INTRODUCTION TO SIX SENSES YAO NOI
On a small island off the coast of western Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi, a resort by Six Senses Resorts, Hotels and Spas, draws out the inner child with an unmistakable rustic luxe style, epitomised by the tree-house villas with expansive views over the dramatic rising karsts of Phang Nga Bay.
Date of stay: April 2016
Room: Two-Bedroom Hideaway Pool Villa
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOYLAD
WHAT I LOVED
- Location. Set on the eastern shores of Koh Yao Noi, this is an ideal base from which to explore the eastern region of Phuket, including Phang Nga Bay, Krabi and Phi Phi, especially for first time visitors to the area. This can either be the start of the Phuket journey, or the end (following or followed by a stay on Phuket mainland, which we highly recommend).
- Views. There aren’t many better views in the world than to watch the sun rise over the unique limestone karst formations that jut out from the bay. Some of the most stunning views are from the Hilltop Reserve, previously the presidential suite/villa at the resort, which has now been converted into the resort pool and a dining and private dining venue.
- Villas. The expansive villas are Six Senses’ signature playfully luxe-rustic take on treehouses, which will appeal to anyone’s inner child! The villas are spacious and each comes with its own private plunge pool. We stayed in a two-bedroom Hideaway Pool Villa, and while the villa is decent, to really make the best of this resort, book any villa with an ocean view.
- Activities. Snorkeling, diving, kayaking and other watersports are naturally on offer. Excursions to nearby areas include trips to Phang Nga Bay by traditional longtail boat or speedboat. More luxe options include private yacht charter to explore the region.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Service. For a resort and brand known for its service, we have yet to see evidence of exemplary service. Apart from a couple of service issues (read the food section below), service was adequate, but not spectacular. There were no special touches or staff going out of the way or attention to detail. Surprisingly, for a Thai resort, the general staff also seemed to lack the warmth that most visitors are accustomed to. One such example is our private excursion to Phang Nga Bay longtail boat excursion, organised by Six Senses Yao Noi. As it is a private Six Senses excursion and a long one, we would expect staff to arrange some cold drinks and light refreshments. Instead, there was not much on offer except water (which ran out very quickly) and just the exact number of towels. Additionally, almost all (except the very last rock/cave) location we were taken to were extremely overcrowded.
- Food. The food was inconsistent, sometimes even with the same dish ordered across multiple days. The Thai Omlette started off being a breakfast favourite, but by our last day it was inedible and I had to send it back barely touched. I asked for scrambled eggs instead, and got literally (very watery) scrambled eggs (poorly seasoned), with no further garnish. I barely touched this either, and sadly, the wait staff just took it back without asking any further questions. The dim sum and sushi we had during our stay was also of poor quality. However, some of the Thai dishes we had over several lunches were a real highlight.
- Beach. Although the resort hosts two beaches, the sand is a little rough and perhaps not quite in sync with the otherwise idyllic setting. Depending on the season, the beaches can also completely vanish due to high-tide, which can occur during daytime. However, exploring islands with picture perfect beaches in Phang Nga Bay is part of the fun!
- Pool. The private pools in the rooms are sizeable, but they are still barely bigger than ‘plunge pools’, and in the case of our villa, definitely far too small for a 2-bedroom villa.
The Hilltop Reserve, while stunning, is almost too small as a resort pool to house guests from the 50+ villas that are spread around the resort. Additionally, it is closed off until late morning and also closes early in the evening so all guests gather there between a 3-4 hour period making it quite crowded.
- Space. Although the villas themselves are spacious, the design could have been altered to provide more or better utilised shaded outdoor lounging space.
- Developing region. The region of Phang Nga and Yao Noi island are currently quite underdeveloped, certainly in relation to Phuket, but expect this to change as more resorts, villas and villa-estates are built on the island or in the vicnity.
HOW TO GET THERE
- Guests coming into the Phuket International Airport (HKT) are picked-up and driven to the Ao Por Grand Marina, about a 20-minute drive away. From there, scheduled charter speedboats five times a day, taking about 45-minutes to the resort. Private charters are also available.
- Other arrival options include:
- Helicopter from Phuket Airport
- Car and boat from Krabi Airport (KBV)
- Fast Track Arrival and VIP Departure Service is available at Phuket International Airport (HKT)
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga Bay, near Phuket, Thailand
- OPENED: 2007
- HOTEL ROOMS: 56
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: N/A
- RATES FROM: USD 370/night++
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
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