One of the latest travel buzz words of today is "bleisure"; the blurring of business and leisure.
So in a world where we are always switched on and addicted to checking emails and downloading music on our mobiles, watching television, movies and working on our laptops, the first ever Six Senses Destination Spa arrives as a welcome relief. All of these activities are blacklisted unless personally requested, and then only permitted within the private living space of your villa. I've previously had so many potentially great holidays ruined by fellow guests braying down their mobiles during breakfast or around the pool and tapping noisily on their laptops.
The name Destination Spa Phuket is misleading as it is located on the private island, Naka Yai, a short distance from the north east tip of Phuket. The island is Robinson Crusoe heaven, with its jungly interior and coastline dotted with beaches, coconut groves and mangroves.
This new concept from the upmarket group Six Senses raises the spa bar by aiming to change the health and lifestyle of their cash-rich time-poor guests with a strict regime of bespoke programmes encouraging healthy and stress-free lifestyles.
There are 61 villas spread out along the beach and hillside, including Beach Pool Villas, Beach Pool Suites, Hill Pool Villas and Hill Pool Suites. Each villa conforms to the classic Six Senses adobe-style architecture and design. All are large and include an outdoor "jungle-style bathroom" stocked with Six Senses products, a shower that doubles as a steam room, an air-conditioned bedroom–cum–living space, an outdoor sala pavilion for meditation and massage, a private pool, an outdoor private hot tub, and personal butler service. All villa garden landscaping includes organic herbs that can be used in the hot tub.
The food and drink
Guests can opt for spa cuisine or raw foods. All spa cuisine meals are served in the al fresco Ton Sai restaurant, which is a barefoot sand experience. Apart from breakfast, meals are vegetarian/pescetarian, each labelled with their calorie count. No alcohol is served until after 6pm – and then by the glass only – and is actively discouraged. I opted for the spa cuisine and, ironically, put on weight – I rarely eat three meals a day when at home. I tried one raw food meal served in the Dining at the Point restaurant, which was surprisingly tasty.
Guests can cycle from villa to restaurant, gym, "7th Sense Wellness Centre" or spa complex (within which there are four spa areas: Indian, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian) or be picked up by butler in a golf buggy. The landscaping mostly consists of edible plants that are used in the spa cuisine. The central infinity pool is massive, and is lined with elegant sun loungers. Staff wade through water to serve you energising health juices.
There is one villa adapted for wheelchair users. Children over 16 are welcome. No pets are permitted
The cost of a Hill Pool Villa is £830 per night, per couple (based on two sharing). The price includes full board (three spa cuisine meals per day), private wellness consultation, two 60-minute spa treatments per person per day (from a choice including Thai massage, energising holistic massage, detoxifying massage, foot acupuncture), and a choice of daily fitness classes, lectures and activities which include mountain biking, windsurfing, sea kayaking and much more).
I travelled as a guest of Carrier (0161 491 7630; carrier.co.uk), which offers seven nights from £2,995 per person (saving £2,610 per person) until the end of October, based on two people sharing a Hill Pool Villa. The cost includes all the above details plus return flights with Thai Airways from London Heathrow and private transfers.
Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket, 32 Moo 5, Tombol Paklok, Amphur Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand (00 66 76 371 401; sixsenses.com; UK reservations 020-8780 3519)