19 suites and villas, as well as a spa and two new dining outlets, have all been revealed
BANGKOK, THAILAND – Marking the final phase of its opening journey, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort unveils 19 Suites and Villas, housed within repurposed heritage railcars. A spa, French bistro, and cocktail bar – also situated in repurposed railcars, sourced from across the country – have also been revealed.
The train car suites tell the tale of Khao Yai during the era of King Rama V, when the region was a gateway for railroad travel to the Northeast of Thailand and surrounding destinations – Sri Lanka, India, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Yangon, Luang Prabang, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen, Songkhla, Sukhothai and Chanthaburi; these voyages became the design inspiration for each of the train carriage designs.
Each wagon is designed uniquely and named after a different destination, transporting to old time train travel glamour. Set around a lake, the well-appointed 47 sqm suites are elevated for a train-like experience, complete with a comfortable bed, bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. Rich panelling, skillfully crafted to emulate original carriage windows, is complemented by scenic wallpapers and ambient backlights that evoke the sense of rolling countryside vistas. In each railcar, delicate bespoke fabrics from famed Thai silk company Jim Thompson further add to the sense of uniquely Thai locality. All rooms also come with outdoor spaces, whether a balcony, terrace, or a private plunge pool, like in the four of the Heritage Railcar One-Bedroom Pool Villas (116 sqm) and the Heritage Railcar Two-Bedroom Pool Villa (223 sqm), giving guests a chance to be closer to nature.
Passionate about melding storytelling with restoration and building in a way that preserves nature, designer Bill Bensley recovered the railcars from around Thailand; some of them had been left unused for over 50 years, and Ficus trees had taken root on the roof and almost completely enveloped the carriage. Some of the root systems have been preserved, furthering the feeling of being connected to Mother Earth.
In addition to the Villas and Suites, two additional dining concepts have opened. Poirot is an elegant French concept with a succinct menu focusing on memorable tastes and flavours, whilst a tableside cocktail cart is evocative of first-class train travel in times gone by. Signatures include Soupe à l’oignon, classic French onion soup simmered from beef broth and caramelised onions, served with grilled bone marrow and Gruyère cheese; Boeuf Bourguignon, a standard of French cuisine elevated here with Australian Wagyu beef tenderloin (marbling score 8/9) braised in rich red wine gravy and served with potato purée, pearl onions and smoked streaky bacon; and traditional Savarin Cake given a Poirot touch with macadamia, vanilla ice cream, 70% dark chocolate sauce and a Cognac flambé. Housed within the adjoining upcycled train carriage is Papillon Bar, a lighthearted, flirtatious bar with a name that means butterfly in French. Classic French cocktails are at the forefront of the beverage offerings, whilst a selection of Champagne, fine wines and whiskies are also on showcase.
Back on Track: Spa at InterContinental Khao Yai Resort embraces the tranquillity of Khao Yai’s abundant nature. Set inside an upcycled heritage railcar, the spa boasts four luxurious, self-contained treatment rooms where highly trained therapists deliver a range of treatments using Siam Botanicals’ natural and 100% organic-certified skincare products. Treatments include organic facials, full body massages, full body scrubs, full body wraps, relaxing bathing experiences, hair treatments, and even a Junior Spa Experience. Tapping into traditional Thai remedies, the Traditional Healing Full Body Massage harnesses the healing properties of ginger and plai root, which have been used for centuries to ease muscle tension and improve mobility. The Coastal Breeze bathing experience uses rich organic oils, Thailand coastal sea salt and complimentary essential oils of rosemary and peppermint to promote a deep sense of wellbeing.
InterContinental Khao Yai Resort’s Planet Trekkers programme is designed to keep tiny explorers entertained. Suitable for guests aged 4-12 years old, activities are designed to educate and excite children, enabling them to connect with nature and learn more about the history of the Khao Yai area. A Botanical Garden Treasure Hunt sees kids identify various flora and fauna about the resort, whilst an expedition to the miniature vegetable patch teaches the importance of sustainably sourced ingredients. Also on offer are Thai Dancing Classes, Koi Fish Feeding, and Origami Crafting.
The resort opened earlier this year with 45 rooms in the main buildings, a Cross-Fit-inspired fitness centre and a series of exploratory guest adventures. Somying’s Kitchen – a farm-to-table dining concept – and Tea Carriage – which offers a formal afternoon tea – were also unveiled.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.