The Ultimate Lost World
Unlike most of the resorts I’ve visited over the last 20 years, my first encounter with Soneva Kiri by Six Senses actually took place at the airport and not a plush lobby or a private executive floor. The service was very professional, amazingly discreet, and personalized to the point that it felt like we had our own butler to take us from the check-in desk, to the airport lounge, and finally to the plane. And the first-class service did not stop there; it continued like a silky magic carpet carrying us effortlessly from the plane to the speedboat and finally to the arms of our very own Mrs. Friday. In a matter-of-fact way, we were asked to adjust our watches to Soneva Kiri time, which is one hour ahead of Thailand and thus gives you a little more sunshine late into the evening.
From the private pier you are teased with little glimpses of the resort – a white rooftop here, a yellow sun-lounger umbrella there, and everywhere else tall, green, swaying coconut palms. All along the wooden walkway that stretches from the pier to the restaurant and spans the entire ‘entertainment’ complex, there are little water jars with cute little wooden spoons. The water these simple jars hold is not for drinking, rather it is used to cool your feet, as during the hottest months from late October to mid-April the boards can become very hot.
After an informal chat with some of the resort’s staff, a cooling non-alcoholic drink, and a welcome cold towel, we were escorted by our Mrs. Friday to a private golf buggy. After a short drive we arrived at a rather plain-looking walkway. Clumps of bamboo and other trees, plants, and shrubs were growing either side of the walkway that led to the villa, providing the occupants with complete privacy from the outside world. A simple string and stick lock opens up a door into a completely different world, a place where dreams have no doubt come true, a location that has perhaps inspired love and magic in many hearts and souls.
We were staying in an Ocean Villa Suite that consists of three main sections: the sleeping quarters, the play and entertaining area, and the bathing and toiletries area. At 507-square metres, the villa is whopping, with 372-square metres for the living area, while the half-moon, infinity-edge swimming pool measures 135-square metres. The two-tier play and entertainment area’s upper level contains a long bar that is home to refreshments, both hot and cold, and a table and four chairs. Meanwhile, below this ledge is a pile of brightly coloured pillows and comfortable mattresses that make up an expansive lounging area. Just below this is the swimming pool that wraps itself around the entire front of the villa, and when you are not swimming is the perfect place from which to gaze at the sea.
Moving into the main sleeping area, at first sight it appears that there are huge luggage cases at the foot of the bed. Not ours, I thought. Looking around, there was no sign of a television, radio, DVD player, light switch, or any other electrical device, save a mobile phone. But there was gentle music playing. Our Mrs. Friday, seeing the perplexed look on our faces, decided that perhaps it would be in our interest if she gave us a guided tour of the villa.
“No news, no shoes,” she nodded at us as she opened the glass door and waved us in. In the centre of the room is a huge bed with three large luggage cases at the bottom and a mosquito net hanging above. Slipping open the locks of the top case, she lifted the lid to reveal a flat-screen television. Below were a DVD player, fully stocked iPod with music and movies, and an entertainment system, all perfectly housed and out of the way. The same theme applied in the bathing area, where his and hers sinks and mirrors seemed to be the inner sections of up-ended luggage cases.
The mainly outdoor bathroom is a little larger than the bedroom and dressing area, and it gives you the feeling of being connected to nature. There is a choice of bathing, with three individual stations: a regular shower, a rain shower, and a sunken bath. An elevated wooden walkway keeps you off the ground and allows you to glide from the shower to the washbasin. Piped music fills the space; a cool ocean breeze ruffles the treetops; and my inner self urges me to make this place home.
As the sunset on our first night on Koh Kood, we sat arm in arm on our verandah looking out at approaching storm clouds. Neither of us worried that in the morning the sun might not be shining because we had found the ultimate lost world. We could be totally alone but still have access to the best things in life. That night we slept in a way that I am sure many first-time visitors to Soneva Kiri have done for years: like babies.
Soneva Kiri by Six Senses
110 Moo 4, Koh Kood, Trat, Thailand.
Tel: +66 (0) 3961-9800, +66 (0) 81345-2791