KOH KUT (KOH KOOD)

SONEVA KIRI KOH KUT


SONEVA KIRI KOH KUT | REVIEW BY LUXURY TRAVEL PUBLISHER

SONEVA KIRI is located on Koh Kut (or Koh Kood) –  Thailand’s eastern most Island before reaching Cambodia. It’s provincial jurisdiction is Trat, and it lies within the pristine emerald waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Some say that Koh Kut is a picture of Thailand some 20-30 years ago. It’s untamed tropical jungle, pristine clear waters with vast amounts of fish and sea life, and soft white sands – It’s an iconic island that is doing it’s best to maintain it’s heritage, it’s tranquility and be the paradise that it’s widely known as.
Koh Kut truly is breathtaking and a testament to island life… It’s an untouched paradise.
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Before it all begins:
As part of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s service, upon booking you will receive a greeting email with a short questionnaire, also known as a guest profile. This is so that Soneva Kiri Koh Kut can attentively and effectively tailor your stay to your needs. This is a very personal touch, and one that I think many hotels could take inspiration from.
Within the questionnaire, you will be given the choice of bathroom amenities, slipper and bath robe size, preferred spoke language, food allergies or special requirements, choice of 11 pillows from the pillow menu (water pillow recommended!), choice of duvet – microfibre or silk, as well as other in villa amenities or entertainment. This already set the tone for the great service that Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is renowned for.

Getting to Soneva Kiri Koh Kut
Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is more than a destination, a hotel or resort. The entire experience starts from the moment the booking is made. Following the personalised guest profile, the journey to Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is also a journey of enlightenment. 

Upon arrival to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, you find yourself greeted by one of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s representatives which will kindly escort you to the check in counter on level 4. Following that, the representative will escort you to the lounge to await boarding of your flight.
The remarkably unique and extraordinary experience now awaits. You board your private 8 seater Cessna 208, bound for Soneva Kiri Koh Kut.

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This was my first experience on a light aircraft, and despite not being the best flyer, i found myself to be less nervous that i’d usually be on a jumbo jet! The reason is purely simple – the experience is absolutely fascinating and surreal. The view’s as your embark on your 1.5 hour journey to Soneva Kiri Koh Kut are just remarkable.
Every single moment spent in the private plane was just a thrill, a joy and a marvellous place to be. As you approach the western border, you begin to see the multitude of micro islands dotted along the gulf of Thailand. The pristine water, the white sandy bays and mountainous foliage filled islands are a magnificent sight.

The plane travels at a low altitude, and make the whole journey more of a pleasure flight than a mode of transport. The pilots are crew were exceptionally professional and friendly and this is definitely a remarkable memory for our stay at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut. One should definitely, without hesitation opt for the private transfers.  

The Welcome Experience
Upon touchdown at a private airstrip located on a nearby island, you will be greeted by members of staff from Soneva Kiri Koh Kut, who will then escort you by buggy to a waiting luxury speedboat. Once aboard the luxury speedboat, you’ll be offered a refreshing wet towel and welcome drink. Across the bay, the staff will point out Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s private beach, and then shortly you’ll arrive at the jetty to the resort. The journey is about 5 minutes, and you get to see the pristine clear waters surrounding Koh Kut.

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Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the assistant manager and a team of 5 of staff, aptly named ‘hosts’ of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut. Sonya Kiri has a “no news, no shoes” concept. This mean, there is no TV reception – no news, and no shoes is optional with the intent that you get the feel everything with your feet.
As expected, the warm weather in Thailand can make for hot feet, however, the hosts are one step ahead, watering down the pathway along the jetty so that you can walk comfortably without burning the soles of your feet. 
We were then acquainted by our Ms Friday – (Mr and Ms Friday’s are a concept from Robinson Crusoe that Soneva Kiri has taken inspiration from), and she welcomed herself as our personal butler during our stay.
Our Ms Friday then escorted us to our villa for inspection.

The Villas:

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Soneva Kiri Koh Kut has a 36 stunning private villas within it’s 160 acres grounds of jungles, mountains and beaches.. All of which feature large swimming pool(s) and come in a range of sizes, from 1 bedroom, to 6 bedroom.
During our stay, we stayed at the Cliff Pool Villa Suite – 482 sq.m of sprawling rustic luxury, 2 pools with elevated views of the gulf. This is a villa like no other.
Each Villa is provided with 1 or more private buggy’s  – or golf carts which make for easy navigation around the grounds of Soneva Kiri.
The villa in which we were staying featured a large outdoor living area with in an open pavilion. There was a large day bed, outdoor fridge, espresso machine, and dining area. Leading to the pool, there is also a large deck area where sun loungers and parasol reaching out to the panoramic infinity pool that spans the width of the villa’s grounds. The pool is partly shaded by the foliage surround the villa and being cliff top, has an elevated view of the gulf below. 

Venturing away from outdoor living, the door to the left leads us into our own outdoor bathroom coutyard. Within the courtyard a large jacuzzi bathtub, uncovered rain shower and a large deck separating the two the 2 rooms either side of the outdoor living area.

To one side is the washroom room, featuring his and her’s vanity and sinks with a large day bed behind. In one door, and out the other side leads to the covered dome shower room.
To the other side of the courtyard is the bathroom, walk in closet/dressing area with make up vanity desk.

Through the double doors, you can then access the bedroom from the courtyard.
Upon opening the doors the well appointed room reveals is splendid view of the gulf and the pool which stretches around the villa. The King Bed is fitted with a mosquito net although it wasn’t required whilst we were staying, does add to the ambience of the design. Rustic yet built with quality in mind, Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s approach is Barefoot Luxury, and it’s finely appointed furniture and fittings are a testament to that. The room and outdoor area is fitted with a Bose sound system, and iPod and every room has a strong wifi connection. Behind the bed is a work desk area, and to the foot of the bed a large trunk which opens up to reveal a flat screen TV. Although there is no TV reception at Soneva Kiri, there is a plethora of DVD’s which can be borrowed from the library if one is so inclined. During our 4 day stay however, we didn’t need to turn on the TV once.

At the end of the bed also, are large sliding doors which open out to a large sitting area with direct access to pool which spans the villa.

In tune with Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s preservation of wildlife and nature, you will feel rightly at home in the luxurious villa surrounded by dense tropical jungle and wildlife. At times of the day and evening you can hear the sounds of nature: frogs, crickets, birds and cicadas. An enlightening and welcoming sentiment to bring us back in touch with nature. Rustically designed featuring extensive use of sustainable timber and bamboo – the villa is a paradise retreat in the jungle, with an ocean view!
Each room is also equipped with a personalised mobile phone – one touch calling to our Ms Friday at any time of the day or night if necessary.

The Restaurants
Soneva Kiri Koh Kud has a wide offering for food choice both in terms of cuisine and setting.

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  • Khun Benz’s is a fantastic choice for dinner. A traditional Thai stilted eatery nestled amongst the mangroves, getting to the restaurant can be done by car or boat – organised by your Mr/Ms Friday.
    The food and setting is sensational, perfect for a romantic or family dinner. Candle lit, open to nature this place has an ambiance that cannot be repeated or copied anywhere else. A very unique and unparalleled dining experience. There is no set menu, but Khun Benz will rustle up the 9 course set menu day by day depending on the food she has managed to source from locally produced farms on that particular day. Traditionally Thai but aimed towards the western palate, the food is a culinary journey and introduction to the depths of thai cuisine for the untrained and newcomer to Thai cuisine. For those more accustomed to the flavours and spices, the food can be tailored for your requirements. Highly recommended!
  • The View is appropriately named so due to its cliff top setting allowing uninterrupted views of the gulf of Thailand.  Perfect for sunset, the dinner menu is prepared using western cooking techniques combined with locally sourced produce to create some fine dining fusion concepts.
    Below The View also lies the iconic Wine Cellar and Wine Tasting Room.
  • So Spirited is the relaxed and informal setting perfect for lunch or dinner. With a sunken dining option, surround by Soneva Kiri Koh Kut’s main swimming pool, So Spirited is the perfect place to hang out for a drink too. The menu is extensive and offers a large choice of quality western and local Thai meals. The drinks menu also offer a great selection of smoothies, juices, mocktails and cocktails.
  • Dining Room is the place to be for breakfast. Make no mistake, the breakfast at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut, is the best breakfast service I have experienced. The selection is enormous. You name it, they have it. Aside from  à la cart choices such as scrambled eggs, eggs benedict or pancakes, you can find a large selection of fresh fruits, an Asian section including rice porridge, dim sum’s and thai noodles. There is also a grill area where Soneva Kiri prepare their own sausages, to sit nicely with your choice of bacon and eggs. Then there is the chiller room which has a huge array of pastries which are changed daily, cheeses, cold cut meats, yoghurts, salads and even sushi. There is certainly something here to cater for every taste, and the quality of the food is exceptional. There is also a wide selection of juices and smoothies to accompany your breakfast, as well as coffee’s tea’s and other beverages. Breakfasty must not be missed.
  • Dining Experience: Soneva Kiri Koh Kut hosts dining experiences and during our time there, they hosted a Maldivian Dinner. Not only a theme, but a critically acclaimed Sous Chef from Soneva Fushi, Maldives was on hand to curate some great culinary delights. This was my first time at Maldivian cuisine and it did not disappoint. A beautiful setting during sunset, stationed along the jetty, the view and atmosphere were sensational, and poised to be a romantic dinner for two.
  • Tree Pod Dining is a unique and rewarding dining experience. Being hoisted up 100m from sea level in your personal tree pod, your waiter will serve you a delight of food and beverages by zip line. The concept is extraordinary, and the peace and privacy is second to none. Nestled amongst the trees with superb views of the ocean and surrounding foliage, the Tree Pod Dining experience places you right in the middle of nature. We opted for the appropriately named High Tea which serves a selection of sandwiches, cakes, macarons and hot/cold drink choices.
    This is a very popular attraction, so be sure to book in advance for your choice of Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

