Travel tip: book Soneva Fushi or Kiri with a 50% discount (AMAZING offer)

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series, or news.

Today (April 20, 2018): Travel tip: Enjoy Soneva Fushi or Soneva Kiri with a 50% discount when you book the ‘Stay for Good’ offer.

IMHO, Soneva is one of the most exclusive hotel hotel brands in the world (with Aman being my other favorite). If you have a chance, try to stay at least once in your lifetime in one of the group’s fabulous resorts in Thailand or Maldives, since it will provide an exceptional memory for a lifetime.

Soneva was launched in 1995 by Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, with the opening of the now world-famous Soneva Fushi resort on the deserted Maldivian island of Kunfunadhoo. He also built his house there, together with his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model, who developed the design and furnishing of the unique resort. Soneva Fushi was the first ‘castaway’ resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays. Sonu and Eva had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that’s exactly what happened and new resorts were added to Soneva’s portfolio in the Maldives and Thailand. The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Sonu and Eva’s other hotel group, Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe. In 2006, Soneva Fushi made a revenue of approximately US$ 20 million and by 2011, Six Senses was a $150–175 million international luxury spa and resort chain with 26 resorts and 41 spas. Under Eva’s and Sonu’s direction the Six Senses brand gained global fame before being sold in 2012.

Soneva currently operates 4 resorts:

  • Soneva Jani, the Maldives’ most exclusive resort
  • Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original hideaway
  • Soneva in Aqua, the Maldives’ first floating villa
  • Soneva Kiri, the most exclusive resort in Thailand
POOL VILLA AT SONEVA FUSHI, MALDIVES

Now, for a limited time only, you have an exceptional chance to book a stay at Soneva Fushi (Maldives) or Soneva Kiri (Thailand) for half the price:

  • Pay 3 nights + get 3 nights free at Soneva Kiri (Thailand)
  • Pay 5 nights + get 5 nights free at Soneva Fushi (Maldives)

Scoring one of these exceptionally discounted rates does require some eco-commitment although that’s all part of the fun. 

The Soneva group invites everyone to stay for half the price at Soneva Fushi or Soneva Kiri on condition that you actively support the group’s efforts to preserve the environment and enrich the community in the Maldives and Thailand. It’s your chance to be part of something meaningful as you work alongside Soneva’s marine biologists, tropical ecologist, horticulturists and community engagement managers to support local sustainability initiatives. Your eco-spirit will be rewarded by additional bonus nights. A tailored eco-program will be prepared for you for a few hours per day.

At Soneva Kiri (Thailand), the eco-program incorporates the following elements:

  • Ecology: Assist the resident tropical ecologist to identify and log rare species of flora and fauna thriving in the tropical rainforest surrounding Soneva Kiri. Later, learn about cultivating tropical fruits and the secrets of tropical beekeeping and honey production. This is a real opportunity to get close to nature and learn more about the complexity of the rich ecosystem of this beautiful island.
  • Waste to Wealth: Support the resort as it turns waste into wealth at Soneva Kiri. Guests will work in the Eco Centro facility, and support the staff as they produce biodiesel, charcoal, and water filtration initiatives. Learn how to compost food and garden waste, and how to make wastewater suitable for irrigation. Later, guests can shadow the landscaping manager and gardeners to assist with ploughing, weeding, sowing, picking, and delivering the fresh vegetables to the resort’s restaurants, ready for consumption.
  • Community: Work on sustainable initiatives to support the local community on Koh Kood, which may include island and beach clean ups, reef and mangrove clean-ups, education initiatives and other community-oriented projects.

At Soneva Fushi (Maldives), the eco-program incorporates the following elements:

  • Land: Assist horticulturists, mycologists, and gardeners in maintaining the vegetable gardens and learn how to grow your own vegetables. Deliver the vegetables to the resort’s restaurants and learn how to create a seed bank to ensure future sustainability of important crops. Help the staff to make sustainable bricks in the Eco Centro Waste to Wealth facility.
  • Water: Snorkel with a marine biologists to help with turtle identification and coral rehabilitation. Spend time each morning clearing debris from the island that may have washed up, and help the resort staff to register the fish caught by the local fisherman. Participate in reef clean ups in the Baa Atoll to reduce marine debris and prevent injuries to marine life.
  • Community: Work alongside the resort’s community engagement manager on established projects with nearby communities, which may include local swimming classes, composting projects, beach clean ups, and other education initiatives.

To book this exceptional offer, you can contact me (after which I will introduce you to my Soneva contact).

The following terms and conditions apply:

  • Stay three nights at Soneva Kiri in any villa category and the next three nights will be complimentary in the same villa category if at least one guest in the villa participates in the full program.
  • Stay five nights at Soneva Fushi in any villa category and the next five nights will be complimentary in the same villa category if at least one guest in the villa participates in the full program.
  • The complimentary three nights are offered on a room only basis, and exclude F&B, transfers, and activities
  • The offer is valid between the period 10 May – 28 September 2018 (Soneva Kiri) and in the periods 12 May – 12 June 2018, 21 June – 27 July 2018n and 1 – 30 September 2018 (Soneva Fushi).
  • Additional taxes and service charges for the additional three nights’ accommodation will not be levied
  • The bonus nights cannot be exchanged for cash or other equivalents, be transferred, or be taken during a different period
  • The activities are mandatory and if not completed additional room charges will apply
  • The offer cannot be combined with any other promotion
  • The standard Soneva cancellation policy will be applicable

SONEVA FUSHI, MALDIVES

Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway, is located in the stunnnig Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Massive, Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom luxury villas and private residences are hidden among dense tropical foliage. In keeping with the castaway theme, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools. Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers who know what you want before you want it.

Contact me to get a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Fushi.

  • Hotel website: Soneva Fushi
  • Top 10 accolades: Soneva Fuhi features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, the best family hotels in the world and the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Maldivian tapas on arrival, one lunch for two, original handcrafted arrival and departure mementos, shoreline beach dinner, private sunset sailing by Dhoni at Baa Atoll, and a cooking class for two).
  • Review: read here my review of Soneva Fushi.


SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND

Welcome to my absolute favorite hotel in the world! Remote yet accessible by a 1,5 hour flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. It has 29 spectacular private villas – amongst the largest in the world – that are built on hillsides blanketed with ancient rainforest and overlooking the turquoise waters. Guest are given their own buggy to get to the private and stunning, coconut palm shaded beach, where your toes will go into the powdery soft sand, and where you can stroll through the pristine waters with the ocean lapping at your calves. Be prepared for a phenomenal experience!

Contact me to get a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Kiri.

  • Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
  • Top 10 accolades: Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the best luxury hotels in Thailand, and luxury hotels with private airports.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Thai tapas on arrival, and a 30 minute spa treatment for two).
  • Review: read here my review of Soneva Kiri.


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The post Travel tip: book Soneva Fushi or Kiri with a 50% discount (AMAZING offer) appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review of my FAVORITE hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri (Thailand)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in Thailand, including a stay at my favorite hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport
  • Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Bangkok
  • Review: Soneva Kiri, my favorite hotel in the world (today)
  • Review: Park Hyatt Hotel Bangkok
  • Review:  Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok
  • Review: Thai Airways Boeing B747 First Class from Bangkok to Munich

Today (April 18, 2018): Review of Soneva Kiri (Thailand), my favorite luxury hotel in the world!
  • Location: Google maps
  • Address: 110 Moo 4, Ko Kood, Ko Kut District, Trat 23000, Thailand
  • Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
  • Tip: contact me to get a complimentary room upgrade (based on availability)

Remote yet accessible by a 70 minute flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. One of the most exclusive beach resorts in the world, Soneva Kiri offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 35 resort villas (including 11 private residences) are amongst the largest in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of private butlers. Highlights include the open air cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate & ice cream parlour, the children’s den, and the spectacular Treetop dining pod.

Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful hotels in Thailand, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences,  the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the world’s most remote hotels, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and luxury hotels with private airports.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

Click to view slideshow.

** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Thailand with my online Thailand travel guide ***


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The transfer from Bangkok to Soneva Kiri is done by plane and smoothly coordinated: from the moment you disembark at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, a Soneva representative assists and escorts you until you board the resort’s private plane. Yes, you read that right: a private plane! Guests are transferred from the Thai capital to Soneva Kiri in style aboard the resort’s luxurious custom-fitted eight-seater private plane (a Cessna Grand Caravan). The plane departs from Bangkok’s main airport according to a fixed time schedule. Click here to watch my (older) Youtube clip onboard the resort’s private plane.
  • The flight from Bangkok to Soneva Kiri takes about 70 minutes and is a scenic sightseeing trip over Eastern Thailand: about half of it takes place over land, and the remaining half of over the Gulf of Thailand’s turquoise waters. The plane lands at Soneva’s Kiri private airstrip on the neighboring island Koh Mai Si , and from there, it’s only another 5 minutes by speedboat to the arrival jetty, where the resort staff will welcome you to paradise, with a refreshing cold towel and a welcome drink.
  • From the moment you touch down (barefoot) on Soneva Kiri’s shores, your personal butler – called a Mr or Ms Friday – is on hand with a smile and assists you throughout your stay.
  • The award-winning luxury resort is located in Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood. Koh Kood is Thailand as it was years ago, with untamed jungle, pristine beaches, and fishermen going about their business. Surprisingly, Koh Kood is one of Thailand’s best kept secrets as the island remains an ‘off the radar’ destination. Soneva Kiri offers several excursions to explore the beauty of Koh Kood, which has a distinct local feel and is a real step back in time to the Thailand of old.
  • Soneva Kiri’s natural landscape is stunningly beautiful. The resort is located on a massive, 41-hectare (102-acre) site in a remote corner of Koh Kood, overlooking the turquoise, calm waters of a majestic private bay. With hills covered by lush tropical rainforest and sugar-white beaches lapped by crystal clear waters, these are Thailand’s – even Asia’s – most pristine and glamorous resort grounds. It simply does’t get better than this.
  • Because the resort grounds are so spread out, private electric buggies are provided to guests (one per villa) for the duration of their stay. It’s so much fun to drive around with your loved one through the lush tropical foliage, although you’ll soon discover that the resort offer more jungle, beach, and more leisure activities than your buggy will be able to hit in one day. In addition to golf carts, bicycles are provided are well (one per guest) which is an even more fun (and decidedly more healthy) way to explore the resort, although the hilly character of the domain may represent a challenge for some guests.
  • From the arrival jetty, a long wooden walkway leads up the hill to Soneva Kiri’s main facilities and resort center. Perched atop rocky cliffs and sheltered amidst verdant tree canopy, the resort’s heart is an amazing latticework of pathways and wood pavilions that seem to come straight out of a fairytale. Here, you find the reception, library, bar (with pool), main restaurant, jewelry gallery, boutique shop, and a fabulous chocolate & ice cream parlor. All ice creams and chocolates are complimentary (24/7). You can choose from over sixty constantly changing flavors of homemade ice creams and sorbets at the ice cream parlor, which is called ‘So Chilled’. Inside the adjoining ‘So Chocoholic’ room, you can indulge in every child’s dream of never-ending chocolate: freshly made passion fruit, honey and salted caramel infused truffles line up alongside warm pots of creamy mousse and luscious fondue.
  • Private beaches in Asia are a rarity, but you find one at Soneva Kiri. The resort’s magnificent North Beach is accessible by a short 5 minute speedboat ride from the resort. The white, sandy beach is fringed with palm trees, and offers sunbeds and umbrellas for guests to lounge on. Light snacks and drinks are served on the beach, and a barbecue can be arranged. The ocean water is crystal clear, warm, and calm.
  • Soneva Kiri has 24 resort villas and 11 private residences. The elegant and sophisticated villas are massive in scale and amongst the world’s largest hotel accommodations. Located along the idyllic bay or on the sunny slopes in the rainforest, all villas have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, and impeccable service courtesy of Mr/Ms Friday private butlers. In Soneva’s trademark rustic-chic eco-design, the villas feature large outdoor living areas and indoor, air-conditioned bedrooms, and beautifully designed semi-outdoor, en-suite bathrooms. In all my travels, I have never been more impressed and ‘wowed’ by a hotel accommodation than here (even on my repeat visits).
  • Soneva Kiri features several palatial multi-bedroom villas, which are ideal for larger travel parties or families. During my visit, I was upgrade to a phenomenal 5 bedroom villa, called the ‘Private Beach Pool Reserve’. Redefining the ‘castle in the sand’ concept, this enormous villa is loctaed on Soneva Kiri’s most desirable beachside real estate since it comes with its own private beach cove. Secluded away in an exceptionally peaceful spot, the Private Beach Pool Reserve towers over the sea, is embraced by jungle, enjoys a serene atmosphere away from the buzz of the resort, but is only a short 5-minute electric buggy ride away from all the rustic-luxe facilities. The master bedroom and three additional bedrooms all feature luxury outdoor bathrooms so you can soak in the starlight or shower by the sun’s rays with a refreshing waterfall. The fifth bedroom is the most playful of them all – a tree house with child-cheering bunk beds and a slide snaking its way down to the sprawling freeform swimming pool.
  • Dining at Soneva Kiri is a stellar culinary experience, because of the extravagant restaurant settings, the amazing food, and top-quality service. There are 3 restaurants that cater to different tastes. The View restaurant takes its name from its unparalleled outlook on a cliff over the Gulf of Siam and offers international cuisine with an Asian twist. The Dining Room‘s rustic-chic design serves as a natural complement to the beauty of the views; it offers fabulous themed buffets on selected evening. And then there’s Benz, an open-air lantern-lit eatery on stilts amidst the mangroves which offers the most exquisite, spicy Thai food I’ve ever had.
  • The resort’s most memorable dining experience is the Treepod, which is inspired by the childhood’s desire to climb into a leafy canopy and find shelter amidst a simple wooden construction. Taking fine dining literally to new heights, you can gaze out across the boulder-covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves from a bamboo pod high up into the ancient rainforest, as you savor gourmet delights and your chosen wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter.
  • All Soneva resorts feature by far the most lavish breakfast buffets of any hotel in the world, but my absolute favorite is the breakfast at Soneva Kiri, served at the Dining Room. It features a dedicated ham and cheese room, with sumptuous homemade cheeses, charcuterie and own-smoked salmon, in addition to a menu of creative Thai and Mediterranean fare from the Cooking Hut. You can also take your pick of more luscious delicacies straight from the wood-fired rock oven, hot and cold smoke oven and the earthen tandoor.
  • The resort offers an abundance of activities that cater all ages and even the most discerning of tastes: a wide selection of water sports (including catamaran sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, water-skiing, wake boarding and snorkelling) and a variety of  excursions (including a visit to the island’s local villages, cooking classes and a sightseeing trip to Angkor Wat) are available to guests, in addition to tennis, mountain biking, astronomy and gardening classes.
  • At Soneva Kiri, you can watch classic movies under the stars in a return to the old traditions of Hollywood enjoyment. The magnificent resort’s Cinema Paradiso marries three passions close to the founder’s – Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malstrom – heart: classical beauty and elegance, immersion in nature and relaxed indulgence … a luxury that lets its hair down and kicks off its shoes. Film screenings are scheduled on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday in the resort’s open-air theatre, a jungle-enshrouded auditorium of cascading cushions over the waters of the reservoir lagoon. While watching the movie, you can nibble on a playful menu of gourmet comfort foods, accompanied with your personal fancy of creative cocktails.
  • On the remote island of Koh Kood, you stare into its open sky, far from the obscuring lights of civilization. That’s why Soneva Kiri built a state-of-the-art observatory, located next to the DIning Room. With the infectious passion of visiting astronomers, you can identify constellations, count the moons of Jupiter and peer at the graceful halo of Saturn’s translucent ring.
  • A giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, The Den – the resort’s version of a child’s club – is dedicated to learning, to excitement, to meaningful experiences. Professional child minders pique your children’s imaginations, teaching them to play Thai instruments, unleashing their creative talents with painting and the visual arts, and carefully watching them at play in the wonderous world of moulded bamboo spaces up, down and around. Soneva Kiri also offer a special program aimed specifically at one to five year-olds, and is the only resort that offers such comprehensive, age-specific facilities. Here, the children get to play with toys and take part in activities, that meet Soneva’s stringent standards of social and environmental responsibility.
  • Hidden among the island’s wild jungle foliage, the resort’s Six Senses spa provides lasting wellness and rejuvenation therapies. From soothing scrubs and oils of local coconuts to Tibetan hot stones, the spa will invite you to embark on sensory journeys of authentic treatments from near and far, including mud massages, Thai herbal baths, silk facials, and a rich selection of wellness rituals. The spa is operated by Six Senses, a brand that’s world-famous for its wellness programs & facilities. Sonu Shivdasani – the CEO of Soneva – is also the founder and former CEO of the Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe, which he sold in 2012.
  • The resort is managed by Soneva, my absolute favorite hotel brand in the world. The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy: it aims to create unforgettable, innovating, and enlightening experiences that illuminate their guest’s lives whilst treading lightly on the earth. The ethos and values it is run by are what sets Soneva on different footing as compared to other high-end hotel brands. In addition, there’s also a lot of love and romance in the story of Soneva, which was founded in 1995 by Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, and his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model. Soneva’s 3 other properties are located in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi, Soneva In Aqua, and Soneva Jani.
  • Pre-arrival communication with the resort is excellent: all my emails were answered within 24 hours.
  • The most stand-out feature of Soneva Kiri is the excellent staff. Everyone, from management to your personal butler, is superfriendly and service is impeccable.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Soneva Kiri is one of the most exclusive resorts of the world.  IMHO, it doesn’t get any better than this. The travel experience is mind-blowing from start to end and will last for a lifetime. The incredible resort has no real cons, yet there are some thing you may want to know when considering a stay here:  

