By Oliver Todd
Thailand Luxury Trip
Thailand Luxury Trip travel agents Kenwood Travel have over 35 years of experience in tailor-making amazing holidays bespoke to their customers’ needs. Central to this service is their ability to provide first-hand knowledge of the destinations they serve.
Last year the Kenwood team traveled far and wide visiting the crème de la crème of luxury locations including Mauritius, Las Vegas, Dubai, Granada and Barbados. Gaining valuable expertise and appreciation of these places, which can be passed on to customers in a uniquely personal way, is all part of the process at Kenwood Travel. These intrepid experts even squeezed in a bit of fun along the way too.
One travel consultant who embodies this spirit is Matt Hall. As one of Kenwood Travel’s Far East team, he was invited on a journey to Thailand to experience the best of the ‘land of smiles.’ He documented his Thailand Luxury Trip on video, which you can see here, and I thought it might be a good idea to ask him a few questions to accompany the film.
I started by asking him the obvious: Which of the places he visited were his favorite? It seems he found the question a little taxing at first. “Choosing my favorite place in Thailand is like choosing my favorite brother – they all have their good bits!” Feeling the pressure slightly, he finally decided upon the general area of Krabi as his number one locale. “Krabi really symbolizes Thai beach life,” he told me. “It’s the little things, like how the hotels agree not to bombard beaches with sun-beds, so they always look their natural, uncluttered best.”
Matt went on to describe the incredible views that some of Krabi’s beaches afford, noting eloquently how “…hundreds of sheer limestone cliff-islands jolt sporadically and spectacularly from the turquoise waters.” Even more sensational views come at sunset and many of the beaches provide cozy beanbags in which to recline as you savor an exotic cocktail. Matt highlighted Tubkaak Resort as a good example of this.
To summarize, he explained that Krabi is an all-round idyllic holiday destination that offers boat trips, trekking and diving, and while in the town, world-class shopping and dining can be found.
Coming in at a close second for this Thailand Luxury Trip was Khao Lak. As a quieter and more laid back beach town, its untouched pristine beaches were particularly special for him. The area had to be extensively rebuilt after the tsunami in 2004 and Matt heard some stories that will stay with him forever. One such story featured the amazing Saroijin Resort. After the disaster, the owners stayed when the other hotels in the area left. They helped the local community rebuild and assisted in securing pipelines and infrastructure. As such the owners are deservedly held in high regard in Thailand. Matt was honored to stay at the resort. These heart-warming tales were told by the hotel’s ‘Imagineer’ who is on hand to help guests in any way – from setting up a dinner proposal on a remote beach, to spending an afternoon shipwrecked on a deserted island.
Matt’s favorite hotel proved to be another tough question: “Near impossible to answer.” He said the reason for his ambivalence was the sheer variety of hotels on offer in Thailand. Some are grand, opulent affairs like the “unbelievable” Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay (featured in the film Hangover 3, no less!), which provides four metre-long beds and “mind-blowingly extravagant rooms.” Others, like the aforementioned Tubkaak, have a more intimate, boutique appeal. The Rayavadee and Centara Grand Krabi are totally unique due to a combination of their accommodation style and setting – hidden away on sequestered beaches surrounded by limestone cliffs. In Khao Lak, Thailand’s leading architects got together to design Casa De La Flora – a property, Matt said, that is “… even more unique; ultra stylish and modern.”
Pushed for an answer as to his ultimate favorite hotel, he eventually decided upon The Shore by Katathani. He enjoyed being able to amble along Kata beach to the little restaurants, shops, massage parlors and bars, and a short taxi ride took him to Patong and its vibrant nightlife. The beach at the Shore is “one of the best” and its pool villas are in Matt’s top three room-types of all time. He went on to describe the comfort, service, cuisine and location as first class. Certainly sounds like it ticked all the boxes.
Elsewhere he loved his stay at Six Senses in Koh Yao Noi. This resort is eco-friendly and boasts spectacular sea views from the Hilltop Reserve infinity pool and bar. There’s a palpable “Robinson Crusoe” atmosphere to the place, and it boasts some unique extras, like 24-hour homemade Gelato ice cream.
I mentioned to Matt how much fun it must be to travel by boat in Thailand, being able to gain new perspectives on the stunning scenery. He was quick to agree. Arriving at the Rayavadee in Krabi, the Centara Grand Krabi, and the beautifully remote islands of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Yai Noi, was amazing: “Arriving by boat really gives you that sense of freedom from the rat race back home.” He also confessed that it’s a great way to top up the tan! Many resorts in the area offer transfers on private speedboats and very often have private jetties on the mainland to take clients to and from the islands.
It could be argued that, following films such as ‘The Beach,’ Thailand suffered a reputation for attracting too many gap-year backpackers. Some detractors were quick to stamp it with the ‘tourist trap’ label. Finally, I asked Matt whether he experienced any of this while he was there. He explained that Phuket is the busiest tourist hotspot so you have to expect other travelers and backpackers.
His advice is to choose your locations carefully and recommends calling Kenwood Travel to speak to either himself or one of his colleagues to plan your Thailand Luxury Trip. They’ll be able to gauge what type of holiday you’re looking for, and place you in the ideal resort. “If you want busy, you can have busy. If you want off-the-beaten-track barefoot luxury, then places like Zeavola offer this,” he said. Knowing where to go helps, as you can even find empty beaches in Phuket. You may encounter backpacking revelers in Ao Nang in Krabi and in several spots in Phuket, but, generally, Kenwood resorts are all on separate beaches and again, he said: “Just ensure you tell us what you want and we can deliver.”
Oliver Todd is a travel writer living in London. He writes for the blog at Kenwood Travel.
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