Not far from Phuket and the eminently explorable coastline of Phang Nga, The Sarojin is a secluded boutique resort that strives to satisfy every wish and whim. With 10 acres of trimmed and tailored tropical gardens surrounding its ancient ficus tree, this extravagant hotel offers pampered privacy against a beautiful leafy backdrop.
Get this when you book through us:
A 60-minute Thai massage for two people, to be taken within 48 hours of arrival
Noon, although later check-out is possible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £139.36 (THB6,428), including tax at 18.7 per cent.
Rates include à la carte breakfast with sparkling wine. Guests staying in a Spa Suite get an additional 60-minute Thai or Royal Oriental massage a day, for each room.
At the hotel
Spa, Jacuzzi, fitness centre, croquet lawn, petanque pitch, library, boutique, free WiFi throughout, charter boat. In rooms: TV, CD and DVD player, espresso machine.
Our favourite rooms
We like the Pool Residences, with their enormous onyx plunge pools sunk into the terraces – perfect for a late-night cocktail while soaking under the stars. All suites offer plenty of space and are decorated in simple and soothing white and warm woods. The huge bathrooms are an unexpected pleasure: the oval terazzo couple's bath tub set on a pebbled floor adds a relaxing garden feel.
Fringed with palm-trees and manicured lawns, the turquoise-tiled infinity pool’s focal point is the pavilion islands, each with sun-loungers and removable roof.
Wander down the boardwalk to secluded spa Pathways, which floats over the main estuary and looks out over the coconut grove to the Andaman Sea. The wellness-focused spa treatments are inspired by ancient healing techniques and performed with as an act of ‘metta’ – an act of loving kindness. The open-air spa has four treatment pavilions (two for couples), rainfall showers, soaking tubs for two and an alfresco lounge terrace; there’s also an air-conditioned treatment room especially for indulgent facials.
The hotel can provide mountain bikes, kayaks and windsurfing kit – all you need to remember are sturdy shoes, stay-on swimwear and a taste for adventure.
A five-night minimum stay is required over the Christmas period.
Over-10s are welcome; extra beds can be added to the Jacuzzi Pool Suite, Pool Residence and Garden Residence. Babysitting can be arranged.
Humidity-haters should head indoors at Ficus for air-conditioned respite. Incurable romantics should take advantage of the private barbecue that the Sarojin can arrange anywhere in the resort.
Chilled to perfection.
The Sarojin has two. The Edge is a cosy seafood shack where you can enjoy seaviews and sand underfoot. Amid the hanging roots of the enormous fig tree, Ficus fuses international cuisine with spicy oriental flavours. If you really want to push the boat out, arrange a sunset cruise on the Lady Sarojin, followed by candlelit dinner for two on your own private island.
Tucked under the fig tree, the open-air Cellar Bar plies guests with wine and cigars. Make sure you get to sample a sparkling Champagne Sarojin cocktail.
The restaurants stop serving at 10pm; the bar stays open as long as you're in there.
Secluded tropical hotspot the Sarojin sits pretty on a sublime stretch of coastline on Phang Nga, just one hour north of Phuket.
Domestic and international flights land frequently at Phuket International Airport (www.phuketairportonline.com).
If you’d like to hire a car, from Phuket take route 402 and drive north over Sarasin Bridge into Phang Nga province. Keep heading north and take route 4 along the west coast passing through the towns of Kok Kloy, Thai Muang and then Khao Lak. The Sarojin is 8 kilometres north of Khao Lak centre and just north of Pakarang Cape.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Sarojin has a full-time ‘imagineer’ who can put together a personalised itinerary for your stay, including elephant treks, scuba, deep-sea fishing and a host of other activities, ranging from simple sightseeing to white-knuckle thrills.
