There are few places in the world quite like Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Upon arrival to Krabi, Thailand we grabbed our bags and were happily greeted at the gate. Then escorted to the Ritz-Carlton Reserve transfer car equipped with wifi, fresh squeezed orange juice and perhaps the friendliest driver on the face of the planet.
But, hold on, what is a Ritz-Carlton Reserve? Phulay Bay is one of three Reserve properties in the world. A Reserve is where nature meets personalized luxury. Completely secluded sanctuaries reserved for those that seek out heightened luxuries far away from reality. You’ll discover a sense of relaxation unlike any other time in your life, one that you’ll want to savor forever. Once you are in the gates of a Reserve property you’ve stepped into an oasis where the words “work” and “let me answer this email” do not exist.
After about an hours journey we arrived at Phulay Bay, the sounds of the Thai Gong filled my ears, we finally made it to paradise.
Situated on the coast of Krabi, Thailand, you’ll have views of the iconic islands you’ve seen in movies like James Bond and The Beach and you’ll witness some of the best sunsets of your entire life. Its about a two-hour drive to Phuket, the more popular coastal city of Thailand, and 45 minutes by boat from the hotel.
Phulay Bay is a true Thai oasis; the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, girls trip or even a family vacation. I have to say, I hope this isn’t your first family vacation because it will be hard to top.
You really don’t need to leave the 54 acres of Reserve grounds for much of anything. Outside of the property gates there are small Thai communities and other than that you are completely secluded. Just the way I like it. As soon as you’re in the property gates you’ll see the the colors of the Royal Family contrasted with bright green palm tree leaves and Moroccan inspired architecture.
I have no words for you Royal Beach Villa 32. When our golf cart (yes, this is how we got around the grounds) stopped in front of our villa I couldn’t wait to drop my bags and start exploring. That was until I saw the view. An unobstructed-endless sea-beautiful-jaw dropping view. I made that up because there are no words to describe how beautiful the view from our villa was. As a teenager growing up in a small town in Maine I always wished and hoped I would one day see the iconic islands from the movies I grew up watching. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would wake up to those same views.
Moving on. What do you get when you sew two California King mattresses together? You get the beds at Phulay Bay. Two by three glorious meters. The largest beds in the world. There is so much room for activities. Or sleeping, whichever you prefer. This is perhaps the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The French doors at the foot of our bed opened up to our infinity pool. If it hadn’t been so hot I would have opened them in the morning and enjoyed my coffee to the sweet sounds of the ocean. But in true Thai style it was 90+ degrees everyday and 100% humidity. So there was no way that was happening.
Also worth noting is the outdoor rain shower, custom-made bathtubs with Moroccan inspired lanterns and contracted artwork- unique to every villa at Phulay Bay. And how could I forget the His and Hers, in this case Hers and Hers, powder room and walk-in closet. Oh, you mean I can unpack and stay a while? Don’t mind if I do! The keyhole shapes that made up the entrances to each room accented by deep jewel tones and plush textiles made for a unique experience. What is that saying? When one door shuts another door opens? In the case of Phulay Bay every door was left open leaving the possibilities for exploration and discovery endless.
Let me describe the grounds of Phulay Bay in two words: perfectly manicured. I can’t imagine the kind of work that goes into keeping this place looking beautiful. From picking up fallen branches that had fallen during the storm the night before to watering the garden to mowing the lawns, everything is cared for down to the very last detail. By the way, all of the vegetables used in the cuisine at Phulay Bay are grown on-site. As if this place could get any better.
In addition to the gorgeous pool(s) you have the option of beachin’ it! I have to be honest, I didn’t spend much time on the shores of the hotel instead I lounged by the pool in a picture-perfect cabana sipping fresh coconut like it was going out of style. You could also find me at the sunset bar probably sipping on more fresh coconut or a delish cocktail.
By the way, if you’re looking to beach it for a day or two take a long-tail boat ride to Hong Island. It will have you from dock to dock in 15 minutes. Coldplay said (sang) it best, Para-para-paradise! I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.
Perhaps some of the most delectable Thai cuisine can be found here. With 5 restaurants and 2 operating a night there is a bound to be a little something for everyone. A personal favorite was breakfast. There were at least 3 or 4 freshly squeezed juice options a day, an assortment of carbs (gimme all of the bread), your traditional western eggs, traditional Thai dishes, fresh yogurt and granola, did I mention the donuts? You could also have breakfast off of the “special” menu but we stuck to the buffet style for obvious reasons.
Also worth noting is our first dinner. Lesley and I had the most romantic (yep, romantic) dinner on our first night at Phulay Bay in Sala Srichan, also known as the arrival pavilion. The walls were lined with two thousand candles, the moonlight was glittering on the pools of water that surrounded us, it was a scene out of a movie. Wait, this sounds familiar. That’s right because this is where Doug’s rehearsal dinner was filmed in The Hangover II. If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion I can’t think of a better place to do it. As for us, we drank so much wine, ate like queens and laughed until we could barely breathe. I think this was the night that I figured out, somehow through the strange series of events that brought us together, I had made a lifelong friend. This was one of those nights I wish I could relive, all thanks to this beautiful resort.
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Experience
At this point I think it goes without saying, the staff of Phulay Bay go above and beyond for all of their guests. Something that comes with staying at the hotel, for every guest, is a personal butler. No matter the duration of your stay, you will have the same butler- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We had the pleasure of being matched with Tanya. She’s been with the Reserve for over 6 years and her knowledge of the hotel is unparalleled. She answered all of our questions, even those silly ones like “So, was Bradley Cooper just as cute in person as he is in the movies?” Many thanks to you Tanya, your kindness, patience and smile are all things that made my first (and definitely not last) Ritz-Carlton Reserve experience something I will never forget.