PHUKET - During a recent road trip to Phuket I wanted to experience a new kind of accommodation that was causing a buzz. It's a mountain resort called Villa Zolitudejust 20 minutes from Phuket Town.
As we arrived at the resort we pass from the main road up through a winding jungle road. You're in a rain forest and as you climb ever higher you notice a slight drop in the temperature. We park the car at the spa building near the entrance to the resort and are then transferred with luggage by the in a hotel jeep up a small winding round to the impressive reception sala. The open plan lobby area has wonderful views across the tree canopy, in the distant you can see a bay and the beach.
The lobby colour scheme is in stark contrast to the natural tones all around. Bright purple and neon green, eclectic and inviting.
Villa Zolitude is Phuket's best kept secret, described as a luxury rainforest retreat nestled on the lush mountainside offering spectacular panoramic views over the lowlands and picturesque bay of Chalong.
It's a romantic resort that feels a world away from the stresses of modern living. Hidden amongst the treetops yet is just minutes from the best urban delights the island has to offer.
You certainly surround yourself with nature. We were staying in a private pool villa. We were quickly shown to the suite, a stand alone duplex building on 2 levels with the bedroom and ensuite bathroom on the upper level and a relaxing lounge and pool on the lower level. You are quite literally set in the heart of the forest and completely surrounded by wonderful nature.
The resort exudes peace and calm and you quickly get into your 'Zen' space. There is a perfect balance. If Ying and Yang are said to be complimentary opposites, it has been achieved here; with a perfect balance of a natural environment paired with modern luxury.
The weather was a little inclement on our arrival. We initially thought that we would spend the afternoon around the hotel's large central pool. Instead we slowly unpacked, slowly winding down, we just chilled for the afternoon and enjoyed the Villa. We pulled back all of the curtains and blinds and let the forest flood in. With its tall ceilings, fans and wooden floors, the design is striking and extremely pleasing - a mountain forest home.
The Villa had everything that you would wish for; it was ensuite with both a shower room and a large stand alone tub. A walk-in wardrobe; hairdryers, mini bar, safe, WiFi and everything you would expect in a five star hotel.
Pool villa bedroom
The bath tub was huge and dominated the centre of the bathroom. I luxuriated in a hot soapy bath on my second night. Bliss.
The brainchild of a renowned architect, the villas feature natural materials and inspiring design features with an incredible attention to detail creating a unique ambiance which is distinctively Thai.
The resort's 180° View and Grill Restaurant offers one of the best breakfasts! The chef is a Zimbabwean/British national. The cuisine was thoughtful and beautifully presented, using quality ingredients and modern equipment. The breakfast buffet food was always at the right temperature.
We particularly enjoyed the pool area after the rain on the first day. The quirky designed umbrellas, the bright pink towels and the deep blue pool, offer a wonderful contrast in the heart of a forest in the mountain. It is almost surreal. Extremely peaceful and calm. I watched many birds fly overhead; hawks, kites, and eagles.
The use of stone as well as other natural materials is very pleasing, it works so well, I was impressed with the design of the resort.
For those wishing to visit the beach it's just a short ride away and there are daily shuttles organised by the hotel free of charge. Dropping off at the beach after breakfast and returning to the resort in the afternoon.
This luxury resort and spa covers more than 10 acres of forest land with each villa carefully positioned to afford maximum privacy. With the grand lobby, fine dining 180° View & Grill Restaurant and Zense Spa, it's a perfect honeymoon destination. Providing solitude for young couples starting their journey together - just perfect.
It was over all too quickly and we certainly enjoyed our stay. We hope to return.
Andrew J Wood
Andrew was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague, travel writer and director of WDA Co. Ltd and its subsidiary, Thailand by Design (tours/travel/MICE). Andrew has over 35 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a former board member and Director of Skal International (SI), National President SI THAILAND, President of SI BANGKOK and is currently Director of Public Relations, Skal International Bangkok. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University's Hospitality School and most recently the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.