Soneva Kiri is true Thai heaven

After our amazing experience at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, I was excited to visit Soneva Kiri on Koh Kut in Thailand. The fun always starts a few weeks before the trip, when Soneva sends an email asking about your personal preferences about pretty much every detail that makes for a comfortable stay, from pillow menu to music tastes to food allergies – and favorite ice cream flavor! Since we had been to Soneva Fushi our personal preferences were already on file, yet the staff kindly inquired if we would like to make any changes to make our stay as personal and pleasant as possible.

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ARRIVAL //

We love Bangkok, so we spent an extra day in this wonderful city before heading to Soneva Kiri. We were greeted at the special Soneva Kiri counter at Suvarnabhumi Airport by a friendly staff member who immediately took care of our luggage and escorted us to the lounge. From that moment on, it was like a celebrity trip: we boarded a luxurious eight seater private Soneva Kiri plane and thoroughly enjoyed the one hour scenic trip over Eastern Thailand to Koh Mai Si, a small island with not much more than an airstrip in the middle. The moment we stepped off the plane we were greeted by our friendly ms. Friday. She would take care of our every wish during our stay and led us to a golf cart that drove us to the jetty, where a fast speedboat was waiting that took us to Soneva Kiri within in a few minutes. The whole plane-to-speedboat-to-paradise trip put a huge smile on my face, while I was sipping a refreshing tropical drink and Soneva Kiri appeared before me.

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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten


LOCATION //

Located on the tip of Koh Kut (or Koh Kood), Thailand’s most eastern island near Cambodia, Soneva Kiri is a secluded piece of paradise. What amazed me, is how a resort in a completely different country can still have the same vibe as its sister property in the Maldives. Perhaps it’s the colors and the use of natural wood and the way the resort just blends with nature, maybe it are the beautiful villas, but most probably the secret lies in the people, who are all just wonderful. Talking to the staff members I learned that some of them have worked there since the opening day. They clearly all love to work at Soneva Kiri and are very proud of the resort.

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GETTING AROUND // 

Soneva Kiri is spread out over more than 100 acres (over 40 hectare), which gives the entire experience of staying there a relaxed, almost village like feeling. We were obviously not the only guests there, but it never felt busy, rushed or ‘touristy’ at any point in time. One of the contributing factors to that sense of being independent, yet part of a larger tribe, is the use of your own electric buggy. Our ms. Friday drove us straight from the jetty where the speedboat docked to our villa and explained that this was our buggy to use during our stay. I loved how eco friendly this mode of transportation was: quiet, efficient and just plain fun to drive. Every night the staff would charge the buggy, so we were always ready to go during the day.

ECO LUXURY //
We had already been introduced to the cradle to cradle approach that Soneva applies to sustainable travel at Soneva Fushi. We loved the waste to wealth center there and the glass studio that repurposes all the bottles used at the restaurants. It was just as amazing to see true eco luxury in Thai style at Soneva Kiri, through waste recycling, water conservation and the re-use of water, combined with sourcing most products for the restaurants locally, from farmers and fishermen. We took a tour of the eco center and were so impressed, again, with the very practical approach to sustainability in action, that it is just baffling not more hotels and resorts follow Soneva’s example.

THE VILLA //
However, all the emphasis on living in balance with nature and making sure the impact on the environment is as minimal as possible, takes nothing away from the luxury part of eco luxury! The villas are equipped with every amenity one could wish for and range in size from one to no less than six bedrooms. For people who enjoy expansive bay and ocean views, there are gorgeous villas built on the top of cliffs and bluffs. Others may prefer sand between their toes and a quick dip in the ocean, so for those people the beach villas are more suitable. We stayed in a beautiful beach villa with a large outdoor living room, which I love, a huge swimming pool and an enormous deck. Add to that the two bathrooms (indoor and outdoor!), the large walk in closet and great details like the incredible pillow menu, or the special pouches hanging inside the mosquito nets around the bed to hang our mobile phones in, and you’ll surely agree that the villas at Soneva Kiri are just spectacular.

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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten

Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten


THE FOOD // 

Soneva tries to make every meal a special experience. The ’trick’ is that they match fantastic food with a specific ambiance and location. Starting with breakfast, it’s not just one of the most lavish breakfast buffets I have ever seen but there are a few special surprises. First of all, I was surprised there is an á la carte menu on top of the already endless buffet. I already had a hard time to choose from the salad bar, the organic buffet, the European spread and the many Indian and Chinese breakfast choices, only to be told we could order anything we liked as well, like waffles, eggs in any variation, French toast – well, you get the idea! Another gem is the dedicated ham and cheese room aptly named So Delicious, with cheeses, charcuterie (assorted meats) and salmon, to pair with just brilliant bread and croissants from the Soneva Kiri bakery. A place I loved was the special juice counter, where I could just select any of the fresh fruits and vegetables that were on display there, and an expert staff member would turn my choices into a fresh, healthy breakfast smoothie or blend it into a refreshing juice.

