And the award goes to…. drum roll, ridiculously long pause…. followed by another absurdly long pause (I’ve watched X Factor I know how these things are done)…. Kamalaya!
This really was the resort this year that stood out for me as a genuine, practical, effective and stylish place to recharge. Below is a recap of I wrote about Kamalaya back in October that goes some way to explaining its appeal.
I recently visited Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary on Ko Samui, above. It’s a fantastic place that really walks the walk as far as the living the holistic dream goes. For example, while I was there guests were invited to “Hang with Gottfried”.
Gottfried Kling, below, is a musician who left his home in Switzerland in the 1980s (it’s a guess but I reckon that’s the last time he saw the inside of a hairdresser’s too). He hasn’t stopped strumming since – drums, didgeridoos, you name it he’s strummed it. A couple of years ago, he was in northern Thailand and heard a hang for the first time. A hang is a UFO-shaped instrument, the size of a car tyre that sits in the player’s lap. By strange coincidence, it was invented in his native Switzerland. Gottfried now travels the world, playing the hang in the street by day and the drums in bars by night.
He’ll be at Kamalaya for “several months”, popping up anywhere around the resort that takes his fancy and producing his mesmerising brand of music. “I just like to share it with people,” he says. “It brings up a special feeling in everyone. It’s a relaxing feeling, a feeling of love.” Mmm, if I’m honest, it didn’t quite have that effect of me. It did create a lovely sound but I felt a little like Prince Charles missing a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon on Cardiff’s new colonic irrigation centre, I wasn’t sure where to look and what to do. Was I meant to sway rhythmically, leave a tip, nod approval, curl into an embarrassed ball or just hang myself? I do hate it when I come over all British.
My inhibitions aside, the resort is a winner. It has a wonderful location and top-notch therapists and lecturers. I thoroughly recommend it. If you need to persuade your other half to holiday there, a big plus point is that, unusually for spas, there were lots of male guests so non-spa-ing partners would feel perfectly relaxed… unless they do the Prince Charles thing when Gottfried’s about. I travelled there with Wellbeing Escapes. One of the things I really rated there was the food and, in particular, this curry. It is healthy, tasty and quick and easy to make – in other words the perfect Saturday-night TV dinner, flicking between Strictly and X Factor.
PENANG CURRY with Tofu, Chicken, Lamb or Prawn
150g of tofu (you can use toe cheese as a substitute), chicken, lamb, prawn, diced or sliced
180ml of coconut milk
10ml of fish sauce
10g of palm sugar
2 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
20g of penang curry paste
5g of large red chilli
Julienne the kaffir lime leaves and chilli for garnish. Heat up the coconut milk in a pan to simmering point. Reduce the liquid to a creamy consistency and add the sugar, curry paste and fish sauce. Add the tofu, chicen, lamb or prawn and cook lightly for between 20 and 40 seconds. That’s it. Makes one portion. Now that’s what I call fast food.