No News, No Shoes. The slogan is written on the shoe bag that Fon, our personal Soneva Kiri butler, gives to my Travel Monster partner Judith and I as soon as we enter our boat. “You can put your shoes in here, that is, if you want to, of course,” she says. We quickly adapt to the idea of barefoot holidaying in paradise at this unforgettable Thailand resort.
An Extra Smooth Landing
Getting showered with small conveniences that make us feel more comfortable becomes the Soneva Kiri standard. We land on an island nearby Koh Kood, Thailand, where Soneva Kiri operates its own small airport and guests arrive by private airplane. The flight treats you with a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful nearby islands in the Gulf of Thailand, and from here the boat ride to Soneva Kiri is only 10 minutes.
At the jetty, the resort manager and senior staff welcome us—you can feel the commitment to service from the get-go. “Your villa is ready Kun Mark and Judith. If you want we can go there now or we recommend you enjoy your breakfast first,” says our butler while guiding us over the jetty. We enthusiastically take the recommendation, and under the observatory which opens at night for stargazing, we find my favorite room—a room full of delicious bread, cold cuts and cheese. What a feast!
After breakfast, we enter the chocolate room—yes, a room full of chocolates—but I had reached my limit at breakfast. Still, who says no to that? I go for it and return triumphantly with two chocolates, one in each hand. That’s what I call a balanced diet.
Taking a seat in the buggy, Fon drives us to our villa. Along the way, we discover how big the resort is—everything is so spacious with nature left intact. We’re shown the spa, the gym, the beach, The View Restaurant and more. I wonder if we can remember it all, but if I forget, I think “It shouldn’t matter because someone will bring us anyway.” Then we get another surprise. After Fon explains how everything works in our room, she puts the buggy keys firmly in the palm of my hand. “You can drive, right?” she laughs. “Oh yes, we can,” I say. This will be fun. I just need to remember where that spa was.
Hidden TVs, Private Beaches and Spa Time
The villa is gorgeous. Amidst the lush tropical rainforest, its eco-friendly design really shines. We love that the TV is hidden inside an old leather suitcase so the stunning view is the focus instead. After following the wooden walkway to check out our private beach, we venture out to explore the resort.
At first, we just cruise around without a plan, which is a great feeling. Once we find ourselves at South Beach, the wind through the palm trees calls our names and hunger returns—a beach lunch is the perfect solution. We enjoy the sunny weather and a refreshing ocean swim and almost lose track of day. Luckily, the staff remind us of our spa appointment so we can still make it in time—we wouldn’t want to miss that!
Two Peas in a Tree Pod
As much as we loved the amazing arrival breakfast, it’s quickly surpassed by our Treepod Dining experience. Full of excitement, we follow our waiter through the rainforest. He asks us to sit down, put on our seatbelts and have fun, before he turns and walks away. “Ready?” we hear from above. “Yes, sir,” we reply and at that our pod is hoisted up high into the trees.
Every second we rise, the ocean view gets more spectacular. Once we are up, our waiter asks us if we are comfortable so he can zipline to get our breakfast. The treepod is so stable, we aren’t worried in the slightest. Bring in the breakfast! Seeing your waiter arrive by zipline is one of the coolest and most unique moments we’ve ever experienced.
Big Villa Energy
The next day, we’re shown to the unique, five-bedroom Beach Pool Reserve, perfect for a big family. The master and three additional bedrooms all feature outdoor bathrooms so you can soak in the starlight or shower in the sun’s rays, while the fifth bedroom is a treehouse with bunk beds and a slide into the swimming pool below. The residence even comes with your own personal gym and spa deck. We’re most drawn to the waterslide, which is surprisingly fast by the way, because we refuse to grow up.
Four More, Please
These four days at Soneva Kiri are an experience we will never forget. Like an adult playground, this place reminds us that freedom and fun is precious and important, something we can tend to forget sometimes. The environment enabled us to connect while disconnecting us from our daily routines. We will remember our time here, our butler Fon and the state of mind it created within us. We hope to return sooner rather than later.