Wednesday, November 28, 2007

6 Days, 15 Mangoes and a Heart full of Dreams

A week or so ago, I spent 6 days at Chiva Som, The Haven of Life, in Hua Hin, Thailand. It’s my fourth visit in the last 7 years and it is well named - a haven of tranquility, renewal and cleansing. I spent 5 days fasting, drinking only vegetable juices and consommés, and eating nothing. Each morning was spent in the gym and then into the pool for some water aerobics. Afternoons I worked in the library, and in the evenings it was spa treatments and massage.

For 6 days I didn’t speak with anyone, which I found particularly renewing and invigorating. I used the time to drop some weight, get my head around adopting a much healthier lifestyle despite the vicissitudes of 250 days on the road per year. I also spent time setting dreams and challenges for the next 5 years.

Chiva Som does it beautifully. I stayed in the Chamomile Suite, which overlooks the pool and the ocean. The weather was turbulent and tumultuous with extreme heat, extreme storms and extreme wind. Just perfect (unless you want to sunbathe – which I didn’t). I sent ahead of me 8 books and a dozen magazines to get in to, and thanked Steve Jobs every morning for the iPod. My brain has been full of music, my heart full of dreams and my gut full of resolve.

Check Chiva Som’s website. It really is a haven in today’s hurly burly, fast paced world. No cell phones or Blackberries allowed except in the privacy of your own room. They have every kind of spa treatment, ranging from the physical to the spiritual, and it’s full of meditative tranquility. I never moved out of t-shirts and shorts, except to put on a bathrobe. And, yes, that includes meal times which took all of about 15 minutes. Juice and consommé don’t need a lot of effort.

To top it off there is also award winning spa cuisine. The chef, Jacky Oberti, is one of the most accomplished in Asia, bringing together healthy, local ingredients with great taste.

All the facilities are tremendous and the rooms are very Thai; very sensuous. Chiva Som drips with mystery, sensuality and intimacy and is a classic Lovemark.