01 of 09
Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Exclusive, 54-Villa Resort in Thailand
Why Journey to Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Krabi, Thailand?
Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a spectacularly beautiful beach resort in southern Thailand. It is the very first Ritz-Carlton Reserve, an ultra-high-end style of Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts.
Phulay Bay opened in 2010 and has won tip-top accolades from editors and readers of such media as Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, and Tripadvisor.com, and Forbes (the hotel-star-award people).
Phulay Bay is in every way a five-star hotel. It satisfies my own criteria for hotel greatness, and I'm picky.
Phulay Bay is composed of 54 individual villas ranging from opulent to palatial. Some villas have ocean views from a hillside, while others are set a few yards from the shore. There are no "run of house" accommodations at Phulay Bay; every villa is magnificently designed, and a pleasure to inhabit.
Where exactly is Phulay Bay, and who is the typical guest? >>Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Where Is It & Who Stays There?
Location of Phulay Bay in Thailand
Phulay Bay is situated in the village of Krabi on the Andaman Sea coast on the southern "tail" of Thailand. Krabi is a few hundred miles from the more commercial resort area of Phuket. Most Krabi visitors fly from Bangkok to Phuket and then take a boat or van to Krabi. The boat journey is shorter and more scenic, but available only during daylight. (There is also a small airport in Krabi, with flights from Bangkok.)
Phulay Bay is situated on a series of hills rising from a postcard-perfect tropical beach. The view takes the rounded rocks that are the Andaman Islands, surrounded by unique jade-green waters. Once populated by ferocious islanders said to be cannibals, the Andamans are now day-trip destinations popular with Snorkelers, picnickers, and photographers.
Krabi is not far from the equator, and Phulay Bay guests should anticipate a southern Thailand's tropical climate. The region is especially sticky during the wet half of the year,... April through October, when a late-afternoon or evening shower is a probrobality. However, Phulay Bay is amply air-conditioned, with an inviting pool. And evenings cool off enough to laze outdoors.
A range of well-heeled international guests come to Phulay Bay. Some are families with children, but most guests are couples. Many twosomes are honeymoon lovebirds who nest in Phulay Bay's ultra-private villas.
Phulay Bay guests come from all over the world. Home countries well represented, besides Thailand itself, include Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, Russia, Australia, the U.S. and Canada.
See just how gorgeous Phulay Bay's villas are >>Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
Rooms & Suites at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Thailand
Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a personally-oriented boutique hotel. Its 54 villas are all spacious, with plenty of indoor and outdoor space. The "smallest" of the villas, the 11 Ocean Pavilions, contain almost 1,100 square feet total, and the six Royal Villa over 6,000 square feet.
All Phulay Bay villas are stunningly furnished in posh tropical style, with beautiful handmade furniture. Thai artistry is everywhere, in art objects and hand-painted closet doors. Gracious aesthetic touches are everywhere, and make the villa a pleasure just to be in. The smallest detail -- such as the tissue box -- is turned into an art event. Phulay Bay villas are not only supremely comfortable, they are a feast for the eye.
Phulay Bay's sumptuous villas all contain:
- views of the Andaman Sea or glimpses of ocean through a landscaped tropical garden
- Verandahs with outdoor lounge beds
- Inviting oversized beds swathed in plush sheets, with a seductive canopy
- A/C and ceiling fans
- His-and-hers walk-in... closets
- Chaise and plush seating
- Desk, complimentary wifi, and DSL cable
- Room safe
- Plasma TV and iPod player
- Complimentary minibar
- Spa-like bathrooms with vast counter space and deluxe everything
- Indoor rainfall shower, and outdoor or indoor bath, plus a private plunge pool
- Resort-vacation accessories like Crocs, silky robes, umbrellas, SPF, bug spray, candles, etc.
Could you get into the private butler service at Phulay Bay? >>Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
Private Butler Service at Phulay Bay
Incredible Butler Service at Phulay Bay
Phulay Bay villas come equipped with private butlers. They are generally demure, in-command, English-speaking Thai women who attend to guests' every need and anticipate their wishes.
