Thailand | Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Monday, October 13, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

15353682911_de2114e71a_c (1)Down in southern Thailand is a town called Krabi…

15170296248_192892f389_c…and on the west side of Krabi is a place called Phulay Bay.

15356502802_b9d8fe52e6_cIt’s the very first Ritz-Carlton Reserve property (the second is Dorado Beach, and a bunch more are coming next year).

15358526712_089a940125_cThe villas are gigantic, and each bed could easily fit five.

15170288848_b7e3aecce1_cAnd though it’s tempting to sleep in…

15170257758_76830314a2_c…don’t miss breakfast ^-^

15353680851_6e091d9361_cBecause that’s when you’ll find tons of local fruits (mangosteen! pitaya! papaya! all with a squeeze of lime)…

15356850155_a0318f1837_c…and southern dishes like this hearty, sweet Thai spinach fried with eggs and fish sauce. Best with a big bowl of rice ^-^

15353667331_66297fc95c_cJust as important as breakfast are fruit/herb tisanes created on property. Like bael fruit tea…

15170089069_3c4e45e250_c…and another made of steeped roselle. Super tart and bright.

15356848305_36c3a1849c_cPandan and honey shots are offered at breakfast…

15170166990_6c022df6ed_c…and Phulay Bay’s signature tea is one that combines sweet ginger with a blend of herbs.

15356834925_b4118a48f5_cThe spa has a raw bar (ideal way to unwind post-treatment) featuring cold-brewed safflower and chrysanthemum

15353656921_f1c41f4c6d_c…don’t worry, I made sure to take notes for brewing/drinks recipes. Will share them soon ^-^

Thailand | Twinings Tea Boutique

Monday, September 1, 2014 2comments No tags Permalink 0

Found in Bangkok…

…a location of Twinings Tea Boutique. 

Table for one, please!

This is Gunpowder Frosted…aka gunpowder tea brewed double strength and blended with ice and sugar. It’s topped with housemade plum jelly and served in a giant glass ^-^

Thailand | Paresa in Phuket

Friday, August 29, 2014 1 No tags Permalink 0

Snapshots from late summer days (and nights) at Paresa in Phuket.

Let’s wake up early…

…for a morning bubble bath…

…before breakfast. One coconut…followed by dragon fruit, kuay tiew, and toast slathered with pandan custard.

We’ll walk it off with a stroll around the property…

…which overlooks the Andaman Sea. The beach is a five-minute drive away…

…but between the infinity pool…

…and the spa…

…and the million indoor/outdoor bathtubs and showers, there’s no point.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss afternoon tea.

It’s a casual affair on the deck with tea by Ziamese Tea Society and a daily selection of sweets. The brownies are made with palm sugar and dotted with cherries and apricots. Let’s sneak a half dozen back to the room and…

…devour them in bed. So decadent and divine.

But let’s not overdo it. We can have one more drink, and then it’s off to dinner ^-^

Thailand | Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

Remember how I said we’d take a closer look at the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai?

Are you ready?

This is a crazy/awesome property that stretches across 60 acres. It was Mandarin Oriental Chiang Mai until last year, but otherwise everything else is still the same.

It’s 45-minute drive from the city center and was designed to feel like a secluded village. That’s why there’s a double gated entrance and a long bridge to announce the arrival of guests. The property is so big that everyone is offered bikes to get around (though you can call for a driver if needed).

The rooms are divided into suites and villas. Suites are on the northwest side, tucked inside two-story colonial-style buildings with high ceilings and gigantic bathrooms.

Here’s the pool on the suite side…

…and here’s the pool on the villa side.

The teakwood villa overlook rice paddy fields…

Ground floor has kitchen, living, and dining room. Plus the piano and private outdoor pool.

Head upstairs…

…for the bedroom…


…and office area. It’s tempting to take an afternoon nap…

…but then you’d miss out on potential spa time!

You already heard about the spa in this post. The signature bael tea is excellent (you can find the dried fruit online and make it at home).

There are many restaurants on the property…make sure to visit Cake Shop for afternoon tea

…Farang Ses for French…

…and Akaligo for the ultimate breakfast buffet.

Oh! And the bar for a nightcap heehee.

Early morning bikes rides were my favorite part of the day…peaceful and quiet. Also ideal for working up a bigger than usual appetite for breakfast!

Man this breakfast.

Hot noodle soups with you tiao, glasses of fresh coconut juice and bael tea…

…housemade yogurt with local fruits and honey (Chiang Mai is famous for lychee honey).

Till next time ^-^

Thailand | Spa Teas

Friday, August 15, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

My favorite part of going to the spa isn’t the treatment itself (though that’s a close second ;) but the teas served before/after the treatment. The teas are a small but essential touch. It encourages you relax upon arrival. And when leaving, it offers a feeling of completion.

Each spa does it different. Some do green teas, most do herbal teas.

In Thailand the brews were particularly special (and now I have an urgent desire to explore spa teas in Japan! Vietnam! Russia! The list goes on.) I’ve highlighted a few favorites for xoVain, which include the…

…green mulberry tea at Paresa in Phuket. Mulberry is grown throughout Thailand and the dried leaves are commonly used for infusions. It’s served chilled with honey at the beginning…

…and hot (without honey) and a side of local pineapples post-treatment.

At Let’s Relax Spa in Bangkok, they start with a chilled pandan tea…

…and finish with hot oolong (grown in Chiang Rai) and a dish of sticky rice and mangoes.

The most memorable spa tea was at Dhara Dhevi’s Deva Spa. It’s a combo of ginger, raw honey, and dried bael fruit (pictured below). They serve it chilled at the beginning and hot at the end with an excellent fruit and nut bar.

I emailed the girls at the spa for the tea recipe…enjoy, enjoy ^-^

The Deva Spa Bael Tea

  • 4-6 dried bael fruit pieces
  • 2-3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 400 ml water

Bring water to a boil and add the dried bael and ginger and simmer for 15 minutes. Add honey and stir to dissolve, adjusting sweetness to taste. Serve hot, or lightly chilled (but not over crushed ice, as it lowers digestive ability).

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