Unusually, Thai architect Lek Bunnag says the best time to visit Krabi, the sleepy southern Thai beach town famous for its limestone karsts and craggy coastline, is in monsoon season. "The clouds are changing every second and form a very dramatic stage set. If I were to say anything, it's the greatest plus to the resort." The said resort is Ritz-Carlton's Phulay Bay the first of a new type of supersecluded, ultra-luxurious bolt-holes that the chain calls "reserves." It is one that Bunnag designed, and he was clearly preoccupied with rather more than the color of the curtains. "If the designer knows how to be in harmony with the cosmic forces," he says grandly, "with the sun, the moon, the breeze, the horizon, the shadows, the more dramatic the guest's experience will be."
But don't fret. It's not all raging nature at Phulay Bay. In fact, the architect's official design mantra is luk sanuk, a Thai phrase that translates as "have fun with the sun." And it's amorous fun to boot, judging by the fittings at this 54-villa love den, which include ridiculously enormous beds (the largest measure four by two meters) and myriad bathing options (colossal indoor bathrooms, outdoor rain showers and hot baths). Space is the most ostentatious luxury. Depending on which villa you're booked into, you can expect broad rooftop verandas, sprawling patios or plunge pools so roomy they make a trip to the resort's communal pool seem pointless. If you do venture out, it will be to one of the six restaurants (Chom Tawan on the beach is best for lunch and sunset cocktails).
First impressions of Phulay Bay, formed by the stunning reception area, create a compelling sense of seclusion, flipping you into instant vacation mode. Aubergine-colored walls rise theatrically into the sky and are, according to Bunnag, intended to keep the breeze at bay, so water in the pond can remain unruffled. All the better to reflect those gathering monsoon clouds. Rates from about $590 a night; see phulaybay.com for more.