Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is an ultra-luxurious resort with a spectacular location overlooking Phang Nga Bay. The vibe is oh-so-quiet and elegant, with 54 spacious suites and villas scattered throughout deceptively large and exceptionally beautiful tropical gardens.
Overlooking the Listerine-green waters and ancient limestone sea-stacks of Phang Nga Bay, the Phulay Bay boasts views of one of the most extraordinary landscapes in all of Asia – although it is ever so slightly marred by an industrial, but seldom used, pier which sits adjacent to the property. The nearest international airport is Krabi, but few long-haul flights operate to there, so you’ll most likely have to transfer from Phuket, which is around a two-hour drive from the hotel. Ao Nang, the nearest town for shopping, eating and drinking, is 15-minutes away by car.
Address: 111 Moo 3 Nongthalay, Muang, Krabi 81000 Thailand.
Style & character
The hotel’s design reflects Krabi’s Muslim heritage, blending peaked-roofed buildings and Thai artworks with Moorish-inspired pendant lamps and bright pops of colour. The lobby is gasp-inducing, a grand open-air pavilion surrounded by tranquil pools of water, lit by the flickering glow of 2,000 candles every night. The gardens too are gorgeous; bearded banyan trees, curtains of bougainvillea, soaring palms, and fragrant frangipanis draped around lily-ponds, wooden walkways, and chic muslin-wrapped cabanas.
Service & facilities
Days can be spent swimming laps in the vast infinity pool, kayaking around the peaceful mangroves of Ao Thalane, or hopping on the hotel’s complimentary long-tail boat to the squeaky white sands of Hong Island (the hotel’s own beach is too rocky to loll on). Other paid activities include one-to-one yoga, tai chi and Muay Thai boxing sessions, cycling tours, diving and hobbie cat rentals. If that all sounds far too exhausting, you could always just laze in a hammock staring at Phang Nga Bay or visit the enchanting (if expensive) ESPA Spa. Nothing is too much trouble for the friendly, switched on staff.
There are a number of different categories of rooms and villas, each of which is special in their own way; choose from jasmine-scent garden suites with verandas and outdoor tubs, intimate villas scattered along the beach front, or one of the Reserve and Royal pool villas, which stand sentry along the hillside screened off by thick purple walls. Interiors are bright and inviting, combining creamy marble floors and crisp white walls with pretty Thai murals and Moroccan-style lamps.
Food & drink
Pack an elasticated waistband; the food is excellent here. There are six bars and restaurants to choose from, including seafood restaurant Lae Lay, and intimate Thai eatery Sri Trang. Or you could opt for a private table ringed by candles on the beach. Be sure to leave an hour at the end of the day for cocktails and stupendous sunset views at Chomtawan Bar.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Yes. The atmosphere is calm and grown-up but Phulay Bay does have a kid’s club, a children’s swimming pool and plenty of activities on offer.
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