The Sarojin

Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Thailand Book from

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
Honeymoon heaven: a tranquil, secluded beach resort with spacious rooms, fab food and an 'Imagineer' to make your dreams come true...
When Kate and Andrew Kemp decided to build a 5-star luxury resort on an unspoilt beach in Khao Lak, they really went to town. Their main focus was impeccable, personalised service - something they feel everyone should experience once in a lifetime - and then they threw in a few dreams of their own: bath rims big enough to hold champagne glasses, an uber spa and a deli-bar in each room. They had to employ a serious number of staff to make it all happen - 245 to 56 rooms - but it's certainly been worth it (the awards speak for themselves).

It has a gloriously romantic setting, surrounded by white sand and Khao Sok National Park's rainforests - and it's only an hour from the Similan Islands, one of the world's top 10 dive sites. The rooms have views over the reflective lotus pond, the infinity pool or the lush gardens; your days will be filled with long beach walks, relaxed pampering and lazy meals. But the real USP is the 'Imagineer', who tailor-makes activities 'just for 2': drink champagne by a waterfall, go diving at sunrise or bamboo raft down jungle rapids. Awesome.

Highs

  • Set on 11km of private beach and surrounded by 10 acres of gardens, it's secluded and far from Phuket's crowds
  • The beach is protected by Pakarang Cape, keeping the water lagoon-like and still, even in low season
  • Midnight dips in your private pool
  • The super spa, with a whole range of indulgent treatments and the sound of the Andaman Sea in the background
  • Service with capital S, and unlike most hotels, all the little extras are complimentary (cold drinks, freshly cut watermelon, DVDs and CDs)
  • Incredible attention to detail: aesthetically it's gorgeous, and the 'Imagineer' can arrange some extraordinary personalised adventures for you

Lows

  • It's expensive but it offers an exceptionally high level of personalised service
  • Not all rooms have have sea views
  • It's super romantic - if you came here with a friend, you might feel self-conscious - and kids under 10 aren't allowed

Best time to go

Peak season is from November to April, when the weather is relatively cool and there's little rain. From March it warms up to around 35C but the monsoon season is from May to October. If you do decide to come during the wetter season, the best months are July and August. The Andaman seas can get rough and the picture-perfect blue can disappear but The Sarojin beach is very well secluded and you can swim and do watersports all year. Expect some strong but short downpours (especially in May, June and Sep) but keep in mind that it will always stay warm and humid.

Our top tips

This is a great honeymoon destination; the 11km white sand beach, beautiful garden and tranquil infinity pool are made for romance.

Great for...

Beach
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 56
  • Restaurants and bar (open daily)
  • Over 10s welcomed
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Beach
Room:

Rooms

The 56 rooms and suites are spread out between 7 separate 2-storey buildings. The layout is a horseshoe, which allows maximum space and privacy, and the rooms are surrounded by leafy, tranquil gardens.

There are 3 room categories: the Garden Residences are the best value, situated on the ground floor of the low-rise buildings. These have a private garden, an alfresco sundeck with loungers and a Thai 'sala' (lounge). The Pool Residences flank these rooms, at either end of the building, and these have a plunge pool in their private garden. The Suites are situated on the upper floors with a vast sun terrace into which an onyx pool has been sunk. These rooms are the most private and have additional space thanks to an indoor lounge.

All rooms are elegantly furnished with kingsize beds, crisp white linen, hand-carved furniture, Thai silk cushions and parquet flooring. The ensuite bathrooms are open air, and each has an oversized couples' bath, separate rain shower, robes and slippers and JUKU toiletries. As you'd expect there's a CD player, TV and DVD player as well as free WiFi. The most unusual feature, however, is the deli-bar: a big cupboard/fridge filled with snacks. Fresh fruit, cookies, dried snacks and water are free of charge, but you're also given bread, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon and wine/bar/champagne. Ideal for a low-key lunch.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

One of the pleasures of The Sarojin is that food can be eaten wherever you want: in the restaurants, the gardens, in your suite or on the beach.

Breakfast is served in the Ficus Restaurant, a fairly small room leading onto a terrace with tables. Early in the morning this is a lovely place to be: the croaking of frogs in the lotus pond and the steady hum of cicadas provides Mother Nature's soundtrack, along with carefully selected lounge-y music drifting out from inside. Kick-start your day with a healthy breakfast (muesli, fresh fruit, apple and cinnamon compote, porridge) or something more indulgent (eggs any style, Thai omelette or beluga caviar with blinis and melba toast!). There are freshly squeezed juices, various teas and coffee or you can get into holiday mode with a glass of sparkling wine.

In the evening, Ficus transforms into an intimate restaurant, which acts as the heart of the hotel with tables set intimately around and amongst the ancient ficus tree's hanging branches. Open-sided walls keep air flowing though, and elegant Chinese vases steal the eye. The dinner menu is a mix of Thai and Italian cuisine: think pan-seared king prawns with garlic and rice, Australian beef steaks and spinach tagliolini with fresh lobster. Afterwards, visit The Cellar for an after-dinner drink; the well-stocked bar has over 450 wine brands.

If you'd prefer something less formal, head to the wooden pavillion next to the beach, The Edge, with terrific vistas out onto Andaman Sea. This serves international and Thai and seafood delicacies: think curries, noodles, spicy soups and steamed fish dishes. Beachgoers can order tropical drinks and cocktails here throughout the day; it's a great spot to sit in the shade and watch the sea roll out over the white sand. There are also 3 family-owned beach shacks along the sand; ideal if you want a cheaper bite to eat.

However, if you're a die-hard romantic, you can choose to be totally private for an evening. Staff will set up a spot on the beach, on a pool island or in the garden of your residence, and build a palm fence to separate you from the chef. At the end of the meal you'll be given a spirit balloon, which you light and let drift away on the sea breeze.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Bliss out at the spa - choose a treatment pavillion that faces the mangrove garden so you can hear the ocean as you relax. There's a long list of lovely treatments (warm stone massages, salt glow scrubs, Elemis facials), but after a long flight we'd recommend the Thai massage - see Rates
  • Borrow a windsurfer, catamaran or canoe to float across the lagoon-like sea. Sheltered from tides, it's calm and suitable for year-round swimming
  • Take a day trip on the Lady Sarojin boat and sail to the dreamy Similan (closed Sept-Apr) or Surin Islands, one of the world's top 10 dive and snorkel sites. When these are closed (Oct to April), you can go to Phang Nga Bay to explore hidden lagoons and swim around the famous James Bond island
  • Learn to dive or take a guided underwater tour; the hotel works with the mainland's top dive school and trips take place first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds
  • Let the Imagineer dream up your ultimate holiday experience 'for 2': ride an elephant, go white water rafting, lunch by a secret waterfall, try deep-sea fishing. Having spent years as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, he's full of dramatic and exciting ideas
  • Hike through Khao Sok National Park, where you'll see some of the world's oldest primary forest, limestone mountains, waterfalls and wild animals
  • Epicurists can take an excellent Thai cooking workshop, which includes a visit to the local markets and outdoor cooking in the jungle
  • Borrow a mountain bike: there are several flat trails leading through the rainforest
  • Golfers can head to a nearby 18-hole courses - Tap La Mu (10 minutes), Asia's Premier course or The Blue Canyon and Country Club (50 minutes). Tennis courts (hard with floodlights) are a 10-minute drive away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Rafting
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids

This is really a grown up, couples searching for R&R kind of resort and therefore not really a place for children. That said, children above 10 years are welcome and extra beds are available at extra cost.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Garden Residences and Pool Residences can each fit an extra bed, while the Sarojin Suite can fit 2.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for The Sarojin