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Chiva Som, Hua Hin, Thailand

I had spent a few weeks researching a health resort to go to to de-stress and improve my health. Basically I wanted to find the best place, anywhere in the world. Chiva Som came up in the 'top 5' time and again in various travel site reviews. And finally, some friends of friends recommended it as they had been going there every year for some time.

So my explanations of what it would be like were extremely high. I was expecting it to be the best of the best.

What I found was that it exceeded my expectations in every way.

But before I go on, first let me point out that this is not a hotel or a holiday resort. It's a health spa, specifically for people who want to go to a health spa for the specific reasons relating to their health. You can't judge such a place in relation to a normal hotel, it is a completely different category.

The Chiva Som resort is side by side with other beachside hotels in Hua Hin, but you would never know it. The layout of the buildings and the high stone walls make you feel completely separate from the outside world, and there is no noise other than the soft sound of the waves on the beach.

From the moment I arrived it was clear I was in the hands of exceptionally well trained staff. I was greeted by a pleasant young lady who showed me the grounds and facilities on the way to my room.

Everything in the resort is maintained to the highest standard, and all the facilities and equipment are first rate. The general staff are very friendly and helpful, and the health care staff impress as being expert in their field. So too do the trainers seem to be picked from amongst the best in the world.

Even though there were 60 other guests there at the same time I was, I would rarely see more that 3-4 other people, except at meal times.

The food was fantastic, super fresh, of the highest quality and expertly prepared.

At the start of the visit there is a consultation where they determine what you want to achieve from the stay. Based on that, the adviser works out a schedule to meed those objectives. In this also were my expectations exceeded. I left the resort after 10 days feeling relaxed, healthier, lost 5kg and reduced my blood pressure.

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