  • While most will love the spectacular transfer in the resort’s private plane, the thought of flying (overwater) on one engine in a small plane (albeit with 2 pilots) for 70 minutes can make people – including myself – nervous. However, you don’t have to fly to get to Soneva Kiri as you can also get there from Bangkok by car (4 to 5 hours, depending upon traffic), followed by a 40 min boat transfer. So, your flying phobia should not be an excuse to skip this exceptional, highly recommended resort.
  • Most of the resort’s villa are located in the jungle, where wildlife is present. It’s just a fantastic addition to an already exceptional resort, and you should feel lucky when you get to spot one of the more elusive wildlife creatures. However, some may find the presence of wildlife uncomfortable or the noise it makes at night annoying. More troublesome are the mosquitos and sand flies which are for real in the rainy season (May to October).
  • The resort has 24 one-bedroom villas, ranging from the ‘beach pool villa suite’ (lowest room category) and the ‘bayview pool villa suite’ to the ‘sunset ocean view pool villa suites’ (highest room category). I stayed in all 3 villa types during my previous visits to Soneva Kiri and they are all terrific. Just keep in mind that the beach pool villa suites are not really ocean front but are built around an inlet of the sea (more like a lagoon) with a tidal beach (which is almost non-existing at high tide). The resort’s main beach – North Beach – does not feature any villas.
  • Soneva Kiri’s repeat guests may notice that the resort is now using a different beach – North Beach (only accessible by boat) – instead of the one they used a few years ago (South Beach). While North Beach is stunningly beautiful and one of the best in Thailand, it’s not as exceptional as South Beach which ranked among my favorite beaches in the world with the clearest water and the softest sand I had ever seen (with the exception of the Maldives). However, the good news is that there’s a real chance that South Beach will be joining the resort grounds again (in addition to North Beach) in the near future.
  • All your other trips will pale in comparison to the memory of a Soneva Kiri vacation.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 10/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 10/10
  • Breakfast: 10/10
  • Spa: 10/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 10/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Contact me for a complimentary room upgrade (based upon availability).
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Soneva Kiri (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: get free VIP amenities at Soneva Kiri when booking via Virtuoso travel agent, which has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Thai tapas on arrival, and a 30 minute spa treatment for two; with stays of 4 nights or more: one beach dinner, a private island picnic with snorkeling at Koh Rang, and a 30 min spa treatment for two).
  • Room tip: When choosing a villa, you should mainly take into consideration whether you want to be in the jungle and shade (cliff or bayview pool villa suite), or in full sunshine (ocean front pool villa suite). Keep in mind that the ocean front pool villa suites are not really ocean front (see above) and are not located on Soneva Kiri’s idyllic beach. In fact, we preferred the less expensive cliff villa over the ocean front villa, mainly because of the shade (which was a welcome respite because of the heat) and tropical foliage, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
  • If you travel in the rainy season, be sure to prepare for insects (the hotel does provide insect repellent though). We did not have any problems with insects during our stay in the dry season).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The weather in Southeast Thailand is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit this part of Thailand); a hot, dry season from March to June, and a rainy season from July to October. Expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 degrees centigrade throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by very high humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions, as well as lower room rates.


HOW TO GET THERE

Soneva Kiri is reached by a 70 minute flight from Bangkok’s main international airport on the resort’s private plane (or, when you are suffering from flying phobia, a 4 hours car trip followed by a 50 min boat transfer). Bangkok itself is served by 2 airports:

  • Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of downtown Bangkok and is a major hub in Asia. Check the Wikipedia page of Suvarnabhumi International Airport for an updated list with airlines that offer direct flights to Bangkok.
  • Don Mueang Airport is Bangkok’s regional commuter flight hub and the de facto low-cost airline hub. Check the Wikipedia page of Don Mueang Airport for an updated list with airlines that offer direct flights to Bangkok.

TRANSFER TO SONEVA KIRI BY BOAT
TRANSFER TO SONEVA KIRI BY BOAT
TRANSFER TO SONEVA KIRI BY BOAT
TRANSFER TO SONEVA KIRI BY BOAT
ARRIVAL JETTY
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MAIN FACILITIES: RECEPTION & LIBRARY PAVILION
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MAIN FACILITIES: SHOPS
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MAIN FACILITIES: JEWELRY GALLERY
MAIN FACILITIES: DIVE CENTER
MAIN FACILITIES: BOUTIQUE SHOP
MAIN FACILITIES: BOUTIQUE SHOP
MAIN FACILITIES: BOUTIQUE SHOP
MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
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MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
MAIN FACILITIES: CENTRAL PAVILION
MAIN FACILITIES: ICEA CREAM PARLOR
MAIN FACILITIES: ICEA CREAM PARLOR
MAIN FACILITIES: ICEA CREAM PARLOR
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: CHOCOLATE ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: OBSERVATORY
MAIN FACILITIES: OBSERVATORY
MAIN FACILITIES: THE DINING ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: THE DINING ROOM
MAIN FACILITIES: THE DINING ROOM
JUNGLE PATHS TO VILLAS
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE

BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE

BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
BAYVIEW POOL VILLA SUITE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ENTRANCE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ENTRANCE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ENTRANCE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ENTRANCE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ENTRANCE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: LIVING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: LIVING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: LIVING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: LIVING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: DINING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: DINING AREA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: POOL
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: MASTER BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TREE HOUSE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TREE HOUSE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TREE HOUSE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM

5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: STAIRS TO UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE:UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: BEDROOM ON UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: BEDROOM ON UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: BEDROOM ON UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: BEDROOM ON UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: BEDROOM ON UPPER FLOOR
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: SPA SALSA
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TV & PLAY ROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TV & PLAY ROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: TV & PLAY ROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: INDOOR KITCHEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: OUTDOOR KITCHEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: SAUNA & STEAM ROOM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: GYM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: GYM
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE GARDEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE GARDEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE GARDEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE GARDEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE GARDEN
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: PRIVATE BEACH COVE
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: AT NIGHT
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: AT NIGHT
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: AT NIGHT
5 BEDROOM BEACH RESERVE: AT NIGHT
SHUTTLE TO NORTH BEACH
SHUTTLE TO NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH

NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH

NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH

NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH

NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH (MANGROVE AREA)
NORTH BEACH
NORTH BEACH
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA
SIX SENSES SPA: GYM
SIX SENSES SPA: GYM
SIX SENSES SPA: GYM
THE DEN
THE DEN
THE DEN
THE DEN
THE DEN
THE DEN
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
THE VIEW SUNSET BAR
THE VIEW SUNSET BAR
THE VIEW RESTAURANT
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE VIEW RESTAURANT: DINNER
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: ASIAN STREETFOOD BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST BUFFET
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST (COLD ROOM)
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST MENU
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
THE DINING ROOM: BREAKFAST
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT
BENZ RESTAURANT

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The post Review of my FAVORITE hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri (Thailand) appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10 reasons why you should stay at Soneva Kiri (Thailand)

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 16, 2018): Top 10 reasons why you should book a stay at Soneva Kiri (Thailand).

