Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa
Santhiya, on the island of Koh Yao Yai, is a remote hideaway offering hand-carved Thai architecture, an empty white beach, and rooms with swoon-inducing views of Phang Nga Bay.
Style & character
This is one of the few hotels in the south of Thailand that actually has an entirely Thai aesthetic. There are soaring thatched-roof salas, heavy hand-carved furnishings and swathes and swathes of teak and (faux) silk. Buggies, which have been converted into cute wooden carriages, shuttle guests up and down the hillside between the enormous free-form swimming pool (complete with waterfall), the snow-white beach, and the stilted sea-view rooms and villas. It ain’t fashionable or on-trend but it is impossibly pretty and because of the hotel’s close proximity to the sea, there’s always a refreshing breeze swishing across the resort.
There are 60 rooms and 39 villas hewn from teak and boasting soul-lifting views of Phang Nga bay’s limestone islands peeking out of the emerald-green Andaman Sea. At 60-square metres, the entry-level rooms are spacious – even with an extra bed (and a couple of towel swans), a family of four could fit quite happily. Ask for one with a bathtub on the balcony if it’s just the two of you. Pool villas are a more luxurious option and get bonus points for privacy, outdoor space and free bottles of wine included in the price.
Food & drink
Beachside restaurant Chantara dishes up an adequate breakfast spread (orange concentrate instead of fresh juices; frozen pastries instead of newly-baked) in the morning, and reasonably tasty set meals in the evening (Thai set 650THB/£12; Western set 1050THB/£19.50; glass of wine 400THB/£7.50). There’s also a relaxed bar for snacks throughout the day. There are few other eating and drinking options nearby.