Phulay Bay butlers are a combination of personal assistant, valet, concierge, and driver for the carts that whoosh guests around Phulay Bay. Butlers stop into your villa several times daily with assistance and treats, and are never more than a couple of minutes away by phone.
My butler, J.B., kept me well chilled with ice, cold towels, and frosty Thai white wine (much better than I thought it would be). And she reminded me of my meal and spa reservations, and found me at the resort to tell me it was time to get ready for dinner. She noticed that I was running low on contact lens solution, and brought me a fresh bottle. When I admired her braided updo, she offered to style my hair the same way
In two words, J.B. was pure charm. Yet every staff member I encountered at... Phulay Bay had a similar "How can I make you happy right now?" attitude. This is the essence of top hotel service and a rare and wonderful thing.
Read about Phulay Bay's luscious, French-accented Thai cuisine >>Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Dining & Cuisine at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Dining is one of many highlights of a stay at Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Its several restaurants serve variations on Thai food, a light, delicious cuisine that has deservedly become a global favorite.
Phulay Bay's executive chef oversees food and beverage operations at the resort. its alluring options are:
- Sri Trang, offering seafood-centric Southern Thai delights in a stunningly contemporary Siamese setting
- Lae Lay, a dramatically designed seafood grill with a stirring view of the Andaman Sea
- Lae Lay Pavilion, for small-group dining a sea breeze-cooled private nook overlooking the tranquil Andaman
- Jampoon, a modern restaurant that would look at home in Bangkok or L.A., with a mostly Western menu featuring everything from pastas to Thai specialties like Pumelos salad with sweet grapefruit and cashews, and avocado and tom yum soup with Andaman prawns
- Breakfast at Jampoon, either indoors on a pond patio, is buffet-style, with Eastern and Western dishes including cooked-to-order... omelets
- Plai Fah, a poolside café and bar that is a resort favorite for lunch, with a casual global menu
- Chomtawan, the waterside bar that is de rigueur for cocktails enhanced by intoxicating sunsets
- RAW, a healthy option at ESPA: choose your own fresh, organic Thai ingredients for juices, smoothies, teas, infusions, and "mocktails"
Private and/or customized dining options are many at Phulay Bay:
- Romantic dinner for two in your villa or terrace, on the beach, or in Sala Srichan, Phulay Bay's gorgeous welcome pavilion
- Beach BBQ with your own chef
- Complete picnics to feast on in your villa or terrace; on the beach; or on a speedboat excursion to an Andaman isle
- Chef's table lunches or dinners and/or cooking lessons in the Restaurant Action Kitchen
Just hearing about ESPA at Phulay Bay will relax you! >>Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
ESPA Spa at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
ESPA Spa at Phulay Bay
Most guests at Phulay Bay savor at least one experience at the resort's ESPA Spa. It is serenely set in an indoor-outdoor environment at one with nature, with native teak accents, meditation pools, and flowering plants.
ESPA's 11 deluxe treatment rooms include two couples' rooms and two private spa suites. Every room has a soaking tub. The spa's Wellness Studio is dedicated to yoga and meditation.
The spa's range of services is vast: facials and anti-aging treatments, massages and body treatments, men's, women's and couples' treatments. All combine modern technique with ancient philosophies and Thai finesse. One specialty here is Thai massage, in which a seasoned practitioner pushes and pulls you into a state of muscular bliss.
ESPA offers clients a quiet lounge, lovely locker rooms, steam rooms, warming vitality pools, and RAW Spa Café for spa cuisine and energy concoctions. ESPA products, naturally sourced and gently fragrant, are... used exclusively in the spa, and are sold in the spa boutique.
Phulay Bay has an extensive yoga program and a well-equipped, well-air-conditioned gym.
