The new year has started as we strive forward into 2019, with promises of eating healthy, getting fit and living well. I decided not to wait until January 1 to make anything happen, and instead I made a conscious effort to try and down play the Festive Season which is usually full of parties, lots of food, no exercise and a general lack of sleep. I wanted to finish the year as I started it, healthy and feeling good.
Cue Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood Island in Thailand.
Let me begin by saying nothing about this property is “run of the mill”, which makes staying here truly a one-of-a-kind experience. It is the Thailand of old - deserted beaches, crystal clear water, lush greenery and peace and quiet. The hard to get to (almost impossible!) location is the reason why it remains like this. To get here involves taking the resort’s private plane out of Bangkok and landing on a tiny airstrip at a neighbouring island, finishing with a quick ten-minute trip by speedboat.
The first thing you notice is that everyone at Soneva takes their mantra of “no news, no shoes” very seriously and you are immediately encouraged to take off your shoes and place them into a bag for the whole of your stay. We gladly embraced this and found walking around barefoot for 4 days completely liberating as feeling grounded aligns with what Soneva is all about – intelligent luxury.
The 34 villas on the property blend into the natural habitat so much so that they are almost unnoticeable as you enter them through wooden walkways that wind through the surrounding dense vegetation, leading to your own private oasis. There is actually no real reason to leave as you have your own living space, pool, indoor and outdoor bathrooms and of course your own Mr or Ms Friday to take care of anything and everything for you. But of course you do venture out, as there is so much of the property to explore and experience!
You can’t help but adapt Soneva’s philosophy of living the “Slow Life”. There is no television, only DVDs that are available in your room or movies that show at the outdoor cinema, and electronic devices are scarce. Except for people taking photos (there is a never-ending supply of Instagram worthy locations), it seems that no one is obsessing over answering emails or worrying about what is going on with the rest of the world. Instead, people are disconnecting to reconnect with each other, which is a rare thing nowadays, and a hard goal for any resort to achieve.
Suitable for families or couples – the resort has something for everyone. The kids den (which is in the shape of a Manta Ray) is a must for any child, as is the endless supply of ice-cream and chocolate. Dining options are impressive and varied – Benz for local Thai (our favourite) or the once-in-a-lifetime experience of TreePod dining to name just a few.
The gym of course got a test-run every morning from us in an attempt to keep our fitness on point, with views from the treadmill watching the sun rise over the beach. For those less fitness-obsessed, yoga is always on offer as is a world-class spa and other treatments.
One of the hardest things to achieve is finishing a holiday feeling relaxed AND healthy as the two don’t often go hand-in-hand – Soneva Kiri managed to do both. As our plane took off and we waved goodbye to our Ms Friday, we felt refreshed and ready to tackle what was left of the festive break, knowing we had finished the year on a high note as we planned to start the new one.