At the end of a nine-hour flight to Bangkok, a two-hour layover and then another hour-long plane ride to Phuket, Mrs Smith and I are quite the exhausted twosome. All we want to do is put our feet up, sip cocktails and sink into a snuggle. After all, it’s 8pm and we’ve just finished something of a travel marathon. We are met by the smile of Dum, the driver from the Sarojin, who then informs us we have yet another hour’s drive before arriving at the resort. Strewth! At least he’s wielding bottles of icy water and several banana-leaf packages containing sticky rice and mango (we’ve informed the resort ahead of time that sticky rice is one of Mrs Smith’s favourite indulgences). It is the first hint that the service we are about to experience was going to be rather special.
By the time we arrive at Khao Lak in the Phang Nga province it is 9.30pm, hot and humid. Thankfully the warm greeting at the Sarojin’s front desk is accompanied by an elegant hand gesture ushering us towards a comfy seat, a refreshing wet towel and a tall glass of pandanus juice. Could it be that the staff are actually very talented mind readers?
After an impressive introduction to the retreat, we are escorted to our suite and given a rundown of its amenities. And then we are left to fend for ourselves. The horror! But there is a welcome note, along with an invitation to enjoy a complimentary half-hour massage, a picture-perfect platter of ripe local fruit, a bathtub filled with pandanus leaves and orchids, Juku bath products and a fully stocked minibar. Somehow I think we’re going to be OK.
The modern, minimalist room is just what I was hoping for. There’s nothing like getting away from physical clutter to calm a harried mind. We spend a few minutes taking in the tranquil surroundings before venturing to the Edge, one of the Sarojin’s two eating establishments. It’s a breezy timber pavilion set by the sea, and this evening a seafood barbecue banquet is being served. Both Eastern and Western options appear among the offerings, but our favourite dish is the tempura white pepper leaves with prawns. Yes, second helpings were indeed involved. Just a quick tip for beginners: if you see something in a dish that looks like a small green bean, take care. These could, in fact, be chillies – the sort that require a fire extinguisher to put out their heat.
After satisfying our cravings for all things spicy, we stroll back to our suite for a relaxing hot soak. Mrs Smith tips the patchouli and charcoal bath salts into the warm depths and we sink in. A languid soak accompanied by half a bottle of bubbly and it’s time for a good night’s sleep.
In the morning, we venture out to explore in depth. Set on a private beach, the Sarojin is the perfect romantic escape. Breakfast is offered in the other restaurant, Ficus, located beside the lotus pond. Again, the menu seems to span the globe, utilising fresh, local produce. Nothing is too heavy or too pricey, and sparkling white wine is on offer throughout the meal. Well, we are on holiday.
Everything at the resort, from the tailored off-site activities – scuba diving and jungle safaris are some of the more popular – to the well-stocked library, appears to be carefully considered. The divine infinity-edge pool has day-beds positioned on individual platforms over the water, and you know you’re never going to be disturbed because, first of all, the staff seem to be attuned to your every need – whether that is a cold glass of something or complete privacy – and, second, the resort has a policy of not allowing children younger than 12 (don’t get me wrong, I love kids but sometimes you just want absolute peace and quiet).
Later, we explore the town of Khao Lak, just 10 minutes away. Essentially, it’s a string of villages along the pristine beach and the starting point for travellers who come to the area for the spectacular diving. For us, however, it’s all about tasting some of the local food – an experience I can’t recommend highly enough.
Back at the resort, Mrs Smith and I decide it’s time to embrace another of our passions. I admit it: we are spa junkies and consider ourselves fairly expert on the topic. Pathways, the Sarojin’s temple to indulgence, has won plenty of awards so we were desperate to check it out. Having perused the breathtaking website in some depth, we book a two-and-a-half-hour session each. It is fair to say that I have found my new happy place. Just an arms-length apart, Mrs Smith and I more than enjoyed our massages and body treatments. Had it gone on forever, we would have been quite happy.
I guess I should possibly mention at this point that it rained for two of the three days we were visiting the Sarojin, but it didn’t matter at all. There was more than enough diversity in the activities available to keep us relaxed and content. In fact, we probably should come back again and try out some of the fine-weather options. After all, it would seem churlish not to.