Activities:
There are an absolute plethora of activities at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut to entertain both adults and children.

  • The Observatory has state of the art equipment for viewing of The Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and many stars. Open from 21:00 – 23:00 the observatory is a fantastic after dinner experience, and it’s equipment allows for high quality viewing and an insight of information for aspiring astromoners. Highly recommended!
  • Cinema Paradiso is an outdoor over water screening of classic and favourites. 2 viewing times for both children and adults, with a selection of drinks and popcorn. Very romantic as a couple, and very fun as a family. An extraordinary and unique resort experience.
  • Snorkelling / Scuba Diving is very popular and highly rated around Koh Kut. Available to book through your Mr/Mrs Friday.
  • Day trips, both locally or a private plane journey to Siam Reap, Cambodia. Anything is possible.
  • The Ice Cream Factory. With over 60 flavours of home-made ice cream and sorbets, this is the place to hang out. I managed to try about 15 flavours during my 4 day stay. This was popular with both children and adults and the ice cream is delicious. Open all day, right next to the chocolate room.
  • The chocolate room is a heaven on earth. Everything homemade with chocolate this is the place to find your inner child. Help yourself to as much as you can indulge in.

The Beach:
A 5 minute ride away in one of Soneva Kiri’s speedboats, you will be welcomed to the northern end of Koh Kut where the private beach of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is situated. With it’s vast stretch of white sands lined with sky high palm trees and dotted with sun loungers and dining tables, most of our days were spent here.
Aside from an absolute plethora of water sport activities, there are also dining options available for both food and beverages. The beach is open early morning till 6:30 pm, and the speedboats will take you too and from at your leisure. Hosts at the beach are ready to serve you refreshing drinks or assist you in many of the water sport activities available. Some of which include:

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Windsailing, Paddle Boarding, Water Skiing, Snorkelling, Banana Boat / Sofa, HobiCat small Catamaran Sailing, Kayaking, Jet skiing. 

The beach is adorned with crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming. The water is home to many types of tropical fish which makes snorkelling ideal here – an untouched tropical paradise.

The Spa:
The world renowned Six Senses Spa  holds title to a worldwide reputation of high quality treatments and service, and the spa at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is a testament to it’s acclaim.

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Set in tone with the resort’s theme, the spa setting is calming and barefoot luxury in concept. The treatments are very attentive and it’s hosts are both professional and commendable in their services. Six Senses Signature Spa treatment highly recommended. 

Family/ Children Choices:
For those travelling with family and children, there is a large range of activities available.

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The Den is the pride and joy of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut.is our pride and joy. A giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, The Den is dedicated to learning, excitement and meaningful experiences. Professional child minders pique children’s imaginations, teaching them to play Thai instruments, unleashing their creative talents with painting and the visual arts, and carefully watching them at play in the wonderous world of moulded bamboo spaces up, down and around.

