North of Phuket island on the stunning Andaman coast, lies the peaceful resort of Khao Lak. Its rolling hills, tropical national parkland and white sandy beaches draw many visitors, keen to explore this piece of paradise. There are restrictions on how tall buildings can be to preserve the area’s sleepy charm. And with many newly refurbished, high-end resorts, there’s no shortage of wonderful places to stay.
This secluded retreat just oozes romance. Its 56 swish contemporary suites are spread across seven buildings. All are flanked with lush flora and fauna and set around a dreamy infinity pool centrepiece. Guests can lounge on a muslin draped cabana, play petanque or croquet on the perfectly manicured lawns, take a sunset cruise, enjoy a private barbeque meal, borrow books from the extensive library, dine in the beachside restaurant or drink cocktails under a fig tree. Visit the spa with its rainfall showers, soaking tubs for two, treatment pavilions and an alfresco lounge. And for a real treat, upgrade your room to a residence with jacuzzi’s and terrace.
Devasom Khao Lak
Set between a freshwater tropical lagoon and a private beach, this luxury hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. 69 rooms, suites and villas nestled among coconut groves, offer lovely views of the Andaman coast. The design is inspired by the intricate architecture of ancient Asian civilisations, in a neutral palette with splashes of vibrant colour. Swim in the marble saltwater infinity pool as you look out over the ocean, head to the incredible spa, try your hand at paddle boarding and kayaking, dine on Thai cuisine at Takola or more relaxed cuisine at the beach bar and grill. Activities include yoga, local tours, cooking classes – and there’s a programme for children too.
Casa de la Flora
36 cube-shaped villas give a modernist edge to this palm-lined beachfront in Phangnga province. Designed by VaSLab Architecture, the all-pool-villa hotel was commissioned in 2008, with unusual deviated walls, tilted roofs, green walls, rainwater recycling and custom-made furniture by Anon Pairot Design Studio. Casa de la Flora offers round the clock butler service, spa, fitness suite, direct beach access, minbars, mountain bike hire and watersports. Charming afternoon tea is served daily, with dinner taken at the Thai waterside eatery La Aranya -and the cocktails here are epic with variations as imaginative as the resort’s architecture. This chic design property is well suited to discerning couples and adult visitors.
X2 Khao Lak
Expect first-class service and an authentic ambience at this award-winning intimate beachside resort. Holidays here can be versatile, with family adventure, honeymoon romance and relaxation all possible, depending on how you tailor your stay. With just nine rooms and villas, it’s an ideal spot for those wishing to escape the masses. Owned by Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia, the design is bold, innovative, functional and low rise. High ceilings and picture windows bring the outdoors in, and each residence has its own large verandah. Colours are muted, reflected the blondes and blues of its coastal location, with sumptuous bathrooms and in-room minibars. Guests can also recline on daybeds or beanbags by the main pool, visit a nearby fishing village
JW Marriott Khao Lak
One of JM Marriott’s flagship resorts, this immaculate property sits beside Khuk Khak Beach. Swimmers will adore the lagoon style pool which is the largest in Southeast Asia – with two swim-up bars. It houses 292 rooms and suites all with private outdoor spaces and oversized tubs. Further facilities include tennis, squash, volleyball, video games (a lifesaver if travelling with teens), a fitness suite, Quan Spa providing indoor and outdoor treatments and restaurants offering Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean and European cuisine. It may be huge but still manages to retain a personal feel.