“Eden on the shores of the South China Sea, where your very own villa has a private pool and personal butlers are on-hand to help”
There are various beautiful private villas, most strung out along the shoreline. The landscape that cradles them adds to the aesthetic appeal, making them beautiful inside and out. Predominantly made of wood and glass, sliding doors bring in the views and whitewashed walls soak up the light.
The Beachfront Pool Villas (1 or 2 bedrooms) have a pool terrace and a path leading down to the beach (a casual 30-second stroll from bed to sea). Big airy bedrooms house crisp linen sheets and glass doors opening out onto loungers and parasols. Though (like some of the Hilltop Villas) this area lacks a sea view due to the curtain of clipped greenery that ensures privacy. The sitting room is upstairs and open to the breeze, giving long views over the bay. Bathrooms are out of this world, with huge metre-deep wooden tubs and deluge showers in extremely private gardens.
The Hilltop Villas have a completely separate wooden lounge pavilion that opens onto a huge deck and pool. They come with exquisite views of the ocean. Some are set back from the water (slightly limiting the views) but most are up on the hill, with vistas stretching across treetops and out to sea. There's also a 3-bedroom Hilltop Reserve with an enormous infinity pool gazing over the bay.
The Water Villas (connected by small ferry boats operated on a rope system) and Rock Villas seem to paddle in the ocean and have rather good views of the South China Sea. Infinity pools hang in the rocks, scoring maximum wow factor points. From the Water Villas steps lead straight down to the sea. While wild rock formations shield the Rock Villas from the outside world giving nothing but views of the sea and the ridge. The pavilions, which hang above the water, have an ensuite shower room and can be made up as an extra bedroom at night.
The Rock Retreat is enormous and hidden away on the rocks at the far end of the resort. It has its own jetty, the pool is surrounded by wild boulders, there’s a shaded dining room that hangs over the water and the butler, on call 24-hours a day, has his own quarters.
On a purely subjective basis, the Rock Villas, Beachfront Pool Villas and Hilltop Villas tickled our fancy the most (and in that order).
Potter up to the restaurant and you find more fabulous views; not a bad place to scoff your bacon and eggs. The breakfast menu offers the full excess of patisserie and cereals, fresh fruits and juices, cold meats and cheeses and cooked favourites.
There’s a full lunch menu running pretty much throughout the day and it’s packed with comfort food (salads, pizzas, pasta, cheese burgers, baguettes and toasted sandwiches). A more formal menu comes at dinner, perhaps green papaya soup with ginger, rack of lamb with baby vegetables and chocolate tart with peanut butter ice cream. There’s a kids’ menu, too (grilled chicken, steak frites, stir-fried noodles), as well as buffet options for lunch and dinner.
If you want a special meal, you can have a BBQ in your villa (or on the beach if you’re staying in a Beachfront Pool Villa). Alternatively, dine by candlelight at the end of the jetty or in the very groovy wine cellar, which is built between the rocks. A 6-course tasting menu is available here with a separate glass of wine with each course. For those who want to go further afield, meals can be arranged on a private beach or in a secluded cove, where you eat on giant slabs of rock.
Although all ages are welcome, we would not recommend this resort for children under 6 as most of the villas have steep staircases with unfenced balconies and/or ledges which overlook the bay from heights of up to 20 metres. That said, there is a complimentary kids' club daily, and no charge for using existing beds
The Beachfront Pool Villas and Two-Bedroom Pool Villas are the best option for those staying with children.
Daytime babysitting is available via the kids' club, or you can book a private babysitter to you villa - charges may apply
The complimentary Sub Club runs from 9.00am until noon and 2.00pm until 5.00pm daily. Children can make use of a large playhouse with games, a soft corner, arts ‘n’ crafts, a flatscreen TV with Wii console, and a collection of movies. Outside, there's a Pirate's Lair playground and a great selection of activities including beach games and sand castle competitions
Children's menu available. Kids 5 and under eat for free from the children's menu. Kids of 6-11 can also dine from the regular menu at a 50% discount
Be aware that the beach is not supervised