Beach Trip or City Staycation? Discover the Best of Both Worlds in Thailand
For years, Thailand has been a trendy destination for young backpackers keen to experience new landscapes, glorious weather, and delicious food at a very reasonable price. But you don’t need to be willing to rough it to enjoy the best the country has to offer; if you’re planning a rather more luxurious grand tour, Avani Hotels & Resorts’ Thai properties are a good place to start.
Rising above the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, and less than an hour from Suvarnabhumi airport, Avani+ Riverside Bangkok occupies an elevated position overlooking the bustling Asian city. Arriving close to midnight, I tumble into the luxurious king-size bed and await the morning light, when the city’s magical expanse will be illuminated beneath me.
The next morning, I look beyond the Chao Phraya towards the city’s Paphawarin Village and Wat Phraya Krai
Looking only satisfies for so long—and soon enough, I want to get out in it. In a city based around a maze of canals, or
Always keen to try local produce, I am pleased to hear that it’s seafood night at Skyline. We indulge in a buffet feast of Thai red curry, prawns, mussels and shellfish-fried rice, and could go on eating if it weren’t for an invitation to a cocktail reception on the new rooftop area of the hotel’s bar, Seen, where we sip mojitos against a gloriously panoramic backdrop.
If you ever tire of the intrigue of a city landscape, Thailand offers many more pockets of beauty. An hour’s flight away from Bangkok lies Ko Samui, the country’s second-largest island. The newly opened Avani+ Samui hotel sits on the island’s south-western perimeter (exactly the opposite side from the tourist hotspots) and is a quiet paradise, perfectly encased within a small bay.
Within moments of arriving in the bright reception area, we are cooled down with lemongrass cold towels and pineapple ice lollies. Then I am shown to my delightful room, an L-shaped villa looking out onto a small private pool. I jump straight in,
Luxury comes in the form of little touches that appear in my room at just the right moment: a beach bag, a reusable water bottle, a wide-brimmed sun hat. Other accommodation options include a deluxe room with a balcony overlooking the whole resort, and beachfront villas with one or two rooms, making the bed-to-beach trip really just one step.
After a light lunch of calamari and aioli from the room-service menu (or rather pool-service, since I dine with my feet submerged, stretched back on the wooden decking), I head to the spa, where an hour of intense relaxation awaits. Having opted for the signature massage, I fill out a consultation form, noting my current mood, my aims for the treatment and my favorite aromas. The personalized result is an invigorating treatment of medium pressure, which stretches out my back and leaves me feeling full of energy.
On the beach, under a bamboo canopy illuminated with fairy lights, we dine on an impressive spread: salads of beetroot, feta, fig, and hazelnuts, before a splendor of barbecued prawns, sea bass with chili and chicken satay, all prepared by the in-house chef. As we conclude our banquet, we are treated to a performance of fire tricks, the entrancing flames leaving the white sand glistening under the moonlight.
With Avani’s private beach in such close proximity, it is tempting simply to stay at the hotel, lounging in the sun beside the picturesque pool or soaking up the atmosphere of Essence, the restaurant, where pancakes and fruit smoothies are available for breakfast, and a cool jazz trio make for a sophisticated atmosphere by night. If you do have the energy to venture further, though, there is plenty to explore: popular beach bars and night markets line the island’s north-east coast around Chaweng, and there are countless magnificent temples, including the twelve-meter tall Buddha at Wat Phra Yai. Between sightseeing excursions, seek sustenance at the Jungle Club, a quietly stylish hilltop restaurant and bar serving delicious Thai and European food with an unrivaled view across the Gulf of Thailand.
One afternoon, during a boat trip around the smaller islands in the Samui Archipelago, we pause to snorkel in the wonderfully clear water, glimpsing tiny fish among the tangle of coral reefs beneath
On our final
*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.co.uk
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors