There are countless hotels and resorts dotted around the route to Khao Yai, or Big Mountain, a popular lush haven reputed for its cool weather and clear skies in the northeast of Thailand.
Opening its doors last month, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort is the latest luxurious accommodation in the mountains that promises to bring guests memorable and enriching experiences throughout their stay.
Upon stepping into the property, I was impressed with the beautiful plants along the way to the check-in area. It was also a surprise to see a small room styled like a ticket counter commonly found at railway stations of the past.
Adorned with memorabilia from vintage trunks to old tickets, this white and green wooden house with a familiar gable roof is a good start to transport guests back to the golden age of rail travel and discover what else awaits them in their room.
Located in Pong Talong of Pak Chong district in Nakhon Ratchasima, the resort is shaded with over 30,000 trees of more than a hundred species, making it a perfect destination for city dwellers looking for a break in a green, serene and more private surrounding.
The 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok to the resort is worthwhile considering the long hours you can spend by any of the five lakes within the property where more than 20 beautiful swans -- white, black and dappled -- majestically cruise on the water alongside a troupe of their koi fish friends.
Design & Facilities
The resort is designed by award-winning architect and interior designer Bill Bensley, who was inspired by the area's gateway for rail transportation to the northeastern region during King Rama V's reign around 120 years ago. No wonder then the main buildings are named after the district's railway stations such as Pak Chong, Sap Muang and Ban Dai Ma.
The property has only 45 rooms in the first phase (with 19 more rooms to be unveiled later this year). Each room is adorned with wall hangings inspired by the vintage railway signs that once hung in train stations around the province. Every room also comes with a balcony overlooking the resort's grounds to heighten the sense of being surrounded by a natural, lush haven.
Besides a small gym that is open around the clock, complimentary stretching, Hatha yoga and Pilates classes are offered, allowing guests to enjoy their personal wellness journey in the fresh air with mesmerising views of the gorgeous swans in the lake. Jogging and cycling around the resort is also highly recommended.
I spent two nights in Room 113, a premium room with a private outdoor pool overlooking the swan lake and a row of tall pine trees around the property.
Designed to give a feeling of being in a train carriage, my room was mainly in a black tone and came with a small toilet, a small wardrobe with a wooden bench to store my luggage, and a rather roomy bathroom with vanities and a rain shower. The glass door from the rain shower area can be unlocked and opened to a small private pool.
The tube-like bedroom with a king-size bed is far from spacious but didn't make me feel confined as it comes with a small living area which is lined with an upholstered green bench on both sides of the walls.
You can sit idly watching the flat-screen TV fitted on the opposite wall or just slide open the large glass doors to the balcony to enjoy the fresh air and picturesque scenery. The minibar is packed with drinks and delicious snacks are supplied.
Somying's Kitchen is the resort's delightful venue to look for Thai and international dishes that are both sumptuous and nutritious. Staying true to its farm-to-table concept, the kitchen offers many healthy dishes cooked from locally sourced and fresh organic produce from around the property.
Set in a heritage railcar which accommodates six tables, the signature Tea Carriage, or Rong Nam Cha, offers a formal afternoon tea set with optional Champagne, rosé or sparkling wine pairings, as well as a selection of signature iced coffees and teas.
The last place to go before saying goodbye to the night, the Pool Bar by Somying's Kitchen offers classic and signature cocktails by its own mixologist. Mocktails and other drinks are also available.
The resort offers a series of curated adventures across Khao Yai's famed mountains and landscapes. Highlights include a visit to the old Baan Sanam Sai community to experience the traditional life of local residents; a trip to a mango farm to join in a cooking workshop; a tour to an organic farm to pick some fresh vegetables to bring home; and a vineyard tour to engage in wine tasting.
A series of opening deals are currently offered. Upon booking a one-night stay in a King Classic Room, with rates starting from 7,000 baht, guests can indulge in breakfast for two, resort credit of 1,500 baht and an afternoon tea experience for two at the Tea Carriage. Guests reserving a three-night stay can enjoy early check-in from 10am and late check-out at 4pm.
InterContinental Khao Yai Resort is at 262 Moo 6, Pong Talong sub-district, Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30450. Call 044-082-039, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit intercontinental.com/khaoyai.