Imagine being on the set of James Cameron’s Avatar, by Southern Thailand’s craggy, verdant coastline, wrapped in five-star luxury. This is exactly what one gets at Keemala, a hillside resort, just minutes from Kamala Beach. Though on the quieter side of Phuket, the resort more than makes up for the lack of nightlife action with its tribe-themed setting. But, if one feels like stepping out from the resort’s Pandora-like setting, beach clubs like Café del Mar is a five-minute drive away.
Keemala combines the wonder of a film set with straight-from-the-heart Thai hospitality. Guests at the double level Tree Pool Houses (from RM2,300 per night), embedded within a rainforest, enjoy luxury amenities along with unmatched privacy. On the ground floor, there’s a sprawling day bed to spend afternoons finishing the latest bestsellers, while the outdoor plunge pool can quite possibly fit a party of five or six. Keemala also features similarly nature-flavoured Clay Pool Cottages, Tent Pool Villas, and Bird’s Nest Villas.
At Mala Restaurant, the menu mixes spa cuisine, local southern Thai dishes, as well as surf and turf options. Try the vegetarian satay comprising skewers of marinated mushrooms grilled on the spot, and served with a tasty peanut sauce. The curries here, too, make the most of local produce and chef expertise including the restaurant’s delicious beef massaman and panang curries.
Treatments at the resort’s Mala Spa are both thoughtful and designed to ensure that results linger long after one has checked out. As a winner of the World Luxury Spa Awards 2019, this wellness destination is known for inventively matching treatments and techniques. For instance, energy modalities are added to one’s facial or massage. So don’t be surprised if a mini reiki treatment precedes one’s seaweed mud mask. This almost guarantees a renewed sense of vitality and a long lasting afterglow. As a boutique resort, Keemala has the flexibility beyond the structures of the usual five-star hotel chain spa offerings. Perhaps this is the secret to the spa’s success, and one of many reasons guests keep returning.