If you were to dream up the ultimate sporting playground and transport it to an idyllic setting among the palms and rubber trees of Thailand, Thanyapura sports hotel Phuket should come pretty close to your vision. Thanyapura sports hotel Phuket is a 23-hectare athlete’s playground, catering to world-class competitors, weekend warriors, school children and everyone in between and it is well on its way to becoming Asia’s premier sporting hub.
Skye Gilkeson | Updated July 2017
We arrived at the hotel late in the afternoon, just in time to take a twilight tour around the grounds. It wasn’t until we climbed a set of stairs and met by the 25-metre and 50-metre pools that the scale of Thanyapura hit.
Executive Chairman Klaus Hebben has been described as a “visionary”. The idea for Thanyapura was sparked from his own health battles and as the idea developed it became something much bigger than that; it became a project that could benefit Phuket and Thailand at large, giving local kids and international athletes access to a world-class training hub.
The Celebrity Effect at Thanyapura
As we set about our days of training around the grounds, we were often flanked by any number of athletes from the German, Dutch and French Olympic and British Paralympic swimming teams. It was a surreal experience being in the presence of such inspiring and insanely fit athletes and something I’ve never experienced elsewhere. Athletes are drawn to Thanyapura because it’s effectively a one-stop training shop; the cafe and restaurant is footsteps from the pool, medical attention is available on site. Testament to this, many national teams come to Thanyapura to train for their biggest meets.
It’s not just the amateur athletes that benefit from having professional competitors on site. We were captivated by groups of toddlers and primary school children splashing about energetically at their afternoon swimming lessons in the pool right next to teams who are preparing to compete in Rio. It was incredible to witness.
For Formula 1 drivers the proximity to racing in Asia is a big draw with Jenson, Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz and Ricciardo all heading to Thanyapura to train and fly in and out to Malaysia and Singapore. Maria Sharapova also stopped in to train at Thanyapura between tournaments in Asia. It’s hoped Thanyapura will become a hub for triathletes from around the world too with new competitions opening up in the region and Thailand offers a much cheaper option as a base for athletes.
It’s not just professional swimmers you’ll see working out in the weights room or sitting next to you at lunch. Thanyapura’s biggest consumer is their weight loss client, particularly people visiting from the Middle East.
The Vision for Thanyapura
Thanyapura’s aim isn’t simple to teach people to move better. They holistically target body, mind and soul through health management and preventative medicine, sports and education. Right now, the compound is home to the Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club (TSLC), Thanyapura Mind Centre (TMC), Thanyapura Integrative Health Centre (TIHC) and Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS), but this is only the beginning. Their vision is ambitious.
Within the next five years, there will be a 100-metre pool, ten tennis courts (including a clay court), an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) centre, CrossFit centre, a multi-use indoor room for wrestling and badminton, a new Wellness Centre and the list goes on. An additional investment will also be made into the school, in the hope that it will become accepted as a United World College. Needless to say the financial investment at Thanyapura has been substantial. These new additions will come at a cost of about $AUD14 million. It’s no surprise Thanyapura is a state-of-the-art facility.
We opted for a Thanyapura Retreat style stay; the 3-day Quick Fix Detox program during our stay. Having been on the road full-time for more than 10 months, we need to give our body a little love. Their quickie detox is more thorough than it sounds. Across our three days, we had a medical consultation with the on site Doctor, Dr Sutthi, body composition analysis (yes, a little scary but also very motivational), a detox foot bath, a lymphatic drainage massage, a stomach massage (to help shift unwanted weight and aid digestion), colon hydrotherapy (to detoxify the colon) and a consultation with Sports Nutritionist Marcela Prats who wrote both of us individualised detox eating plans, particular to our personal goals. The team we worked with during the detox was professional. Three days on the detox, combined with our own daily training schedule we were feeling lighter, more energetic and firmly back on the clean eating track.
A Suite Stay in the Pool Wing
There are two accommodation options; the 77-room Thanyapura Sports Hotel and the 38-room Thanyapura Retreat Hotel. We stayed in a Suite in the Pool Wing at Thanyapura Sports Hotel. The 63 square metre king bed suite was spacious, clean and extremely comfortable. More like a one bedroom apartment, we had a large bedroom with ensuite (double shower, bath tub, his and hers vanities). A separate living area with lounge, dining table, desk, a second bathroom and access to a gorgeous green garden meant it felt more like a home than a hotel room. The hotel has a pool and a lounge bar area with day beds which is a great spot to wind down in the afternoon sun.
14 two-bedroom villas and an addition 100 room deluxe hotel will begin construction this year, so the accommodation on offer will match the capacity of the training venue and also further cater to families and the luxury market. With former head of Ritz-Carlton, Philipp Graf von Hardenberg now the CEO and President of Thanyapura, we expect the new accommodation will be impressive.
State of the Art Sport & Fitness Facilities
Thanyapura caters to many sporting disciplines from triathlon, to track and field, swimming, tennis, fitness and yoga as well as providing nutritional guidance from detoxing to weight management. Hotel guests have access to the sporting facilities and the full schedule of classes from Zumba to spin and circuit. We tried a few classes from the schedule and then followed our own work out plans in the weights room (kitted out in top of the range TechnoGym gear) and the cardio studio. The possibilities really are endless. If you don’t train regularly, I would recommend sticking to the class schedule or book some private sessions. If you are looking to accelerate your performance in a particular sport, there are experts and trainers for a number of sports available for private coaching.
A Performance Focused Menu
Reconnecting with the other guests at meal times transported me back to the days when I played representative sport. Teammates debriefed together, other regular folk like us sat at tables nearby with coaches, trainers and other athletes making for a broad mix. There was a sense of comfort in seeing those familiar faces again at meal times. Even after a tough workout, it felt like we all understood each other, if only a little.
DiVine Restaurant & Cellar
Meals are served at DiVine Restaurant and Cellar, just footsteps from the pool, gym and courts. The restaurant is large and comfortable with a few view down to the pools off to the greenery of the mountains beyond. So what’s on the menu? Well, that depends on what program you are on. While is an a la carte menu and a detox menu, most will enjoy the buffet created from locally sourced organic food. The day begins with a breakfast of eggs every which way, toast, vegetables, fresh salads, cereals, platters full of fresh fruit and a few naughty additions for those that are training up an appetite. Lunch and dinner varies and there is often a theme from Mexican to Indian and of course, Thai. The choices are vast, so they really cater to the guest who is targeting weight loss or an athlete with some more extreme caloric demands.
As we were on the Quick Fix Detox Package, we stuck to the Detox Menu. Don’t panic, they are all about balance, not extremes so you can expect fresh, lean cuts of meat, seafood seared to perfection, tasty soups and salads and generously sized fresh juices. There’s no fasting here. Their philosophy is about showing guests how to take their new healthy lifestyle and adapt it to their life at home.
Booster Deli & Bar
Booster Deli & Bar’s menu is ideal for a mid-morning snack, a recovery protein shake, fresh juice or as we saw in many instances, the afternoon pre-sport destination for the very cute and sporty children from the school.
Where Is Thanyapura Phuket?
Thanyapura is just a 15 minute drive to Phuket International Airport. We booked a transfer (about 500THB each way) saving us time and stress of competing with the crowds at the airport for taxis and shuttles. Everything you need is right on site but if you want to shop for souvenirs or you just want a change of scenery, Phuket Town is about 50 minutes drive away.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Thanyapura Phuket for our stay. As always, the words, opinions and images are authentically our own.
Thanyapura Sports Hotel
120/1 Moo 7 Thepkasattri Road, Thepkasattri, Thalang Phuket
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.