The comparatively unknown Krabi in Thailand has another wonder to offer, the Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, which we found aims to take you into a dream world!
By: Karishma Suri & Akshay Suri
Posted on: July 20, 2013
Noise coupled with pomp and splendour along with the coyness of a bride, not to forget the sentiments and joy of hundreds of people – that’s what makes an Indian wedding. The trend of ‘grand’ Indian weddings has magnified significantly in the past few years and destination weddings are the latest craze. Pssst, the latest and fanciest wedding invite we recently saw was a boarding pass with the details of the wedding, which was happening in Bali, printed on it. But places like Bali, Bangkok and Phuket have become usual, and who better than you to break this clutter?
Picture this. The sound of waves lapping up against the shore and inviting you to play with the fifty shades of water. Birds chirping while the palm trees shade you from the mighty sun sharing its warmth. The wafting breeze scented by the hypnotizing ocean. Sigh. You are encircled by lush greenery silhouetted on an expanse of green lawns. We are talking about a resort that is inspiring and breathtaking in a city that is paradise lost. In the midst of all this, imagine a fairytale and dream like wedding. Appealing, isn’t it?
A palatial structure with soaring arches and lofty high-vaulted ceilings, playing perfect host to your next grand Indian wedding, is the Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort. Bringing to life the magnificent concept of timeless colonial style architecture, its dark panelled woods command a second look at this property – I know we couldn’t get enough. If a visit to Krabi, Thailand is on your cards (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be) this property will heighten your travel experience. Our first impression of the property – splendid and extravagant.
Getting to Krabi (the emerald of the Andaman Sea as they call the island) or even the property is not difficult. Simply arrange for hotel transfers which are prompt and timely. Impressed, we were, with the private hotel car that even had wi-fi so you can post an update about beautiful Krabi or get ahead of your work if you need to. Chilled face towels, a smiling face and ice cold bottles of mineral water is what greeted us when we got out of the airport. A comfortable drive that is picturesque with mountains, lush greenery and shades of blue is what interrupted my excited chatter. About an hour later, the sight of the Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort I described above came to life in a big way. You can only imagine our glee as we could feel the welcome vibes and excitement of a relaxed few days ahead of us.
Krabi, the undiscovered island, is absolutely delightful. But just in case you want to do more than just getting pampered and relaxed at this hospitable property, the concierge (prompt and efficient again) can help you plan a day trip to Phi Phi Island, Chicken Island, Hong Island and other amazing unseen wonders which are well-known around the world. You can also enjoy sightseeing trips to Ao Nang, Tiger Cave Temple, 75 Million-Year Shell Cemetery and Krabi Emerald Pool (a hot spring). The property is huge and waiting to be discovered, so I gave these other islands a miss just to make sure I return back to Krabi again sometime. My agenda at the property consisted of lazing by their majestic pool with a delectable cocktail at the pool side Explorer Bar. The poolside bar quickly became my favourite spot at the property - the ambience, white cosy interiors with bird cages and prompt service is an absolute hit. Punching in your details to confirm your stay already? Wait a moment, there’s more.
Attempting at offering discerning travellers the ultimate in comfort and elegance in a tastefully-decorated and environmentally-friendly five-star resort, Sofitel Krabi offers the perfect holiday getaway. All’s well about the property except that they lack a private beach and your growling stomachs may need some restraint. Let me explain why. Restaurants (functioning depends on season and occupancy) with great service make the property an ideal location for events or even an unforgettable holiday! Being at the property in May, there was only one restaurant (Venezia) that was operational, thus causing delay, confusion and disappointment among many of the hotel guests. I’d strongly recommend in room dining which is quick and will satiate your appetite in the comfort of your own room. Kudos to the team who knew how to handle the many growling appetites. The manager was kind enough to let me dine inside my room with the food reaching at the same time that I reached back.
What impressed us about this property is the 9-hole golf course and an opulent spa retreat. Lazy people like me will adore the grand free form swimming pool (nearly 7000 sq metre), that will take up most of your time at this hotel and make up for the lack of the private beach we spoke of earlier. I was tempted to simply sprawl over the loungers by the pool, but having a short leg at this property kept me from it. Another reason to come back and do some gazing with an iPod plugged into my ears sipping my favorite mojito. Coming to the wedding part of it, how about a mandap (wedding area) in the middle of the pool? Breathtaking and exciting, we agree. And the Sofitel team can turn this mesmerising dream into reality. With panoramic views of the rolling ocean, get set to melt into the pace of tropical life. The team at LF was definitely impressed!
