Avani + Khao Lak Resort

While the new Avani + Khao Lak Resort offers surfing, rock climbing and other activities for the inner athlete, one could also relax seaside under bright blue skies

After a 60-minute drive from Phuket International Airport to the new Avani + Khao Lak Resort, I arrived in time to take in the colours of twilight. As the Sun set over Phangnga's horizon, the sky began to transition from a bright blue to pink and orange shade.

My companions and I raced from our lodging to the pristine Bangsak Beach, where tourists and locals had gathered to take in the mesmerising vistas of the Gulf of Thailand and others showed their standup paddleboarding skills along the turquoise waves. It was such a fantastic feeling to sit back by the sea and elevate our spirits after a long and hectic week.

It is only 20km from the historic town of Takua Pa and surrounded by a number of popular tourist destinations including the Sai Rung Waterfall, Pakarang Beach and Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. This location is ideal for those who want to indulge their wanderlust and admire the wonders of nature. At the same time, Khao Lak is billing itself as a surf town, in which the amateur and experienced can enjoy the sport throughout the year.

Design and Facilities

Spread over 100,000m², this 5-star seaside resort is designed in modern style to be a luxury holiday retreat amid lush settings, in which vacationers can get back to their roots and breathe in fresh air. It accommodates 327 elegant rooms, suites and villas, ranging in size from 35m² to 765m². Each room has its own private balcony, with stunning views of a green tropical garden or swimming pools.

The open-air lobby serves as a gathering place with the sea wind blowing through it. Its combination of white, bright blue and navy furnishings evokes calming beach vibes. During the day, visitors may stop by The Pantry cafe for a choice of delicious coffee, energising smoothies, fresh juice and pastries to relax or alter their working environment.

Families and sports enthusiasts may gather to show off their skills at the nearby skate park, which features curving blue pump tracks and ramps while daydreaming about surfing over the azure seas of Phang Nga Bay. Just a few steps away, experts stand by to assist both inexperienced and seasoned climbers in scaling indoor and outdoor rock-like walls to raise their heart rates.

The property also acts as the starting point for the new lifestyle concept AvaniFit, which uses a dynamic 24-hour facility to combine endurance and resistance training, aerobics and high-intensity interval training to make hotel fitness entertaining. Visitors may enrol in boxing or tennis lessons or try out hanging yoga. Outdoor activities from beach assault courses and pool workouts to kayaking, on-property PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) lessons and surfing are among the highlights.

A bridge takes tourists to the green garden, which is home to tropical plants, flowers and herbal plantations. The resort aims to add a coop of chickens and other animals so that kids can learn about sustainable living and the environment.

Families may spend time together on a sizeable sundeck around the main swimming pool, which rises up in the middle of the lush landscapes. While parents soak in the pool and the sun, children may spend the entire day playing in a thrilling splash park or a two-story AvaniKids club with a playground and a PlayStation section.

Couples and groups of friends seeking a more sedate haven can dive into another pool with the ocean and a white sand beach serving as a backdrop. Or you may indulge your soul at AvaniSpa, which offers several wellness packages and restorative therapies.

My Room

My friend and I stayed two nights in a 165m² Two-Bedroom Family Pool Suite in modern designs. The wood floor and earth-toned furnishings create a simple yet luxurious ambience that makes you feel at home.

The small bedroom has twin beds, a flat-screen TV and a wardrobe. It is situated adjacent to a separate bathroom that is concealed behind the doorway. With a large sofa bed and a 65-inch smart TV that allows visitors to access entertainment programmes from a smartphone, the living room becomes a group hangout to spend the day and night.

A large wooden table, a bench and a minibar counter with soft drinks, snacks and coffee- and tea-making facilities are all included in a dining area, making it ideal for lively gatherings or romantic dinners. But my favourite place to unwind is the private pool with a large deck where we can rest or have a barbeque party in the middle of nature.

Located at the bottom of the suite, a spacious master bedroom features a cozy king-size bed with USB hubs, a large flat-screen television, a work area with plug sockets and two side closets. A sizeable marble-like en-suite bathroom provides two large sink counters, a separate shower, a bathtub and a toilet, with all amenities you need in daily life.

Dining

The all-day dining Element restaurant serves an international breakfast buffet with a variety of culinary alternatives, ranging from basic American breakfast, dim sum, Thai cuisine and salad bar to freshly baked pastries. Meanwhile, the Beach House is a popular place to enjoy grilled seafood and other southern fare for lunch and dinner while relaxing in the coconut courtyard.

Leisure Experience

We booked the resort's day trip on the second day of our stay. We travelled to Komol's Corner for a bamboo rafting excursion in order to observe the way of the riverside community and discover the lush tropical forest in Thai Mueang district.

In the afternoon, we continued to the Takua Pa Old Town, which is dotted with historic shophouses and beautiful Sino-Portuguese buildings. Long a recognisable landmark, the famed Kopi Kuapa café serves out traditional local coffee and tea as well as desserts with a Chinese-Thai twist to tourists.

Verdict

Avani + Khao Lak Resort provides a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for people of all ages to enjoy holiday experiences amid a natural setting. It stands on the tranquil Bangsak Beach, ideal for amateurs to learn about all the basics of surfing.

Throughout this month, those who book a one-night stay from now to Oct 31 can take advantage of a free night package. Guests will receive an extra night free and daily breakfast.

Avani + Khao Lak Resort is at 99 Moo 8, Petchkasem Road, Takua Pa, Phangnga, 82190. Call 076-427-300 or visit avanihotels.com/en/khao-lak-phang-nga.


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