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Phulay Bay Resort

Independent Review

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“Hors-Catégorie” - “In A Class Of Its Own”

Mind-bogglingly beautiful Phulay Bay hotel, offering the best value 6 star comforts on the Thai Andaman coast, will send shivers of delight up and down your spine. Prepare to be immersed in a fairytale atmosphere where all your assumptions on the limits of luxury go out of the window and where even the most sophisticated of visitors have to make a real effort to appear blasé.

It all begins in the lobby, where you will find no desks and no computers, just an enormous water feature surrounded by rows of candles. An enchanting Thai receptionist appears wearing one of Thailand’s signature smiles and offers you a lemongrass drink, a garland and a face towel.

Lemongrass is an aphrodisiac when eaten raw, making this an appropriate welcome drink to one of the most unabashedly sensual resorts on the Andaman coast, where every room types seems to be have been designed with romance in mind.

Your personal butler will take you directly to your villa, where you check in, thus bypassing any tedious check-in delays. With 200 staff serving 54 rooms and villas, this resort has one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the country. We reviewed this resort when it was nearly fully occupied, and yet it felt almost empty.

Tranquility abounds. The architectural style is unique and, fusing traditional and contemporary Thai architecture with Moroccan and Arabic influences, nowhere is it less than splendid. Bold yet tasteful ocher and purple hues predominate throughout the resort.

Paradise doesn't exist. It is a silly concept that depends more on the state of contentment of the observer than on the external conditions prevalent in his or her life. In the case of the Phulay Bay, the fly in the ointment is the lack of a good swimming beach in front of the resort. Beautiful Tubkaek beach, however, lies at the northern tip of the resort and is no more than a 10-minute stroll from anywhere within Phulay Bay Resort. Only über-losers will be miserable at Phulay Bay.


Incredibly, this resort charges markedly lower rates than the few other establishments on the Thai Andaman coast that offer similarly lofty standards. It is not significantly more expensive than a 5-star resort, and yet it is incomparable to one. It took a full 7 years to build the Phulay Bay, at a price tag of 3,000 million Baht. The owners of the resort also own Thailand’s favourite beer, Singha, which is guzzled with such gusto that the owners could afford to build the resort, then demolish it due to perceived failings, then try again, then demolish the whole resort again. Only on the third attenpt did the resort get built to a standard that didn’t result in demolition.

The thatched beach bar is located on a promontory at the southern end of Tubkaek Beach, which means that it always benefits from a cooling, pleasant sea breeze. Whilst the majestic backdrop of karst cathedrals rearing out of Phang Nga Bay always makes this a stunning place to spend time, it is particularly atmospheric at high tide, when the sea level rises almost as high as the land. One feels as though one is floating in the sea.

The resort is dotted with restaurants serving a variety of cuisines from all over the world. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take a close look, but we hope to return for one soon.  The magnificent spa holds eleven treatment rooms next to relaxation areas and a Spa Bar serving offerings that complement the revitalizing treatment programs.

This resort is in Klong Muang, 15 miunutes drive from Ao Nang. Some people will like Klong Muang, others will loath it, click here for more on Klong Muang.


Beach Villa

These are intended for couples and have medium-sized seaviews. The better views consist of a lush lawn tapering between a path flanked by foliage and beckoning, even begging the visitor down to the beach, a mere 20 metres away.

During the daytime these villas benefit from lots of outdoor light flooding through the floor-to-ceiling windows, whilst the blinds allow the guest to adjust the light's intensity. At nighttime the lighting is soft and unobtrusive.

Extensive use of gleaming hardwood furnitures and fittings which, when combined with a minimalistic decorative style, gives the room an almost unsurpassable elegance.

Jan Bruffaerts writes :

“In my native country of Belgium, these beds are known as skybeds, because the voluminous canopy above the 4-poster bed is suspended from a point fully 5 metres above the sleepers.”

The mattress on these beds is fully 18”(almost half a metre) thick. Only the most pampered of princesses would be able to detect a pea underneath it. Overall, extreme opulence is married to contemporary architecture to spellbinding effect. These perfect-for-honeymooners villas come with a writing desk, a make-up room, his’n’hers washbasins and his’n’hers private jacuzzis – though only the most mismatched of honeymoon couples will want to jacuzzi separately.

Reserve Villa

The beds in these villas are about 6 metres long by 2 metres wide. They’re not so much king-sized as king-plus-harem-sized. The harem reference is a suitable one in villas which have 'Arabian Nights' architectural influences and which are dotted all over with perfect places for passion.

These Villas offer lavish indoor and outdoor bathing quarters – the nomer “bathroom” does not suffice here. The attention to architectural detail in this resort is well illustrated by the fact that one of the walls at the back of the villa is higher than the others, making the outdoor bathing area a perfectly private place for romantic assignations.

The indoor bathtub is situated in its own royal-blue hall of mirrors, so honeymooners can get to know each other from all possible angles. The 4-metre high bathroom doors are handpainted and, when closed, form a tableau inspired by the ancient Laan-Na dynasty of Chiang Mai. The ceilings are easily 5 metres high.

The terrace holds an infinity pool with a concave-shaped floor and covered in metal-blue, bronze-golden and purple tiles. It is immediately apparent from the perfect joinery that one sees everywhere, even in the most intricate of wooden joints, that this resort was built by master craftsmen, which maybe partly explains why it took seven years to complete. The epitomy of this craftsmanship is maybe the curved, terraced wooden roofs of this villa type. The eye can take in, but the brain can't understand, how such perfection is possible.

Royal Villa

The perfectly private outdoor shower area seems built for love on an epic scale. The his'n'hers bathrooms are a hall of mirrors and are separated by an atrium with a love nest in the middle. The walls and floors of this atrium are formed of a material that is as spectacularly beautiful as it is hard to identify.

Only on closer inspection does the visitor realize that the atrium is formed of massive blocks of carved softstone intricately joined together to form concentric circles. These shimmer and sparkle in a simply stunning fashion - only the most jaded of travellers can fail to be floored. 

Aside from the infinity pool overlooking the Andaman Sea, there's an outdoor bath in a small, roofed pavilion surrounded on all sides by an ornamental pool. Again and again Phulay Bay exceeds all expectations and sets the standards that other 6 star resort should aspire to.

Ocean Pavilion and Resort Pavilion

These units are built four to a building, two-up and two-down, The upstairs units are Ocean Pavilions and the downstairs are Resort Pavilions.

Inside, all are the same as the Reserve Villas, except that the Resort Pavilions have an outdoor bath, whereas the Ocean Pavilions don't.




Click here for more on Ao Nang, here for holiday packages, here for other destinations.

Andaman Sky, Co., Ltd, 23/8 Moo 2, Ao Nang, Thailand



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