Elephant trekking, island-hopping, and pool cabana-lazing at Phulay Bay >>Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Pool, Beach, & Nearby Things to Do at Phulay Bay
Be As Active or As Lazy as You Please
Phulay Bay guests can do everything-- or do nothing. Once they're sated with spa treatments and delectable food, many guests laze around their private villa. Others camp out in the spacious pool or in an oversized poolside lounge bed, with a view of the tranqull aquamarine sea. Others claim a plush lounger on the resort's white-sand Chomtawan Beach.
The surrounding Krabi area is one of Thailand's most pristine environments, with crystalline waters, virgin rainforest, miles of rock formations and caves, and the oft-photographed Andaman islands.
Beyond the resort's restaurants, ESPA pool, guests have their choice of:
- Island-hopping on Phulay Bay's longtail boat to a series of exquisite nearby Andaman islands for snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and photography (some of these trips are complimentary)
- Sunset cruises on a tall-masted sailboat
- Kayaking into the rock caves lining Krabi Beach
- Diving or snorkeling excursion in the... sealife-rich Andaman Sea; the farther out, the deeper and more advanced the dive
- Helicopter tours: dozens of different routes over land and sea, all spectacular
- Nature walks in Krabi's mangrove forest or in Kao Prak Bang National Park
- Elephant trekking on the back of a gentle, majestic Asian Elephant, through the jungle across palm and rubber plantations, and up Naga Mountain, offering panoramic vistas
- Yoga: on the beach, Full Moon Yoga, Candle Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yogalates
- Jungle trekking to the unique Klong Thom Waterfall, a thermal cascade that dumps hot water into cool natural pools
- Rock climbing at neighboring Railey Beach, one of the world's most beautiful stretches of sand. Climbers can choose over 150 routes
- Basic Thai language classes
- Thai cooking class, including a visit to the local market and fish farm, kitchen the, and leisurely meal
- Thai massage class
Family Activities at Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Families are not uncommon at Phulay Bay, and their lucky kids have their own recreation spot and various activities. These include:
- Games, sports, and fun thing alike treasure hunts, ping-pong, Wii games, and more
- Opportunities to join in with Phulay eBay's Thai Children Music Band, and try some traditional Thai dance
- Swimming classes for kids 2 years old and up
- Junior yoga
- Thai crafts: make a banana-leaf horse, weave a hat with coconut leaves, make a wind chime with shells, learn batik painting, and more
- Helping feed the fish in Phulay Bay's pond
- Kids' baking classes with Phulay Bay's chef
- Family movie nights twice weekly in Sri Trang restaurant, with popcorn and a big screen
- And meeting and riding on Phulay Bay's star, pet baby elephant Koko
Take a quiz to see if you, personally, will like Phulay Bay >>Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
Will You Like Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve Resort?
Will Phulay Bay Be Your Style?
Phulay Bay is an uncommonly beautiful resort in luscious tropical surroundings. Its dining and service are superb. But no resort can be everyone's cup of Thai iced tea.
Phulay Bay will be paradise for you if:
- You have enough time to commit to a long trans-Pacific flight, a connecting flight, and a boat or sedan ride
- You plan to spend enough time at Phulay Bay, or in Thailand, to offset the travel time
- You're looking for a great Thai resort to add onto a few days in Bangkok
- You're seeking an intensely private, romantic experience with your partner
- Or a memorable tropical vacation with your kids
- You demand beautiful surroundings and furnishings
- Another thing you will not compromise on is quiet and privacy
- You're ready to be waited on hand and foot
- You intend to spend some serious spa time
- You're a snorkeler or scuba diver eager to sink into the Andaman Sea
Phulay Bay may not be resort heaven for you if:
- A long day's flying is too much time in the... air for you, and you prefer closer-by destinations
- You wilt in humid weather and/or become a magnet for mosquitoes, and prefer a dry climate
- You find private butler service intrusive or too close for comfort
- You dislike Thai food
- You must have a golf course near your resort
- You prefer all-inclusive resort pricing to a la carte, as at Phulay Bay
Intrigued? How to get connected with Phulay Bay >>Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Connect with Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve