High Seasonal Expectations

by Naheen Madarbakus
Groove Korea (groovekorea.com)

The island of Koh Kood is fast becoming one of the more popular island destinations for backpackers and travelers alike. Sitting a mere 200 km away from the Thailand capital Bangkok, those wanting adventure, tranquility and naturalistic surroundings may choose the lesser-known island for an ideal retreat. So much so has the island become a booming industry for divers and those searching the non-party sandy shores of the likes of Koh Samui that Koh Kood has developed into a touch of paradise without even knowing it. Animals and insects with a multiple number of legs roam the streets – and beaches – as if they own they place, zigzagging around the handful of tourists that choose the island for a long weekend getaway. The main express ferry terminal Ao Salad in the east connects with Trat’s mainland port Laek Som, with a smattering of resorts firmly concentrated on the western side, certainly taking advantage of those stunning sunsets if nothing else. Walking around the main Khlongchao area, it seems that the locals and hoteliers alike have decided that this is the area that everyone wants to come to. And they wouldn’t be wrong.

So a five-star resort may not be the first option to consider in Thailand, especially with the plethora of guesthouses and abodes available in any town at a fraction of the cost. But what about that slice of paradise that everyone yearns for on their vacation? What about the personal butler service and chocolates placed delicately on your pillow each night? Everyone deserves that once in a while, don’t they?

One of the five-star options on the island, the High Season aims to perfect the paradise dream and go beyond it. The personal service starts at the ferry port, being met by your own personal butler for the duration of your stay who, as your first port of call, is transport for you and your party to the hotel grounds. A mere 25 minute drive and complimentary bottle of water away, the welcome continues with a handmade flower and stem necklace placed carefully around your neck to the gentle and warming sounds of welcome in Thai. Check-in is completed in your room, with no time wasted in the reception area as the butler ferries the necessary paperwork to and from your room while you unpack those necessities and change out of those salty clothes from the ferry ride over.

With the butler out of earshot, it’s time for a snoop around the huge 95 meter room which will be your abode for the next four days. The reception area has a chaise lounge style sofa and chairs, a welcome basket of fruit and a tea and coffee area to offer that reassurance of a proper living room. Up three small steps leads to the bedroom, complete with compulsory – and necessary – mosquito net and a huge flat-screen TV to boot. The bathroom offers a similar sized space to that of the bedroom with his and her sinks, a toilet and bathtub. A rain shower has also been created with an open-air ceiling – although the door will need to be watched to keep those creepy crawlies out in the evening.

After freshening up – and snooping around – a look around the grounds suggests that there is no need to leave the complex for the stay. Afternoon tea is served at the Beach Front restaurant for those still peckish from lunch, with The Terrace (and coffee corner) also ready with snacks. Evening options include the authentic Thai Restaurant (which is also the venue over-looking the sea for breakfast in the morning) or the soon-to-be-launched Italian restaurant, which provides some European fare.

For those relaxing evenings, the complex also has the High Spa, with four separate treatment rooms and couple facilities for the romantic in all of us. Choose from steam room, sauna, and massage treatments as the on-site masseurs can discuss the best treatment program with you. For those who prefer the water, the High Season complex opens out onto the public beach from the Beach Bar, although the hotel’s 450 squared meter Olympic-sized swimming pool or your own private infinity pools which accompany each of the 42 residences can offer any privacy needed.

The High Season’s concept is to go back and experience nature. Walking around the grounds, a traditional feel is apparent with the wooden-like appearance of the paths and the garden patches dotted around the grounds. Local produce is sourced for the catering needs of the hotel to support rather than compete with local businesses.

Being an island, natural resources can be somewhat scarce and short power cuts are frequent but understandable. Ready for any situation, each room has been fitted with an emergency light which will be activated for the 5-10 seconds that the cuts last. The entrance even has an eye-catching water-well to symbolize the grounds the hotel has been built on, which provides guests with an abundant water supply that is generated through the re-filtering of used water to minimize waste and to economize infinity pool use.

With newer amenities opening this November in time for the peak season, a local grocery store, pharmacy, and optician will endeavour to make the High Season a home away from home. Whether a one night or fortnight retreat, everyone needs a five stars sometimes.

The High Season resort is located on Koh Kood Island. The nearest airport is Trat, 200km away from Bangkok. Contact the hotel for transportation options.

* The High Season resort opens in November 2015. Special opening rates are available directly from their website www.highseasonresort.com or from www.expedia.com, www.booking.com and other hotel websites.

Groove Korea website

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