Needing a break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and its ever increasing traffic gridlock and pace of life we booked a long weekend at Soneva Kiri on the island of Koh Kood near Koh Chang off the coast of Trat. For those of you that have not experienced the eco-friendly resorts of Soneva do yourself a favour and do it now!
If the Maldives and their wonderful resorts there – Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva In Aqua are just too far then take a short break at Koh Kood. Labelled as Thailand’s most unspoilt island – revert to nature before development tarnishes it.
You fly down by private plane from Suvarnabhumi it takes just over an hour. We checked in at their own check in counter D24 nearest to the domestic entrance and our luggage was taken from us along with our worries and stresses.
We waited at the gate and were then driven to the plane in a minivan with 4 or 5 other passengers. It was a single prop aeroplane that was capable of taking 9 passengers. We were welcomed aboard by the captain and his crew, taxied to the runway and were soon in the air. The plane flew much lower than commercial aircraft and it afforded you a super view as we headed south overland and then across the coastline over the Gulf of Thailand.
We arrived at a small private airfield on the island of Koh Mai Si, and were picked up by golf carts and ferried to a speedboat and whisked across to Soneva Kiri in less than 5 minutes. The young lady that met us at the airfield told us that the time on the island was an hour earlier, I didn’t question it just changed my watch. I found out later that it was Soneva time! They get you up early so that you can enjoy more of the day – what a lovely idea. We arrived in the middle of a rainstorm but to show you the level of service the general manager and his staff met us at the pier with large orange golf umbrellas. They even laundered our clothes for free as we got slightly damp!
As it was still raining our Girl Friday – our modern day butler for our stay took us straight to our oceanside villa. It was discreet and hidden in the jungle behind a bamboo fence and gate. Sumptuous overstuffed yellow cushions made the large covered sala a delightful place to rest and there were sun loungers by the wraparound pool and at the entrance to the beach. Each day a little man came and cleaned our pool, terrace and lay out all the cushions, weather permitting.
The villa had glass to ceiling windows all round but as each villa is perfectly secluded and not overlooked we settled in quickly. The king size bed had mosquito nets hanging above it which housekeeping lowered each night as they turned down the bed and made the room comfortable.
The villa was huge and had a dressing room behind and then up a level a large outside bathroom area with Jacuzzi bathtub and outside shower amongst the flowers and fauna. There were two basins, dressing areas a daybed and a large sheltered shower that had 3 separate showers serving it. The polished wood floors and large white soft towels everywhere made it feel very comfortable. There were perfumed shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, perfumed body lotions – I explored each day and smelt delightful.
Hungry and keen to explore the resort we went in search of food. Although mid-afternoon we found the all day restaurant and enjoyed fresh juices, salads and the seafood platter which you could tell had been caught that day. The octopus, prawns, sea bass, scallops, cobia fish and the fresh green salads and vegetables were so good. They even grow the salads and their vegetables in their own eco gardens on the resort.
I put on far too much weight whilst we were there the food was just so good – I couldn’t resist it. As we woke up early each day I couldn’t wait to get to the restaurant in our golf cart and choose from the extensive range of fresh fruits, vegetables, juices, eggs in any style, bacon, cold meats and bakery products. Particular favourites of mine I discovered were the wheatgrass juice that they grow on site and then press for a healthy boost and coconut milk – delicious. There was a chilled cheese room/charcuterie and even a chilled chocolate room and ice cream parlour.
As we went in May it rained each day but I didn’t care I felt like a rather fat and pampered version of Robinson Crusoe. We were taken snorkelling to various islands an hour away in the covered speedboat – very exciting and we saw lots of fish of all sizes, colours and shapes. There were bicycles and a huge range of recreational facilities. There was so much to do we only scratched the surface we didn’t even make it to North beach, a private beach across the bay by long boat. Everywhere you were taken the staff took so much care and carried iced water, soft drinks and fresh fruit.
The other guests that we met were very nice. A real international multi-cultural group – a Taiwanese couple, Thai Indian family, Chinese family both with two lovely children each. The resort seems to cater for all ages and children were particularly well catered for with their own extensive facilities, Children’s Dens, activities and staff on hand to care and fully occupy them every day.
We had a daily itinerary planned out for us which we could base our stay and I was happy to tag along with most of their ideas. A tour of the island, Thailand’s fifth largest and relatively unspoilt and underdeveloped which was in keeping with the Soneva experience. I did enjoy the Six Senses spa and if I go again will spend more time there. The masseuse was skilled and professional and the facilities 5 star.
We were taken to their own Benz local Thai restaurant overlooking a mangrove swamp and a river inlet where the hotel has built a restaurant serving authentic Thai food where you can dine out under the stars or in a sheltered cabana.
(Do you think it’s worth mentioning here that it’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite restaurant? See this article.)
4 days was great at Soneva a real shot in the arm I wish it had been 4 weeks!