Koh Yao Noi, Phuket – August 2017
Arriving by private boat to the island of Yao Noi, its clear that paradise still exists in Thailand. Only 40 minutes from the tourist-heavy city of Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi is a resort that spirals around a hilltop over looking a bay filled with limestone formations recognisable from movies such as James Bond and The Beach. With the island having a mostly Muslim population there is little in the way of bars, nightlife and large-scale hotels, making it a tranquil part of Thailand perfect for a secluded escape.
Your first point of contact is your Guest Experience Manager who will soon become the smiling face you look forward to seeing each day. Be it changing a spa reservation, whisking you around the resort in a buggy, explaining the various spices in your food or pointing out hidden spots along the beaches, your G.E.M makes your stay at Six Senses Yao Noi seamless from beginning to end.
Suites are large and inviting with a hint of Thai-chic. A four poster bed sits sumptuously in the bedroom, draped in billowy linen that moves in the breeze. Walking out on to your deck, you're met with uninterrupted views over the bay and an infinity plunge pool that boasts complete privacy. The bathroom comes with a deep spa bath, indoor and outdoor shower, all of which are kitted out with signature Six Senses spa and body products, including a luxe after-sun lotion for your hair.
The Six Senses Spa is the heart of the resort and is a real drawcard. Guests can book in for a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor to determine their dosha (or body type) and a program can then be tailored to suit their needs ranging from spa treatments to sleep wellness and diet. Spa treatments are carried out in jungle-style huts that come with running waterfalls, outdoor showers and it's own relaxation area where tea is served post-therapy.
The resort has three restaurants and one tapas style bar, which feature a range of cuisine from traditional Thai to authentic Indian and western fine dining. The Living Room is an open-air restaurant with a beachfront location that operates all day. It serves up a spectacular buffet breakfast that features a deli with imported cheeses and meats, a separate bakery and an artisan ice-cream bar. Dinner buffet takes on a local theme with Thai favourites such as green curry and soup and an Indian chef is on hand cooking naan to order in front of guests. If you're wanting something more intimate The Dining is open for dinner and presents a modern menu with wine pairing. This space also hosts cooking classes where guests can master Thai recipes such as Massaman Curry and Sweet Sticky Rice.
For jaw-dropping views you can book in for a private breakfast or dinner at the Hilltop. Overlooking the pool on to clusters of kart formations as far as the eye can see, its spectacular to watch the sun rise and set over the bay. The resort can organise a private long-tail boat tour throughout the formations, allowing you to explore them at your own pace before finishing the afternoon at a hidden beach. If you're keen to explore the local villages, the resort can arrange a tour in the house tuktuk taking you through rubber tree plantations and along the pristine beaches.
The resort has an incredible commitment to sustainability producing all it's water for both drinking and it's gardens. All leftover food is composted and there are 300 chickens providing organic eggs which guests can collect for their breakfast. Empty wine bottles are ground to create paving blocks for resort maintenance and they're starting to produce their own goats milk, cheese and soap.
You really can't help but unwind in this untouched piece of Thai paradise. The island's slow pace and the resort's healing spa will have you forgetting emails and phone calls in no time. Your treehouse-cum-villa will bring out your inner child and the unspoiled views are quite possibly the best of any resort in Thailand. Six Senses Yao Noi is paradise found.
THE TURN DOWN
ACCOMODATION CATEGORY: Luxury resort.
ROOMS: Villas boast a private plunge pool, large bedroom with TV, bathtub, outdoor shower, indoor shower, double vanity and outdoor lounging area.
MINI BAR: Water is refilled daily and there's a selection of nuts and dried fruit that is complimentary. There's a full mini bar with local snacks, coconut juice, beer and wine charged on consumption.
LOCATION: Koh Yao Noi - 40 minutes from Phuket.
RATES: Starting at $685 AUD p/n.
POOL/GYM/SPA: There's complimentary yoga classes that run throughout the week and a fully equipped gym, spa and pool.
TURN DOWN SERVICE: Yes, with fresh fruit and water.
GETTING THERE: The resort can provide a transfer from Phuket airport to the resort's boat. It is then a 40 minute ride to the island of Yao Noi.
I stayed courtesy of Six Senses Yao Noi.