Nature envelops boutique retreat Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa, 90 minutes' drive south of Krabi in beachy Trang Province. Cascading water, fragrant gardens and a rustic elegance reflect the tropical jungle and vibrantly blue sea that surround it. Add in a buzzy beach club on Koh Kradan, an Ayurvedic spa and local adventures to stimulate even the most jaded of travellers, and you have the essence of a pinch-yourself-to-believe-it beach escape.
An undiscovered part of Thailand
Relax and be pampered or experience non-stop activity and adventure
An awesome destination for kids of all ages
THB500 voucher for food and drink (excluding alcohol) and THB500 voucher for a massage treatment at Anantara Spa Si Kao
In the know
Also need to know:
All rooms are non-smoking; smoking is only allowed in specified areas. There is a compulsory New Years Eve Gala Dinner on 31 December costing THB8,121.30 an adult and THB4,060.65 a child (4-12 years old).
You'll be spending a lot of time in the water, so an array of costumes, plus plenty of sunscreen are essential. It's fairly remote here, too, with few opportunities for nearby shopping, so bring all the books, magazines and kids' games needed.
Very relaxed in most of the venues, although Acqua calls for a slightly smarter approach.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Our long-tail boat slides onto the sand and Mr Smith and I leap out to make our unconventional and not-so-stealth entrance to Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa via the beach. Soaked to the bone after speeding through a rainstorm, we are relieved that staff are waiting for us on the shore to swap our luggage for orange-scented towels. Seasonal drenching notwithstanding, Anantara is the promised land for water lovers, occupying a heavenly corner of Thailand’s south-west coast where it has its own beach plus a diving club in the nearby national conservation area of Koh Kradan.
Leaving damp footprints through the white-washed, open-fronted Beach House lobby, we reach our Deluxe Sea View room. Before the bellboy has even brought in our bags Mr Smith switches into interior design mode, sliding the frosted screens separating bathroom and bedroom back and forth and stealing ideas for home. Left to check out the rest of our teak-clad room and its Siamese silk furnishings, I discover an amazing view of rugged islands that would be shortlisted by any lair-hunting Bond villain.
Mr Smith bags the bath so I read the hotel information directory to him from the bedroom, including an impressive array of detox options. There are special breakfasts, spa treatments and yoga classes with the resort’s doctor, with whom you could also have a private nutritional consultation. But we are on a tropical holiday and, for us at least, indulgence is definitely on the cards.
Minding the tiny frogs hopping across the garden path, we explore and find the spa which is neatly tucked away from the main part of the hotel. While deciding on our treatments, we are distracted by the moat circling the spa‘s reception, which is filled with lily pads, cute tadpoles and giant goldfish. This being a Thai spa, the obligatory Buddhas are present to supervise activities. When the spa consultant lets slip that a daily yoga class is held on the beach each morning I get excited and make a mental note: yoga on the beach beats yoga in a London gym any day.
Conveniently, two masseuses are available and we treat ourselves to a traditional massage together. I had briefed Mr Smith during the flight about how Thai massage differs from Swedish. They start from the toes up, no oil is applied and the hands are used to clutch and compress knots in the muscles. Even so, he is a little shocked when the diminutive Thai masseuse pounces on the table and proceeds to walk on his back. I wouldn’t say there was yelping as such, but more of a long, hard exhalation.
A cocktail at the Beach House bar is required to soothe Mr Smith. After two mojitos – made with scrummy caramelised brown sugar – I already doubt my ability to wake up for the morning yoga class. Later that evening, after an Italian banquet, we end the night stargazing from our balcony and listening to the crashing waves.
Inevitably, I wake up late and miss the yoga class. Admitting defeat, we spend a leisurely morning enjoying the view of the turquoise sea from the glass-fronted restaurant. At Anantara’s Koh Kradan diving club snorkellers and scuba divers can glimpse beneath those waves and the coral here is some of the best I’ve seen. When the tide is low, you can swim through the small opening of the Emerald Cave, near Koh Mook, and the sunlight makes the water inside gleam bright green.
Early (too early) the following morning, on the beach, there are four of us – me, Mr Smith, the yoga teacher and the yoga teacher’s wife – saluting the sunrise. I’m not surprised to find out that the smell of the sea is indeed more enjoyable than the odour of other Londoners’ sweat during downward-facing dog. It’s a gentle session but leaves us feeling more balanced and it helps Mr Smith and I sum up our stay: there’s lots to do at Anantara but you don’t have to do any of it. You can detox or drink cocktails at the beach bar, go kayaking or get massaged. And to make sure we try everything once, we make our exit from the front door this time and take a taxi to the airport.
198-199 Moo 5, Had Pak Meng–Changlang Road, Changlang Beach, Maifad, Si Kao, Trang, Thailand, Thaila
19.1 mi / 30.8 km from city centre
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Tennis court
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
The resort has two main restaurants. The first, Leelawadee, a casual, open-air venue, serves a lavish buffet breakfast, light lunches and southern Thai dishes in the evening. Acqua is Anantara's star evening restaurant offering fine Italian cuisine and seafood, either in the elegant white dining room or on the balcony, which is particularly beautiful as the sun sets. Elsewhere light meals and snacks are served throughout the day at the Beach House bar, Pool Bar and at the beach club on Koh Kradan.
Anantara prides itself on its Dining By Design, where a personal chef creates a magical meal for two in a unique setting, whether that's on the beach, by the forest's edge or on your balcony.
10.30pm for food or drinks at Leelawadee, Acqua and Beach House. Leelawadee and Beach House close at 11pm; Acqua at 10.30pm.
Available 24 hours, with a choice of the full restaurant menus during opening hours, and a range of refreshing drinks.
With its airy, white-washed surrounds, scatter cushions and beanbags, the Beach House exudes an easy-going vibe. Try a Thaiprinhia – a Siamese take on the Brazilian classic – as you roll out the backgammon. There is also a Pool Bar, which serves drinks, pizzas and snacks during the day, and a beach club at Koh Kradan.