What makes one luxury hotel worth it over others isn’t simply the fancy name or stylish furnishings, it’s the unique setting, intimate details, personalized service and awakened senses you experience from beginning to end. In other words, there are levels to this. There are luxury hotels and there are luxury experiences. There is everyone else and there’s Soneva Kiri. There are so many levels to the Soneva brand, like the floating suite Soneva in Aqua, that it was hard for me to even begin to express what it was like to stay at this breathtaking resort.
Your experience begins with a one hour flight from Bangkok by private plane to Soneva Kiri, which is located on the secluded island of Koh Kood in Thailand. Your private flight lands on the resort’s private airstrip.
This is where you are first introduced to your Mr. or Ms. Friday. Your loyal assistant for the duration of your stay, they know all the island’s secrets and are more than happy to cater to your every desire. My Mr. Friday quickly grabbed my bags and escorted me to a waiting golf cart, after a short ride we arrived at the dock where a speedboat was waiting, and where he collected my shoes. Why my shoes? Because this is not your typical island resort, Soneva Kiri prides itself on being ‘Barefoot Intelligent Luxury at its best. No news, no shoes, Thai style,’ and their unrivaled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic experiences is apparent from the moment you arrive, and unmatched long after you leave.
Your speedboat finally slows down and you are greeted by nothing but smiling faces. Staff from the resort come out to the dock to greet and welcome you to paradise. Literally. Just the walk down the dock into the resort grabs a hold of your senses. So much lush greenery surrounded by endless blue, you could stay right in that very spot and have the time of your life, but alas, this is just the entry way to your idyllic paradise. As I said, there are levels to Soneva Kiri.
*Fun Fact: The three pots you see along the dock in the picture above are common throughout the resort. They are filled with water that you use to pour over your feet when the wood floors get too hot.
Soneva Kiri is home to more than twenty of the largest resort villas in the world and eleven private residences located either on the pristine beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest. Each villa boasts infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings and personal electric buggies for you to explore the property. I almost ran my buggy off the side of the road, so Mr. Friday gladly took over the driving duties during my stay so I would stay alive lol.
Originally I was supposed to stay in the Bay View Pool Villa (believe it or not this is their lowest room category), which considering that it looks like a house, I was totally fine with. However, Soneva Kiri felt I needed an upgrade, so before I knew it I was on my way to their Cliff Pool Villa, where this happened….
*Fun Fact: There are televisions hidden in those suitcases, but no channels. The resort provides a wide assortment of DVDs for you to watch, if you can pull yourself away from all they activities they offer.
Nope, still not finished….
Ok, you get the point. There were levels to the levels of my villa! Levels to my pool, 4 different levels to my bathroom which included a washroom, bathroom/dressing area, outdoor tub and both an indoor and outdoor rain shower. Just levels upon levels (You can watch Mr. Friday give me a tour here), and I hadn’t even seen the rest of the property yet. After splashing around like a child in my private pool, I had Mr. Friday take me to Soneva’s private beach and shockingly, I had that all to myself too!
After the beach I headed to have lunch at one of Soneva’s unique dining experiences…in a tree. Treepod Dining at Soneva is exactly what it sounds like and so much more. Comfortably seated in a bamboo pod, I was gently hoisted high up into the trees of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest. The view was stunning as I watched my waiter zip back and forth via zipline bringing me delicious treats and fresh coconut to drink. Pure heaven.
Another of my favorite features at Soneva is their complimentary ice cream parlor. It looks like every childhood fantasy with each and every flavor made in house. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a chocolate room!
If the beach, dining in the trees and eating all the free ice cream you can stomach aren’t enough, Soneva is also home to the insanely relaxing Six Senses Spa (where I had an amazing massage and even took a complimentary yoga class), the outdoor movie theater Cinema Paradiso, an observatory that will leave you star struck, cultural activities that include a private trip to nearby Angkor Wat, and some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Thai islands. There is no way you should ever be bored!
However my absolute favorite thing about Soneva Kiri was the sunsets. I’m a self professed sunset chaser and as the night began to cover the island, there was no place I would rather be than in my villa obsessively staring at the view.
*Fun Fact: Koh Kood is actually 1 hour ahead of the time in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok. So in theory, you could fly from Soneva Kiri to Bangkok and catch the sunset twice.
Leaving Soneva was so, so, so hard. I was spoiled beyond belief and had grown quite attached to my Mr. Friday who was the absolute best at taking care of me during my stay. I wanted to be upset that I was going home, but how could I when even the walk out of the resort was peaceful, stunning and detailed beyond words?
*Fun Fact: The symbol you see under the water is that of the Six Senses Resorts and Spa brand, which used to be part of the Soneva brand before it was sold in 2012.
Much like when I arrived, the staff at Soneva came to the dock to say goodbye and waved from the pier until our speedboat was out of sight. Then just like that, I was back on the private plane, back at Bangkok airport and back to reality. Spending two days at Soneva changed my view and expectations when it comes to what a luxury hotel brand should be. Every consideration was taken, every desire met and expectation exceeded. Soneva Kiri did what the Soneva brand does best, create new levels in luxury and then surpass them.