An Enchanting Luxury Escape at Keemala Resort, Phuket
Have you ever felt so sick of the city noises and pollution that all you can think of at work is to get away? There’s nothing better than planning a romantic vacation with your loved one to a tropical paradise. And that is exactly my thought process when I booked our flights to Phuket. If you find yourself with a similar nagging thought, then you may want to read on about my experience at the Keemala Resort in Phuket. Trust me, you’ll be tempted to book a plane ticket, stat.
The good resorts don’t wait until the check-in process to make a first impression. The service starts the moment the staff picks you up from the airport. In this case, we got a sizable SUV that has more than enough space to carry my gigantic suitcases (I don't travel light.) On top of that, glass bottled water and cold towels were provided for our 40-minute ride from the airport to the hotel.
As we were approaching the resort, I saw ducks and fish. And the resident water buffalos! Yep. For a city girl like me, that came as a surprise. I already felt one step closer to nature! We then walked up a few flights of stairs, accompanied by mosaic artworks portraying the story of the fictional ancient clans, made up of the original inhabitants of Phuket: the “Pa-ta-Pea” (Earth), the “Khon-Jorn” (Wanderers), the “We-ha” (Sky), and the “Rung-Nok” (Nest).
The lobby also had beautiful mosaics infused with the tribal theme. In fact, the entire resort – including the villa designs, spa treatments, wellness programs, and gastronomic experiences – revolve around the folklore.
I blinked when I stepped into the common areas – lobby, sun lounge, business center, and restaurant. They’re all hung high in the sky and shaped like tree pods. Tropical Avatar land, anyone? Elevated tall above the ground, the architecture is both natural and modern. From the sun lounge, you get a good view of the resort and its four types of villas and cottages, all creatively designed by local talents: Thailand-based Architect Space and Pisit Aongskultong of Pisud Design Company.
Lavish yet rustic, who knew this place could exist?
The Tree House Villa
With the check-in process completed, we were whisked away in electric buggies to our private villa. From the outside, our villa looked like an egg-shaped structure that is lifted from the ground. Plants surround the entire house, making me feel like I am situated in the middle of an enchanted forest.
The villa has two floors. The top floor houses the master bedroom (with that dreamy cocoon-like bed) and bathroom, plus a balcony with a view of the entire resort. The bottom floor has a big lounge chair, a dining room table for four, and a pool. I could not wait to order from the extensive in-villa dining menu and make use of all that space!
The pool and balcony are surrounded by lush-green foliage. Life felt really good when I watched the sunset from the pool with my loved one next to me.
What is Your Clan?
Much like choosing amongst one of the four Houses at the Hogwarts School in Harry Potter, you will also be presented with four clans and four types of accommodations at Keemala.
The designs of the four unique villa types were inspired by the mythical clans. Which one are you?
-Clay Pool Cottages for the “Pa-Ta-Pea” (Earth Clan): The most down-to-earth. They believed in a strong connection to the earth. Occupations include fishermen, farmers, gardeners, carpenters, blacksmiths and miners.
-Tent Pool Villas for the ‘Khon-Jorn’ (Wanderer Clan): The nomads. An adventurous group consisting of foragers, herders, performers, traders and explorers, who spent their time trading goods with other tribes they encountered on their journeys.
-Tree Pool Houses for the ‘We-Ha’ (Sky Clan): The creatives. People who had advanced understanding of the universe and liked to live higher up to be closer to the sky, in order to elevate their creativity and liberty. The clan included the talents of healers, creators, architects and inventors.
-Bird’s Nest Pool Villas for the ‘Rung-Nok’ (Nest Clan): The nobles. They enjoy opulence and exclusivity. They are more superior in both intellect and spirituality and comprised of artists, poets, musicians, philosophers and astrologers.
Battle of the Bathrooms: The earthy tones at the Clay Pool Cottages v.s. the glamorous circular shower at the Bird's Nest Pool Villa
Each villa contains furniture, patterns, colors, and textures that are unique to its clan. And all villas are equipped with private pools and tubs, perfect for lovebirds seeking intimacy.
It’s only fitting that I picked the Tree House Villa since I am a proud entrepreneur and self-proclaimed creative! WE-HA!
The Mala Spa
Many therapists believe that your physical being influences the psychological state. I am a big believer in that. To help me relax, I go to the spa once or twice a month in Shanghai. So when I found out about the holistic massage offered at the award-winning Mala Spa, I was ecstatic to try it out.
After filling in forms while sipping off some tea, I was led to a private Spa pod that has two massage beds, sauna, steam, aromatherapy bath, and rain showers. I told my masseuse, Yingnoi, about my problem areas, and she assured me that I would feel much better after 90 minutes. And boy, she did not lie. The Harmonizing Massage I got is a combination of an oil massage and a traditional massage. It was both soothing and effective. I felt so rejuvenated after.
The Mala Spa uses only natural, paraben and cruelty-free products supplied by VOYA, Siam Botanicals, and Spa Ritual.
In addition to the spa menu, the Mala Spa also hosts wellness activities by visiting practitioners and Holistic Living Retreats for those seeking to unwind.
The food served at Keemala are mostly locally farmed on the resort property. If you have a walk in the garden, you’ll see different types of herbs, mushroom, vegetables, and fruits. This Healthy Living concept makes the resort a low-key health retreat centered on good food and relaxation.
At the Mala Restaurant, you can pick from three menus: Thai, Western, and Healthy Living. I know I really should be picking the latter……but my stomach won the internal battle against my brain. So our dinner consisted of steak and lobster served on Himalayan salt blocks. And they are divine!
Before you diss me for my slightly heavy choice of food, just know that I did order a healthy smoothie to go with my steak!
A native of Phuket, Executive Chef Poonsak Srimuang carries more than 20 years of culinary experience under his belt and is well-versed in crafting gastronomic sensations for his guests
Activities for Your Mind, Body and Soul
On the desk in your villa, you’ll find a big book of what to do at the resort and in Phuket. There is also a weekly schedule of a variety of activities offered every day – from yoga, sculpture classes, cooking classes, to anti-animal exploitation tours. You can also take the free shuttle offered by the resort to the Kamala Beach – only a 5-minute drive away.
I opted for a relaxed walk in the jungle walkways around the resort and some workout time at the fitness center.
One thing that sets Keemala apart from other luxury resorts is the people element. While taking a stroll around the resort, I can see that the staff who are working there – whether they’re cleaners, farmers, servers – all seem genuinely happy to be serving the guests. In a way, they’re like a big happy family who has created a natural, sustainable, and luscious environment for the guests to join the community. Special thanks to our personal butler, Toby, for arranging our rides and activities.
My experience at Keemala was truly an escape. I felt like I was transported to a fantasy, and in that world, I was able to rest my mind, body, and soul. The “slow life” ethos is exactly what I needed after months of long hours in the office and commutes in the polluted city. And the best part? I get to enjoy this romantic experience with my loved one.
What it is: A luxurious resort for a romantic and intimate getaway
Perfect for: Honeymoon, Health Retreat, Romantic Vacation
Year Opened: 2015
Room Rate: Starting at 400 USD / night
Address: 10/88 Moo 6, Nakasud Rd., Kamala, Kathu District, Phuket, 83150, Thailand
Phone Number: +66 (0)76 358 777
Interesting Fact: Keemala was No. 1 on the Condé Nast Hot List in 2016
Note: My stay was sponsored by Keemala. All opinions & Harry Potter references are my own.