If you’ve been following my travel blog for a while, then you know that I cannot stop raving about Soneva, my favorite hotel brand in the world. Soneva’s property in Thailand, Soneva Kiri, is without any doubt my favorite hotel in the world. Remote yet accessible by a one hour flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. The estate’s 36 incredible villas rank among of the largest resort villas in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers. Spectacular highlights include the open air Cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate and ice cream parlour, the fabulous beach and the incredible treetop dining pod.

This week, I am taking you on a journey to Soneva Kiri with a (new) review to be published on Wednesday. Last weekend, I already published a new clip about Soneva Kiri on my Youtube channel, which you can watch below. It’s an extra long clip, to celebrate the launch of my Youtube channel, exactly 4 years ago. Today, I am explaining you in 10 keypoints why I love Soneva Kiri so much, and why I think that you should consider a stay here as well.

Have you ever stayed at Soneva Kiri, and if so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.

Click to view slideshow.

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10. FLY ONBOARD SONEVA KIRI’S PRIVATE PLANE

Soneva Kiri can be reached by a short 70 minute flight on the resort’s private plane direct from Bangkok’s international Suvarnabhumi Airport. Yes, you read that right: a private plane! Guests are transferred from the Thai capital to Soneva Kiri in style onboard the resort’s luxurious custom-fitted eight-seater private plane (a Cessna Grand Caravan). The Soneva experience begins as you disembark at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where you will be greeted by the resort’s airport representatives at the gate, escorted through immigration and checked in at the Soneva Kiri Counter. After landing on Soneva Kiri’s private airport, you will be taken by a luxury speed boat to the resort’s jetty where the Soneva team will welcome you.


9. DISCOVER THE AUTHENTIC THAILAND ON KOH KOOD

Ancient Siam meets privacy and ‘intelligent luxury’ at Soneva Kiri, as the award-winning luxury resort is located on the remote northwestern tip of Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood. Koh Kood is located in the eastern part of the Bay of Thailand, and this is Thailand as it was years ago, with untamed jungle, pristine beaches, and fishermen going about their business. The largely undeveloped tropical paradise is a real gem. Surprisingly, Koh Kood is one of Thailand’s best kept secrets as the island remains an ‘off the radar’ destination. Soneva Kiri offers several excursions to explore the beauty of Koh Kood, which has a distinct local feel and is a real step back in time to the Thailand of old.


8. RIDE YOUR OWN PRIVATE ELECTRIC BUGGY

Soneva Kiri is located on a massive, 41-hectare (102-acre) site, so as you can imagine, getting around does take some time. But you don’t have to worry about this since private electric buggies are provided to guests (one per villa) for the duration of their stay. It’s so much fun to drive around with your loved one through the lush tropical foliage, although you’ll soon discover that the resort offer more jungle, beach, and more leisure activities than your buggy will be able to hit in one day. In addition to golf carts, bicycles are provided are well (one per guest) which is an even more fun (and decidedly more healthy) way to explore the resort, although the hilly character of the domain may be a challenge for some guests.


7. BOOK A PRIVATE JUNGLE CINEMA 

At Soneva Kiri, you can watch classic movies under the stars in a return to the old traditions of Hollywood enjoyment. The magnificent resort’s Cinema Paradiso marries three passions close to the founder’s – Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malstrom – heart: classical beauty and elegance, immersion in nature and relaxed indulgence … a luxury that lets its hair down and kicks off its shoes. Film screenings are scheduled on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday in the resort’s open-air theatre, a jungle-enshrouded auditorium of cascading cushions over the waters of the reservoir lagoon. While watching the movie, you can nibble on a playful menu of gourmet comfort foods, accompanied with your personal fancy of creative cocktails.


6. ENJOY THE WORLD’S MOST LAVISH BREAKFAST

All Soneva resorts feature by far the most lavish breakfast buffets of any hotel in the world, but my absolute favorite is the breakfast at Soneva Kiri in Thailand. It features a dedicated ham and cheese room, with sumptuous homemade cheeses, charcuterie and own-smoked salmon, in addition to a menu of creative Thai and Mediterranean fare from the Cooking Hut. You can also take your pick of more luscious delicacies straight from the wood-fired rock oven, hot and cold smoke oven and the earthen tandoor. And after breakfast, you can always retreat to the chocolate room, where the cocoa goodness is presented in blends of up to 95%, be it in the form of mousses, cookies, drinks, bon-bons or truffles.


5. UNLEASH YOUR INNER CHILD AT THE DEN

A giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, The Den (the resort’s version of a child’s club) is dedicated to learning, to excitement, to meaningful experiences. Professional child minders pique your children’s imaginations, teaching them to play Thai instruments, unleashing their creative talents with painting and the visual arts, and carefully watching them at play in the wonderous world of moulded bamboo spaces up, down and around. Soneva Kiri also offer a special program aimed specifically at one to five year-olds, and is the only resort that offers such comprehensive, age-specific facilities. Here, the children get to play with toys and take part in activities, that meet Soneva’s stringent standards of social and environmental responsibility.


4. REJUVENATE AT THE SIX SENSES SPA

The restorative effects of Soneva Kiri environment along with its invigorating facilities and holistic treatments are the key to a truly rejuvenating stay. Hidden among the island’s wild jungle foliage, the resort’s Six Senses spa provides lasting wellness and rejuvenation therapies. From soothing scrubs and oils of local coconuts to Tibetan hot stones, the spa will invite you to embark on sensory journeys of authentic treatments from near and far, including mud massages, Thai herbal baths, silk facials, and a rich selection of wellness rituals. IMHO, Six Senses is the world’s best spa brand. Sonu Shivdasani – the CEO of Soneva – is also the founder and former CEO of the Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe, which he sold in 2012.


