Yasmin Rustum tells us about the Yao Noi on her recent trip there in May
Have you ever been anywhere so breath-taking your jaw hits the floor as soon as you see it? This was the reaction to Six Senses Yao Noi, words cannot really describe how spectacular it is – but I’m going to try, paradise is pretty close!! Working in the travel industry I’ve been so lucky over the years on both work trips and personal holidays to visit some really fantastic places around the world but this resort is in a league of its own it cannot be compared to anywhere else on earth.
Arrive by Speedboat
The experience begins on the very luxurious speedboat ride from Ao Po Grand Marina across to Koh Yao Noi island. It feels very James Bond-esque and in fact you even pass the famous island of the same name from the film en-route! Catching a glimpse of the resorts villas dotted around the hillside as you pull into the island really gives the sense of discovering a hidden gem – a very exclusive one at that. In fact each guest has their own personal GEM (Guest Experience Maker) dedicated to making their stay as memorable as possible. Our lovely GEM gave us an excellent room orientation indicating really useful things like how to put the soothing Six Senses CD (or your iPod) on surround sound so you can listen to music next door in the bath – what a great touch! She even brought us medicine when my boyfriend was sick one day and some local mosquito gel for me which worked a dream as I’d been eaten alive earlier in our holiday!
The staff are a credit to this resort and what really makes your stay. Being met by your GEM and even the Duty Manager on your arrival is a really personal touch and every single member of the team is so genuinely friendly and attentive. You don’t feel like anyone is rushing you, trying to sell you anything or be too full on – it’s more like an extremely relaxed atmosphere where the staff will have a nice chat with you, make you laugh and give good advice – like talking with an old friend! To say they are discreet, professional and efficient is an understatement – they anticipate the guests needs expertly and are clearly very happy in their work which is always wonderful to see!
At breakfast one morning the lady on the next table was celebrating a birthday and all the staff in the vicinity (at least ten of them) came to sing her happy birthday, presented her with a divine looking vanilla and mango cake hand made especially by the chef, aswell as a gift from the General Manager – again, jaw dropping!! Very thoughtful and exceptional level of service which is not normal service in most hotels – but this is not just any hotel!!
Lots of Special Touches
There are lots of special touches and thoughtful features at Six Senses Yao Noi such as a jar of home made candied fruits to await you on arrival in your villa, free hand made ice-cream every day in an abundance of flavours (my personal favourite!) and even a cinema on the beach with free popcorn – a very innovative concept!
The absolute highlight of this resort however is of course its unrivalled views of the spectacular limestone pinnacles which dominate Phang Nga Bay. The view from the Hilltop Reserve is phenomenal and if your celebrating your honeymoon, a special birthday or anniversary my top tip is to book out the Hilltop Reserve for the night as you can stay there exclusively until 11am the next morning including a private breakfast after a stunningly romantic and uninterrupted sunrise.
I also went to the beach one morning to catch the sunrise and it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
The villa’s themselves are furnished with very natural rustic décor and the private pool is such a treat – large enough to swim actual lengths in and very refreshing for an early morning or late night dip, imagine getting out of bed and being able to jump right in – bliss! The outdoor bathrooms are to die for and were a big favourite for us. There’s something very exotic and liberating about taking a bath in the open air with lush green vegetation as your view and I won’t deny a cool outdoor rainforest shower was heavenly for my sunburn! Although if you have time then the Six Senses Spa also have a hugely popular “Natural Sunburn Soother” treatment with a natural blend of Aloe Vera and Cucumber to aid skin repair after exposure to the sun – genius!
Learn more about the Six Senses Yao Noi
The food in resort is delicious – as are the cocktails! James Bond Martini’s are not for the faint hearted, as we discovered one night in The Den, which is a lovely setting for evening drinks and tapas. Surrounded by colourful waterlillies and lively frogs – which actually sound like cows mooing!! – its very entertaining and adds to the atmosphere. If you can get on one of the giant swinging sofas in The Den they are beyond relaxing to kick back and work your way through the cocktail menu with a few nibbles, it would be rude not to!
Eco Friendly Luxury
In keeping with their eco-friendly ethos Six Senses Yao Noi even has its own chicken farm just outside the resort so not only do you have fresh eggs for breakfast every day but they also eat the left over food from the kitchens so there is minimal food waste and no chemicals in the chicken food, you couldn’t get more natural!
Six Senses Yao Noi is worth every penny and has that once in a life time “wow” factor it is so hard to come by these days its no wonder people can’t help but return. I’m already dreaming of mine and also which other Six Senses properties I can visit next as this was my first and it really has set the benchmark high!
Learn more about holidays in Phuket
There is something really magical about Six Senses Yao Noi which just has to be experienced first hand, there were even a few tears on the speedboat back to Phuket. Slightly embarrassing for my boyfriend but thankfully I’m not the first guest to experience emotion on departure, apparently it’s quite common…!! As all the staff line up to wave you off its like saying goodbye to your family and like the other guests I will treasure the memories of my stay forever.