The first Ritz-Carlton Reserve property will open in December in Krabi, Southern Thailand. Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Phulay Bay offers 54 villas surrounded by limestone karsts, national forest with rugged rock formations, sandy beaches, and islands. "Ritz-Carlton Reserve will feature signature, one-of-a-kind boutique resorts positioned in unique settings, each with a distinctive personality and sense of place reflecting its history and culture," says Ritz-Carlton president Simon Cooper. "A refuge from the expected, Reserve is for travelers seeking to discover a singular location and peerless resort that will offer guests’ exotic, hand-selected ‘hideaway’ destinations in a relaxed, casually elegant atmosphere. Phulay Bay in Thailand is a natural choice for the first Reserve."
A vision of Thai architect Lek Bunnag, who was also responsible for the interiors, Phulay Bay is designed to enliven the senses. Modern architecture draws from Thai culture and traditions and ties to the natural environment. In the villas, oversized beds, pillows, chairs, baths, and doorways, along with natural Thai silk soft furnishings and coverings, create a sense of luxurious comfort.
"When styling and designing Phulay Bay, we were very conscious of the abundant natural beauty surrounding us which is what makes people fall in love with Thailand," says Estelita Sebeto, the resort’s general manager. "We want guests to enjoy and discover the extraordinary diversity and beauty in this part of the country in a setting of relaxation and rejuvenation. So we have worked with nature to maintain a setting that evokes the very best of the natural environment of the hotel and sourced local and sustainable materials in its construction and styling."
On arrival, high aubergine walls and "hedges" made from indigenous trees create a sense of wonder from the outside and an atmosphere of peace and stillness once inside. Guests enter the resort over a stepping-stone walkway that leads them to a wooden Thai pavilion situated on an island surrounded by thousands of flickering candles.
F&B experiences include a signature Thai restaurant in a modern, minimalist setting. An infinity pool bar will offer soft loungers and silk pillows by day, while the resort’s sunset lounge will offer day beds, oversized pillows, and candle lanterns for an intimate feel. The relaxing vibe continues at ESPA, where meandering stepping stones lead to decked walkways and relaxation terraces surrounded by vegetation. The spa comprises three traditional Thai pavilions set over two levels offering 11 treatment rooms, including single and couples’ massage rooms and two VIP treatment suites.