It’s a Slow Life at Soneva Kiri!!!
Thailand, located at the very heart of Southeast Asia is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean, this mystical enchanting country benefits from an ideal climate with soothing tropical breezes,and average temperatures of between 24 and 33 degrees centigrade, there is the occasional downpour which is actually very welcoming and helps to cool things down.
I was lucky enough to be invited by Only Exclusive Travel and Soneva Resorts to visit Soneva Kiri Resort & Spa on the island of Koh Kood. Although Thailand’s fourth largest island this island surprisingly has only a handful of resorts and only one with 5 * status. Acclaimed as one of the most pristine and untouched islands in Thailand , Koh Kood is known for its pure waterfalls, crystal clear water, lush tropical rainforests and traditional village life.
My journey started at Manchester Airport when I checked in with Qatar Airways for my 6.5 hour flight to Doha. I flew business class which afforded me the luxury of Qatar’s premium terminal which has a business lounge that leaves other airlines standing. This lounge has first class dining, showers, a nursery/play room for the kids, business services, a medical centre and free wi-fi.
With a short connection I was soon on my way to Bangkok, a flying time of just 6 hours. The service and comfort on board was world-class and a lovely touch was the pyjamas given to you on boarding this night flight, the in-flight cuisine is also exceptional with dishes created by Nobu and Tom Aitken.
My Soneva experience began from the moment I arrived at Bangkok airport, clients are whisked through immigration by the Soneva representative and escorted to the First class lounge before boarding a small light aircraft to Soneva Kiri airport, the flight time is approx 60mins. From there it was a short 5 minute speedboat to the paradise island of Koh Kood and my home for the next 3 days
The resort offers a whole range of accommodation from one bedroom Hill top villas to the stunning 5 bedroom residential villa. All with private pools and modern day touches which you would expect in a resort of this high calibre, flat screen tv’s , DVD players, iPod docking stations, state of the art Bose music system, air conditioning, free wi-fi and sunken outdoor baths with outside rain showers. My only bugbear of the resort is the lighting, clients are encouraged to take torches when out in the evening and with the uneven paths and many steps great care is needed. The lighting in the room is also poor which although adding to the “Eco friendly” philosophy is quite irritating.
Getting around the resort is easy with each villa having its own golf buggy and bicycles, although be warned the resort is hilly so using the brakes is essential!
The dining experiences offered by Soneva Resorts are always unique and Soneva Kiri is no exception, you can partake in a private cooking class with a masterchef, dine under the stars on a moon lit beach or for something really different dine above the lush canopies in your very own tree pod where the waiter zip wires through the jungle delivering your meal. A popular choice is to have a gastronomic feast prepared by a chef in your very own villa. There is also Khun Benz’s restaurant which Located on a peninsula surrounded by Mangrove trees and reached by boat offers the most amazing Thai food. Khun Benz was once a street market cook in Bangkok and was found by Sonu Shivdadasani, the owner of the resort who was so taken back by her tantalising food he offered her a job. We had the privilege of joining Khun Benz on a visit to the local market to purchase fish and learnt how to cook various Thai dishes.
There is so much to do on the resort from fishing, sailing, cookery classes, wine tasting, snorkelling, diving, island tours, tennis, mountain biking, gardening classes, astronomy classes, as well as a first class world acclaimed Six Senses Spa offering a myriad of treatments, yoga & meditation, a gym and the opportunity to experience a treatment from an international visiting therapist, when we were there a Reiki specialist was offering treatments. Among the excursions is the opportunity to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Kids are spoiled rotten at Soneva KIri with an excellent kids club encompassing The Den. Designed specifically as an area where children can escape to another world – staffed by professional English speaking childminders who make education fun, and fun an education! The Den is built to replicate the shape of a manta ray and offers a Thai music room, library and an art room with activities to include day trips out,to discover the island cookery classes, yoga, cinema fun and a whole host of water sports
Another must for kids and adults alike is a visit to The Chocolate Room and the Ice Cream Parlour. Here you will be faced with the dilemma of choosing from a selection of hand made delectable chocolates and a choice of over 50 different ice cream flavours!
On our final night we were treated to an in-villa BBQ, watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand and listening to chilled out music – simply perfect!
Uncompromising in the pursuit of perfection, Soneva Kiri has been meticulously created to deliver the same exacting high standards as its world famous sister resort, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. I am off to Soneva Fushi in 6 weeks and haven’t been there for 8 years so am looking for forward to seeing all the changes and future plans.