Need to know
Noon; check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $507.75 (THB16,700), excluding tax at 18.7 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast, non-alcoholic minibar drinks, shuttle boat service to Hong Island and dedicated butler service.
You’ll not want to miss the first destination spa in Thailand managed by ESPA. The treatments blend ancient and modern techniques, and you can continue the calm in the steam rooms, vitality pools and relaxation rooms.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, 24-hour personalised butler service, library, DVD library, free WiFi throughout, valet parking. In rooms: TV and DVD player, CD player, iPod dock, Wii gaming console, Panpuri toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
For an unobstructed view of the islands and an infinity-style plunge pool there’s no topping room 30, the Royal Andaman Sea Villa. Equally impressive is its sensational outdoor bath, set within its own pond. Talk about water, water everywhere… But that is the top of the range. The Ocean Pavilions aren’t quite as grand, but they do have private rooftop sundecks with views of the ocean.
Set back from the ocean, the sizable infinity pool has two levels, the higher one trickling into the one below. Take up your position on a timber sunlounger or covered day-bed. Throughout the day, staff move around discreetly, topping up iced water, offering refreshing fruit kebabs and polishing guests’ sunglasses. If you want something stronger than water, there’s even a swim-up bar.
Bring your yoga pants – the wellness centre boasts an impressive range of meditation, Pilates and yoga classes. Otherwise, sarongs and swimwear should suffice.
Famed local architect Lek Bunnag was in charge of the design of Phulay Bay, the first property in Ritz-Carlton’s Reserve collection. All rooms are non-smoking, although it is permitted outside.
The whole family is welcome. Free baby cots can be popped into rooms; extra beds are charged at THB 5804 for over 11s. There’s a full Phulay Baby programme to keep junior Smiths amused.
Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, works well for the whole family, with beach fun and on-land activities to keep your brood distracted.
The Royal Pool Villas Sea View and Reserve Pavilions connect to rooms in the same category via the veranda. All other rooms are large enough for a cot or extra bed.
Phulay Baby is a programme of organised activities held daily between 12.30pm and 5pm for youngsters aged four to 12 years old (kids under six need parental supervision). The fun is – don’t tell them this – also educational with cultural activities, such as Thai dancing and cooking. There are also mini yoga lessons and visits to see Koko, the baby elephant who lives at Phulay Bay.
Where do you start? Apart from all the fun organised by the Phulay Baby supervisors, there’s a whole load of activities that all the Smiths can enjoy together, such as kayaking or sailing around the dramatic limestone formations in the sea. The spa also has both special treatments for the juniors or Mum & Me or Dad & Me packages.
The kiddies' pool is just half a metre deep – splash away!
The chefs have certainly outdone themselves coming up with a children’s menu that goes way beyond pizza and chicken nuggets, encompassing many local and palate-friendly dishes. Your little guys are welcome at any of Phulay Bay's restaurants and high chairs are available in each.
Book at least three days in advance.
No need to pack
Cots, which can be added to rooms on request, or high chairs.
Some of the rooms are close enough to the restaurants to allow the use of listening devices. Request Beach Villa no 1 or Reserve Pavilions 12 or 15 if that's important.
The kitchens at Phulay Bay use produce sourced from local markets, with some even grown on the property. Recycling of waste and waste water takes place.