The car pulled in passing what looked like a ten feet tall Moroccan-influenced castle wall in deep purple hue. As the car stopped, we stepped out into a grand open-air Thai pavilion that literally sits on water and to make it more surreal, we were surrounded by 2000 candles that are all fully lit up. Each step we take walking from one stone to another is like walking on water; at the end the full hospitality team of Ritz Carlton awaits to give us a personal warm welcome to the property. “Welcome to Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay” where the mountain meets the sea, the voice echoed as the beautifully handmade flower garland made fresh purple orchid is being gently into our wrists. Then our butler quickly escorted us to our stunning Royal Andaman Sea Villa. Welcome to our home for the next 3 nights; come with us this way!
“Welcome to Amanpuri”; the voice echoed as a beautifully handcrafted fragrant heart-shaped jasmine bracelet slipped onto your wrists as soon as the car door opened. With the sight of endless coconut palm trees shooting out from the horizon, just like the fireworks but in a full broad daylight. The sound track of whispering ocean as the calming wave kisses the shore. The dramatic staircase leading the way to the seemingly infinite stretch of powdery white sand beach with a mesmerizing backdrop of crystal clear turquoise Andaman sea, and the view of the stunning 40 villas. All designed to echo the Buddhist Zen and architecture of ancient Ayutthaya, gently cascading down the oceanfront hillside. We know we have arrived here in heaven on earth. A true place of peace, living up to its name, “Amanpuri” in Sanskrit.
It is so good to be back, the last time was 8 year ago when we were celebrating our 1st year anniversary together. Despite the long gap between these visits, Soneva Kiri has always been one of our top favorite three resorts in Thailand. In fact, Soneva is also one of our top favorite chains; we have been to every single property ever built. At Soneva, we always find the simple life at its very best; the kind of barefoot luxury meets secluded lush green tropical paradise. One of many things we like about Soneva Kiri is the swift and the ease of the travel, with 80 minutes direct flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnnabhumi Airport on the resort’s private jet. Time flew by so quickly, we hovered over many different beautiful islands of the Gulf of Thailand, the scenery that you normally would never see from Bird’s eye view (as there is no flight to Koh Kood or even our neighbor islands like Koh Chang or Koh Mak. After cruising down the turquoise clear water via our private speedboat, upon our arrival on this idyllic island, we were welcomed by our Miss Friday (as butlers are called here) on the jetty. She said, “Welcome back”. Let the holiday begin!
Sweet dreams are made of this; coconut trees stretch as far as your eyes allow them to, crystal-clear turquoise blue water reflecting the endless horizon above, where pure white satin sand beach is your private playground. This is definitely a homecoming, to our all-time favorite brand, Four Seasons. Koh Samui is where we call home for the week to celebrate our 8th year anniversary together on this romantic getaway.
Sitting at the heart of a stunning peninsula on the edge of Krabi National Marine Park, in Railay, Krabi, Rayavadee is nestled in between lush green tropical gardens, surrounded on not-one-not-two-but three sides by pristine white sand beaches (Railay, Nammao, and Phranang Beach), crowned by dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal clear turquoise water of Andaman Sea, and exotic caverns and caves. Undoubtedly, this is one of Thailand’s finest beachfront properties and no need to say one of our all-time favorite. Waking up to the sound of monkeys, hearing the soft sounds of the waves touching the shore, feeling the gentle outdoor breeze as the sun warmly touches your face, pampering your style with sumptuous 75 mins spa, sipping Pina Colada as the sun kisses the horizon goodbye with the last beam of the golden hue, enjoying the romantic all candle lit dinner for two under the cave by the beach, and falling asleep under the stars to the sound of a thousand chirruping crickets, if you are ready for the all-out tropical indulgence, checking in this way.
Next stop is Luxor, a place where people referred as world’s most impressive open air museum, and even that an understatement. Luxor is a paradise of pharaonic temples and grandeur monuments – The spectacles of the ancient civilization. The setting of the city is perfect with the Nile river flowing in between, dividing it into west and east banks. Here are the temples that you must visit; Temple of Hatshepsut, Temple of Karnak, Valley of The Kings, Luxor Temple, The Ramesseum. We spent two nights there and staying at the beautiful Sofitel Legend Winter Place. I was so happy to be woken up into by birthday blowing candles, eating the surprise cake, and popping champagne from our balcony perched on the Nile River against the background of the valley of the kings with colorful hot-air balloons gracefully flying by. Then at 11.00 AM our driver from Nour El Nil cruise came to pick us up from our hotel, Sofitel Legend Winter Place. Birthday celebration continues on the cruise, I’m the luckiest!