The secluded and peaceful Sala Phuket Resort on Phuket Island in Thailand was all we needed to get away from our hectic and busy lives in London. The modern, minimalist design and comfort of our own luxurious private pool villa made it easy to shut off from the rest of the world and completely relax.
The contemporary and discreet architecture of Sala is a blend of Chinese and Thai accents mixed with Sino Portugese influences, indigenous to Phuket. Water features throughout the grounds create an atmosphere of tranquility and quietness. The resort is located on the beautiful, almost deserted Mai Khao beach on the northwest shoreline of Phuket, miles away from the crowds of the popular beaches and nightlife.
Reception, SALA Phuket
What adds to Sala’s beauty, simplicity and silence are the many lovely touches that make you feel welcome and cared for. This was noticed from the start when we were greeted with lemongrass scented towels, fresh flower bracelets and cold ginger tea up on arrival.
The most exclusive and luxurious part of our stay, however, was our spacious pool villa which offered ultimate privacy and unlimited access to our own decent sized pool – all surrounded by lush green trees, comfortable areas for lounging and cream white and light grey interiors.
The general outdoor feeling from the open air bathroom with its free standing bath tub was so enjoyable, particularly
the elegant chandelier hanging above it.
The inside of the villa was well appointed with great attention to detail. It had a cozy big bed with white linen, a small sofa, minibar, tea and coffee facilities, complimentary slippers, beach bag, umbrellas, sun hat as well as a TV and DVD player that we did not switched on once during our stay!
When we were not in our villa we enjoyed the beautiful grounds and pristine surroundings. The place had an air of exclusivity without being pretentious. With only 79 guestrooms, suites and villas, it never felt overrun or busy.
The Tom Kha Hoi Shell – local bay scallops with roe in coconut milk infused with kaffir lime, lemongrass and kha ginger was particularly good!
Dinner was always exceptional and a fusion between modern and traditional Thai cuisine. We have not eaten anywhere else during our stay – it was so delicious (especially the chocolate lava cake) that we had no intention to. We also enjoyed the short walk from the restaurant back to our villa.
Where we were greeted by a heavenly lemongrass scent from the oil burner that the room maid lit as part of the turn down service. On top of that, every night, we were provided with a local flavoured tea with a little note attached to it, explaining its health benefits.
The fried pineapple rice served in a pineapple shell was fabulous, as was the
Phuket baby mixed greens tossed with rose apple (local Thai apple), cashew nuts, feta and sesame-soy creamy dressing which I liked to pair with some sticky chicken wings.
Not far from the restaurant, on the way back to our villa or the spa, we always passed a gorgeous little water pond dotted with purple water lilies.
Their award winning spa is definitely something not to miss either. It is as beautifully designed as the rest of the resort and the massages leave you in an even more relaxed state. Unfortunately I only took a picture of the entrance to the spa not the beautiful interior inside …
Whenever we felt that we needed a little exercise – apart from swimming – we enjoyed long walks on Mai Khao’s untouched beach. Part of Sirinath National park, it is Phuket’s longest (11km) as well as least developed beach with golden coarse sand and stunning views over Andaman Sea.
As much as we enjoyed our time at Sala we did not want to miss out on Phuket’s beauty either – so we booked ourselves on two boat trips – the Phi Phi Sunrise tour with Simba Sea Trips and the Phang Nga Bay Tour with Captain Mark.
The Phi Phi Sunrise trip started very early in the morning with a 5:30 am pick up from the hotel to meet at 6 am at the Royal Phuket Marina. The early start is intended to avoid the tourist crowds later on. The tour guides were super friendly and competent. We immediately got something to drink and a life jacket before we headed to the Phi Phi islands – one of Phuket’s main attraction!
Our first stop was Maya Beach on Phi Phi Leh, which was the film location for the movie The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio. The Phi Phi Islands looked beautiful when we approached them by boat, and the beach where we had breakfast was stunning. We did not expect great food on a boat trip but were pleasantly surprised with fresh fruit, sandwiches and banana bread. Much appreciated!
Our next stop was monkey beach on Phi Phi Don island where we were greeted by the members of some lovely monkey families.
We continued to hop on and off different islands, were served tasty lunch on another beautiful beach, before we jumped into the turquoise waters to snorkel.
The fish there were gorgeous and very curious.
The Phang Nga Bay tour started a little bit later with a pick up time of 6.50. We were very excited to head to the gorgeous islands of Krabi province. The crew was great and a lot of fun.
The morning of our trip consisted of a visit to Phanak Island where we waded through a cave in order to reach a hidden lagoon, the Mangrove Hong, before setting off to be canoed around the beautiful Hong Island with hanging rocks and more hidden lagoons.
James Bond Island
James Bond Island
On our way to lunch we passed James Bond island – famous for the Bond Movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.
For lunch we went to a restaurant on the Muslim fishing village of Kho Panyi.
Ancient cave paintings
The ancient cave paintings on Kao Kee Un that we saw on our way back were very impressive – more than 1.500 years old, the different drawings of dolphins, fish and other sea creatures were still clearly visible.