Thursday, August 15, 2013

HOTEL CHECK THAILAND, Soneva Kiri

Neil Bedford takes us to an island he highly recommends as one of the paradise spots in Thailand...

Koh Kood is big but it feels like a private island, and Soneva Kiri like a jungle-draped hideaway.  This is a beautiful spot to relax, soak up the sun, enjoy excellent dining. The beach is stunning, a long stretch of fine white sand with a peninsula creating two beaches that are lapped by beautiful aquamarine water.
The top accommodations (the reserves) are outstanding.

Not least this five bedroom reserve, a haven
for an extended family or small group


Soneva Kiri is not the place for those who want hype and fast living. The villas feel very peaceful and rustic - and when you are in them you enfolded by nature, wood and greenery. The actual destination is sensational for the beach and the feeling of being hidden in the jungle.
The villas
We liked our Hill Villa Suite. They are bigger than comes across on website/floorplans and very well presented in simple, open plan wooden style. Very hidden away and private due to being enveloped by the jungle…which means you have intimacy rather than view. After a few days you get used to the fact that you always need to go outside to get between rooms, even to reach the toilet.

Facilities are good – Bose speaker system around the villa, large flatscreen with good selection of DVDs available from reception, sunbeds and numerous lounging areas around the pool. All villas have their own golf buggy for you to use.


The next category is the Cliff Villa Suite...


Cliff Villa suite - sunset, trees & ocean
Layout similar to the Hill Villa suite. The main difference is your view toward ocean and sunset. The villas are built into the forest giving a feeling of total privacy.

Ocean Villa Suites are my top choice for a couple. Definitely worth the upgrade. Better views, better villa layout, more open to the sun if you do want to lounge about sunbathing by your pool and of course direct access to the beach and sea. The beach you access is perhaps not as good as the main beach (there are no villas on the main beach) but still very nice.





Palms and beach - ocean front villas

This is also a very good category for a family with two children as the luggage room can be made into a children's room and closed off from the parents - both rooms with their own access to bathroom area.

The Private Reserves are a serious upgrade in terms of price and wow factor. Although in essence they are still simple wooden villas they are much more open outside, rather than being concealed under a canopy of jungle. Beach (in particular if you have children) and cliff reserves recommended over hill.

Private extended family paradise -
5-bedroom private reserve


Dining 

Excellent throughout.

Breakfast - a mix of a la carte and buffet offering really good quality and choice.

Champagne with breakfast?


...and delicious fresh pastries

Lunch - at the beach club they have Thai and Western plus an small buffet and wood fired pizzas. Perfect lunch and respite from the sun.

Dinner – choice of three restaurants of which two are open daily. All we ate was high standard, well made and well presented. The sunset boat journey to get to the famous Khun Benz was a highlight and the village restaurant they have set up here is really unique. Beach BBQ (once a week) also brilliant.

Sundowner drinks either at The View (or the beach) are a must do. Sensational views.
We were daily visitors to the ice cream bar and chocolate room. Nom nom nom...







And differences. Waiter making airborne
delivery for our treepod dining

To best enjoy treepod dining you need to do it at breakfast or lunch as at dinner time you will have too many insects and won't see any view in the dark. Its an experience to try once.
 Tip: I strongly suggest booking Soneva Kiri with the all-inclusive supplement. It will almost certainly work out cheaper and considerably less hassle at meal times.

Spa and more

Top quality treatments as expected and good set up. 

Service - very good. Lack of good English only evident at breakfast when the cooking stations are manned by cooks whose skills are evidently kitchen rather than language based - but you just need to exercise a little patience and get into the luxuries of  “slow life”. The Mr Friday concept worked very well.

Cinema Paradiso is an amazing experience. We had the place to ourselves (by chance) and enjoyed cocktails, popcorn (and Love Actually) under the stars.

The main pool area generally doesn’t get used but if adults are taking a long lunch then kids can happily be playing in the nice pool. “The Den” is a good concept for the kids club good for rainy days as indoors without aircon.

How to get to Soneva Kiri

1 hour by scheduled shared plane transfer from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Soneva Kiri Airport, then 5 mins speedboat ride to the resort.
 






Neil Bedford, doing a hotel  inspection

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