Now I know how Tarzan felt.
There’s something deeply cathartic about waking up among the treetops, listening to the birds’ morning chorus, soaking up the serenity and feeling like you’re the king of the jungle.
Of course, Ao Nang in the Thai province of Krabi isn’t exactly darkest Africa, but you get the general idea.
I’d been invited to the Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort & Spa to experience one of the six private pool villas that the four-star property recently added to its already impressive room repertoire. There are 172 rooms to choose from in total, across a variety of categories and price points, ensuring appeal and affordability to every kind of traveller.
The resort has an interesting topography in that in begins at street level and then gradually works its way up the mountainside until you reach the aforementioned pool villas at the top. These are lavishly and luxuriously decorated and, naturally, have their own pools, but it’s the tranquillity and privacy that you’ll appreciate the most, given that the resort is slap bang in the heart of this bustling beach town.
“Guests really get a sense of the destination when they look out of their window and see the beautiful Andaman Sea,” said Wolfgang Grimm, the extremely affable Vice President of Hotels Krabi, who own the Ao Nang property and several others in the area. He likens his accommodation offerings to “economy, business and first class,” guaranteeing something for everyone.
“We will meet most customers’ expectations for a location right in the centre of things but with no noise impediment.”
Handy for the town’s plentiful shopping and dining options, and just a short walk to the beach, Ao Nang has three restaurants, a spa and an infinity pool that has quickly become the signature feature.
But what Wolfgang is clearly most proud of is the specially-built Andamana Beach Club, which gives guests (and particularly wedding parties) their own secluded stretch of unspoilt sand.
“There are no crowds and no tourism – it’s just a return to nature, where guests can find a little piece of themselves and where they can find peace. Instead of having a beach umbrella you have a mangrove forest above you and that makes all the difference in the world.”
While tourism is growing rapidly in the area, Krabi remains a relatively quiet little corner of Thailand. It has none of the over-development or salacious activities that have tarnished other parts of the country.
Authenticity is key here and that’s what Ao Nang strives to offer its clientele.
“When you meet the local people here, their personality is still very Thai,” added Wolfgang. “They are happy with very little and super happy to see visitors who are enjoying their culture.
“That is what we need to maintain – it’s a big job in front of us but the authorities are aware. It’s hard to stop progress but there are at least initiatives to do that.”
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