Koh Phi Phi: Zeavola Resort
After our first weekend in Hong Kong, we headed to Thailand for four days on Koh Phi Phi. We've got to start by warning you: AVOID PHUKET INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT ALL COSTS. It's absolute chaos, and there's no workable queuing system, which as you can imagine, was utter torture for a pair of Brits.
In all honesty, in our aim to be cost-efficient on this break, I think we took the long way round, getting to Phi Phi. Our flight from Hong Kong landed at Phuket in the early hours of the morning, and our 3 hour ferry to the island from Rassada Pier wasn't until 8.30am. We spent a good deal of time bumming about the airport before getting our pre-booked cab to the pier at 6.00am. (We did meet a fantastic French-German lady and her daughter, who were winging their holidays around South East Asia. We let them share our cab to the pier, whereby the mother accidentally jumped in to the driver's seat! ("Not again!" her daughter muttered in French.) If we were to do it again, we would possibly book a hotel room for the wait, or just spend the extra and come in from a different destination by speed boat.
Moaning aside, our mini break finally began when the ferry dropped anchor just off Laemtong Bay, and the jolly, grinning representatives from our chosen hotel, Zeavola Resort, came to collect us in a traditional long boat. Upon arrival on the beach, they carried our small amount of luggage across the sand to reception, and presented us each with a cold towel and refreshing glass of watermelon juice. After such a long, sweaty journey I could have kissed them!
Zeavola is a sustainable, luxury resort of traditional teakwood suites starting right on the beach and spreading back and up into the trees. We were booked in to one of the Village Suites, as there were only a couple left for our dates when we booked and I knew I wanted to stay here. It turned out that even their budget rooms are totally stunning, and we were jammy enough to be given one that backed immediately on to the pool, which we more or less got exclusive use of. I would go as far to say that I would want that exact room again if we were to go back (#39 FYI).
The Thais in general are incredibly smiley and accommodating, and at Zeavola especially, we found the service to be exceptional. We arrived just as a week-long tropical storm was starting, which caused all sorts of problems, including the plugs in our room to stop working. The maintenance staff worked quietly and unassumingly to get us back up and running, and there was even a letter from the general manager apologising for the weather! We booked ourselves in for and received a fantastic traditional Thai massage, and one thing I looked forward to in the evenings, was coming back to the suite to find our bed turned down, with a sweet pillow favour on my side each night.
We didn't dine at the hotel, but that's not unusual for us. We like to explore and find eateries for ourselves when we're away (more on where we ate in a follow-up post), so each evening we set out to find dinner at one of the restaurants further down the beach. We did, of course, indulge in breakfast every morning. Served in the beautiful open-sided Baxil Restaurant dining room, the buffet had all the usual continental options one is accustomed to seeing on a hotel stay, plus a selection of lovely Thai options. The menu for cooked breakfast was also very good, with something for everyone. There was an American style breakfast dish, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai and others. Each morning, the breakfast staff pop some little Chinese pastries on your table with honey, coconut, and pandanas leaf dips. I loved those. If you're lucky, you can also spot the handsome resort cockerel strutting around outside.
You might say we were sort of unfortunate to arrive on a tropical island just as the first rains after the drought started to pour. It was actually a wonderful experience. So, we didn't get to sun bathe underneath bright blue skies, sipping cocktails, but we did jump in to a warm Andaman sea, fully clothed, as a cooling rain pelted the surface and our faces, and sent schools of fish skipping and jumping around us, with the locals huddled under awnings and giggling at us from the shore. We still swam, and explored, and ate out, and managed to get sun burned. And we had a wonderful stay at Zeavola.
Zeavola Resort, Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand
N.B. We booked and paid for our stay at Zeavola ourselves, and all opinions are our own.