August 24 2011
Khao Sok, in Surat Thani province, isn’t a place that features readily on the luxury Thai circuit. Its prodigious natural attractions (oldest evergreen rainforest on the planet; thousand-foot limestone mountains plunging into deep lakes; countless plant and wildlife species on view) have been offset by a marked absence of truly elegant properties (though the charming Elephant Hills can still fairly legitimately bill itself as “Thailand’s first luxury camp” – with the emphasis on the “first” rather than the “luxury”).
But now comes Thanyamundra Organic Resort (www.thanyamundra.com, from £165). Loosely affiliated with the Thanyapura in Phuket, two hours to the southwest if Khao Sok, Thanyamundra’s two simple but lovely villas are divided into seven suites and two rooms. The resort’s own kitchen gardens supply the restaurant’s Eastern- and Western-influenced versions of “slow” food (served poolside, in the airy dining pavilion, or wrapped up nicely in a picnic basket, should you fancy a nature hike or just a sojourn on one of the gorgeous terraces overlooking the hills).
There are on-site therapists to administer all manner of face and body treatments, and teachers of yoga and organic Thai cooking – but also private trainers, personal chefs and drivers; all guest rooms receive a personal butler service. And should the need for a day at the beach become unbearable, despite the abundance of surrounding beauty, the aquamarine sea and talcum beaches of Khao Lak are just a half-hour away.