Far more than a place to lay your head, the suites and villas we’re about to encounter in Borneo, Mauritius and Thailand are on another level entirely. So, without further ado, let’s look at a property in each of these destinations that could truly make your holiday.
Our first resort finds us in Borneo and as we draw near it a pristine beach comes into view - this is a great start. We step off the boat and onto the jetty where a warm, welcoming arrival awaits.
As we walk forward we’re greeted by beautifully manicured grounds. An elegant pool stretches across in parallel with the long, sandy beach. So, where are we?
This is Gaya Island Resort, a stunning natural property surrounded by the protected mangroves and coral reefs of Borneo’s Malohom Bay but, as breath-taking as the surroundings are, we need to head inside the resort itself to uncover a treasure trove of accommodation. The Bayu, Canopy and Kinabalu villas are superb and deserve an article all to themselves and so we’re going to focus on the magnificent Suria Suite.
Often when you read about a suite in a brochure or online you come across statements such as ‘wonderful ocean views’ or even just ‘ocean view’ but it’s worth pointing out that not every view of the ocean is created equal and this is particularly true of the Suria Suite.
I think it would be fair to use words such as ‘stunning’ or ‘wonderful’ when referring to that view. You may, of course, wish to take a break from the ocean’s enchantment and settle into the cosy couch of your spacious living area for a drink with friends.
Finally, after a well spent day, and pampering time in the Spa Village, you come to the bedroom. It’s a deliberately spacious place and continues the light and airy colour theme you’ll have found throughout the suite.
Okay, back to the bedroom. After all, this is where your supremely comfortable bed awaits, perfectly complemented by a large soft rug - absolute paradise for your feet. The Suria Suite and, in fact, the entire Gaya Island Resort really excels in its ability to take the gentle, calming nature of its surroundings and infuses them all the way through with its choice of soft, light and gentle colours, fabrics and textures to give you a lusciously indulgent experience day after day.
Back in 2014, on its 30th anniversary, the resort we’re about to discover closed. This was not the end but rather the beginning of a brand new chapter in the legacy of one of the most prestigious addresses in Mauritius. The brief closure was due to a complete revamp and upgrade to preserve the hotel’s timeless elegance and unique atmosphere. Well, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that they more than succeeded.
Welcome to Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury with its award-winning cuisine and locally crafted, custom made furnishings. This ultimate haven of rest is uncompromising in its high standards of service and unflinching in its commitment to perfection.
The resort is an all-suite affair, each and every one as near to perfection as possible. So, how do you choose which one to stay in? It often comes down to what you’re after.
If you want to go straight to the top and live like a royal, then you must push open the majestic wooden door and step into the 300 square metre Royal Suite. This is two levels of luxury surrounded by pebble-edged decking overlooking the beach where you’ll also find a stunning private infinity pool.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Junior Suite. Filled with soft and romantic light, this intimate space is an absolutely perfect private and peaceful haven – a highlight of which is its tropical palm tree surrounded terrace.
Each suite between the Junior and Royal goes up in size but never down in quality and comfort, so no matter which you choose you can be guaranteed utter satisfaction. Well, we’ve merely skimmed the surface of this magnificent place. From the spa to the suites, dining to activities and families to honeymoon, everything here is taken as a form of art.
Okay, this time there’ll be a tiny bit less mystery in the lead up to the resort reveal because I’m going to give you a clue right up front – it’s a Ritz-Carlton. So, that narrows it down to only 91 hotels in 30 countries. It’s a truly successful brand and with good reason. Obviously, any company that’s been around since 1983 would be expected to have gained some momentum but Ritz-Carlton is known around the world for quality and luxury – it’s a brand we’ve grown to trust. With that in mind, we’re heading to Krabi in Thailand to explore what this amazing company can accomplish in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
The resort in question is primarily a meaningful escape from life’s day to day distractions. It’s another world full of peace and tranquillity enthused with Thai traditions and service of the highest level, whether from your personal butler or any member of staff.
This is Phulay Bay and this is mainly an article about accommodation so we should have a peek at what’s on offer here and not get distracted by the stunning spa, delightful infinity pool, rather active fitness centre and any families taking part in the plethora of activities specifically designed to offer the maximum amount of fun.
Accommodation takes the form of very well appointed villas and pavilions. All have huge indoor baths, spacious walk-in wardrobes and verandas with lounge beds but the villas go a step further and include outdoor baths and private plunge pools.
All the villas are incredibly beautiful but the stand-out one is the Royal Andaman Sea Villa. The design is way beyond words and is the key reason I’m pointing it out. You’ll certainly be clean with a stay here with two bathtubs (one oversize) and a separate shower. This is especially good if you like priming like a peacock for dinner, as personal exclusive dining for two on the shores of the Andaman Sea is included with this villa.
In each of the resorts we’ve looked it has been incredibly difficult to choose which suite or villa to stay in as they are all so good. What has become apparent is the common theme that unifies them all – a sense of place. Whether it’s the mangrove surrounded white sand beach of Gaya Island Resort, the locally crafted custom made furnishings of Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury or the traditional Thai influences of Ritz Carlton’s Phulay Bay, they all take you somewhere special in a way only they can. All of this combines to give you the feeling you experience in your suite or villa that makes it far more than just a place to lay your head at night.