3. RELAX ON SONEVA KIRI’S PRISTINE PRIVATE BEACH

Private beaches in Asia are a rarity, but you find one at Soneva Kiri. The resort’s magnificent North Beach is accessible by a short 5 minute speedboat ride from the resort. The white, sandy beach is fringed with palm trees, and offers sunbeds and umbrellas for guests to lounge on. Light snacks and drinks are served on the beach, and a barbecue can be arranged. The ocean water is crystal clear, warm, and calm. Soneva Kiri’s repeat guests may notice that the resort is now using a different beach as the one they used a few years ago (South Beach; which ranks among my favorite beaches in the world), although there’s a good chance that South Beach will be joining the resort grounds again (in addition to North Beach) in the near future.


2. ENJOY FINE DINING IN THE RAINFOREST’S CANOPY

Dining at Soneva Kiri is a sublime culinary experience, with several restaurants catering to different tastes. The View restaurant offers international cuisine with an Asian twist; the Dining Room offers fabulous themed buffets on selected evening; and then there’s Benz, an open-air lantern-lit eatery on stilts amidst the mangroves which offers the most exquisite, spicy Thai food I’ve ever had. However, the resort’s most memorable dining experience is the Treepod, which is inspired by the childhood’s desire to climb into a leafy canopy and find shelter amidst a simple wooden construction. Taking fine dining literally to new heights, you can gaze out across the boulder-covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves from a bamboo pod high up into the ancient rainforest, as you savor gourmet delights and your chosen wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter.


1. BE WOWED BY THE RESORT’S FABULOUS VILLAS 

Soneva Kiri features 36 elegant and sophisticated villas, which are all massive in scale and rank amongst the world’s largest and most impressive hotel accommodations. Located along the idyllic bay or on the sunny slopes in the rainforest, all villas have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers. In Soneva’s trademark rustic-chic eco-design, the villas feature large outdoor living areas and indoor, air-conditioned bedrooms, and beautifully designed semi-outdoor, en-suite bathrooms. In all my travels, I have never been more impressed and ‘wowed’ by a hotel accommodation than here (even on my repeat visits).


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The post Top 10 reasons why you should stay at Soneva Kiri (Thailand) appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Travel tip: Soneva launches a ‘Festival of Colour’ campaign

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (April 13, 2018): Soneva launches a ‘Festival of Colour’ campaign to celebrate rare experiences across its resorts.

As most of you know, I am a huge fan of luxury hotels (and I assume most of you are as well since you are following my blog). Aman, Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood and Four Seasons rank among my favorite hotel brands. But none comes close to my absolute favorite hotel group in the world: Soneva. What I like so much about the Soneva – and how they discriminate themselves from their high-end competitors – is their pursuit for excellence, the unique design of their resorts, their commitment to inspired living, their very smart take on barefoot luxury, their breathtaking ‘remote but accessible’ natural locations, and their creation of authentic experiences (unlike any other). Soneva has four spectacular resorts so far (with more properties planned to open in the near future):

Over the coming weeks, I will publish a Soneva special, including new reviews and clips (including 4K aerial drone clips and full tours) of Soneva Kiri, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani. I have already published my first 4K aerial drone clip of Soneva Kiri, which you can watch below, and I will publish an extra-long 90 min clip with a full tour of Soneva Kiri tomorrow on my Youtube channel.

For the past couple of years, I was able to offer the readers of my blog a complimentary upgrade at any Soneva resort (regardless of whether the booking was made via Soneva directly or via a travel agent). The offer is still valid. And now may the best time ever to book a stay at one of the Soneva resorts since Soneva has launched its first ever year-long campaign known as a ‘Festival of Colour’ to celebrate the diverse array of guest activities and experiences on offer this year, ranging from visiting Michelin-starred chefs and astronomers, through to authors, champion free-divers, artists and more. Each month of the year is associated with a different colour and theme, which will be brought to life at Soneva’s resorts in the Maldives and Thailand through special on-site events and collaborations. 

Underscoring the Festival of Colour is a series of short “colour” films created by the renowned French film director Bruno Aveillan. Bruno visited Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in early 2017 to shoot the films, which were inspired by the different colours he found at the resorts. Soneva releases one colour film each month during the campaign on its website and on social media. For example, below is the clip released by Soneva the celebrate the color Blue:

As part of the Festival of Colour, Soneva has confirmed a huge line-up of visiting experts, including chefs, authors, wine producers, world-champion free-divers, astronomers, artists, wellness practitioners, tennis coaches and more at all resorts. To give you an idea, this month (April 2018) sees the grand opening of a new dining outlet at Soneva Fushi where you’ll be able to enjoy the culinary skills of the 3-starred Michelin Chef Gyoten, of Sushi Gyoten fame in Japan; Chef Claus Meyer, the cofounder of the two Michelin-starred restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, of Bolivia’s best restaurant GUSTU and of 1-starred Michelin Agern and Great Northern Food Hall in New York City; as well as visiting chefs from Italy and China who will also grace the kitchens. Wine tastings, the enigmatic French band Phly Boyz, the award-winning astronomer Lars Lindberg Christensen, American glass artists, and practitioners specialised in Ayurvedic medicine, massage and physiotherapy are also all on-site this month in Soneva Fusjo.

