Keemala Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand

For a Phuket experience with a difference, one has to ensure that the hotel itinerary includes the Keemala. A far cry from the usual beach-pool-resort experience, this authentic and avant-garde concept takes hoteling to new heights; literally. Like something out of the movie Avatar, the Keemala is set high up in the trees of Phuket’s last rainforest and features some whimsical architecture and design – from clay cottages inspired by the ‘Pa-Ta-Pea’ clan, to tent pool villas, to birds nest villas. But it’s not just the variety of accommodation that’s the talking point, it’s the entire property: from its spa to its reception area, it is really something out of a dream.

You can tell that everything was developed to be very individual here. The cuisine was also particularly memorable, with the resort’s Thai chef preparing a delicious meal of local meats on a slab of Himalayan salt brick. This is when we got to mingle with international guests from the resort’s thirty-something villas, each walking around clearly as wide-eyed    in awe as we were.

Our two-bedroom pool villa lacked communal living space which we found rather odd for a suite-category room, but it boasted a humongous shared bathroom and a suspended private pool in the canopy of the forest; perfect for two couples travelling together, or a modern family. The only downside is the way in which some of the villas are located, their pools looking towards each other, which means they’re not completely private. So our advice is to confirm your choice of suite if you want to hide away from the world and have some intimate time for a few days.

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