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  Kamalaya Koh Samui Wellness Sanctuary : Life is beautiful  
 

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Life is beautiful

“I’m going for my first-ever ‘me’ holiday tomorrow with my friend, stylist Katy England – holidays for me are usually with lots of friends and family. I’m always on the go, so I wanted something relaxing. At Kamalaya Koh Samui in Thailand, there are no phones, no TV and there are no interruptions, so it’s totally cut off.

TUESDAY Instant calmer
“Good start! There are orchids (my fave flowers) everywhere on the plane and throughout our trip. We have a long flight to Bangkok, then a hop, skip and a jump to oh-so-cute Koh Samui airport. We take a dinky Disneyland-esque open-air train to the little thatched huts at baggage reclaim. It’s like Fantasy Island.

“We’re jet-lagged – arriving at Kamalaya in the rain around lunch time, I’m slightly delirious and unable to talk. The common areas are covered, but open to the air – it’s very green, lush and calm. A feeling of serenity comes over me immediately – I’ve never been anywhere like this before.

“We check into our incredible villa. There’s a balcony across the whole length of the room with the most amazing view. We’re a bit worried about the lack of a bathroom, until we step on to the balcony, where we find an outdoor shower and a bath.

“I take a nap straightaway on the most comfortable bed ever, before meeting with the naturopath to devise a detox programme and getting a massage.”

WEDNESDAY Detox begins
“I wake up and it’s raining heavily, but watching it from the balcony is lovely. The day starts with hot water and freshly squeezed lemon, plus my homeopathic detox remedy and a supplement pack.

“Before breakfast, I have a fibre drink – like grass cuttings, but you get used to it – at the Soma Restaurant. I opt for a big platter of fruit and seeds, a fruit smoothie and a wheatgrass shot. The watermelon is cut into heart shapes, which is soooo cute.

“Katy and I laze around and in the afternoon I have a detoxifying herbal scrub. Later, I take a stretching class with Klack, one of the practitioners, on the yoga pavilion. It’s a lot more taxing than it sounds – I’m relieved when dinner is over by 9pm, so I can go to bed early.

THURSDAY Toxins à gogo
“It’s the first sunny day! I sleep badly – the detox is kicking in and I have a headache. I usually drink coffee and alcohol and smoke, so all those toxins are coming out. I’m up early enough to get to a meditation class at 7am, which makes the headache disappear.

“Afterwards I do Kundalini yoga, then hang out on the beach. Katy goes for a one-to-one breathing practice, where she learns a great jet-lag tip: lie on your back with your legs up against a wall, tuck a pillow under your pelvis and lie like that for a few minutes morning and night.

“Later we have Thai massages on an open-air platform. The sun shines through the bamboo blinds and there’s a sea breeze – it’s the best massage I’ve ever had.

“My ‘headache extraordinaire’ returns, so I cancel my sauna and opt for a treatment called Marma Point, which is a 90-minute massage focusing on 107 (!) energy points.”

FRIDAY Spiritualised
“I tour the resort and visit the Buddhist monks’ caves that have been there for thousands of years. It’s very spiritual – you can meditate, pray and light candles.

“Next up, I go for Chi Nei Tsang – a type of stomach massage – and finally make it to the Far Infra-Red Sauna. In most saunas, the heat gets to just 5mm under the skin, whereas this one goes to 3.8cm to really help sweat out the toxins.

“I’m struggling with unbearable caffeine withdrawal and have to lie down. It’s easy to resist temptation, thou, as the food is so delicious: banana flower salad is a favourite. There is wine, but somehow it seems a shame to spoil all the good work.

“We enjoyt the plunge pools and try fruit smoothies decorated with orchids. I’m learning that ‘mocktails’ can be just as good as real ones. Normally, we’d have a drink as we’re on holiday… Yeah, I am fantasising about a vodka and tonic!

SATURDAY Natural living
“I wake up early – it’s cloudy and windy. I’ve forgotten my iPod – the biggest packing faux pas ever – but weirdly it’s okay. I sit on the balcony and listen to the birds and the wind. It blows the clouds away to reveal a gorgeous sunny day.

“We have breakfast with Kamalaya’s founders, John and Karina Stewart. John left home at 16 and spent 16 years in India helping a yogi master to develop an ashram. He and Karina, a health practitioner, came to Thailand in 2000 and were inspired by the monks’ caves to set up the resort here.

“My only stress is struggling to combine the food timetable with my treatments – I can’t eat or drink for two hours before colon hydrotherapy, which is tricky with all the supplements on my schedule.

“After dinner, we watch the sunset, then read. We both brought Redeeming Features by Nicky Haslam with us – so we spent each night curled up in bed with Nicky.

SUNDAY Lessons learnt

“I can’t believe it’s our last day. When I first saw the schedule, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got ages’, then suddenly there’s no time left at all. I have a consultation with the naturopath to see how I’ve done. I haven’t really lost weight as I eat healthily anyway – I’ve lost all of 0.2kg, about four ounces! But I feel amazing, so relaxed and chilled. My new mantra is going to be, ‘Climb the mountain, but stop to appreciate the flowers that grow at the bottom’, rather than focusing intensely on the goal.

“I talk to a healer, who asks me if I ever daydream, just driving down the road with my mind elsewhere. I think, I’m usually on the hands-free, organising meetings. I love working at a fast pace, but if I take one idea from Kamalaya, it would be to find time to meditate every day. It would make a huge difference to how I deal with things. I feel rejuvenated and ready to come home.”

Wellbeing Escapes (wellbeingescapes.co.uk; 0845 602 6202) offers seven nights at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary from GBP1,800 per person. Price is based on two people sharing a Hillside Room, full board, with fresh juices all day, SpaCuisine or detox meals and five holistic treatments. Thai Airways flights from London Heathrow to Koh Samui and return private transfers are included. Valid for travel in May 2010.