“You had us at ‘palaces’...”

Jun 11 2014

Scarlet Spy


4 min read

This month we've been lusting after a spa stay at The Farm at San Benito in the Philipines. At Good Spa Guide HQ we regularly want the best of both worlds; cake and low calories, a sun tan but no sun damage, you know the kind of thing. Spas which mix relaxation and luxury with fitness and health programming have our undying loyalty. The development of 'wellness campus-palaces' (you had us at 'palaces'…) that are dedicated to specific areas of health improvement address this growing demand for having the best of all worlds.

The Farm at San Benito is at the top of our lust list of wellbeing palaces.

Situated in a valley an hour and a half south of Manila, the wellness spa retreat is a tropical green paradise nestled in the misty breath of mountains. Imagine a peaceful jungle with lantern-lit mossy gardens, sun-dappled pathways looping their way through the trees, and waterfalls splashing into lagoons dotted with striking white lilies.

The grounds at The Farm used to be a coconut and coffee plantation, and the landscape inspired the retreat’s simple but beautiful architecture. You’ll find different types of villas to stay in, from tropical-modern Palmera suites, to Sulu terraces designed like traditional Philippine rice barns.


At the heart of the retreat is the Healing Sanctuary, built in a clearing in the trees with an infinity pool leading to mountain-top views. Thai massage pavilions overlook the pool through white-draped open doorways. Drag yourself away from the relaxation, and The Farm’s Jungle Gym and three recreational swimming pools are all nearby.

Treatments at the spa focus on purification, stimulation and detoxification. Products made from rice powder, coconut milk, cocoa, honey and coffee localise your Philippine spa experience, and the range of holistic techniques draw upon traditional beliefs and healing powers of the land. The Four Hands Ying Yang Puri massage is a stress-relieving healing ritual uniquely developed for The Farm, and the Chlorophyll Body Wrap draws its powerful anti-oxidant benefits from ‘Alive’ green pigment enzymes.

The Farm also has medical doctors who specialise in a mix of conventional and alternative medicine to aid the mind-body-spirit healing process. You will receive a health consultation at the beginning of your experience at The Farm, and many of the spa treatments correspond with the integrative health services which range from acupuncture to colon hydrotherapy, magnetic treatments, microscopic analysis and computer diagnostics.

Choose from yoga and intensive fitness sessions during your stay and, for those who enjoy trying new things, leisure activities include floral arrangement, power walking, and horticulture walks.

The Farm’s ALIVE! cuisine is a ‘Gourmet Vegan Experience – creative and delicious’, and consists of fresh ingredients from its organic and kitchen gardens. You’ll find surprisingly familiar dishes such as curries, burgers and chocolate dessert treats that are recreated to be healthy through ‘living’; the raw food is prepared so that it becomes the texture of cooked food but does not lose nutritional properties and enzymes.

Relax and revitalise in beautiful surroundings with structured health, diet and fitness programming to suit your needs. We heart The Farm.


If you love this, you might also like:

Canyon Ranch, Tucson Resort (USA): one in a chain of ‘award-winning destination spas and health resorts in America’, with a luxury 80,000 square foot spa set in 150 acres of Arizona desert. This wellness campus is ‘more than a vacation, it’s the way you want to feel’ and aims to transform lives in a community of renewal and healing, energy and spirit.

Lanserhof of Tegernsee (Germany): a modern health resort unique in Europe, and an ‘architectural vision for life' which is spread across 21,000 square metres in the German Alps. Here, ‘light is omnipresent’ and the centre combines the latest findings in top class medicine with traditional healing methods so that you can ‘replenish your body what is taken from it through everyday life’. The spa has a newly constructed bathhouse and an all year round heated saltwater pool.

Miami Beach Hotel & Spa (USA): an ‘all-suite oceanfront luxury hotel and spa’ that encourages healthy living, set on 750 feet of pristine beach. There are four outdoor pools, and the 70,000 foot spa has an Aquavana thermal suite, crystal steam room, an igloo and a climbing wall. Here you’ll be invited to ‘create a personal map to wellness using your history, cutting-edge laboratory data and natural and conventional treatments.’

Silver Island Yoga (Greece): a small and exclusive retreat on a ‘privately owned, untouched dream island offering you the most unique yoga experience.’ The retreat is set over 60 acres but the limit of 10 guests means it’s a place that encourages peace, serenity and mindful living. Silver Island is proud of its off-the-grid lifestyle (think digital detox) and uses eco-solutions such as biodegradable toiletries.

Chiva-Som (Gulf of Thailand): a destination spa south of Bangkok, with luxurious accommodation and a health resort ‘representing tranquillity at its best’. This ‘beginning of a new journey to eternal beauty reflecting beauty of both inner spirit and outer body’ comprises of seven acres of tropical gardens on the beachfront, 58 rooms in pavilions and suites, 70 treatment rooms, fitness facilities, and their own ‘gourmet garden’.


Scarlet Spy

11th June 2014

Spy Likes:

Nature-inspired spas, cold water plunges, sound baths, deep tissue massage, delicious food.

Spy Dislikes:

Thin walls in treatment rooms, lounger hoggers, soggy robes, bright lights.

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