Only a two-and-a-half hour flight from Hong Kong, Cambodia’s Kingdom of Wonder is the perfect getaway from Hong Kong for a long weekend. Nestled beside the ancient ruins and temple of Angkor, Navutu Dreams Wellness Resort is an eco-chic luxury retreat providing yoga and detox programmes to accompany temple-hopping and exploring Siem Reap city. Compare Retreats expert Cristina McLauchlan checked in for the weekend to explore the retreat – and take a dip or two in one of their three pools.
Located in the North of Cambodia, Siem Reap is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor. Navutu Dreams Wellness Retreat, with its eco-chic vibes, was the space I called base camp during my stay. Located 30 minutes’ drive from the airport and the main Angkor temple complex, the resort is an idyllic oasis 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of town. I arrived at the start of the hot season, which for my love of all things tropic was perfect for me. The best time to visit is between November and April during the dry season with more comfortable temperatures, particularly during December and February.
The resort provides a full spectrum of accommodation options: six Grand Tour Rooms, 18 Explorer Rooms, and four Grand Suites.
I was greeted with a cool towel and refreshing lemongrass drink, taken through the resort’s offerings and shown my Grand Tour Room located near the lap pool, one of three pools on the property. A platter of fresh mangoes from the property’s trees was laid out and to my delight, reusable bottles for water available to use.
A large sunken bath was prepared, dusted with petals setting the mood immediately for relaxation. All accommodation is air-conditioned and showcases a mix of wooden and sandstone that runs through the property. Carved art adorns the rooms for a discreet cultural touch.
The golden coconut was introduced to me upon check-in, a cute and quirky way to tell staff whether you wanted privacy or for your room to be serviced merely by placing it outside your doorstep.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included in the programme. There weren’t many choices on the à la carte menu that were specific to veggie/vegan or allergies. In saying that, the kitchen team and chef were always happy to create something special for what I needed. I was loving the fact it was peak mango season and must have eaten at least two a day.
Navutu Dreams offer a variety of wellness programmes, including Detox, Burn Out and De-Stress programmes as well as healing and holistic practices such as acupuncture, cupping and Reiki. I experienced the 4 day 4-Day Navutu Yoga Holiday Break
There is a large variety of offerings from The Yoga Shala and The Spa. Yoga classes are available daily along with private yoga sessions and unique off-site wellness activities such as pranayama meditation in an Angkorian Temple or Forest Bathing at a selected path within the Angkor Archaeological Park.
A sample daily schedule:
07.00 Light breakfast
10:00 Free time
12:30 Organic lunch
14:00 Healing session or spa treatment (one per day)
15:30 Free time
18:00 Organic dinner
19:00 Free time
The programme included three organic meals daily, and one healing or spa treatment each day. I opted to have a bodywork treatment in the form of a Marma massage, and two holistic healing treatments: a Yoga Bliss massage and a Reiki Healing session. The wellness practitioner that was there at the time, Lucilla Jane, was wonderfully healing for me.
I decided to add some additional treatments from Navutu’s Spa signature treatments. The treatments range from traditional Asian massages to body scrubs, facials and wraps, which compliment the daily yoga classes and are a great way to relax and unwind from a day of temple sights.
There were two treatments, in particular, I would recommend. I indulged in the Queen Bee Facial which used organic local skin care products and the key ingredient of honey, a wonderful ingredient that restores and allows the skin to naturally heal itself. The second treatment is the traditional Khmer massage: I’m a fan of Chinese and Thai massages, and this massage focuses on pressure points and energy lines allowing the muscles to ease and release.
I spent the rest of my free time exploring Siem Reap’s ancient wonders. The resort was helpful in arranging the tours (which are not included in the retreat package): you could choose from their specially designed bespoke local sightseeing or curate your own. For something a little different, I highly recommend contacting Robina Hanley of Siem Reap Arts Tours.
Staying at Navutu for one of their wellness packages was a great way to compliment seeing the sights of Siem Reap: it’s best suited to culture-seeking travellers who want a healthy base to explore from.
As an eco-wellness resort, I would have liked to see that reflected in all aspects of the resort: for example, smoking was permitted in public outdoor areas, which I found at odds with the wellness ethos.
Navutu Rd, Krong Siem Reap 17251, Cambodia | +855 63 964 864 | navutudreams.com