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It was perhaps not designed as a breakfast option, but the first of several moments during the day when the boyfriend went missing and I found him in the special chocolate room called So Guilty, was always at breakfast. He felt like a visitor to Willy Wonka’s Thai factory and kept sampling the various chocolate drinks, with mixes like Thai tea chocolate. All fresh, all homemade and all complimentary for the Soneva Kiri guests. Conveniently located for him, right next to So Guilty, is So Chilled, the large display of handmade ice cream with the most exotic flavours. It was hard to resist dropping by there several times a day!

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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten

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Mangrove dinner // Chef Benz’s Restaurant

On our first morning, a sweet Thai lady waved at us from her buggy as she whizzed by. That is how we met Chef Benz, undoubtedly the star of the food scene on Koh Kood. Chef Benz has her own restaurant, Benz’s, on a bamboo deck on the edge of the mangrove forest, where we were brought by boat for one of the most spectacular and authentic Thai dinners I’ve ever enjoyed. I especially love Thai curries and oh, does Benz know how to make them! We enjoyed a nine-course (!) menu that changes every night, depending on what Benz is able to source fresh that day. On another night we were treated to a wonderful fine dining experience while watching a breath taking sunset at The View, the restaurant situated on one of Soneva Kiri’s higher bluffs that overlooks the ocean.

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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand


The Treepod experience //

The most memorable moment of our stay was breakfast in the Treepod, which turned out to be a truly unique experience. We followed our friendly waiter on a path through the forrest along the coastline to a bamboo pod with a large wooden table, that could seat four people. Once we sat down he hoisted the pod up into the tropical foliage of the rainforest and we were served a majestic breakfast, up in the air between the treetops! It was so much fun to see the waiter disappear between the trees on a zip line to get our coffee refills, as we literally hung out in our bamboo pod between the chirping birds. I’m sure that dinner in the treepod is very romantic as well, but seeing the sun rays pierce through the canopy with the crystal blue ocean in the background, made me realize that breakfast and lunch at the Treepod are Soneva Kiri dining experiences that are unparalleled in the world.

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THE BEACH //

Situated on a tropical island, obviously many people come to Soneva Kiri to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the water based excursions and activities. I particularly liked North Beach, an idyllic picture perfect private white sand beach (only for Soneva Kiri guests) just a 5 minute speedboat ride away, across the spectacular crystal blue bay. There is no better tropical experience than lying on a beach bed overlooking the ocean, while sipping on a fresh young coconut! Because, and by now you surely saw this coming, there is a restaurant right on the beach with a staff eager to cater to your every whim.

Review Soneva Kiri Thailand

Review Soneva Kiri Thailand

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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand

Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten_6109
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Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten_6109

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EXCURSIONS //

Since I love the water, I also thoroughly enjoyed the snorkeling trip during which we saw many tropical, colorful fish at several secluded snorkeling locations. It probably helped that we started out early, but it was so refreshing to enjoy such an activity without hundreds of other people fighting for the best selfie position. Even when we went on an island discovery tour and visited a local fishing village, there were no tour groups or cruise boats in our tracks.

THE SPA // Six Senses spa
Almost hidden in the jungle at Soneva Kiri lies another Soneva staple that you should not miss: the Six Senses Spa. The extensive spa menu features various massage techniques and beauty treatments. I just loved the oriental massage here, which is a bit firmer than the traditional Swedish massage and also incorporates stretching techniques, and the therapists at Six Senses spa are experts that combine global best practises with locally inspired treatments.

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CINEMA //

At the end of the day, literally, we fell in love with another Soneva staple: open air cinema. Built in a large pond in the middle of the resort, the cinema offers classic or contemporary films. The night that we went Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn was showing. Watching that classic movie while lying on comfortable mattresses with fresh popcorn and cocktails underneath a star studded sky, was an experience I will always remember.

Review Soneva Kiri Thailand Merel van Poorten


Experiences you will always remember, that is exactly what the Soneva team tries to create at all their resorts. The Soneva touch is a unique blend of sustainability and luxury, of high level service and a laid back vibe, and of exclusive activities and total relaxation. We just can not wait to visit the third and final Soneva destination: Soneva Jani, here we come!

*Presstrip // Soneva Kiri, Thailand

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