Villa Product Manager, Sarah Morgan
Posted: 01 August 2016
I hadn’t been to Thailand for over 18 years, so when I was asked to go and look at new luxury villas and hotels I jumped at the chance! Our first stop was Hua Hin, Thailand’s original beach resort and the chosen holiday destination for the Thai Royal Family. It is a three hour drive from Bangkok Airport but Aleenta Resort & Spa, our home for the first two nights, made this journey easy with their unique Spa Transfer experience! This is a private car transfer which not only takes you to the hotel, but one which includes a spa therapist too – guests can benefit from a soothing head, neck and shoulder massage, ideal post-flight, whilst being served refreshingly chilled drinks throughout the entire journey. Absolute Bliss! Another possible transfer service is to arrive via a Harley Davidson motorcycle, with a picnic stop en route, what an experience!
With views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand’s golden sands, Aleenta Hua Hin Resort & Spa is one of the country’s most beautiful settings. It boasts two wonderful restaurants, serving authentic Thai cuisine and freshly prepared international dishes, each using locally sourced ingredients, naturally rich in flavour. ‘Carbon Free Cooking’ is the ethos of this inspiring, health-conscious resort and the General Manager and Michelin-starred chef, James Noble, expresses an ardent desire to prepare each guest’s food from the finest organic ingredients. The majority of produce is handpicked from the resort’s own farm, which is then cooked using solar-powered ovens with carefully crafted techniques – all in order to protect the nutritional value of every delicious bite.
For our next stop, we travelled south to spectacular Krabi. Situated at the heart of the stunning Phranang Peninsula, our first night in Krabi was spent at the world-renowned Rayavadee resort. Nestled discreetly amidst tropical gardens and coconut groves, with a dramatic backdrop of sheer cliffs, lush jungle foliage and the clear waters of the Andaman Sea, this five-star luxury hotel provides incredible scenery, fine cuisine, plus one of the most unique spas in Thailand – not forgetting the warm, attentive service.
Adjacent to the hotel, again surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, are the inviting Wood & White Villas. Ethereal is the first word that comes to mind with these private residences by the sea. With mesmerising limestone karsts towering nearby and jutting out of the sea, the Wood & White Villas sit on one of the most beautiful beaches, each hugging the edge of Krabi National Park and Marine Reserve. The Wood Villa was our home for two nights and we were personally hosted for dinner by the owner, Aarya. A former chef, turned artist and hospitality entrepreneur, Aarya treated us like royalty! We enjoyed fine wines and ate sumptuous fresh fish and delicately fragranced Thai dishes - in fact, our every whim was expertly catered for and lifelong friendships were made.
After the sensational scenery of Krabi, we departed the resort via a traditional longboat transfer, and enjoyed a fantastic, short flight with Bangkok Airways to the island of Koh Samui. Following our arrival at the pretty airport, we were whisked, by car, to one of Thailand’s most sought-after hilltop locations, the exclusive and stylish Samujana villa estate. With an impressive collection of large, contemporary villas scattered across the hillside, all with captivating views of the bay below, Samujana provides a heavenly retreat for discerning guests.
Later that day, we were driven to Panacea – one of the most stylish and prestigious properties on Koh Samui. We enjoyed a lovely few days and I delighted to be offered the opportunity to take part in a traditional Thai Boxing lesson (Muay Thai Boxing is huge in Thailand). Of course, when in Thailand you must also have a cookery lesson - which I thoroughly enjoyed. The staff were wonderful and made us feel very much at home - they delighted in providing us with bespoke dining experiences and maintained impeccable service throughout.
Our next flight was over to the popular beach destination of Phuket – a first for me and I was not disappointed. Our first night was spent in one of the new Deluxe Pool Villas, within the luxuriously boutique beach resort of Aleenta Resort & Spa Phang Na. The concept of this resort is "all suites, all private" and this is delivered across the guest accommodation. From stylish suites, to their lavish and sprawling five-bedroom beachfront Grand Villas – the design touches are impressive. Boasting the best spa I have ever visited, plus an award for Thailand’s ‘Best Small Green Resort’ this is truly a hidden gem.
Staying within Phuket, our next overnight stay was at the most funky, beautiful resort I have ever stayed at - Kata Rocks! Kata Rocks is Phuket’s best luxury five-star resort, offering a seductive blend of style, serenity, signature Thai hospitality and island comfort. This award-winning resort is world-class, with its unique range of oceanfront dining experiences, innovative spa and choice of pool villas.
Our final destination was Thailand’s bustling capital city of Bangkok. After a quick shopping trip in the local markets, we arrived at the magnificent Siam Kempinski, the only luxury hotel offering a resort-like experience in the city centre. Located in a prime location of downtown Bangkok, with direct access to the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok is an ideal destination for both business and leisure travellers to indulge in the unique resort-like atmosphere, in the heart of the city’s premier shopping and entertainment district. Each of the hotel’s 401 luxurious rooms and suites feature a contemporary interior design, with unique Thai elements - many also offer private balconies overlooking the lush tropical garden and hotel swimming pools.
Our last evening was spent in the company of the Director of Sales, at the Sra Bua by Kiin Kinn Restaurant, located within the Siam Kempinski hotel. Renowned for delicious Thai-inspired cuisine with a cutting-edge twist, dining here was a spectacular affair! Conceptualised by renowned Henrik Yde Andersen, it is currently the only Thai restaurant in the world holding a Michelin star. Voted as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin offers a modern interpretation of Thai cuisine. Behind the beautifully composed food presentation, familiar flavours of traditional dishes are maintained, whilst chefs push the boundaries of form, texture, and temperature. It was such an amazing way to end one of the most fabulous trips I have ever been on, and it is definitely worth a visit when visiting Bangkok.