Sunday, May 1, 2011
WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO THAILAND, part 9, Soneva Kiri
Soneva Kiri is tip top luxury embraced by stunning nature and warm and nourishing hospitality. You are a Six Senses VVIP from the moment you step off the plane in Bangkok – and so were we…
Met at the jet bridge and whizzed off in a buggy to the domestic terminal, we were saved a long walk and much hassle – they deposited us at the diplomatic line for passport control, and then helped us get to the Thai Airways lounge. Here we waited for departure to Soneva Kiri airport.
This rustic airport lies on a neighbouring island – like everything at Soneva Kiri a balance between wild nature and sophistication. This is barefoot luxury - literally; they steal your shoes at the airport.
A short boat ride takes you to the resort on the island of Koh Kood, where you are welcomed by your Mr or Mrs Friday.
It’s not long before you realize why guests to Soneva Kiri come back year after year – and fly straight in without a stopover en route.
Soneva Kiri is a destination in itself where the cares of the world and the postmodern age are forgotten. Here you are pampered by friendly staff and your own Mr or Mrs Friday (butler). You are given your own cell phone for the stay and all you have to do is dial 1. The staff don’t seem to know the answer “no”.
On top of that comes the beauty, natural harmony and amazing food. The beach is stunning and the water clear sparkling turquoise. There are three restaurants that serve only the freshest and highest quality food – covering everything from hamburgers to elaborate dishes.
Breakfast is an opportunity to have exactly what you want – health or indulgence. Compile your own smoothies from mashed berries and fruit. Indulge in a separate deli area with the best in cold cuts, imported cheeses and homemade bakery items. Or order any hot dish you want.
It’s a case of “order from your mind”. Or you could find out what is on the chef’s mind with a menu of 10 dishes – from Japanese gyoza to egg Benedict, shrimp omelettes with tofu or wheat grass shots. There is new menu every morning.
We highly recommend that you take full board. It costs less and you eat a la carte in any restaurant. Apart from the restaurants there is the Big Thing – dining in a tree top – or at Khun Benz in the village. She used to run a hole in the wall diner in Bangkok which gained a reputation as one of the city’s best, so Sonu, owner of Six Senses, worked really hard to persuade her to set up shop on the island.
One morning at breakfast, when our Ms Friday asked us (as usual) what we felt like doing today, we told her we wanted to try Khun Benz’s famed food.
And so later she accompanied us for an authentic Thai experience dining in the village. Khun Benz oversees/does all the cooking and is happy to chat to guests. We also had a good chance to chat more to our Ms Friday, who is not your Robinson Crusoe type really – she has a degree from an American university.
The island of Koh Kood is Thailand’s third largest – so there is plenty of space to explore. Your rustic villa is likewise very spacious and very private, with its own pool. You feel miles from anywhere but in minutes you can arrive somewhere – every villa has its own buggy.
Our hill villa (snapshots above) was intimately embraced by rainforest. And the villa was huge with four different buildings and pool area.
The beach villas are our personal favourites. A little more compact, these villas offer glimpses of the sparkling turquoise sea (below). And a close-to-nature bathroom...
For larger families there are residences with four, five and six bedrooms. And all of course have private pools.
Some have their own spa pavilion (as above)...
Of course Six Senses has a magnificent Spa Village too.
Technology is there at Soneva Kiri to make life easy, but it is unobtrusive, leaving a light footprint. You don’t have any TV channels – but you can watch films on your TV. It is inventively hidden away in a suitcase.
The pleasure of the simple things in life and sophisticated ways of keeping it simply perfect…
HOW TO GET TO SONEVA KIRI
1 hr by private plane from Bangkok to Soneva Kiri airport (flights 3 times/day), 5 minutes by speedboat to the resort
Small luxurious private plane
Slide to private pool
Dressing room of a Beach Villa
P.S. Our recommendation: Stay 7 days in a beach villa - and take full board...