The Village Spa: Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Tamarind Village Resort gets its name from a 200-year old tamarind tree in the courtyard, around which the resort has been built.
Surrounding the famed tree are dark teakwood buildings, accentuated by startlingly green lawn expanses.
The spa is on the upper level of a low-rise building, ascended to by a rough-hewn wooden staircase, rather like climbing to a tree house.
It’s oddly quiet here, as sunlight dapples the wooden flooring against the soft twittering of the birds. There are three couple treatment rooms, one of which is devoted to Thai massage only.
I opt for the 90-minute Village Signature Massage. It starts with a foot wash and scrub of rough salt mixed with lemon grass and kaffir lime, after which I’m led inside the room for the oil therapy.
My masseuse today is Khun Nom, one of the most practised and experienced therapists I’ve ever been with. First, she uses her thumbs and fingers to determine exactly where my muscles have the knotted stress in my shoulders and upper back. She then takes heated herbal balls which are a poultice of Thai herbs such as ginger, tamarind, lemongrass and so on, dips that in warmed, sweet almond oil and applies it to all pressure points and muscles. The herbs impart their own natural heat permeating through to the groaning, aching muscles and have an extremely soothing effect which is just lovely.
Now that the body is suitably oiled and somewhat relaxed, Nom does a deep tissue massage, kneading away deftly at the tightly knotted muscles with her thumbs and using strong, linear elbow strokes down the length of the body. Towards the finish, she uses her elbows and knees to stretch my body.
Although the treatment is not new and is a tried and tested traditional Thai therapy, The Tamarind Village Spa infuses newness into it by the way in which they have been integrated, for instance, to dip the hot herbal balls themselves in warm oil, which is something other spas don’t do. Also, instead of going in for fancy fragrances, this spa opts to use mildly scented almond oil which nonetheless is quite robust when warmed and applied to ease strained muscles and tendons. It certainly works on deep tissues and joints and leaves one feeling wondrously unknotted.
Khun Nom is really good at her work, as she judges how much pressure her client can handle and applies her massage techniques accordingly. She exudes a quiet confidence which leaves you feeling you’re in good, capable hands. I would certainly recommend you to ask for her for your treatment.
Quite apart from massages and body scrubs, the Village Spa rather uniquely also introduces children to the concept of massage, with its Kids Spa! However, the spa management recommends that any child under the age of 12 must have a parent/guardian in the room alongside.
Other interesting treatments I will surely check out on my next visit will be the Tamarind Herbal Polish, the Village Hot Stone Massage or the Coffee and Spiced Sugar Exfoliating Scrub.
(All treatments are inclusive of complimentary Thai ginger tea and foot bath.)
The Village Signature Massage: 90 minutes: THB 3,200 + taxes
Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai
Tel: +66 53 418896
Fax: +66 53 418900
Punam Mohandas asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author.