Chiva-Som Hua Hin in Thailand and its sister resort, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som in Qatar, truly demonstrate the transformative powers of combining traditional therapies with modern wellness technology
In 1995, the late Boonchu Rojanastien, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, founded Thailand’s Chiva-Som Hua Hin. Built on the seven-acre, beachfront location of his former holiday home, the wellness resort was created with one intention – to create a true sanctuary centred around the pursuit of rebalancing the mind, body and spirit. Chiva-Som means “haven of life”, and that is exactly what it is.
The resort quickly became one of the world’s premiere wellness destinations, a reputation it maintains to this day. It was the first and only resort under the Chiva-Som International Health Resorts umbrella, as well as being Asia’s first comprehensive wellness retreat, setting the premium standard for the industry ever since. An extensive renovation of the resort was completed in 2019, ensuring the benchmark was not only maintained, but also continually elevated. Adding to the wealth of accolades it has achieved over the years, Chiva-Som was named “Best Destination Spa in the World” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Part of the resort’s magic is that it was never built as a corporate operation, and this translates into the service it provides. It looks incredible after the renovation, but it fuses the real charm of Thailand – a very bespoke, personal and gentle feeling of being looked after – with cutting-edge diagnostics and the latest health technologies.
More than 200 spa, medi-spa, physiotherapy, fitness and holistic treatments are on offer. By combining indigenous traditions with evidence-based wellness, Chiva-Som’s extensive therapies are designed to help guests find inner peace and feel renewed, re-energised and refreshed.
The renovation of Chiva-Som Hua Hin was not the only development made by Chiva-Som International Health Resorts. In 2022, it opened Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som in the northern tip of Qatar. Managed by the company, it offers the same “service from the heart” standards and a similar array of treatments with a localised focus, and a groundbreaking family wellness offering. While Chiva-Som incorporates Eastern wellness philosophies, Zulal Wellness Resort blends its treatments and guest journey with indigenous wellness knowledge, known as Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM).
Both locations are spearheading a revival of traditional wellness philosophies that have been around for thousands of years. In the case of Zulal Wellness Resort, these philosophies are not as well-known in the same way that Ayurveda is for India or traditional Chinese medicine is for China.
Each resort provides highly personalised, full immersion wellness retreats, with specialised treatments tailored to meet each guest’s individual wellness goals. This is combined with an itinerary of activities and classes, access to water therapy suites and three wellness meals a day. Zulal Wellness Resort’s unique family offering, Zulal Discovery, enables families to enjoy positive wellness experiences together, inspiring them to adopt healthy lifestyles.
The guest return ratio for both resorts is high and the feedback is unanimously glowing, thanks in part to the longevity of experience of the people who work there and their exceptional dedication to service; Chiva-Som even has its own academy in Bangkok, for training staff and the next generation of wellness practitioners. Both resorts listen to guests and are always developing based on feedback. As a result, guests feel empowered and revitalised after a retreat at either property.