How Anantara Riverside Levels Up A Relaxing Holiday With A Wellness Odyssey

Along the west bank of the Chao Phraya, the Grande Dame hotel that is the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort presents the virtues of preventative medicine in the most relaxing way. It begins with your arrival at the hotel’s sweeping driveway, which leads you into a swish lobby populated by elephant statues, tranquil lily pools and a towering sky-lit atrium.

You would then be checked into one of the many spacious accommodations of this hotel, comprising 281 guestrooms and 95 suites, with balconies commanding views of the river and pool. Here among the lush, landscaped grounds and a central pool that serves as the resort’s throbbing heart, you begin to sink into a rhythm of inner peace, with scenes of life on the Chao Phraya becoming the backdrop to your stay.

Just late last year, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort welcomed BDMS Wellness Clinic Retreat onto its 11-acre grounds. The retreat forms part of the award-winning Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) network—the kingdom’s largest operator of private hospitals with more than 50 facilities in Thailand and Cambodia. And in Anantara Riverside, BDMS has founded its first hotel-adjacent outpost, which aims to provide a medical services team focussed on preventative medicine, offering a luxe mind-body retreat for stressed-out execs and for holiday-makers who have long enjoyed and continually returned to the Anantara Riverside.

The comprehensive health check-up package offered by Anantara Riverside (from RM3,396 for two adults with a night’s accommodation, wellness check-up for two, and nutrition consultation) becomes a very natural extension to those who have traditionally enjoyed the property for its many amiable and restorative qualities. Case in point is the Anantara Spa, where guests have perennially enjoyed wide-ranging treatment plans including curated spa treatments for men, as well as ‘Balance Wellness’ programmes that merge mindful exercise and energising therapies.  

These health and wellness initiatives now also extend to the resort’s own F&B outlets. The resort’s charming Maa Laa Café & Studio—which conducts regular workshops on tea blending and perfume making—is the ideal step-off point, providing a menu of healthy food options with a calorie count of each dish. Among them: beetroot carpaccio (216 Kcal), green mango salad (281 Kcal), wild mushroom green curry (427 Kcal), Caprese avocado toast (281 Kcal), sous-vide chicken breast (375 Kcal), Korean ahi tuna & salmon poke (530 Kcal), and a grass-fed beef tenderloin (454 Kcal).  My choice of the Maa Laa acai berry bowl (297 Kcal) arrives with a cornucopia of acai, goji, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. 

Following that leisurely lunch, I make my way through the resort to discover the BDMS Wellness Clinic, a modern and welcoming facility of earthen tones and foliage. Here, a form is filled with some basic information including blood pressure. Then the moment of reckoning; I’m met by Dr Natnaree Bunsiraphatsorn, who specialises in preventive medicine and anti-ageing, and has a Masters of Science in human nutrition from the Institute of Human Nutrition in Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She begins her study of my health readings, noting an unusually high blood pressure and asking the nurse to take a second reading. Then, an assessment and line of questioning on the chief concerns I may have, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight-loss management, and working towards a generally better overall health and fitness.

She prescribes an IV drip of Vitamin B and C to promote glutathione in my system to help with tissue building and repair, while simultaneously neutralising harmful oxidants and facilitating excretion from cells. While the drip is on, I also receive the Royal Crystal Skin treatment, a needle-free treatment to introduce essential vitamins and active ingredients into my face and neck using an electro-mesotherapy device. These ingredients are intended to stimulate skin renewal, brighten skin complexion, and decreass the appearance of wrinkles, sunspots and surface lines, as you are lulled into a restful state by spa music. The entire process certainly has a hugely positive effect on my blood pressure, with the nurse’s second reading placing it squarely within the normal territory.

