Not yet saved enough for a trip to Maldives? Never fear, there are beach resorts nearer to home that come quite close to that kind of sun-drenched luxury. Phi Phi Island Village Resort & Spa is such a place. The tiny island getaway is but a short 90-minute speedboat ride from Phuket and often wrongly regarded as only for day-tripping tourists on crowded ferries.
Thinking of visiting Phuket? Check out our review on The Racha Phuket.
Venture to the opposite end of the island overlooking Lo Ba Goa bay and this gem of a resort lies in tranquil existence with 800 metres of private beachfront. As its name implies, the place is indeed a village; a small haven rescuing guests who prefer the luxury of simple things like comfort, good food and a truly awesome location.
Phi Phi Island Village has the ideal beach bungalow that includes all the enhancements in making for a comfortable stay.
Ranging from deluxe bungalows to hillside pool villas, this villa-only resort is shabby bohemian chic. It’s not spanking new but the slightly lived-in feel in the décor and interior of the houses is kind of nice and one can pretend that that the getaway is in fact in a holiday home. The rustic charm of the wooden beamed houses with polished teak floors, indoor Jacuzzi or outdoor private private plunge pool, spacious verandahs with Thai pavilion (big enough for private dining and sun-lounging for two) are just some of the creature comforts provided.
Those who are lucky enough to snag a beachfront junior suite will get the best view of the beach and bay, barring a few coconut trees and hammocks dotting the sand. These rooms are closest to the turquoise coloured beach and a dip in the sea is literally a hop, skip and jump away.
The Spa is set in a lush natural tropical setting on the hillside overlooking the islands of the Andaman Sea.
Phi Phi Island Village’s in-house Wana Spa stays true to the same type of rustic luxury found elsewhere on the property. Located on the hillside and overlooking the islands of the Andaman sea, the cluster of treatment rooms are built of wooden stilts in a typical village fashion. Yet their exterior belies the modest luxury found within, the best of which are in the skilled fingers of the excellent Thai massage specialists who work there!
Every treatment begins with a foot bath and rub, with six different types of handmade massage oils to choose from. For those who prefer a quickie, the spa has a mobile counter at the reception area and a masseuse stationed there provides free five minute shoulder, neck and head massages for guests in the need of a quick pick me up after an extra hard day of lounging.
Enjoy Thai fusion Cuisine in the enchantment of the outdoor terraces of a central replica home.
This is where the resort comes into its own with a selection of four restaurants on the property serving different cuisines. The most striking would have to be fusion-based Ruan Thai Restaurant which is situated in a replica building of the old central capital Ayutthaya during its glory days.
Also notable is the riverside Coconut Grill & Bar, a casual dining set-up with a show kitchen, serving the best catch of the day as well as prime cuts of imported on charcoal barbeque. An early dinner with drinks just before sunset is highly recommended, as is the seafood platter for two that comes with lobster, crab, crayfish, a fish of the day as well as prawns, mussels, clams and scallops with a choice of two sauces.
Transportation is provided for transfers between Phuket and the Resort.
I suspect that Phi Phi Island Village relies mainly on return clients to generate the bulk of its income and it isn’t very surprising. What differentiates the kind of hospitality received here from the usual big hotel chain is the sense of personal touch in addition to the true sense of escape and hideaway that the touristy beaches of Phuket — though perhaps more accessible — cannot compare with.
The chauffeur ride plus private speedboat shuttling guests safely, comfortably and speedily from Phuket International Airport to the marina, resort and then back again on the return leg goes a long way towards making one feel like a movie star on a holiday retreat.
The resort’s popular sunset cruises as well as picnic-lunch, private boat charters to neighbouring islands with a trusty and amusing guide are also worthwhile reasons to return. Long, lazy days are the name of the game and with a whole fleet of specialists to attend to your every whim and fancy, Phi Phi Island Village is an affordable choice to stretch your dollar for when it comes to easy indulgence.
Currently run by the Outrigger Group of Hotels & Resorts, Phi Phi Island Village is set for some sprucing up in the immediate future. But here’s hoping they won’t “over-improve” on a good thing going.
Phi Phi Island Village Resort & Spa, Phi Phi Don Island, http://ppisland.com/.
Ana Ow travels with two kids in tow accompanied by her camera-toting hubby. She believes that world journeys with her family are a first-class adventure! Read more of her stories on www.travellinginthrees.com