Wednesday 12 December 2012

Rubs that tug ... at the heart and soul (AsiaSpa Awards 2012)

Take a second to just think of the collective aromatic whiff of a whole [insert collective noun here]* of 350 spa operators and health and wellness resorts gathering in one hotel ballroom for AsiaSpa magazine's 8th annual AsiaSpa Awards for 2012. What would dominate? Lemongrass. Ylang Ylang. Lavendar. No, you're right ... fine French bubbly.

With a record number of entries this year, the competition for the coveted trophies was fierce, but being the shiny-skin-scrubbed, colon-irrigated, positive-kharmic, chakra-aligned crowd that they are, of course it's all smiles and pleasantry and bon homie. Not like the Oscars with their supercilious 'congratulations, you bitch' plasticity.

But one table that smiled the most. And increasingly as the night went on. That was the Thailand table. Why not - after all, it is THE land of smiles, isn't it?

As the awards were dished out, one to the Maldives, one to Thailand, one to some other place, another one to Thailand, some other place, Thailand ...

In all, Thai spa and wellness operators ended up the most awarded overall, with four specific product wins:
I've got a question: is there a certain closing time required to qualify as a Day Spa? Are the owners afraid to go out at night, or just too stingy to pay the electricity bill? Or is it an eco-friendly thing whereby everything runs on solar power so is no good after sunset? (Ok, that's 3 questions ...)

The Grand Prix award of the night, Asian Spa Capital of the Year, then also went to Amazing Thailand. The only real surprise to me is that Pattaya came up empty-handed ... 

Some gratuitous Titiporn ...
Titiporn (gotta love that name!) Manenate, Director of TAT's Hong Kong office, positively gushed: “When the Chiva-Som Health Resort opened in Hua Hin in 1995, it broke new ground in the annals of Asia-Pacific health and wellness tourism. Ever since then, Thailand has continued to raise the bar in the quality and diversity of its spa offerings.”

All I'm going to say is I am glad there is a double 'N' in 'annals' and I'm not even going to touch 'raise the bar' ...

Titiporn added: "Thai spas blend traditional well-being therapies with relaxing massage, holistic treatments and numerous other ways to relieve and detox an overworked physical and mental system. Thai spas are becoming as popular as Thai cuisine.” I'll eat to that ...

At the end of the evening, groaning under the weight of their trophies, the triumphant Thailand contingent went off into the Hong Kong night ... in search of a good massage for their aching face muscles, the result of waaaaaay too much smelling, er, I mean, smiling.

* What would be a good collective noun for Spa, Health and Wellness operators?

I'm going to kick off with some suggestions: a SIGH of spa operators, a RUB of massage therapists, a MERIT of meditation councilors ...  What can YOU suggest here? Leave your comments below.

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