As the world’s first Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Phulay Bay embodies the attributes, philosophy and unique style and design of the Reserve brand extension. It has been designed for those who seek to escape the stresses of everyday life and immerse themselves into a completely bespoke and personally-tailored-to-suit vacation experience.
Set on the shores of the Andaman Sea, Phulay Bay is a striking 54-villa and pavilion boutique hotel offering unspoilt views of the naturally rugged shoreline and dramatic limestone karsts which make up this beautiful part of southern Thailand.
The resort is the vision and work of in-demand Thai architect Lek Bunnag, and is an awe-inspiring combination of modern styling and architecture; grand and oversized in scale with distinctive accents from not only Thai, but Middle Eastern and Moroccan cultures. Bunnag takes inspiration from beautiful things from around the world to create an environment where the senses are continuously triggered and enlivened from the moment guests enter the resort driveway to the moment they leave.
An exhilarating sense of arrival will immediately let guests know they are somewhere special: 20ft high aubergine walls and ‘hedges’ made from indigenous trees create a sense of wonder from the outside and a great sense of peace and stillness once on the inside. Guests enter the resort through the high walls and walk over a stepping-stone pathway that leads them to a magnificent pitched-roof Thai pavilion situated on an island surrounded by thousands of gently flickering candles.
From here on in, guests subtly and gently have their senses enriched and stimulated with the resort’s own scent, signature drink, the stunning scenery from both inside the accommodation and throughout the resort, to tactile 100% Thai silk soft furnishings used in the villas and restaurants.
“When styling and designing Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, we were very conscious of the abundant natural beauty surrounding us which is what makes people fall in love with Thailand,” explained Estelita Sebeto, the resort’s General Manager. “We want guests to enjoy and discover the extraordinary diversity so have worked with nature to maintain a setting that evokes the very best of the natural environment and sourced local and sustainable materials in its construction and styling.”
Working closely with Thai interior designer IA49, Bunang has carefully designed buildings and public spaces to combine contemporary with culture, perfectly complementing the natural flora of existing trees and plants which cleverly act as privacy screens throughout the grounds offering greater intimacy in the resort. The use of traditional story-telling Lanna art forms both in architectural structure and as paintings and artworks on the walls and doors of villas further stimulates the senses and creates an element of interest for guests.
No two of the resort’s 16 signature Reserve Villas are the same; all slightly different in physical design and styling, guests can opt for a villa with lap pool and lawn area for sun worshiping, a private rooftop for alfresco dining and sunset viewing, or a completely secluded pool bathing area for total privacy. Across all nonetheless, luxury prevails with oversized 3metre by 2metre beds, deep sunken baths, walk in closets, expansive decked gardens and vast ‘keyhole’ doorways that create a sense of magic setting the guest at ease and welcoming them to luxury.
With an emphasis on personalised, bespoke experiences, guests can ‘design’ or tailor make their visit to perfectly suit their needs and desires. Their very own villa butler, can organise a light BBQ lunch at a favourite beach spot; a meditation class with local monks; elephant trekking to a remote picnic spot; a sea plane tour of region’s dramatic scenery; an in-villa personal yoga session; a boat journey to surrounding islands – the possibilities are endless.
World-class culinary experiences will be available throughout the resort’s six intimate and carefully thought-out restaurants. Each designed to accommodate a small number of guests for highly personalised and non intrusive service. Chef will personally meet diners to better understand their tastes and preferences and all ingredients will be sourced from local markets and cooked fresh.
Included is the resort’s signature Thai restaurant, Sri Trang, a modern, and stylish restaurant with private dining room for 10 set on its own jetty overlooking the shoreline called ‘Sri Trang by the Sea’. Lae Lay, the resort’s sea front pavilion sits parallel to a 23metre infinity pool stretching out to the sea beyond. Beautifully appointed with oversized chairs and hanging lanterns among rustling trees, guests can also choose to dine under the stars on their own in a private sala seating up to 8 guests, aptly named ‘Lae Lay Under the Stars’.
An infinity pool bar will offer soft loungers and silk pillows by day with lighter more relaxed culinary offerings, while the resort’s sunset lounge, will offer day beds, oversized pillows, chill-out lounge bar music and candle lanterns for a truly intimate and relaxing feel. The perfect place for a glass of champagne or a stylish martini as the sun sets over the seemingly endless horizon. RAW spa café prepares fresh, uncooked and unaltered vegan products and has a green hydroponic bar growing the resort’s own wheatgrass and lettuce.
The ESPA villa at Phulay Bay is a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation with stepping stones meandering through the spa leading to decked walkways and relaxation terraces surrounded by vegetation and reflection ponds that perfectly capture the unique character of Phulay Bay. The Spa itself comprises three traditional Thai pavilions set over two levels offering 11 treatment rooms including single and couples massage rooms and two VIP treatment suites with their own expansive decks for massage and showering.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 73 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe with future openings including Dubai International Financial Centre, United Arab Emirates; Shanghai, Pudong, China; and Kowloon, Hong Kong. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com.