Who says you can’t have luxury and sustainability in the same place? Here, we look at resorts in Thailand who offer both facets of the travel spectrum.
Situated in Kamala on the west coast of Phuket Island, Keemala is a five-minute drive (via complimentary shuttle service) to Kamala beach and 40 minutes from Phuket International Airport.
Accommodation comes in the form of imaginative clay pool cottages, tent pool villas, tree pool houses and bird’s nest pool villas. Guests can use the Mala spa or make use of four holistic living retreats.
The resort embraces traditional Thai culture and customs in the service and overall guest experiences are designed to be enriching. It does not encourage any guest interaction or excursions to attractions that use exploitative methods towards humans and animals.
Instead, Keemala offers a variety of culturally enriching and outdoor recreational activities that do not exploit animals, offer an insight into the local way of life and also an appreciation for the wildlife in this region.
Fabrics and textiles used at Keemala are produced by ethnic minority groups in Thailand under the Doi Tung Development Project, by the royal patronage of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The project has successfully developed sustainable alternative livelihoods for these populations to combat illicit crop cultivation.
SIX SENSES SAMUI
Nestled on eight hectares of natural vegetation on the northern tip of Samui Island, Six Senses is just 45 minutes by air south of Bangkok and offers panoramic sea views of the Gulf of Thailand.
It features 66 spacious villas (59 with private infinity pools) and some of the finest cuisine on Samui Island, using the freshest herbs, vegetables and organic greens from the resort’s own gardens.
The Six Senses Spa offers an extensive menu of holistic and traditional treatments administered by highly skilled therapists using naturally derived and ethically produced spa products.
When it comes to sustainability, Six Senses ensures its actions are measurable and meaningful. These include the environmental performance of each property, support for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, and enhancing social and economic benefits to local communities.
In 2017, Six Senses launched ‘Earth Lab’, where each property showcases its concrete efforts to reduce consumption, produce locally and support communities and ecosystems.
Guests are invited to visit Earth Lab to reconnect with the natural world and learn some simple life-hacks that will allow them to make a difference.
“We’re not just passionate about sustainability; we want to lead the industry,” said Bernhard Bohnenberger, President of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.
“It’s motivating for everyone in the company that we can demonstrate our commitment to sustainability in this way.”
SENSIMAR KOH SAMUI
This property on Maenam Beach will be re-named in November to The Coast Koh Phangan and will be an adults-only resort and spa.
It offers 125 luxurious rooms and villas, each with a sea view over the Gulf of Thailand, or the added luxury of a private pool or outdoor spa bath.
Guests can visit Zense SPA, one of the most reputable in Koh Samui, to pamper and restore every part of the mind, body and soul. There’s also a 40-metre infinity pool with swim-up pool bar, an open air beachfront restaurant and a cool indoor lounge bar.
A well-equipped modern gym is on hand for personal fitness as well as providing fitness classes with the resort’s in-house personal trainer.
Rooftop yoga classes are available daily with the beach providing a second location for classes or the opportunity to take out one of the free kayaks.
Zeavola offers barefoot luxury in a traditional Thai village (rural) setting and features 53 teakwood villas nestled within four hectares of jungle.
This five-star retreat enjoys an absolute beachfront location on a stretch of the Andaman Sea. It has a pool, PADI dive centre, spa and massage, cardio gym, two restaurants by the beach, bar, room service and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The sustainability measures taken by the resort also earn widespread praise. Among its energy conservation initiatives, the resort invested heavily to install common electricity on Laem Tong Beach to get away from generator energy.
Energy saving light bulbs have been installed in the gardens and public places, and it uses sensor-controlled public lighting. Zeavola also works hard to reduce waste and the use of chemicals and hazardous materials.
Water comes from local wells and guests drink from reusable glass bottles. Waste water is used on the gardens, which are mulched using natural waste, trimmings and cuttings.
There’s daily beach cleaning by staff members up to three times a day and coral reef cleaning by the dive team and guests. The resort also gives back to the local community, assisting in the renovation work at Laem Tong school, among other initiatives.
So dedicated are Zeavola to sustainability that an e-book detailing their measures has been produced.
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