Sanctuary for the senses

Banyan Tree Krabi is where the sapphire blue sea meets tropical white sands against a backdrop of lush jungle-green

Majestic views from the lobby of Banyan Tree Krabi. (Photos: Banyan Tree Krabi)

The Banyan Tree hotel group is celebrating its 27th anniversary and what better way to celebrate travel again than at their newest resort in Thailand! Banyan Tree Krabi opened in October 26, 2020 on Tab Kaek Beach and is SHA-Plus credited, making it a retreat for foreign tourists, as well. The three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas and 59 pool suites, each with a private infinity pool, have a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman Sea.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

As soon as you complete the 45-minute drive from the quaint Krabi International Airport, the magnificent lobby is a sight to behold. The breathtaking Naga-inspired entrance is a feature that gives you the impression of a never-ending horizon and a sea of blue as far as the eye can see. The art in the lobby depicts movements of a snake and every room has the same light as the lobby's emerald rocks. The golden staircase is placed in such a way that the karsts are bang in the centre. Photos simply do not do it justice.

Banyan Tree Krabi overlooks Than Bok Khorani National Marine Park in the Andaman Sea.

No matter what accommodation you chose, you are guaranteed the same resplendent view. I was in a top floor pool suite with a private pool and an outdoor jacuzzi. Beyond the tranquil Andaman Sea lies the Than Bok Khorani National Marine Park and its famous towering limestone cliffs -- one of Thailand's most iconic postcard images delivered to you straight from your suite or villa.

STAYING IN

Breakfast at The Naga Kitchen is a calm affair with an ample buffet of Western and Thai dishes and indoor and outdoor seating. Everything you want for breakfast and more is on display, so brace yourself.

Despite the private pools in each villa and suite, the resort pool is complete with jets and offers views of the vast beach. A lazy day spent at the pool with coconut water is exactly how I would love a day by the beach. Do look for the natural spring that flows downhill from the Naga Crest Hill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying spring water to the sea.

Sauna, steam room, ice fountain and water jets are all part of The Rainforest experience at Banyan Tree Spa Krabi. Banyan Tree Krabi

It is best to spend an entire afternoon at the spa, which is host to The Rainforest -- a maze of hydrotherapeutic stations, including a steam room and sauna, ice fountain, jet pool and an array of water jets designed to simultaneously stimulate and soothe the body and mind. Though if being a water baby like me isn't your thing, there are other options. Do try the Lava Shell Treatment, which begins with a pearl powder body wrap, followed by a special technique created exclusively at Banyan Tree Krabi using a heated lava shell. "Pearl powder contains trace minerals and is high in calcium, which is conducive for healthy skin," says spa manager Bussayawan Chanchai. The spa makes use of colour calmness and music therapy, as well.

The resort also offers individually-prepared programmes based on the "8 Pillars" principle (good sleep, good diet, interaction, intimacy, physical vitality, cultivating the mind, learning and development, harmony with nature and sustained practices). Visit wellbeing.banyantree.com.

Lava shell massage is a signature treatment at Banyan Tree Spa Krabi.

Once rejuvenated from the spa, slide into a bird's nest. Yes, you read that right. Three "bird's nest" tables, perched precariously among the trees and accessible only by a private gangway, are fast becoming one of Krabi's most Instagrammable viewpoints. Here, afternoon tea is served between 2--5pm or evening dinner from 6--11pm. Fun takes on another level with the addition of an electronic funicular to take you to the tree canopies. This would also be a good place to watch the sun go down with a few sundowners, high within the tree tops.

The Banyan Tree Krabi's signature Saffron Restaurant is also at the top commanding majestic views across the bay. Offering classic Thai cuisine, it is here that executive chef Jakkrit Traibun concocts his version of the traditional southern Thai-style massaman. "We're using nothing but the freshest local produce, including a few secret ingredients," says chef Jakkrit. Though this isn't the chef's only signature dish. I may or may not have taken home a bottle of his incredible spicy peanut sauce.

For a nightcap head to Kredkaew Bar to lounge around and feel the sand between your toes. Located on the beach, the bar is an idyllic spot for drinks or Mediterranean cuisine by day.

For me, nothing ends a day like this better than a good bath in an ample-sized bathtub. I squealed in delight when I saw that the resort offered bath oil, which I have yet to encounter at any other resort in Thailand! A win, in my book.

GOING OUT

Charter a boat and take a day trip to Ko Hong, where you can swim in the lagoon or chillax on the serene beach. If you're one for adventure, go kayaking at Ao Thalane. There is also a day trip to Tha-le Waek Natural Wonderland, organised by the hotel and is a four-island hopping tour.

FINAL VERDICT

The ambience, views and hospitality offered at the resort are on par with the most luxurious of resorts in Thailand. I suffered from a popped knee while exiting the buggy to my room and within minutes I had a cold compress and an ice bucket to help ease the pain. When I got back from dinner, the ice was replenished and the cold compress was in the fridge. If this isn't service at the highest standard, what is?

To mark its anniversary, the hotel group is offering daily credit vouchers, which can be used at all on-site restaurants and spas, to the tune of B3,000 baht at Banyan Tree Krabi. The "Rediscover the World" promotion applies to bookings at all Banyan Tree hotels until Oct 15, with stays valid until July 31, 2022 at Banyan Tree Krabi.


For reservations, visit banyantree.com/en/thailand/krabi/offers/anniversary-2021 or banyantree.com/en/thailand/krabi/offers.

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