Manathai Khao Lak is the epitome of the modern Thai hotel, where natural materials, clean lines and minimalist design create a welcoming and stylish environment. When paired with gentle hospitality of the Thai people it makes for a relaxing experience. Set back from the road, and surrounded by lush tropical jungle on both sides, with a glorious expanse of golden beach at the back, the hotel feels like a peaceful idyll where every detail’s been thought of.
Just over an hour from Phuket international airport, you’re welcomed into the hotel via a huge, light-filled vaulted reception area, which draws on traditional Thai teak houses as well as the best of modern design. Iced towels and fresh juice set a opulent tone.
With 158 well equipped rooms, true luxury is to be found in the four exclusive pool villas. The crowning feature of these spacious private bungalows are their terraces, which have a small infinity pool, comfortable chairs and a huge porch swing with space enough for two. The rooms have complimentary (fast) wifi, and my villa had a desk which was comfortable to work at as well as a sofa and coffee table area for lounging, a king sized bed and a large flat screen TV with movie channels. I also loved the bathroom with rain shower, double basins and bath – and scented oil burner that housekeeping lit when they cleaned.
The hotel’s large pool looks out over the beach – if you prefer swimming in the sea it’s only a few steps further. A number of free activities are optional for guests, such as a Muay Thai taster. An exercise room and a kids club are also available, or book a Thai cooking class overlooking the pool – and then saunter a few paces to the bar for a Mojito while the sun sets. The food is all tasty enough not to need to leave the hotel, but the breakfast is particularly good – don’t miss the light and fluffy waffles, the noodle soup and the fresh baked goods.