Fine dining experiences are a pivotal part of Soneva’s Festival of Colour, and the company has so-far confirmed 28 of the world’s top chefs (many of which have at least two Michelin stars and above or are included within The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) for exclusive dinner events. Confirmed chefs include (in alphabetical order):

  • Chef Tom Aikens, the youngest British chef to win two Michelin stars
  • Chef Andre Van Alten, from the one-starred Restaurant La Provence in Driebergen- Rijsenburg, Netherlands
  • Chef Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex, a two-Michelin starred chef from Auberge de l’Ile Barbe, France
  • Chef Wilco Berends, of the two Michelin starred Restaurant De Nederlanden, Netherlands
  • Chef Tim Butler of Eat Me, Bangkok
  • Chef Benoit Dewitte, the head chef and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Benoit Dewitte in Belgium
  • Chef Andre Van Doorn, from the one-starred Restaurant Kasteel Heemstede, Netherlands
  • Chef Jarno Eggen from the one Micheline-starred Restaurant  De Groene Lantaarn, in Zuidwolde, Netherlands
  • Chef Jos Grootscholten from the one-starred Old Town Hall of Capelle aan den Ijssel, Netherlands
  • Chef Kenji Gyoten the youngest Japanese chef with three Michelin stars
  • Chef Michael Husken, who heads up the kitchen team at Sophia’s restaurant at Rocco Forte’s “The Charles Hotel”, Munich
  • Chef Mark Lundgaard a one-Michelin starred chef of Restaurant Kong Hans Kaelder in Denmark
  • Chef Gert De Mangeleer, a three-Michelin starred chef who co-runs Restaurant Hertog Jan in Belgium
  • Chef Max Mascia of the two-Michelin-starred San Domenico Imola (Italy)
  • Chef Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen, of Bolivia’s best restaurant GUSTU and of the one-Michelin-starred Agern and Great Northern Food Hall in New York City
  • Chef Kiko Moya, a two Michelin-starred chef from L’Escaletta, Spain
  • Jean Baptiste Natali, a one-Michelin starred chef from At the General’s table, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France
  • Chef Bruno Oger, a renowned two-Michelin-starred chef from Le Cannet, France
  • Chef Pere Planaguma, 2 Michelin Stars. He is the head chef of Les Cols of Olot from Girona, spain
  • Chef Tim Raue, from the two-Michelin starred restaurant TIM RAUE in Berlin, Germany
  • Chef Prateek Sadhu of Masque, one of Mumbai’s most acclaimed restaurants
  • Chef Dmitry Shurashov, a Russian celebrity chef
  • Christian Le Squer, a three-Michelin-starred chef from France
  • Chef Ton Tassanakajohn of Le Du in Bangkok; one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
  • Chef Edwin Vinke from the two Michelin-starred Restaurant De Kromme Watergang in Hoofdplaat, Netherlands
  • Chef Michael Wignall, formerly at Gidleigh Park, UK, with two Michelin stars and five AA rosettes
  • Chef Lu Yao, the head chef at the Relais & Chateaux property Yihe Mansions in China

“We’re really focused on crafting these beautiful, beyond bespoke experiences where discovery is a way of life. With our expert hosts as personal guides, we invite our guests to explore and delight in experiences that will last a lifetime.  Soneva has never been so full of LIFE,” said Sonu Shivdasani, Founder, CEO and Joint Creative Director of Soneva. LIFE stands for Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences.

In addition to chefs, other experts include the renowned British historian Andrew Roberts, the world-champion free-diver Umberto Pelizzari, the astronomer Massimo Terenghi, plus glass artists James Devereux and Louis Thompson, among many others.

Guests who visit any Soneva property during the Festival of Colour will be treated to special colour-themed movie screenings, cocktails, canapes and more.  There will also be announcements by Soneva over the next few months linked to new restaurant openings and new guest experiences, all linked to different colour themes.

Contact me if you want to book a stay at one of the Soneva resorts.


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The post Travel tip: Soneva launches a ‘Festival of Colour’ campaign appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt Airport)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in Thailand, including a stay at my favorite hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri. I will publish my reviews in the coming weeks:

  • Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport (today)
  • Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Bangkok
  • Review: Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood (my favorite hotel in the world)
  • Review: Park Hyatt Hotel Bangkok
  • Review:  Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok
  • Review: Thai Airways Boeing B747 First Class from Bangkok to Munich

Today (April 4, 2018): Review of Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt Airport.

On February 9th 2018, I flew First Class in a Lufthansa Airbus A380 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), also known unofficially as Bangkok Airport, in Thailand. One of the great perks about flying First Class with Lufthansa is that it gives you access to the über-exclusive Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, widely considered one of the best airport lounges in the world and essentially thé Mecca for frequent flyers. Everything in the lounge (which is housed in its own separate terminal) is geared to your personal well-being while spending your pre-flight hours. The space has relax chairs, quiet rooms with day beds, spacious bath and shower rooms, fine wining and dining with cuisine by Michelin-starred chefs, a cigar lounge, a bar where the drinks include more than 130 different varieties of whisky, offices, and a spa. Best of all, once your flight is ready for boarding, you are driven from the terminal to the plane across the tarmac in a limousine.

The Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt features in my top 10 list of the best First Class lounges in the world.

In this review (more info below the Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Lounge entry rules
  • How to get to the First Class Terminal
  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • Photos

Click to view slideshow.

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1. LOUNGE ENTRY RULES

Access to the First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport is only possible with when you are flying First Class on a Lufthansa operated plane:

  • When you First Class Lufthansa journey starts in Frankfurt, then you will check-in at the First Class Terminal itself.
  • When you are catching a connecting flight via Frankfurt to a First Class Lufthansa flight, you also have access to the First Class Terminal. However, most transit passengers make use of the Lufthansa First Class lounges within the airport and not the First Class Terminal, since the latter is located outside the main airport facilities, and you need the leave the main airport terminal to access the First Class terminal, which may be inconvenient and time-consuming.
  • When you are connecting from a Lufthansa First Class flight via Frankfurt to a Lufthansa, Swiss, or Austrian Airlines flight on the same day, you also have access to the First Class Terminal.

The top-tier member of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More (HON Circle members) can also access the First Class Terminal on condition that they are traveling on a same-day departing flight on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian Airlines (regardless of the class they are booked in).

Passengers who have booked a flight that departs from Frankfurt and connects to a First Class flight with SWISS International Air Lines from Zürich can also use the Lufthansa First Terminal before their departure.

When you meet the requirements mentioned above, you can also bring a guest with you into the First Class Terminal provided that he or she is booked on the same Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines or SWISS flight as yourself. Your spouse or partner and any children under 18 years of age must be in possession of a valid boarding pass for a flight on the same day as you are flying.

Unfortunately, access to the First Class Terminal is not permitted for arriving passengers, since there aren’t any arrival services at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. Arriving passengers can use the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, which is located behind baggage claim in the B arrivals area. 


