The new Keemala Resort and Spa in Thailand is straight out of a movie. It's basically Jurassic Park, minus the dinosaurs. Imagine sleeping in a jungle oasis, up in a luxury tree house villa, with views of the lush Thai landscape, all while being waited on hand and foot by some of the sweetest staff around.
Normally, Thailand tourists are looking for one thing: a good party. The beaches are filled with people taking more photos of their drinks or the fire dancers at each full moon than they do of the scenery. But all that changes with Keemala Resort. Travellers from around the world come to Keemala for the escape, and for a chance to really connect with and appreciate the beauty and culture Thailand has to offer.
This five star luxury resort is located smack dap in the middle of the rainforest of Kamala, Phuket. Away from the crowded streets of Phuket filled with tourists and shouts of "ping pong show." Keemala Resort is in the peaceful and remote Kamala village, near the Andaman Sea, where it's close enough to the famous Patong Beach that travellers can visit, but far enough away that when you go to sleep, all you hear are the sounds of nature, and not the screams of party-goers.
If you've ever wanted to visit Thailand and really experience the jaw-dropping beauty of the country, there's no better way than with Keemala Resort and Spa. It's definitely at the top of my bucket list. And here's why!
You won't find another resort like Keemala anywhere in the world! It's completely unique, and designed to compliment the area's history and beauty. There are four villa types available: Clay Pool Cottages, Tent Pool Villas, Bird's Nest Pool Villas, and Tree Pool Houses. Each of these private pool villas are inspired by a different clan that used to inhabit the area, years ago. These unique rooms helped the hotel earn an Ahead Design award, along with the prestigious Conde Nast title of Best View in 2017!
It's no surprise that Keemala is also named a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw up from off the floor. Yes, this is a real resort. Yes, those are real people enjoying their private Bird's Nest Villa.
This is the resort's premium villa, and it doesn't get more tree-housey than this! Thailand is absolutely stunning, but with so much going on in each major city, and without a famous skyline or landmark, like New York or Paris, it's not common to find a hotel with a view. Keemala decided, enough is enough, and they created the view, by facing the rooms away from the city streets and creating a secluded resort that looks out at the gardens and jungles surrounding each room.
If you're anything like me, a bathroom can make or break your vacation experience. You won't be disappointed with Keemala's villa bathrooms, though.
The washroom alone is bigger than my master bedroom back home. Plus it has more than one shower, so if you weren't satisfied the first time, you can spice up your shower experience with option two, the outdoor shower (pro tip: don't go at night if you want to avoid bugs!).
But why stand when you can soak in the tub? Every detail of Keemala is thought out, including the stone bathtub which retains heat for a longer, more relaxing, bath. Plus... check out the view! You can see out, but from your treetop vantage point, no one can see you.
So what's better than a villa in a tree? A villa that is a tree! How many times in your life can you say you swam in a giant tree pool in the middle of the Thailand rainforest? Literally once. This is a once and a lifetime resort, and the tree pool villa is one of the most captivating parts of Keemala (that or the Bird's Nest Villa, it all depends on your taste).
This resort is perfect for couples who want to spend their day in the pool. There are no lounge chairs, and no TV in the living room, but instead you get absolute seclusion from the stresses of the city. It's perfect to just relax and connect with the space around you, or the person that you're with.
This isn't Thai Express! Get ready to taste the way Thai food was meant to be served. And when you've tasted their Thai, the kitchen staff actually specialize in all sorts of Asian cuisine. Try their Indian, trust me!
At Keemala, the staff believe in three things:
1) fresh, local ingredients (they call it their Healthy Living Cuisine)
2) all day service
3) eating outdoors
The country is too beautiful to eat indoors, and the food is too good to limit it to breakfast lunch and dinner. At Keemala, the kitchen is always open, and you can eat your food wherever you like!
Plus, everything on the menu is available with a vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free option.
It's funny because, with your own private villa, secluded pool, and room service, there aren't many reasons to leave your jungle oasis. Well, here's one! Your villa is just one small slice of the resort, and while you head to the bar, or settle in to eat at their restaurant, the bridges, paths, gardens, and lush vegetation will definitely distract you. You won't even mind getting lost.
Even getting around in your own villa is exciting. With the rooms suspended in the air, take a trip downstairs and see what the resort looks like from below, it's mind boggling.
When you pay for a luxury hotel, there are certain expectations you have. Service needs to be good, the view has to be nice, and the room needs to be clean and comfortable. Well, check, check and triple check. Because these villas are designed to make you feel comfortable enough to never leave. You can spend all day and all night moving around your villa, from the pool to the lounge chairs to the patio, and then back inside for a quick nap.
When I stayed in a tree house villa of my own, I called the bed "the cloud." It was pure heaven after a day of sun.
Keemala resort only opened in 2015, and in three years they've established themselves as one of the best destinations in Thailand, and one of the best in the world. That doesn't come easy.
A round of applause, if you please, for the staff who worked their butts off to wait on their guests hand and foot. Once you experience what it's like to have a personal butler, you won't want to stay anywhere else.
Don't skimp on the pre-arrival questionnaire. If you have any special requests, you'll find them ready and waiting for you when you arrive, including a personalized complimentary mini bar.
So we know the food is delicious, and we know the view is the best in the world, and we know that the staff encourage you to combine the two. Hence, you'll find a lot of food is served poolside!
You can eat or drink anything poolside. Champagne, breakfast, dessert, tea. You name it, and you'll get it and enjoy it by your own private pool. Part of the appeal of staying in a private villa is being able to complete isolate yourself from the city around you, and the other guests. Take advantage, if only for a meal, and see that breakfast in the pool is absolutely better than breakfast in bed.
If you ever get tired of your cloud, aka, your bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and more pillows than one person needs, you can take a trip to the spa.
In Thailand, spa treatments are a dime a dozen. You can have your sore feet massaged on the main road in Bangkok for five dollars and that's totally normal. So imagine those Thai magic fingers, and amp it up a few notches until you hit Keemala.
If you opt for a traditonal massage, you'll receive a set of Thai pjs to wear, and the therapists are kind and calming. The spa also offers other sorts of pampering and holistic healing methods, so whether you want an anti-aging face peel or something to soothe your aching back, Keemala has the answer.
Plus, Keemala has won more spa awards than we could possibly list, so they're objectively one of the best in all of Asia!
So yes, it's easy to ignore that you've flown up to 30 hours across the world to get there when you stay in your awesome pool and comfy villa all day. But Thailand has a rich culture, and Keemala does a good job at incorporating what makes Thai communities special into their resort. Everything from decor, to menus, to the knowledgable staff will help you learn about the country around you and what their priorities are.
You may not see monkeys or elephants here, but you can meet Charlie the baby goat, and feed Keemala's rescued water buffalo in a place they call the Enchanted Garden.
Who cares if it's raining when you're in the pool or safe and sound in your tree house shelter. Normally, rain really dampens the mood (pun intended), but here, is you don't want to leave, you can enjoy a drink from your complimentary minibar or call room service.
Or better yet, grab your umbrella (or ask the staff, because you probably didn't pack one) and take a stroll. The resort comes alive in the rain with all the fresh vegetation, garden plants, and greenery, it'll smell like paradise. It's not something you'll have the chance to smell often in Thailand, so enjoy it.
There are some places you travel to where you can't help but take a picture. Keemala is one of them. If you stay here, and forget to take a snap of yourself in your private villa, you'll be sorry. Not only will you want to remember your stay as long as possible (and what better way than with a photo), but Keemala is the type of place that people will want to see.
We're tired of the same hum drum all inclusive travel photos. Share something special with your family and friends and show them a different side of Phuket, that people often miss.
One thing that is good to do on any vacation is stay active, and we don't just mean floating in the pool. It's easy to lie still in the sun all day and call it relaxing, but what's even better for your mind, body and soul is activity that also relaxes you. Hence why the resort promotes and offers yoga classes to their visitors.
With the same view you're used to from your tree top villa, these outdoor yoga classes will help you restore balance and really take advantage of the time you spend in Keemala, all with a view that can't be beat.
There's just something about a local peacock that makes me feel fancy. Everywhere you look there is something new and exotic to take in. So maybe it's just a bird, but it's also a reminder that you're in a new beautiful place and you should take the time to look around, ask questions, and really enjoy your surroundings.
What's beautiful about Keemala is that they try to connect you with the wildlife and culture of Phuket, so that even if you don't leave the resort you get a sense of the city. Keemala, of course, also offers many excursion options, where you can visit temples, beaches, go snorkelling or diving - the works!
When visiting a country as rich as Thailand, you don't want to go home empty handed. The best thing to do is try and soak up as much as you can (not just the sun) and learn a few recipes or two so you can recreate them when you're home and missing your vacation.
Many resorts and schools across Thailand and Phuket offer cooking classes, but with the all fresh and organic gardens on spot, you know your class will be second to none. Learn the ingredients, try something new, and enjoy.
Alone isn't a word you often hear associated with Thailand vacation. Granted, many people travel specifically to connect with and meet people, but in other cases, or if you need a time out or a break from either the hustle of your Thai trip or the stresses of your day to day life, Keemala is cut off. Yes, you're in a main city and their are buildings around you, it's not a three hour drive into the jungle or anything, but when you enter the resort, and you see all the villas up in the trees, and the pathways lined with giant green flora, you feel a sense of peace and freedom. It's incredibly comforting.
It's not often that the most beautiful view of Thailand is one where you don't actually look out at the ocean! But there's always two sides to every story, and Thailand is more than just their beautiful coastline. Here, Keemala shows off a different side of the country's beauty and appeal, and they do it really well.
But the reason Keemala is so spectacular is not just what you see, but how you see it. Perched atop your tree house villa, you get to see so much of the area with a bird's eye view. And looking out across the sky, over all the vegetation, is both calming and comforting.
Beaches can be over rated. Kuta beach, a popular tourist spot in Thailand, is something you can easily skip. The beach is crowded and rocky, and it's brutally hot. Plus the whole area has become so commercial you'll end up eating lunch at a Starbuck's instead of an authentic Thai restaurant.
You may not have the beach at Keemala Resort, but you won't even miss it with the waterfall pool. Oh, and did we mention it's right next to the pool bar. Sign me up! It's perfect for when you get tired of your private pool (hey, it could happen), and you'd like to socialize just a little.
Last but not least, Phuket is a gorgeous city inside an even more beautiful country. There are so many incredible areas to visit in Thailand, that as lovely as Keemala resorts will be, you MUST visit other Thai cities.
Bangkok is a given, since that's likely where your plane will touch down. But if you want paralleled beauty, visit Chang Mai for the countryside and the elephants, visit Krabi for the beaches (including "The Beach" aka Maya Bay) and you must stay on Phi Phi Island, where you can walk the whole island in a day and there are no cars allowed.
Once you see Keemala, it will be hard to top, but Thailand has so much to offer you really need to explore.