A Wellness Sanctuary in the Land of Smiles

Reviewed by The Wellness Traveller

Hua Hin Thailand

Chiva-Som Garden and Bridge

Stretched from ear to ear and radiated into a halo of happiness, the smile, so genuine, so engaging. But then I am in “The land of smiles” and cradled in a sanctuary of wellness full of smiles – a signature of wellbeing.

Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand is a pioneering, transformative wellness destination, internationally renowned, reaping heaps of awards year after year. I’m here to find out why. 

The Setting: Traditional Thai Style

Multi-tiered, swooping tiled roofs, shaped like giant toblerones, form the classic traditional architecture of Chiva-Som, in keeping with its cultureEndowed with spacious interiors, a calm colour palette, teak floors underfoot, bathed in soft lighting are 54 rooms and suites.  Welcome homely touches instantly make you feel at home – you can even choose your own oil fragrance before you arrive. The Thai Pavilions are positioned in clusters – perfect for a group of friends and family to stay close together. Paved pathways weave through landscaped gardens, skirted with floral planters. A reflective lake brimming with carp swanning around, birdsong in the background and a wooden bridge complete a picture of serenity. 

The Ambiance

Imagine a luxury boutique hotel flowing into and fusing with a health & wellness environment designed to offer the most advanced treatments and a plethora of therapies. Small enough to know each guest, large enough to offer state of the art facilities with trained, knowledgeable and caring therapists. An indoor pool competes with the outdoor pool from where a pathway leads to the beach access and the infinity of the ocean. 

Speciality: Wellness

There are 15 retreat programmes, 70 treatment rooms for around 200 treatments in a haven that exudes zen and tranquillity with water therapy suites to include every treatment you would expect from Chiva-Som’s wellness heritage of over 27 years.

The Age-Well Programme– Tried & Tested

We can‘t turn back the age clock but we can, to some extent, control premature ageing. Chiva-Som’s Age-Well programme focuses on health preservation embracing diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. With a minimum of a 5-nights stay, a personally created schedule includes one-to-one sessions in areas such as spine mobilisation, perfect for those poised over laptops or crouched over garden flowerbeds and refunctional exercise for core stability to prevent falls. As joints and bone density decrease with age, strengthening and retraining movements are also in focus. As well as a personal trainer session, a naturopathy consultation and daily therapeutic massages add to the day’s activities. The Chi Nei Tsang massage (Taoist Therapeutic Massage) exerts attention on the abdomen for those with digestion issues. The whole programme is monitored by your personal wellness consultant from the minute you arrive to when you bid farewell. New exercises, new mind-set come with accompanying notes and illustrations to continue at home. But more importantly, they deliver a new you!

The Food: Wellness Cuisine

Embracing Thai cuisine and the medicinal power of natural herbs and ingredients, dishes at Chiva-Som are created with health and nutrition firmly in mind, using organic produce from its own gardens.  Portions are controlled, flavours enhanced and variety is the order of the day to satisfy all taste buds but also to heal and nurture the body. Strawberry mouse, just 40 calories, steak and mash at 125 calories, I promise, you would never go hungry. Overlooking the sea, the restaurant serves colourful portioned dishes packed with nourishing superfoods from its own organic gardens.  Wellness cuisine to keep body and brain healthy. 


Under the Royal patronage of HRH Princess Maha Sirindhorn, driven by Chiva-Som and supported by other sponsors, Krailart Niwate Mangrove Ecosystem Preservation Project is the last remaining mangrove ecosystem in Hua Hin. It is a reconstructed wetland project and an urban nature reserve. Located in the centre of the city, it raises awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems, involving the community and helping the environment. And with the opening of a new boardwalk stairway, Chiva-Som now offers “eco-spiritual tourism in the region in its efforts to promote sustainability.

The Location of Hua Hin

It was King Rama Vll of Siam who discovered Hua Hin, bestowing a royal status on this once sleepy fishing village.  Today it’s a thriving destination, just under three hours from Bangkok where powdery beaches edge its coastline along the Gulf of Thailand, temples gleam in the sunshine and this hidden wellness sanctuary lies in wait on its outskirts, a 2.5-hour leisurely drive from Bangkok.

A Wellness Holiday Tailored For You

This Thai sanctuary of wellness has fused the synergy of indigenous traditions with evidence-based wellness methods to deliver what it promises – to connect you with your soul, ground you to the earth and makes you feel like royalty in its hidden sanctuary off the Gulf of Thailand in a location chosen by King Rama back in the 1920s. 

“They seem to have the right balance and harmony between the east and west wellness practises and beliefs”, a comment by a fellow guest. So, it is no surprise to hear that guests keep returning here, whether it’s for the fine dining, the personalised programme or those smiles which stretch from ear to ear, reflected as sparkles in the eyes and radiated into a halo of happiness – the true signature of wellbeing in the sanctuary of wellness.

‘You are not just a person, you are a being, you are you’


What’s included:


Health and wellness consultation

Three wellness cuisine meals per night stay

Physical and skin analysis

Daily fitness and leisure activities from a choice of 12 daily

Water therapy suites

Daily treatment 

Post wellness follow up 

Complimentary in-room minibar of soft drinks and laundry.

Retreat Contact Details



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