It is really rare to take a road trip out of Bangkok and suddenly feel like you’ve not only left the city, but left the entire continent, too.

But such was our experience — for the most part — at the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai.

Checking in for the weekend, find out what happened when we visited the recently-opened European-inspired retreat, and why we had to pinch ourselves so many times to assure ourselves we were still in fact, in Thailand.

[All images courtesy of Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai]

The private villas

Location

The Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai can be reached in just under three hours by car. Traffic is a breeze once you leave the confines of Bangkok, and within Khao Yai, the resort is easy to find. It was once formerly known as the Ozone Hotel, but has since gone through a beautifying renovation and enlargement under Accor.

Driving in, you’ll be greeted by little villas grouped into neighbourhoods named after towns in Italy, before coming onto the view of a sprawling golf course and what appears to be a European fairytale castle.

Of course, it is not a castle. It is the lobby and main building of the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai.

Sense of arrival is strong

Rooms, Suites, and Villas

A cross between a Tuscan wedding, a baroque Harry Potter castle, and the set of The Crown, the most striking thing about the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai is its extraordinary interior and exterior design.

Of course, if you summer in Italy and Spain, you’ll be familiar with the style, but to see it in a setting that is actually Thailand, is wildly peculiar.

Nonetheless, the resort manages to balance its beautiful surroundings and cool temperatures with its design in a way that is very admired (and ‘gram-ed) by its guests.

The rooms, suites, and villas all boast high ceilings, with plush, heavy curtains framing the large windows. Spacious private balconies offer panoramic views of the golf course and the hills in the distance, and all in all, there’s a big sense of grandeur about the whole property.

Whilst there are also private villas (a dream for house parties) with kitchens and private pools available, we stayed in the main buildings in an Executive Deluxe room.

Deluxe rooms start at an ample 47 sqm and go up to 350 sqm for the 3-bedroom penthouse. We hear the latter is very popular too, and given that it’s at least double of our Bangkok condo space, this makes a lot of sense. Regardless of room type, our favourite feature was the standalone bathtub with silver claw feet. If there was a moment you wanted to play-pretend Marie Antoinette, it is here and now.

Dining

There are various dining outlets at the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai.

Flavours of Khao Yai is the all-day dining venue, which uses many ingredients sourced fresh from the onsite organic farm. It is also where a buffet breakfast is served every morning.

If you only dine at one place, we suggest it to be the Castleton Café, which we adored for its absolutely romantic ambience. Afternoon tea is served here in a glass gazebo setting, with a view of the gardens. Beyond this, there is also the Aqua Bar by the pool, as well as in-room dining.

Our favourite meal, however, was out in the lawn on our first evening, enjoying a barbecue to live music under the stars. The temperature is just apt (a denim jacket at most), and the ambience is a dreamy one. You’ve got the castle in the distance. You’re breathing clean air. The stars twinkle above you. It was a private event, but it was sweet proof that the resort offers plenty in terms of events like these.

Movenpick Resort Khao Yai
The Castleton Café

Events & Experiences

There are many spaces for events or even conferences at the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai. There are five select outdoor settings, as well as three indoor spaces. On our weekend alone, we witnessed at least one event each night, and it wasn’t hard to see why. In fitting with the theme, they even have an amphitheatre.

Beyond events, the resort also offers a few other experiences for guests to partake in. The most prominent and most popular feature is the 18-hole links-style golf course. It takes up the whole area around the resort, making it a dream destination for avid golfers looking to get away from Bangkok courses. With a golf shop on location, even the amateur can try his hand for one morning, with plenty of caddies to accompany.

Back at the hotel itself, there’s a fitness centre, an animal club petting zoo, and the organic farm to check out, as well as both an outdoor and indoor pool. We particularly loved the in-house boutique, which sold some really gorgeous linen dresses, as well as organic produce from around Khao Yai.

Wellness

Panacee Khao Yai Wellness & Spa provides a host of spa treatments for those looking to unwind, as well as medical care for those looking to get their health (back) in check.

The holistic practices cover everything from detoxification to vitamin therapy, as well as advanced cell-therapy treatments. Surrounded by nature and with a breeze and a blue sky to suit, we can see why guests choose it as a place to rehabilitate and rejuvenate.

Movenpick Resort Khao Yai

Verdict

In some ways, the Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai is the ideal escape for the times we find ourselves in.

With a travel ban still ongoing, it will be long before we can head to Tuscany and stay in a romantic Renaissance-style villa. And even when we do go, what are the chances it will be paired with an 18-hole golf course, a petting zoo, and some tasty organic Thai food?

It is an escape in many senses of the word. Pondering on our balcony at sunrise (definitely worth waking up for), the idea is wild but also kind of fantastic. The design of the Tuscan Roman era meets Nakhon Ratchasima’s 21st century Khao Yai. We wonder what the old Romans would have thought.

Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai, 334 Moo 6, T. Wang Sai A. Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, +66 44 009 1004.

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.