The first thing you notice about six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, www.sixsenses.com, is the overgrown vegetation that threatens to obscure the path to your accommodation. In fact, you could almost believe that the 54 butler-serviced pool villas, lying amid thick and unkempt greenery, were somehow left over from the former rubber plantation that the resort is built on and that's what the designers want you to think, of course. In reality, this is a studied, artfully landscaped wilderness, created to let you feel as though you really are in the middle of a Thai jungle. Why else would you be forking out $800 a night?
Yao Noi island is 45-minute speedboat ride from the tourist haven of Phuket. There's little vehicular traffic, a single 7-Eleven is the only place to shop and villagers still eye visitors curiously. All of this heightens the enjoyable isolation at Six Senses. It's not every day you get to meditate in a mangrove swamp, or strike a yoga pose while watching the sunrise from limestone cliffs.
If you must have the trappings of civilization, you can sample 60 varieties of homemade ice cream and sorbets at Living Room, an all-day restaurant overlooking Phang Nga Bay's famous Hong Islands; drink to the same view at the bar (which opens at a liberal 10:30 a.m.); or book a massage at the spa. Nightlife is nonexistent on the island, so you're holed up at the resort after dark. This translates to raiding your villa's wine fridge (it comes stocked with 23 bottles) and skinny-dipping in the privacy of your pool. What more could you ask for?
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