Near the Cambodian border, this eco-luxe property on Koh Kood noses out of the tropical jungle; slated roofs on the large wooden buildings are framed by an infinity pool that stretches around the property. Soneva Kiri feels like a private island hideaway, and it is.
The 27 villas have large daybeds for taking it easy. The resort is dedicated to escapism and has a wonderful spa. At night, go on an after-dark snorkeling adventure, dine in the tree canopy or catch a movie at the outdoor cinema.
They have recently introduced a charter flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, so you can combine your eco-luxury stay here with a few days exploring the sublime temples of Angkor.
Families are embraced, and Soneva Kiri has one of the coolest kids areas we have seen: the Den. A giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, The Den is dedicated to learning, to excitement, to meaningful experiences. Professional child minders pique your children’s imaginations, teaching them to play Thai instruments, unleashing their creative talents with painting and the visual arts, and carefully watching them at play in the wonderous world of moulded bamboo spaces up, down and around.
There is also the Intrepid Explorers Club, aimed specifically at one to five year olds. At the Intrepid Explorers Club, the younger group play in the ‘Eco Den’. Here the children get to play with toys and take part in activities, both meeting Soneva’s stringent standards of social and environmental responsibility. Throughout the children are looked after by qualified childcare experts, supported by local child carers.
Beyond the manta and the Intrepid Explorer’s Club, child-friendly excursions and cultural exchanges immerse them in the destination. Rainforest walks and local school visits leave lasting impressions. Activities to be shared as a family abound, from dinners amidst the wilds to stolen chocolates from the free and endless supply in the chocolate room.
A key philosophy of the Soneva group is the Slowlife (sustainable, local, organic, wellness, learning, inspired, fun, experiences) approach. Both environmental and social responsibility is important, so resorts will recycle waste, conserve water, preserve local environments (particularly fragile marine ecosystems), grow organic food and buy produce from local farmers and fishermen. Soneva also works with community organisations worldwide, including the Plant a Tree Today forest restoration project in Thailand.
Your Soneva Kiri experience begins at Bangkok Airport, where you’re met by the hotel’s representatives, transferred to Thailand’s domestic Don Muang Airport and escorted on to the private plane that whisks you over the city and the turquoise ocean to a neighboring island. A five-minute trip on a speedboat and you’re delivered directly to your villa for check-in.
Most of the best private islands are in the Andaman Ocean just off the coast of Phuket. It could make a memorable final couple of days if you’re after romance or an exclusive family gathering to recharge after volunteering.