At this retreat, separate therapy and treatment rooms offer all manner of diagnostics. Advanced screenings include comprehensive genetic analysis, telomere length measurement, NK cell activity diagnostics and treatment, and cancer testing. The nearby Anantara Spa ably aids this regenerative journey with its healing treatments; these include a foot massage that skilfully draws out one’s tension, and Himalayan Thermal Therapy, a 90-minute massage that utilises ethically sourced hand-carved salt stones from the Himalayas. The unique salt stones provide 84 beneficial minerals and trace elements, detoxifying the body and returning it to a natural state of equilibrium. 

In between of all these treatments that occur over a period of two days, guests at Anantara Riverside will delight in the various amenities and F&B outlets that are on offer. Evenings at the Riverside Terrace offer magnificent sunsets over the water and elaborate dinner theatre from the accomplished dance troupe. A resplendent spread includes many healthy options, from a som tum station to sashimi and seasonal fruit, among many other choices. 

Here at Anantara Riverside, there’s plenty to keep you sustained in a state of balance. Among the many fitness activities are the pool (complete with its own Aperol Spritz bar), gym, tennis courts, muay thai boxing ring, and yoga sessions. And for when the training sessions are done, there are Jacuzzis, saunas, the Elephant Bar for sports and pool, and even a lively band enjoyed with Polynesian-styled Sunday brunches at Trader Vic’s. This diversity extends to the Spice Spoons cooking school, Klong Guru canal boat tours to discover the local culture, and water shuttles to nearby attractions on both banks, all of which are easily accessible at Anantara Riverside. 

A couple of days later, back in Kuala Lumpur, I get on a Zoom call with Dr Bunsiraphatsorn. On my screen is my health report that was sent to me earlier. I go over the readings of key vitamin markers; many are below the moderate line. In most cases, the lack of vitamins impairs body functions, which would result in a general sense of lethargy in daily tasks. “It could be,” the doctor surmises, “that you either lack it from your diet or that you deplete it too quickly.” 

Either way, the message is clear—vitamin C, which is key to good skin health and promoting collagen, can easily be boosted with intake of fruits such as oranges and guava, Dr Bunsiraphatsorn advises. The dismal reading of lycopene—responsible for bone health, oral health and maintaining good blood pressure—means that I should also be consuming more vegetables and fruits that bear yellow and red hues; pumpkins, tomatoes and carrots to start.

Throughout the assessment, Dr Bunsiraphatsorn proposes easy-to-follow health tips. On the matter of weight management, she suggests to keep total consumption of calories to 2,300 Kcal daily. Going by her assessment, an average male of my age, weight and lifestyle will likely burn 2,800 Kcal a day, meaning that the 500 Kcal deficit will go towards an eventual weight loss (7,000 Kcal isequivalent to a kilogram of body weight). She cautions, however, that this body weight management should be allied to muscle gain, to ensure that the body continues to burn calories at an even rate instead of going into ‘starvation mode’, where it starts to conserve energy by lowering metabolism and thus negating the attempts of losing weight via a calorie deficit. To increase muscle building, she counsels a daily intake of between 110 to 130 grammes of protein, and offers a simple rule of thumb in which a palm’s worth of meat would equate to 20 grammes of protein.

Finally, she recommends two remarkably easy techniques to aid in this quest. The first is to indulge in a sauna or steam room twice a month, ensuring toxins are expelled through sweat. The second is simply to institute a cheat day once every week, to make the process less gruelling, and also enabling the body to incrementally adjust to the new diet and workout regime. 

For those who would like to cover all their bases, the BDMS Wellness Clinic Retreat offers a top-of-the-line THB200,000 (approximately RM26,000) Diamond Signature wellness assessment programme that delves deeply into signs of biological and bio-chemical ageing processes, with a complete set of bloodwork, diagnostic imaging tests, diet and nutritional assessments that cover hormone testing, exercise stress and fitness assessments, and even hearing and vision screening. One thing’s for sure—here at Anantara Riverside, the countless way in which you can feel right at home will make the entire health check experience one to remember, enhanced by the impeccable service of all the people you encounter along the way, and the gentle confines of the Anantara Riverside.


BDMS Wellness Clinic

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