If you’re looking for a Thai island that is relatively untouched by the tourism then Koh Yao Yai or Yao Noi are the ideal choices. Both predominately Muslim they still hold to the traditional way of life with most islanders fishermen, rubber farmers or tradional trades people. This air of tranquility and isolation is one of the reasons the luxury Santhiya Resort & Spa was built on a tropical hillside over looking a long white sandy beach looking west towards the island of Phuket a 40 minute long-tail boat ride away.
The eco development consists of 39 timber villas & 109 bedrooms, as well as a multitude of restaurants, waterfall swimming pool & spa complex.
The style of the hotel is very much traditional Thai, with steep thatched roof salas, stilted structures and intricate carved facades & furniture.The building owner is a specialist in traditional timber & gazebos and this really comes across in the design ethos.
The predominate building material is teakwood, with many traditional hand crafted / carved features. By all accounts the owner commissioned whole villages in neighbouring islands & the mainland to craft specific elements to the resort, like shell chandeliers from Koh Samui & futon cushions from Chiang Mai.
If your coming to Thailand for authentic luxury then this is the place to go. The name Santhiya means ‘natural beauty‘ and with the development set back in its gorgeous coastal location and the very elegant architectural style adopted it really lived up to its name.
We went for lunch, and with a minimum spend of 600Baht per person make sure your hungry before you go.
The island of Koh Yao Yai itself is stunning and I would highly recommend getting out via bike to see the surrounding villages, where you can actually see very talented carpenters that have made the hotel as picturesque as it is practicing their trade in front of their houses.