A member of Small Luxury Hotels, the beautiful Zeavola Hotel in Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands is truly the best luxury hotel the area has to offer. Located an hour and 30 minutes by boat from Phuket or Krabi, the hotel is a sanctuary for those looking for a little elegance in what has become a very visited and overrun area of Thailand.
The Phi Phi Islands, made famous internationally by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Beach”, were once a serene and untouched group of limestone islands that were known only to locals and adventurous visitors seeking clear waters, white sands and quiet.
Now, due to their beauty and through the power of the internet, Phi Phi has nearly become a tourist trap with hoards of people descending on its beaches and waters to take Instagram-worthy selfies with jagged limestone rocks, turquoise waters and what is left of the once plentiful coral reefs.
But, not all is lost. Zeavola has gone to great lengths to protect its prime and beautiful spot on the island of Koh Phi Phi. Guests who land at Phuket airport are transferred to a nearby marina and boarded onto a boat that takes you careening through the waters to the hotel’s front “door”. Once you arrive at the beachfront property, the staff warmly greets you and helps you off onto its pristine sad beach and into the reception area.
Leave your shoes in your bag and don’t even think about putting them on again until you leave. This hotel is built on the sand and the entirety of it is on the beach. There are no paved pathways or stone walkways – but sand trails that lead you through to rooms, the dining room, the spa and other parts of the property. This is on purpose – and is oh so good.
I was checked-in promptly with a welcome cocktail and a beach front cabin. The large air-conditioned room was perfection. Wooden floors, a breezy, gauzy bed with direct ocean views and an open floor plan made the room feel effortlessly chic. I unpacked and moved myself outside onto my private deck where water, coffee and tea were available to me 24-hours a day. The turquoise water lapped against the shore, a mere 10-feet from my room and I realized I had just checked-into heaven.
Zeavola offers 52 rooms and is currently refurbishing and adding more to their offerings. The area was wiped-out during the 2004 Tsunami and rebuilt in an even more thoughtful and beautiful way. The hotel offers everything from beach front rooms to hillside rooms with remarkable views of the surrounding area. The hillside rooms come with private plunge pools and easy access to the rest of the property through wooden stairways.
Zeavola is should be considered for those who are looking for excellent food and spa services on their holiday as well. The spa here is probably one of the best I’ve ever experienced in its natural and beautiful design, to the well-trained therapists that perform massages, facials and body treatment. I had a massage, which left me, who is very critical of bad massages, speechless.
A beachfront candlelit dinner was offered to me so that I might experience the cuisine. Both the food and experience of dining just a few feet from the surf, was incredible. It was romantic, relaxing and something every guest staying here should try. The staff at Zeavola – whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner are incredible. By the end of your trip you will remember their names and they will remember yours – making it difficult to say goodbye.
Aside from my incredible experience at Zeavola, I was impressed with their deep commitment to operating in a green, environmentally friendly manner. The hotel operates on much of their own generated power and participates in educating local children – which makes it one of the most sustainable operations in the area.
For those seeking a side of Phi Phi Islands that will leave you rested and rejuvenated, not irritated and disenchanted, Zeavola is it. There is not one better option for the luxury traveler.