We travelled in May from Manchester to Phuket via Singapore and our first port of call was the small resort of Khao Lak located around 90 minutes from the airport. This is a place of abundant greenery, immaculate straight rows of homogenous trees and shrouded forests with hidden lakes where you can go elephant trekking – quite a scenery change from life back in the UK.
This fragment of Thailand forms part of the region known as Phang Nga and as you travel across it you’ll be astounded as to how similar the geographical make up is from one place to another – no high rise buildings, no obvious commercialism, very few discernible ‘houses’ – just open spaces with shacks and shrines at the side of the road, with luxury hotels acting as a complete oasis and blending into the landscape to such an extent that you don’t really notice they are there.
One of these luxury hotels is The Sarojin, and it’s a hotel of such perfection that I’d urge anyone visiting this part of the world to experience, even if only for 2 nights. Its ambience is characterised by trickling waterfalls, calming lotus ponds, fragrant tropical gardens and beautifully concealed garden residences with their own private Sala (outdoor relaxation area) complete with scatter cushions, night lanterns and citronella candle.
To give a bit of history, The Sarojin was literally days from opening in 2004 when the infamous tsunami devastated the region. The hotel took 8 months to rebuild and as a homage to those who helped during the crisis, Garden Residences are all named individually after local people. The end product is a resort that oozes character, history and grace.
Design features like the unique, pebble floored open bathrooms are charming – as is the stunning infinity edge pool with dramatic moored tanning cabanas giving direct access to the waters and just a short hop from the stretch of beach and Andaman Sea beyond. And I must mention the spa where a traditional Thai welcome massage was gratefully received.
From here we toured around Thailand taking in a few lower priced hotels, and we enjoyed the scenic drive out to Krabi port for a car ferry across to Koh Lanta. It was quiet there in May but for a honeymoon this suited us fine.
Our final port of call was back in Phuket, but set away from the hubbub of the town, to be precise it was at the Aleenta Phang Nga. Similar in style to The Sarojin but on a smaller scale, this boutique style hotel provided the perfect haven for the final leg of our honeymoon.
We wandered through whispering water features past crisp white buildings and sun blushed seating alcoves on the way to our Ocean View Loft. Split over two levels and offering step in access to a shared infinity pool via our private furnished balcony, we knew we’d made the right choice.
Our morning breakfast could be summarised as offering a ‘bounty of delights’ from fresh fruit with yoghurt to baked pastries, cereals and muffins plus your made to order cooked breakfast from a comprehensive menu featuring smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, and all the other usual suspects given the royal treatment by a clearly very skilled chef.
Our room was clad with gadgets (as indeed it was at the Sarojin) and complimentary bottles of wine and cake were the perfect tonic to what had been an unforgettable honeymoon. I only wished we could have stayed for another week!
Carole Booth is Commercial Director at Destinology.