Our long-tail boat slides onto the sand and Mr Smith and I leap out to make our unconventional and not-so-stealth entrance to Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa via the beach. Soaked to the bone after speeding through a rainstorm, we are relieved that staff are waiting for us on the shore to swap our luggage for orange-scented towels. Seasonal drenching notwithstanding, Anantara is the promised land for water lovers, occupying a heavenly corner of Thailand’s south-west coast where it has its own beach plus a diving club in the nearby national conservation area of Koh Kradan.
Leaving damp footprints through the white-washed, open-fronted Beach House lobby, we reach our Deluxe Sea View room. Before the bellboy has even brought in our bags Mr Smith switches into interior design mode, sliding the frosted screens separating bathroom and bedroom back and forth and stealing ideas for home. Left to check out the rest of our teak-clad room and its Siamese silk furnishings, I discover an amazing view of rugged islands that would be shortlisted by any lair-hunting Bond villain.
Mr Smith bags the bath so I read the hotel information directory to him from the bedroom, including an impressive array of detox options. There are special breakfasts, spa treatments and yoga classes with the resort’s doctor, with whom you could also have a private nutritional consultation. But we are on a tropical holiday and, for us at least, indulgence is definitely on the cards.
Minding the tiny frogs hopping across the garden path, we explore and find the spa which is neatly tucked away from the main part of the hotel. While deciding on our treatments, we are distracted by the moat circling the spa‘s reception, which is filled with lily pads, cute tadpoles and giant goldfish. This being a Thai spa, the obligatory Buddhas are present to supervise activities. When the spa consultant lets slip that a daily yoga class is held on the beach each morning I get excited and make a mental note: yoga on the beach beats yoga in a London gym any day.
Conveniently, two masseuses are available and we treat ourselves to a traditional massage together. I had briefed Mr Smith during the flight about how Thai massage differs from Swedish. They start from the toes up, no oil is applied and the hands are used to clutch and compress knots in the muscles. Even so, he is a little shocked when the diminutive Thai masseuse pounces on the table and proceeds to walk on his back. I wouldn’t say there was yelping as such, but more of a long, hard exhalation.
A cocktail at the Beach House bar is required to soothe Mr Smith. After two mojitos – made with scrummy caramelised brown sugar – I already doubt my ability to wake up for the morning yoga class. Later that evening, after an Italian banquet, we end the night stargazing from our balcony and listening to the crashing waves.
Inevitably, I wake up late and miss the yoga class. Admitting defeat, we spend a leisurely morning enjoying the view of the turquoise sea from the glass-fronted restaurant. At Anantara’s Koh Kradan diving club snorkellers and scuba divers can glimpse beneath those waves and the coral here is some of the best I’ve seen. When the tide is low, you can swim through the small opening of the Emerald Cave, near Koh Mook, and the sunlight makes the water inside gleam bright green.
Early (too early) the following morning, on the beach, there are four of us – me, Mr Smith, the yoga teacher and the yoga teacher’s wife – saluting the sunrise. I’m not surprised to find out that the smell of the sea is indeed more enjoyable than the odour of other Londoners’ sweat during downward-facing dog. It’s a gentle session but leaves us feeling more balanced and it helps Mr Smith and I sum up our stay: there’s lots to do at Anantara but you don’t have to do any of it. You can detox or drink cocktails at the beach bar, go kayaking or get massaged. And to make sure we try everything once, we make our exit from the front door this time and take a taxi to the airport.
Anonymously reviewed by Mr & Mrs Smith
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