Sunset from my Ocean View Residence plunge pool. All that was missing was the toxicating Mojito.It's pretty much human nature that the moment you tell people that they can't have something, then that's the one thing they suddenly want. And so it was when I started my 48-hour detox (it's not really enough time to do an effective detox, but it was a way for me to figure out whether it was something I or my clients would want to spend a week doing). Friday morning, at around 9:30am, I had my last non-detox meal -- my usual Starbucks drink, a Prêt-a-Manger egg salad and sundried tomoatoes baguette and citrus fruit salad. By the time I got to the airport for the 1440 Dragonair flight to Phuket, I was already sms-ing friends that I was hungry. Granted, I had just done 45-minutes on the treadmill (just enough time to watch an episode of House, a show that PT got me into). By the time I got on the plane, even the airplane food (a choice of dim sum or seafood rice served with haagen dazs ice cream) was looking really appealing.
I landed in Phuket at 1705 and was at Aleenta by 1800. I had dragged PT along to keep me company during my detox and she had arrived a day earlier. However, I wasn't able to convince her to join me on the detox. But apparently, all the staff at Aleenta had been trying to detox her from the moment she arrived! PT had booked an in-residence foot and scalp massage for me at 1900. After that, we went down to the restaurant for dinner. If you ever decide to go on a detox trip, make sure the person going with you is doing the detox as well! Because as I was eating my steamed vegetables wrapped in rice paper roll, she was having a tuna tartare and papaya & shrimp salad. She also told me how good her other meals had been (though expensive!).
The next morning, we woke up for our 7am yoga session with our yoga instructor who never introduced himself. It's always nice to do yoga with the view of the ocean in front of you. It was a fairly easy-going and relaxing class, although not the most inspiring. Turns out that he met one of my favourite Pure Yoga instructors, Patrick Creelman, when Patrick was at Aleenta for holiday. Following yoga, PT and I headed to breakfast. She got to have pain au chocolat with coffee, orange juice, fruit yogurt and fruit, while I got all-you-can-drink carrot-garlic-ginger juice (I actually don't like carrot juice at all. When I do drink it, it has to be mixed with something like apple juice), a cold vegetable soup (mainly cucumber and yogurt) that I didn't really have much of, and fruit. No coffee!!
After breakfast, we retired by the plunge pool, PT with her well-worn copy of June's issue of Vanity Fair (I got to hear entertaining bits and pieces from Ronald Reagan's Presidential diaries) while I flipped through the latest issue of Vogue for motivation. All to the tunes of sugary, beach holiday pop (Paris Hilton's Stars are Blind, Bee Gees' How Deep Is Your Love, Madonna's Holiday...) blaring from the iPod Bose speakers (I still think the sound quality of Altec Lansing speakers are much better than Bose). At 11am, we had our massage session (a Thai massage is part of the detox package). The massage therapists are all well-trained and have a good touch. After massage, it was time for lunch. I had a steamer full of plain, steamed vegetables without any seasoning, served with a sweet and refreshing juice mixture (it was written down as "Natural Thai Diet Juice"). PT, on the other hand, had chicken satay and pomelo salad. As I was enviously eyeing her pomelo salad, I mentioned, "Would it have been so unhealthy for them to add some fried shallots to the steamed vegetables?" To which, PT quickly pointed out: "But they're fried!".
The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling poolside until we went for a villa tour at 1630. I was supposed to have a meditation/relaxation session in the afternoon, but decided that chilling by the plunge pool was relaxing enough and cancelled the session. We were originally booked into an Ocean View Loft, but on arrival, we were upgraded to a 2-bedroom Ocean View Residence. From all the rooms, there were beautiful views of the ocean. The first floor has a very roomy sitting area and 2 balconies, a large, well-equiped kitchen, dining table for up to 8 people, a laundry room, guest toilet and one of the en-suite bedrooms.
Upstairs was the plunge pool and master bedroom with en-suite bathroom featuring a large jacuzzi bathtub with views of the ocean.
On the villa tour, we saw the Beachfront Villa, which is a compound that has a large common area pavilion (kitchen, dining area, sitting room) with an upstairs bedroom plus two separate beachfront suites. All together, you could have 6 people, great for a weekend party or a family holiday (adults+children+nanny/helper). For one person or a couple, my favourite was the Villa Suite, which is right on the beach (but that also means less privacy because the plunge pool is open to the public beach). In terms of plunge pool privacy, the Ocean View Lofts, Pool Villas and Ocean View Residences are best. The space and layouts of all the rooms I saw were quite comfortable and well thought out.
The outdoor jacuzzi bathtub in the Pool Suite has views onto the beach. Interior of the Ocean View Loft, with the bedroom upstairs. As a resort, Aleenta is good value for money. All of the accommodation have private plunge pools (Chedi Phuket's, for example, does not. Trisara does, but they're in different price point.). And they have one of my necessities -- free wifi, even by the plunge pool. The feel of the resort, however, is a bit more holiday home feel rather than awe-inspiring resort experience. The villas are all in plain view and built close to each other like an apartment complex, albeit a stylishly minimalistic one. Most guests probably just hang out in the privacy and comfort of their own suites and villas at Aleenta, because there aren't many public spaces to lounge around in. There's a small library, a very basic gym, a small restaurant and beachside cafe/lounge bar. There is no big swimming pool to do any real swimming in. If you get bored hanging out in the villa, Phuket town is about a 45-minute drive away and there are a lot of boating excursions that can be organized. If you're looking for a peacful, quiet retreat in your own comfortable villa, Aleenta is a good place for that. For detox, I would have to say that detox is a very difficult thing to do on holiday, at least for me. For me, experiencing local cuisine and restaurants is such a big part of the travel experience that travelling somewhere only to have fruit and steamed vegetables seems a bit like self-inflicted punishment (especially when those accompanying you, or in one instance, even the waiter, tempt you to do otherwise).
What was the first thing I did after my plane touched down back in Hong Kong on Sunday evening? I went straight to Starbucks for my usual iced, double, tall, no vanilla, skim caramel macchiatto and then went to Lucy's in Stanley for dinner. The asparagus salad with truffle oil and falaffel weren't that unhealthy, but certainly tasted much better than steamed vegetables!!
Labels: health, Phuket, resorts, Thailand