After several weeks of particularly intense work in both our jobs, Tawn and I decided to take a weekend break in nearby Cha-Am. At a travel expo held at Central World Plaza a few months ago, we purchased a voucher for two nights at Alila, one of the newest luxury resorts in Thailand, at a great price.
Two hours south of Khrungthep, Alila is tucked away down a quiet road. The architecture of the seventy-room resort is modern with clean lines, sparse furnishings, and a lot of peace and quiet.
The six buildings are laid out surrounding a center complex that houses a restaurant, a spa, one of two swimming pools, a bar and a library. The complex is topped by a second restaurant that floats amidst a huge reflecting pool.
The walls of the complex are lined with steel cages containing rocks, making for a stark and dramatic visual, while the complex is flanked by footpaths that lead to the beach and a row of trees that contrast the hard and soft sides of nature.
The minimalist design is unfussy and extends to the rooms, which are spacious with very high ceilings and lots of light. They are also very high-tech with an Apple iTV in each room, loaded with your choice of movies and music – they actually contact you before your stay and ask for your preferences of genres.
Despite the stark design, there are many cozy touches: tea candles, incense burners, an essential oil diffuser, and several light settings from “welcome” to “intimate” so you can set the desired mood.
The highlight has to be the bathroom, with its large windows, stand-alone bathtub, and the shower, which is situated in the middle of the room, in the open, with water that falls from the ceiling like an April storm. We wanted to take some pictures to convey the fun nature of the shower and thankfully there were some umbrellas located near the front door.
After settling into the hotel, we headed to “Red” (the pool-side bar) for the complimentary afternoon tea. It was crowded so the hostess suggested that we might light to take our tea in the adjacent library. Shortly after the tea arrived, the hostess returned and said that a table had opened up and asked whether we would like to move.
After an early dinner of Thai food at “Clouds”, the open-air restaurant that overlooks the reflecting pool, we called it a night and tried to catch up on all the sleep we’ve missed out on over the past few weeks.
We woke up bright and early in the morning, ready to attend the one-hour yoga class taught around the heated pool in the sanctuary-like spa. It was a good workout and stimulated our appetites for breakfast.
Left, the stairway from the downstairs restaurant to the upstairs “Clouds”.
The misty, cool weather of our evening arrival had given way to a sunny and warm morning. There was a stiff ocean breeze, though, so the heat was tolerable.
Breakfast was a buffet, as it seems is normally the case at almost every hotel and resort in Thailand. The selection of food – Thai, Chinese, and Western – was extensive and the quality was very good. It turns out that the chef is a farang and one result of this is that the quality of the baked goods is very high. The croissants were magnificent and Tawn had sandwiches twice during our stay, just to enjoy the really good bread.
After our late breakfast – and a suitable period of waiting – I enjoyed the pool area for a swim. The water was very warm, so I didn’t swim that long, but the design of the area is very relaxing and peaceful.
We spent part of our day relaxing in the room watching some movies and reading. Then, when the sun had moved a bit more to the west, we went to the beach and enjoyed the sand and water. It started to mist lightly, which added a rainbow to our beach view.
We returned to the room for a mid-afternoon snack and another movie. This was a deconstructed caesar salad and a bowl of wild mushroom soup. Very tasty.
As sunset neared, we returned upstairs to Clouds, taking a sofa on the marble-clad deck to watch the water and sip some cocktails and share a club sandwich.
As the sun lowered towards the mountains that separate this narrow stretch of Thailand from Burma, they back-lit the dark clouds of the afternoon thunderstorm that approached us but mercifully swung to the north of us.
The mosquitos, which had largely been absent the night before, were out and several sprays of a lemongrass solution didn’t dissuade them so we headed indoors for dinner. One very nice thing was that the restaurants didn’t charge a corkage fee and we had brought two bottles with us to enjoy over the weekend.
From top left, clockwise: Mashed potatoes, breadsticks, T-bone steak with onion relish, a pair of fish sandwiches.
For dessert, we enjoyed a fresh fruit sabayon with crushed pistachio nuts on top, and a “floating island” with fresh berries on a vanilla pudding.
On our way back to the room, Tawn considered a late night dip in the pool. Thankfully, I was able to talk him out of it.
Here’s a video recap of the weekend:
We really enjoyed our stay at Alila and it reinforced that we should do more of these weekend getaways, as it makes for a wonderful mental break from our busy lives.
That place is gorgeous! Thanks for posting the pics.
@ElusiveWords – You’re welcome. When you and your boyfriend come to visit, we’ll make sure you get down there for a stay.
This is really a very nice, enjoyable, and romantic place. I can tell you two are having a relaxing time. The shower is very interesting. I have one question though. When did your moms taught you kids to take showers with umbrella and fully clothed? You are supposed to wear your birthday suits, boys. 🙂
What a wonderful video! Great camera-handling there, Chris. And the little photo for punctuation at the end of the post is so elegant.
Your entry made me miss Alila…it always look beautiful.
One thing that I noticed, there’re lots more guest comparing to the time I went in April. There were like nobody there back then..just my room and may be couple. May be lots of roadshow in recent months could help their business.
OMG I HAVE to stay there when I go to Thailand!! That place looks AMAZINGGGG, Chris! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I’m sooo envious!
u shower with an umbrella? hahaha… go back to the shower and get wet!
Oh wow – loved every bit of it. Looks like a gorgeous place to go…….V
The resort is awesome… even if there are mosquito’s!
Btw… I love that French song! What/Who is it by?
Is it sung by Edith Piaf? It sounds very familiar. I feel like I heard it from watching La Vie En Rose.
You and your food-porn always make me hungry.So beautiful. Ever think of selling those pictures to a food journal? 😉
@stevew918 – This is a PG-rated blog, thank you. Sponsored by Disney. =)
@siu_yin7_25 – Hi to you, too.
@Steve – Well, thanks. I thought it edited nicely. I’m using Adobe Premier Elements and I can’t figure out how to make the pan function work the way I think it should. Even looking at the $50 manual from Adobe, I still haven’t been able to make it work. Maybe I’ll figure it out one of these days.
@blue_beau – Actually, we chatted with one of the employees and she told us they were running about 30-40% occupancy right now. Saturday night there were several Thai families there – sort of odd since the place isn’t family friendly. There is a new phase under development, looks like maybe another wing of buildings to the north of the property. If we can get some more vouchers we will definitely return.
@La_dolce_vida – Come for a visit!
@Dezinerdreams – @Ethan – The song is “Sympathique” by the album of the same name by Pink Martini. It was written very much in the style of pre-war France.
@venice – Glad you liked it! It is a beautiful resort.
@reallifedemo – Thanks; I’m actually not that happy with the quality of my food pictures. The camera isn’t that great is low light settings and I’m usually hesitant to use a flash for fear of disturbing others. Someone who does a really good job with his food photos is Curry. His friend (who takes the pictures) has a good camera and really good photography skills.
i really want to go to thailand one day. my parents and my sister have gone there and always come back raving. it’s definitely on my Must-Visit list!
beautiful hotel. great food. what a fabulous weekend.
@babydot74 – Definitely one of those countries that should be visited. Beautiful scenery, wonderful food, and the kindest, friendliest people.
@coletteatsea – Yeah, it really was a nice get-away.
Wow. Everything looks so good… from the room itself to the way the fruits are cut. Awesome. I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand. When I finally make it there, I’ll make it a point to stay at this place. Thanks for sharing!!
very lovely place. great pictures!
What a fabulous resort! Your photos caught my eye as I was briskly going through my subscriptions (I swear, my right-hand and mouse speed through my self-regulated one-hour of online time after work). I love all things wood especially when it’s used with a modern and minimalist flair. The resort reminded me of how Martin+Osa finishes their interior decor and that rain-shower head is a perfect touch to the modern ambiance. Hope you enjoyed your stay! I will definitely have to put Alila on my “to-do” list. :o) And thank you Tawn for the video tour! Wish I could have been on that lovely outdoor deck having cocktails with the two of you. :o)
@christao408 – Ho-ly crap. You are right. Curry does an amazing job.But it IS hard to get all the right shots without a good camera.
what a lovely resort to visit! and the food looks promising too…..
@reallifedemo – See? I told you.
@kenpcho – The funny thing about the shower was how un-functional it was. When you stand in it, you have to hold your breath because it is just dumping directly down on you.
Wow! Let me get on a plane now. That looks like a wonderful weekend getaway. With it only being 2 hours away, I’d be tempted to go there every weekend :PI’m in love with that shower. I’ve never seen an open shower like that before. It seems like it’d be lovely.
That looks so fun and romantic! haha I’m lovin’ the umbrella. btw I saw that commercial on TV here last night.
Nice choice of resort, Chris! Cha-Am and Hua-Hin are two ‘small’ resort towns not too far from BKK but I think Cha-Am is a better choice. I can’t wait to book this place on my next trip!! Such nice photos, great video, background music, food…you guys deserve an Oscar for this post!! I have to say I’ll take a few showers a day just to enjoy that fabulous bathroom!!RYC:that Anisette place for $200 did not include wine at all!! Agriculture? That’ll be at least a couple of hours by car, in Ventura County!
@christao408 – That’s the ‘rain shower’ ‘dumping’ on you as if you’re caught in a rain storm…LOL
@curry69curry – The funny thing is, the water was actually dripping right through the umbrella fabric because of the pressure of the water. I was getting very wet!
@TheCheshireGrins – Yes, Tawn and I keep saying that we need to take more weekend getaways. Within about a 2-3 hour drive from Bangkok, there are the mountains of Khao Yai National Park, the hills and river of Kanchanaburi (sight of the “Bridge over the River Kwai”), the small island of Ko Samed, the beach towns of Cha-Am and Hua Hin, and the sin city of Pattaya. And everywhere else in the country is a 1-hour plane ride from the uncrowded domestic airport. And yet, we always seem to have so much going on during the weekends.
Part of it is that to get two nights out of the weekend, we have to rush to get out of town Friday night. Unfortunately, Friday night traffic is a mess here and we don’t want to get caught in it.
That looks like a great weekend. I love the last picture 🙂