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.
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.
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: