Back to city life with a thud after spending the last 5 days immersed in ultimate island living on the lush green island of Koh Kood in Thailand staying at the uber-stunning Soneva Kiri.
If you know anything about the Soneva brand you will understand their brand ethos for intelligent luxury, which includes a SLOW LIFE philosophy –meaning Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness, Learning, Inspiring, Fun Experiences.
The moment you book your Soneva holiday the Soneva experience starts as you are emailed a short questionnaire in order for your Mr/Mrs Friday (butler service) to know more about your personal preferences in order to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Be it the type of pillows you like, the scent in your room, your music of choice and your dietary requirements to name a few.
Soneva always aims to surprise and always delivers - the more remote the island the more unique experience you are going to receive and this is exactly what Soneva Kiri provided. Set amid a tropical rainforest is a secluded bay on the north west coast of un-spoilt Koh Kood Island is a Robinson Crusoe way of life, think natural beaches, tree house living and farm to table cuisine.
Most visitors to Koh Kood fly from Bangkok to Trat, and then take a public boat. But this is not the case for Soneva Kiri guests. They fly on the resort’s own airline from Bangkok airport 1 hour to the neighboring island of Koh Mai Si, then take the hotel’s speed boat across to the resort. Soneva’s private plane also operates from Siem Reap Cambodia.
Once we arrived at the island’s jetty we were greeted with a warm welcome by the GM and his team and our Mr. Friday was on hand to escort us to our room. Once on the island the “No news no shoes” policy kicks in so your shoes are put away and the time goes back an hour in order to give you more hours in the day.
Heading to our room through the jungle paths capturing glimpses of the sea through the trees we arrived at what can only be described as the largest tree house I have ever seen. Walking up the wooden stair case opening into a world of escapism and complete luxury as we were given a 6-bedroom ocean view sunset villa. All rooms are double rooms with large bathrooms and one room is perfect for kids with 2 sets of bunk beds, open the door and it’s the entrance to the slide! The slide goes into the large infinity pool, which embraces the wonderful views of the ocean. Dining can be enjoyed in the villa with a large dining table or sunken dining area in the pool. There’s an open massage area so the spa can come to you. For a little time out there’s a beautiful library, TV room and a games room. This villa provides so much space that you can get ample time alone to sit back in peace to take in the breathtaking views.
I loved my bedroom, minimal yet extremely spacious with a four poster bed, and at the end of the bed were the signature Soneva stacks of vintage suitcases/travel trunks which hide the flat screen TV. Across the way was the largest bathroom you could imagine with floor to celling windows, a relaxing seating area and doors opening onto the terrace showcasing a view that goes on for miles.
Soneva lives by the ethos of sustainability and is very forward thinking in its approach. I witnessed this when I was staying at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives as well. One of the ways to truly understand the depth of which they take their promise is by going on an Eco-Tour of the island and seeing for yourself the work and commitment that goes into making a property/island sustainable. It’s not just about no plastic, not using straws and other conventional eco-solutions. Soneva’s responsibility, goes further - cooking oil is recycled as biofuel, water gets reused several times with many oxidation ponds to help purify water for irrigations so as its not put back into the sea. All food waste is put into a sophisticated compost system and the organic garden is a delight growing nearly everything that you will eat during your stay. They are now even growing coco plants for the vast amount of chocolate served in their chocolate room. After chatting to the Soneva founder and visionary himself -Sonu, he informed us of a new system which they will soon implement at Soneva Kiri which has proved very successful in the Maldives which eradicates the mosquito without using any sprays/chemicals.
One of my favorite concepts at Soneva Kiri is the tree pod dining which ticks the sustainable box and leaves a very small footprint as a waiter zip lines your food to you in a bamboo pod made for four people winched 6 meters in the air surrounded by trees with the noise of the waves crashing in the sea below.
The Soneva Spa provides a sensory journey with all the rooms designed for couples with some facing the sea and the others in the middle of the jungle. One of their most popular services is the Wellness Screening, a full non-invasive reading of your body’s composition and biomarkers.
When it comes to dining, wellness plays a prominent part in the composition of the menu, with one exception – the all day ice cream and chocolate rooms - but hey everyone needs a little treat!
One of the resort’s very well respected chefs is Khun Benz who looks after a small restaurant on stilts that is reachable via a speedboat through the mangroves called BENZ. This traditional Thai restaurant is a hit with all the guests and receives so many wonderful reviews.
“Views” restaurant provides the most amazing sunset views so book a table in time to watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand.
I am not in my children’s good books as on this occasion they didn’t come with me to Kiri and being such advocates of the Soneva experience, they really knew that they were missing out as when it comes to children and families, Soneva have thought of everything. The Eco Den is for 1-4 year olds. Qualified childcare experts look after children. The Den is the most creative playground a child could wish for, A giant bamboo structure shaped like a manta ray hangs in the tree tops providing not only a wonderful place to play but brings nature inside.
For outdoor activities you can enjoy the kayaking and water sports, snorkel around the island or diving to explore the coral reefs. For a unique adventure you must visit one of the islands many waterfalls. There is one particular trek, which takes you through the island’s lusciously dense rainforest. Along the way, cool off in the crystal-clear waterfalls that cascade magically over five different levels and swim in your own private waterfall pool.
You can really experience the many facets of this island with a short boat ride to Koh Kood fishing village, which has many local restaurants. We enjoyed an amazing seafood extravaganza eaten on the waters edge in a very local setting.
I really believe once you immerse yourself in the Soneva experience, you are spoiled for life, I find it very hard to compare the experience, service and way of life to anything else. My Soneva Ambassadorship is very important to me as it complements my own ethos and that of Unique Family Travels and I get excited every time I book my clients to a Soneva resort as I know they are in for an unforgettable experience.
Thank you to the wonderful Soneva team for always making my stay the most enjoyable ever and I will be back soon as I’ve promised my children a stay in the room that has a water slide!
Watch our full resort video here:
Check out our bedroom within the villa:
Sliding into Island life:
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