapists, Mam, told us means “the steps to heaven” in Thai.
The open air reception area is decked out in creams, whites, and golds, and guests are seated with the traditional herbal “welcome drink” and cool towel.
After marking off “light pressure” on the massage intake form, the spa receptionist asked why we didn’t prefer the traditional Thai massage, which applies much heavier pressure — we replied that it’s often just too painful. She said, “Ah, you just haven’t had a good Thai massage yet — it should relieve pain and get the energy flowing through your body.”
The spa offers various services under four sections: purity, energy, harmony, or Thai.
Their massage menu includes Thai varieties, of course, as well as sports, executive (for those who spend too many hours sitting at a desk), aromatherapy, hot stone, coconut oil, head, foot, detox, and herbal compress.
They also offer beauty and wellness treatments like Brightening Tamarind Body Polish (THB2,800) Slimming Cellulite Treatment (THB3,900), Himalayan Crystal Scrub (THB 2,800), Anti-Aging Turmeric Treatment (THB3,900) and facials, including oxygen versions.
We opted for the 90 minute Essence of i.sawan (THB4,400) massage. Their signature massage combines elements of Swedish massage, aromatherapy, and Thai techniques. The pressure is set at medium, and the oils used are their own blend of lemongrass, cypress and plai, a woody scent that can be smelled throughout the spa complex.
Mam, our massage therapist for the day, walked us through the spa, the main part of which is six modern spa cottages and nine more simple treatment bungalows. The rooms are situated around the pool, adding a vacation vibe to the spa experience, even if you aren’t a hotel guest, as 30 percent of their spa clients aren’t.
The spa cottages, created by Taiwanese designer Tony Chi, have been much photographed. Positioned in a U-shape, the stark white cottages sit around a while stone landscape with a dramatic-looking tree at the center.
However, our massage took place in one of the more traditional bungalows. We checked it out as we were left to change into a robe. The low lit room was done in pale wood with ivory silk draped from the ceiling and calming instrumental music played on the stereo.
After Mam placed a rice and herb-filled eye mask on our face and the massage began, we could feel that she had the 11 years of experience she’d told us about. Her strong hands helped to work out all our stress and tension and she occasionally paused to run essential oil scents below our nose.
The signature massage is billed as “A rejuvenating treatment that increases circulation, detoxification, and flexibility to assist in natural recovery from jet lag, muscle tension and stress.”
At the end of the 90 minutes, they simply drape a hot towel over your feet and tell you to get up and get dressed when you would like. The feeling of the warm towel in the cool, dark room was great and we certainly felt closer to heaven, as the spa name says, and miles from the office, even though we were only about a block away.
Grand Hyatt Erawan, 5th floor
494 Rajdamri Road
Open daily, 9am-11pm
Treatments from THB2,000