Living the Thai life!
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Living the Thai life!

Caron Bluestone visits the ultimate luxury resort in Koh Kood, one of Thailand’s last unspoilt islands

I’m a massive fan of barefoot luxury – so when resort chain Soneva announced it had opened a dedicated kosher kitchen at one of its Thailand properties, I needed little persuasion to go out there to investigate.

Soneva Kiri is a heaven-on-earth resort located on Koh Kood, one of Thailand’s last unspoilt islands, with a population of just 2,500, one road, very few cars and an abundance of stunning beaches, verdant jungle and exquisite waterfalls.

Whisked through the airport like visiting dignitaries and driven out to the runway, our adventure in paradise began.

Just a 90-minute flight on Soneva’s private plane from Bangkok, passing over stunning scenery, azure seas, dotted with white sandy coastline, my apprehension of being in an eight-seater plane, albeit in luxury, dissipated in minutes.

This was our first long-haul trip with two young children and worth it alone for the draw of an all-private villa resort with its very own waterslide.

Make no mistake, this Robinson Crusoe experience is no tacky water park. Instead, it boasts your very own butler, a buggy that gets re-parked facing the right direction as if by magic, rain covers that are neatly refolded away when the sun comes back out, a private pool and even a private beach. Our Mrs Friday, Taeko, was so gracious and obliging that we could have asked her to pack herself into our suitcase and come home with us.

Sustainability and slow living go hand-in-hand at this luxury resort. It’s a ‘no news, no shoes’ sort of place, where you can forget about the outside world and leave your shoes behind at the resort jetty until you leave. Now that’s true freedom!

Looking around Soneva Kiri, we were impressed by the palatial villas, which blend into their natural surroundings. Ours had romantic four-poster beds draped with mosquito nets, treehouses with bunk beds and a full-sized table football for the kids,as well two swimming pools.

The palatial villas at the resort

Outside, there are plenty of shaded retreats and sun loungers, while the outdoor bathrooms are enough to blow your mind.

Sunken bathtubs for bathing under the stars, rain showers and plush day beds – this is a bathroom set-up that has to be seen to be believed.

Little ones are especially well-catered for. Both the Den, a giant bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, aimed at older children, and Eco Den, for smaller children, plan thoughtful activities for all ages.

Foodie guests are indulged and can choose from opulent in-villa dining, to authentic, mouthwatering Thai dishes in the mangrove, which can be reached by boat and look out onto the spectacular river at sunset.

Soneva Kiri resort – The Den 

There’s a refrigerated chocolate room, stocked daily with handmade delicacies and an ice cream parlour.

For the ultimate unique experience, we enjoyed afternoon tea in a bamboo tree-pod, which lifted us high up into the rainforest with sweeping views out to the sea. Notably, our waiter arrived on a zip-wire!

Aside from our own stretch in front of the villa, North Beach is the resort’s private beach that offers the softest, whitest sand and warm shallow seas, the hues of blue only thought possible in your imagination.

A five-minute exhilarating speedboat journey from the jetty takes you to this paradise on earth.

Elsewhere, we saw Jupiter while stargazing in the resort observatory and watched a film at Cinema Paradiso, an extraordinary outdoor cinema under the stars.

Soneva Kiri’s stunning outdoor cinema

The unspoilt surrounds of Koh Kood is how Thailand used to be. The Discovery Tour took us to the top of a temple with vistas out to Cambodia and to the fascinating Ao Salad fishing village, where people live suspended above the water.

Our day ended with an easy hike to Klong Chao waterfall, towels and an exotic fruit platter awaiting us upon our return.

It’s no surprise that Thailand has always appealed to young Jewish travellers. Soneva Kiri has just given the rest of us a reason to return.

Travel Tips

Caron travelled with tailor-made experts Black Tomato (www.blacktomato.com) which specialises in luxury family holidays.

Prices start from £4,870 for five nights at Soneva  Kiri (www.soneva.com) in a bay view pool villa suite. For more on Thailand, visit www.tourismthailand.org/home

 

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