Further is the Intrepid Explorers Club, aimed specifically at one to five year olds, the only resort that offer such comprehensive, age-specific facilities.
At the Explorers Club, the younger group play in the ‘Eco Den’. Children get to play with toys and take part in activities, both meeting Soneva’s stringent standards of social and environmental responsibility. Throughout the children are looked after by qualified childcare experts, supported by local child carers.
Beyond the manta, the inrepid explorer’s club, child-friendly excursions and cultural exchanges immerse them in the destination. Rainforest walks and local school visits leave lasting impressions. And activities to be shared as a family abound, from dinners amidst the wilds to stolen chocolates from the free and endless supply in the chocolate room.

Sustainability:
Having been on a tour of sustainability at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut, it was evident that they take sustainability seriously. From composting food waste, to creating bio-diesel, growing their own herbs and vegetables, recycling water waste Soneva Kiri are adamant to reduce their footprint and be as green as they can be. There are dedicated hosts taking care of these aspects, and they’re happy to take you on a guided tour to show you the runnings behind the scenes.
All waste water at Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is recycled and reused, and all bottled drinking water is sourced from underground wells, then filtered for drinking water. No plastic bottles for shampoo’s and shower gels, and no plastic bottles for drinking water. The onsite created Bio-Diesel from left over cooking oils, is then used to power farm machinery. Very impressed.

Highlights:
Aside from the attentive service and personalisation of Soneva Kiri Koh Kut, the highlights of my stay must include the following:

 

  • Tree Pod Dining is a unique and rewarding dining experience. Being hoisted up 100m from sea level in your personal tree pod, your waiter will serve you a delight of food and beverages by zip line. The concept is extraordinary, and the peace and privacy is second to none. Nestled amongst the trees with superb views of the ocean and surrounding foliage, the Tree Pod Dining experience places you right in the middle of nature. We opted for the appropriately named High Tea which serves a selection of sandwiches, cakes, macarons and hot/cold drink choices.
    This is a very popular attraction, so be sure to book in advance for your choice of Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
  • Dining Experience: Soneva Kiri Koh Kut hosts dining experiences and during our time there, they hosted a Maldivian Dinner. Not only a theme, but a critically acclaimed Sous Chef from Soneva Fushi, Maldives was on hand to curate some great culinary delights. This was my first time at Maldivian cuisine and it did not disappoint. A beautiful setting during sunset, stationed along the jetty, the view and atmosphere were sensational, and poised to be a romantic dinner for two.
  • The Ice Cream Factory. With over 60 flavours of home-made ice cream and sorbets, this is the place to hang out. I managed to try about 15 flavours during my 4 day stay. This was popular with both children and adults and the ice cream is delicious. Open all day, right next to the chocolate room.
  • Water sport activities. Wind sailing, Paddle Boarding, Water Skiing, Snorkelling, Banana Boat / Sofa, HobiCat small Catamaran Sailing, Kayaking, Jet skiing. 
  • The Observatory has state of the art equipment for viewing of The Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and many stars. Open from 21:00 – 23:00 the observatory is a fantastic after dinner experience, and it’s equipment allows for high quality viewing and an insight of information for aspiring astromoners. Highly recommended!
  • Cinema Paradiso is an outdoor over water screening of classic and favourites. 2 viewing times for both children and adults, with a selection of drinks and popcorn. Very romantic as a couple, and very fun as a family. An extraordinary and unique resort experience.
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Other quirks and concepts unique to Soneva Kiri Koh Kut include Soneva Time, where you time is set 1 hour ahead of Thailand time. This give you a sense of exclusivity, being secluded from the mainland and operating our your own time zone. Losing sense of time really is no issue at Soneva Kiri.

SLOWLIFE: The acronym SLOW LIFE (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences) explains the Soneva philosophy. The aim is to create unforgettable, enlightening experiences that rejuvenate each guest’s love of SLOW LIFE. It’s about illuminating lives whilst treading lightly on the earth.

Soneva Kiri Koh Kut does more than to create a place to stay. It creates a journey, creates memories and experience which it likes to call Intelligent Luxury. Soneva Kiri doesn’t just beat standards – it creates them. It casts new expectations and brings dreams into realisation. This is a place which sets a new benchmark. Getting lost in barefoot luxury is a heaven on earth. Soneva Kiri Koh Kut is a exceptional example of luxury living in close contact with nature’s finest and most magnificent offerings.