Just one hour by private plane from Bangkok. Remote yet accessible, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand´s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Thailand. Surrounded by lush, vibrant tropical vegetation and white beaches, fringed with palm trees, the resort has been tastefully and cleverly designed to complement the landscape and blends seamlessly into the outstanding natural beauty. Soneva Kiri epitomises the Soneva concept of “intelligent luxury”. Only an hour´s flight in the resort´s private plane from Bangkok, it feels a million miles from the real world. The sense of tranquillity, seclusion and harmony with nature is second to none. Far away from the beaten track and well trodden tourist attractions this is Thailand as it used to be thirty or even fifty years ago, genteel and untainted.
Twenty nine villas and eight private residences sitting either on the beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, gazing across the sea – have been built with sustainable materials, including local timbers, in keeping with the Soneva SLOW LIFE philosophy. They offer complete privacy, every possible five star comfort and luxury and are among the most spacious in all South East Asia. All have large wrap around pools and generous grounds for reading, relaxing, sunbathing or simply gazing out to sea. Several have private spa areas and each has its own dedicated private butler or Mr/Ms Friday. Each villa comes complete with its own electric buggy, as well as bicycles, to make getting around the extensive resort easier. That might be to the Six Senses Spa, where expert therapists perform a wide range of wellness, holistic, rejuvenating and relaxing treatments. Or to the manta ray shaped Den, to drop off the children into their own private fantasy world overseen by experienced child minders.
Then there are the idyllic beaches, with snorkelling, diving, sailing, wind surfing and boat trips on the ultra glamorous, Riva insiperd motor launch, Aquasense. The beach, a stretch of palm fringed white sand as fine as any in Thailand, has its own Snack Bar complete with wood fired ovens, pit cooking and seats sunk into the cool sand.
Food is always a Soneva highlight. At Soneva Kiri it reaches new heights, quite literally in the Treetop Dining Pod, a can´t miss experience in which diners are hoisted hight into the jungle canopy to enjoy a view that lives up to the finest dishes. Authentic Thai cuisine is available too. Khun Benz, a gifted cook, runs a restaurant built on stilts over a mangrove forest, lit by torches and fireflies each evening. Accessible (mainly) by boat she serves arguably the best Thai food in Thailand, made from ingredients personally selected every day from the market.
The View is the fine dining option, with a changing daily menu reflecting the tradition of slow food and organic ingredients grown or caught locally. The Dining Room, with relaxed day beds and jaw dropping views, serves dishes freshly baked in its tandoor, wood fired, or hot and cold smoke ovens. “So Delicious” has an extraordinary range of cold cuts, cheeses and other deli offerings – ideal for a restorative glass of wine. Even cooler is the Ice Cream Parlour with over sixty different flavours, while the Chocolate Room offers every chocolatey treat imaginable from brownies to bon bons and, for sophisticated chocoholics, irresistible slivers of chocolate from 95% cocoa slabs. Good food needs great drinks. The subterranean, climatically controlled wine cellar has over five hundred labels, with a sommelier to help your choice and offer tastings. There are also numerous bars in which to sample a sundowner compete with unrivalled views across the Gulf.
After dinner there´s usually time for stargazing at the Observatory or watching stars of the silver screen at Cinema Paradiso where classic movies are shown outdoors, only the moon and stars above from company. And all the time a sense that Thailand of remote fishing villages, clourful boats, beuiling smiles and indomitable spirituality is right there, just arround the bay, willing you to uncover its ancient secrets.
Soneva Kiri is committed to the Soneva Group´s SLOW LIFE philosophy: Sustainable Local Organic Wellness Learning Inspiring Fun Experiences.
Three new Wellness programmes at Soneva Kiri Resort:
Ayurvedic Wellness Programme where between five days and three weeks, guests have access to Dr. Ranjan, Resident Ayurvedic Doctor and Wellness consultant and the Ayurvedic kitchen, in which specially trained Indian chef Pasama prepares calorie counted menus based on Ayurvedic principals but adapted for modern day, cosmopolitan palates. Naturally, the menus revolve around produce grown in Soneva Kiri´s organic gardens, which guarante a zero carbon miles feast! Dosha specific Ayurvedic treatments together with yoga and meditation sessions help guests detox and reduce stress.
Weight Loss Programmes which address every challenge, both physical and emotional, presented in the complicated business of losing weight. BMI (Body Mass Index) and % body fat measurements will be taken on arrival and again on departure to showcase the end result! There are Puriti detox treatmens, Yogic Intestinal cleanses and reams of simple nutritional information.
Sleep Well & De-Stress Programme includes bespoke menus and specific spa treatments plus the opportunity for personalised yoga and meditation sessions, all designed to change lives by instilling a deep sense of calm and tranquility.