2. HOW TO GET TO THE FIRST CLASS TERMINAL

If you are arriving by car, take the access road to Terminal 1 and turn right (signposted ‘First Class Terminal’) approximately 200 metres or 650 feet before Terminal 1.

If you are arriving by public transport, the First Class Terminal is just a few minutes walk away from Terminal 1.

When you arrive in Frankfurt via a connecting flight, you need to clear immigration, exit the main terminal, turn left and walk for about five minutes past the taxi stand to the First Class Terminal (which is visible in the distance from the moment you exit the main terminal). At some points, it feels like you are leaving the airport for good, but you need to keep walking.


3. PROS & THINGS I LIKE 
  • As the name suggests, the lounge is located in a separate terminal, located away from the main airport terminal itself, lending it a sense of exclusivity. When you arrive with your own car, you can drive straight up to the First Class Terminal and hand your car over to the valet parking service. When you arrive with your rental car, the car will be returned for you (regardless of the car rental agency).
  • A personal assistant is assigned to each passengers and is waiting for you in the entrance area of the First Class Terminal, which is reminiscent of the lobby of a high-end hotel. He or she takes care of all travel formalities, accompanies you through the Terminal’s own security check-point (where you never have to wait in line of course) and checks you in for your flight. The assistant keeps your passport and boarding pass for the duration of your stay in the lounge, so that you don’t have to worry about it.
  • In case you want to pick up some goods prior to your flight, a boutique shop with a bespoke selection of duty-free items is located between the security check-point and the entrance to the lounge itself.
  • The lounge features a convenient layout. When you enter the lounge, there is a selection of magazines and newspaper as well as a concierge desk on your left side, while a waterfall, a bar and the restaurant are found on your right side. Several intimate seating areas, separated by large columns, are spread out along the floor-to-ceiling windows with luxurious leather arm chairs and relaxation chairs offering plenty of opportunities to wind down. Some seats are arranged around coffee tables, where set-ups of snacks (e.g. mixed nuts and dried fruits) and several water types are on display. Several 82-inch LED TV make sure you don’t have to miss anything about the news.
  • The lounge’s stunning design feels more like a minimalist Aman hotel than an airport lounge. The dimply lit space is decorated in soft colors, with dark stone floors and wooden walls creating a warm ambience. Back-lit glass surfaces are used in the bar and restaurant area, adding a nice modern touch to the design. Overall, the decor exudes a senses of calm, tranquility and serenity, exactly what you need while waiting for a flight.
  • The lounge itself isn’t as big as you may think at first (given the size of the terminal building), although large enough to accommodate the few dozen passengers that make use of it each day. The lounge never feels very crowded. To give you an idea, I spent an entire afternoon in the First Class Terminal (from 1 pm to 9 pm) and only counted twenty-something other passengers.
  • The lounge’s centerpiece and eyecatcher is the stylish bar, which features back-lit glass panels and high-top seats. The bar serves all kind of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including more than 130 varieties of whisky. You don’t have to go to the bar though to order drinks, as servers walk around the lounge to take orders. In front of the main bar is separate bar counter with some more high-top seats and an impressive display of Haribo Gold-Bears gummi candies.
  • Dining at the lounge is exceptional, with both an expansive buffet and an a la carte menu on offer. The open restaurant features only a dozen tables, which are arranged in a few clusters separated by large dividers. Catering is provided by DO&CO, the same company that caters for several airlines, including Asiana, Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and more. The buffet, which is supposed to complement the menu, is the most impressive airport buffet I have ever seen, featuring everything from a ham slicer and home-made salads to a wide variety of amuse bouches and cheeses. I choose a Wiener schnitzel (veal escaloppe Viennese style) from the menu, which tasted delicious and was served with potato, cucumber and cabbage salad.
  • If you want to work in discreet surroundings, you can use one of the five separate office units that are equipped with free services (Wi-Fi, landline for local calls, fax).
  • The First Class Terminal features two quiet rooms with day beds for those who want to take a nap (although I am not sure why you would want to do that in this fabulous place). The rooms are available on a first come first serve basis.
  • There are also four shower rooms (including one with a jacuzzi bathtub) for those who want to refresh before or after a flight.
  • In front of the restaurant is a surprisingly spacious and enclosed cigar room, which is in fact a smoking room and comes with its own self-serve bar. The cigars are not complimentary though.
  • A small spa, in cooperation with BABOR, offers a retreat from the every day travel norm. You can enjoy a complimentary fifteen minute spa treatment upon request, although longer spa treatments need to be paid for.
  • A rubber duck is given to guests as a souvenir. These Lufthansa ducks are quite famous and represent a collector’s item among frequent flyers since their design changes monthly.
  • Once your flight is ready for boarding, your personal assistant will fetch you and escort you downstairs to the Terminal’s lower level where passport control occurs if you are departing on a non-Schengen flight. Next, because of the Terminal’s remote location, you are driven by limousine from the First Class Terminal to your plane. Lufthansa makes use of a fleet of new Mercedes S-Class, BMW and Porche Cayenne cars, although you may also end up in a Mercedes van if more passengers need to board the same flight.

4. CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
  • The First Class Terminal is not very convenient for connecting passengers. When you arrive in Frankfurt via a connecting flight, you have to clear immigration, follow the street signs, leave the main airport building, turn left and walk for about 5 minutes to the First Class Terminal (which is not well signposted). All in all, this can consume a lot of time and involve a lot of walking, hence why most connecting First Class passengers prefer to stay within the main airport building and make use of the facilities offered by the First Class lounges (instead of those offered by the First Class Terminal).
  • It’s very quiet inside the First Class Terminal. When you have a phone conversation, everyone will be able to hear it. It is the sort of place where you feel obliged to talk in whispers. When you are here with kids, you may panic a little, although there is a children’s room to keep the younger VIP guests busy away from the main lounge area.
  • Although the lounge features floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the airport environment, you cannot see the apron or runway from the First Class Terminal nor any of the planes (which is disappointing for the aviation geeks among us).

LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: EXTERIOR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: LOBBY
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: ENTRANCE
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: SEATING AREAS
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RUBBER DUCK
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RUBBER DUCK
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BAR
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RESTAURANT
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RESTAURANT
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RESTAURANT
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: RESTAURANT
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL: BUFFET