Rest before all
The hotel features 276 rooms and suites, all of which are well kept and spacious, so you are assured a good night's sleep and a good home for a few days. Being put up in the Junior Suite, the only drawback for a lazy traveller is the long walk to the lobby. It is a boon to unwind in their light and airy rooms, with polished teak floors, colonial-style wood furnishings, indulgent marble bathtubs and large private balconies overlooking the ocean pool and garden (it is most romantic to watch the sun bid farewell to the skies). The rooms are fully equipped with a mini bar and a beach bag - you won’t miss a thing!
So what does a perfect night of lazing consist of? A comfortable bed, prompt room service and a movie from their small collection of international favourites. A must see if you get the chance is the Opera Suite which is majestical and worthy of a prince, dripping with grandeur and space, with a personal jacuzzi all set. Ask for a property tour if you get the chance because the property is bigger than it looks and will help you appreciate its beauty. I took a tour after a heavy meal - absolutely worth all the walking and talking! Besides this, the culturally inclined can be a part of the ‘Candle ritual’ at the property every evening where the whole team comes together to light candles that are placed around the property (to a local song) to ward off evil and invite Gods to protect and preserve. We made it a point to be a part of this ritual every day – it was surreal. Take it from me that you will appreciate the wooden interiors being brought to life by candles and music. I had goose bumps, literally.
A break is good
No holiday is complete without at least an hour of excessive relaxation. For me, maybe even more. So Spa with L’Occitane warded off all my work groans and busted my stress through skilled hands in a peaceful setting. A serene spa oasis in a place renowned for its natural beauty where feelings of peacefulness and glee will overwhelm you, So Spa with L’Occitane ushers you into this private sanctuary to begin your personal spa journey. We were glad to learn that everything has been conceived to soothe and harmonise the senses and to nurture a deep feeling of wellbeing. Located right next to the resort’s swimming pool, the spa is something you cannot miss.
The menu consists of global rituals and French beauty therapies that you will be tempted to lavish your body with. The spa offers 12 treatment rooms including four double rooms for couple treatments.
While at the spa, we found the staff to be hospitable, who will guide and help you to pick up suitable treatments for yourself from their variety of massages. But be clear while stating what you want because, unfortunately, the hostess forgot to book my manicure (my lack of Thai knowledge maybe?). I went with an aromatherapy massage which pleased all the senses and prepped my appetite for a quick snack at the bar after a snooze at the waiting lounge. You can also indulge with a signature So Exhilarating Body Massage or So Rejuvenating Facial Treatment. The menu includes luscious rituals from Immortelle Secrets to Krabi Journey to the Taste of Heaven! Besides the spa, if you are looking for some activity (not for lazy holidaymakers), you can hit the gym to complete your fitness quota, or even indulge in fit-ball exercise, Pilates exercise, abdominal stretching, Thai boxing lesson, Tai Chi, aerobic dance, aero boxing body combat, yoga exercise and aqua exercise.
Food for thought
With a property as beautifully ostentatious as this, it seems only befitting that the dining options would aim to please. Unfortunately, the team faces slight issues when it comes to serving a full restaurant at once. And if you visit the property in low season, the options for one to dine at are quite limited (Explorer Bar and Venezia are the only ones operational as mentioned before). Besides this, Maya Restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant with uninterrupted ocean views and is open for all-day daily dining serving a wide variety of contemporary and international cuisine. The breakfast here is a lavish affair, but watch out as they will wind it up at sharp 10:30am! I almost missed breakfast two days in a row, maybe because I was functioning according to IST, but the team ensures you have a healthy start to your day before prepping for lunch. A satisfying spread of breads, croissants, fruits, eggs, juices and anything else that would make your tummy a happy one in the morning is what constitutes the breakfast at this property.
White Lotus Restaurant, which was unfortunately closed while we were at the property, is the hotel's signature restaurant with both conventional and Thai-style seating options, showcasing exquisite traditional dishes from all over Thailand and India. Frequented quite often was Ristorante Venezia which served gourmet Italian cuisine featuring traditional recipes, pizzas straight from the wood-fired pizza oven and a large selection of wines.
The Explorer Bar at the property is an elegant piano bar serving aperitifs, tapas and after-dinner cocktails with daily live music. If dining by the pool is your cup of tea then you can visit the Koh Poda Pool Bar for light snacks and drinks.
Our take? Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort blends the dramatic beauty of Krabi with French art de vivre. A majestic property that will score high with your guests at a wedding or any fancy soiree, you can rest assured that the warm hospitality will melt your hearts and give you an experience to cherish forever.
Coordinates: 200 Moo 3 T.Nongtalay, A.Muang Krabi, 81000 – Krabi, Thailand