Soneva Kiri Thailand Review: Why Chris Hemsworth and other celebs love it
When it comes to bucket list destinations the Thai islands are right up there. Pristine sugary white beaches, luxury resorts, and electric blue waters make it the stuff that dream holidays are made of. Certainly Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky think so. The Hollywood heavyweights made headlines last year after snapping up an Insta storm sharing holiday pics as they relaxed with their brood at one of the country’s most luxurious resorts, Soneva Kiri.
Situated on Thailand’s fourth largest – but least populated – island, Koh Kood, Soneva Kiri is bordered by deserted beaches and lush rainforest. Private and very secluded, it’s the kind of place that appeals to travellers whose idea of a good time is spending days lazing in a hammock. Or fame-frazzled celebs who want a break from the paparazzi and autograph hunters. Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne have all vacayed here.
Buoyed by these wanderlust-fuelling snaps cluttering up my social media feeds (the “Thor” star’s included) my decision to book a trip to this paradise destination for some much needed sun, sea and serenity came pretty easily. After all, if it’s good enough for Chris …
Reached via an 80-minute flight from Bangkok aboard the hotel’s private (tiny) plane which lands on a neighbouring island, I disembark and jump onto an awaiting speedboat that whisks us across to the resort. Here I meet my ‘Mrs Friday’ (each villa has its very own private butler AKA a ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs Friday’).
Proffering a linen bag, she politely asks me for my thongs. You see, Soneva’s idea of ‘wellness’ doesn’t fit the traditional model. It’s less about dieting and exercise and more about disconnecting and rediscovering your inner-child. Hence the ‘no news no shoes’ policy whereby footwear and newspapers – and other trappings of adulthood – are gently discouraged. Instead, all-day, complimentary ice cream parlours (with more than 60 flavours to tempt) and Willy Wonka-style ‘chocolate rooms’ are the order of the day. This is definitely the kind of wellness I can get on board with.
Accommodation is comprised of 36 palatial, private villas. Mine has a full-size pool (seriously, it’s huge!), large outdoor bathroom complete with a jacuzzi-sized tub, and direct access to a postcard-perfect beach.
Spread across acres of jungle and coastline privacy is guaranteed. Indeed, given the distance between villas and the public areas getting around by the provided electric golf buggies is a necessity. It also helps bring out my inner-child (see above) even more.
Food is an absolute highlight at Kiri. There’s four restaurants – all using seasonal fruits and herbs grown on site – but given the location, the signature Thai Khun Benz eatery is a go-to. Set off-site in a sea inlet, diners can expect yummy traditional Thai fare with a fine dining twist. But the most meal by far is at the famed Treepod Dining.
Seated in a private wicker pod I’m hoisted into the in rainforest canopy and my food and drinks are delivered by a waiter in climbing harness via a zip-line and pulley system. Suspended in the air I take in the array of tropical birds, the lapping of the nearby shoreline, and the craggy limestone islands in the distance.
Breakfast could easily last a few hours given the volume of options. Even the fresh juice menu leaves me wide-eyed and I have fun working my way through a few of them each morning, in between greedily guzzling heaps of sweet mango and freshly baked pain au chocolate. It’s all about balance, right?
Activity-wise there’s ample: an observatory for stargazing, open-air cinema, nearby local village and waterfall excursions, cooking classes, gym, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding and hobie cats. And then there’s the Six Senses spa, which offers enough pampering options to keep even the keenest of spa-goers happy and many drawing upon ancient Thai healing traditions and utilising traditional medicinal herbs and oils.
But the bulk of my free time is all about enjoying the destination. I laze in on plush day beds reading books, soak up views, swim off my private beach and, in general, playing at being a contemporary castaway – albeit one with access to 5-star luxuries and a private butler.
Villas start at $873 per night including breakfast.
For details visit soneva.com.