Photographer Darren Bester and his wife escaped the hustle and bustle of life in style when they stayed at Santhiya Resort in Thailand. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a luxury getaway sometime soon – the Besters have shared their experiences of this resort with you. Otherwise, take an imaginary trip with them as you enjoy the spectacular scenery of this Thai hideaway. Sawadee ka!
If you’ve been to Patong (the most famous stretch of beach in Phuket) and experienced the madness of Bangla Road, you may find it difficult to believe that a mere 20 minute speedboat ride away lies a seemingly unheard of luxury resort and spa – the kind which delights all of the senses.
Found on the island of Koh Yao Yai, Santhiya Resort and Spa is the epitome of opulence. The private villas with rim flow pools and panoramic views of the sea are a gentle reminder that this vacation will not be forgotten. The intricate and detailed embellishments in the wooden décor echo the sentiments of the resort staff – nothing is too much trouble. Everything has been thought of – your comfort is their priority.
We’d chosen to stay at the Santhiya to escape the crowds and tourist hotspots of Thailand. Initially, unsure of where it was, we opted for a hotel transfer which included a car service to collect us in Phuket and take us to the Ao Po Grand Marina. From here, we travelled by speedboat to the island. After reading a few reviews online, we knew that the island itself was very remote. Internet access was available within the resort, but other than that, there are no banking services, no foreign exchange facilities and no shopping. Happiness.
Our itinerary was very clear cut: Lie on the beach. Lie at the pool. Switch off. Relax.
In the evenings we dined on authentic Thai cuisine at the resort restaurant before heading back to our villa for midnight swims. If you aren’t too adventurous when dining out, don’t worry – one afternoon I feasted on the finest spaghetti bolognese I’ve had the pleasure of trying – I’m almost embarrassed to say I had spaghetti, but it was so good. Clearly, the resort offers western favourites too.
The Santhiya is a luxury resort so you probably want to enjoy the full five star treatment including private transfers. Naturally this all adds up, so if you’d like to save costs on transfers, you can arrange your own transport by longtail boat or public speedboat – timetables for departure and arrival times are available online or on request. We left Santhiya to head on to Krabi by public speedboat, and sitting on the pier, waiting for our boat amongst the locals was great fun and added to the travel adventure.