At a Glance
Abundant jungle ensures privacy for all fifty-six infinity pool villas, some nestled into the verdant lushness, others revealing awesome Phang Nga Bay panoramas at this off-shore retreat.
- Hilltop Reserve’s private club vibe
- Fun family amenities, like the Ice Cream Parlor
- The scenic Phang Nga Bay setting
- Natural spa treatments
Cruise 45 minutes here from Phuket past limestone outcroppings made famous when James Bond zoomed around them in The Man with the Golden Gun. Explore more leisurely by long-tail boat or paddle a kayak among the blooming mangroves. Other popular activities around Yao Noi include rock climbing, reef diving and snorkeling the coral rich lagoon.
Come back to the generously proportioned villas faithfully served around the clock by butlers who are helpful and especially caring with kids. Inside each villa, the inviting canopy bed gets made with unbleached cotton sheets, and guests have a menu of bespoke pillow choices. Each earthy villa extends to a private infinity pool, terrace and a bathtub built for two, all facing the Andaman Sea. The two-bedroom Hideaway Pool Villa is a family favorite, hidden in the tropical jungle with an outdoor terrace, infinity pool, garden bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, plus a separate living pavilion endowed with plenty of plumped up day beds for lounging about.
This resort takes full advantage of Phang Nga Bay, an ancient area of 42 islands created by shifting underwater plates and now a protected national park that’s home to rare Malaysian Plover and Asian Dowitcher birds. English-speaking guides lead trips by kayak into the mangroves, where sea meets forest. Take out a Hobie cat from the watersports center or the hotel will arrange a traditional long-tail boat to power you to Koh Noi for snorkeling and picnicking. After dark, recline under the stars for a classic film shown at Cinema Paradiso.
In the spa, the Signature Yao Noi Ritual incorporates herbs from the surrounding organic gardens into the traditional Thai massage, a Thai herbal body scrub made with tamarind juice and the Thai silk facial. The spa menu here extends well beyond the indigenous to Tibetan hot stone massage, Indian Chakra Balancing and Chinese Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, plus the therapists will work with you to create a wellness regimen that runs through your entire stay. Three separate restaurants, plus destination and in-villa dining, keep the gourmet experience fresh, as does produce coming from the organic gardens.
The Den Houses a two-story, all-glass wine cellar and a sunken bar serving Thai tapas like deep-fried shrimp wrapped with Phuket noodles in sweet and sour sauce at open-air seats alongside captivating lily ponds. Standouts on the extensive menu include fresh caught sashimi and sushi, Greek salad and thin crust primavera pizza with goat’s cheese and organic mushrooms, grilled pumpkin, zucchini and eggplant from the surrounding gardens. Cool off with scoops of around 50 freshly churned ice cream flavours. Lunch, though, is best taken at the private club-like Hilltop Reserve, perched on the edge of Yao Noi Hill.
Who Should Stay
Barefoot luxury–seeking sybarites, active travelers who will take advantage of Phang Nga Bay, families looking to play Swiss Family Robinson albeit in a swankier setting.
Six Senses creates an extensive list of sustainability initiatives their hotels need to meet, and Yao Noi is no exception. Most resources, including the staff, come from the small island itself. Guests are provided baskets with which they can visit the on-site farm to collect freshly laid eggs, milk, and vegetables for their breakfast. The property also funds a fresh water project via their reverse osmosis facilities, along with numerous other local community support initiatives such as education and healthcare.
Written by Cynthia Rosenfeld