Spa away from Bangkok

No longer merely associated with mineral springs and therapeutic taking Roman baths and Jane Austen, spa has taken on a new mantle that is hipper-than-hip. Be it in the form of to-die-for pampering products that line the shelves oi the plushest beauty boutiques atid most desirable department stores, mouth-watering and health-boosting cuisine or the ultimate in Holiday destinations, you can't get away from the 's' word these days. For me, and a growing number of spa-goers, spa Is the ultimate chill-out mantra. Personally, I only have to think it, to repeat it silently a few times in my head, and my blood pressure drops, my heart rate halves and my muscles begin to soften and relax. It transports me back to my favourite spa resorts that I have been Fortunate enough to visit during my 15 years as a pampered and privileged health and beauty director on glossy magazines.

And for millions of devotees, spa means time ;out from the hardships of life, the hubbub of urban living and the rigours of responsibility. Not only that, it is synonymous with peace, calm, tranquillity, me-time. space and getting-away-from-it-all. In fact, some fervent spa-worshippers are so devotional, that they have even gone as far as to suggest that 'spas are the new church'.