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Anyone reading my two previous reviews from 2015 & 2016 will be happy to know that I am still a firm believer in this luxury resort. It is still as wonderful and serene as ever. The staff are one of the firm highlights in this property and they do pay attention to your needs to ensure that you have a fantastic and relaxing vacation.
So let me start with the 2017 Award Winning (South East Asia) NAKA Spa - Visited it three times during the stay at the property. A wonderful place with extremely talented staff with many who have been there for a number of years. My therapist is AM and she is wonderful. Massaging all of the kinks out and noting any special attention to specific pain that might be ailing you. Whether it be shoulders, back or legs she knows how to manipulate and can recommend the best treatment. If you visit NAKA, you must visit the spa - very professional and relaxing!! SPG Members get a discount!
Food & Beverage - (includes Tonsai Restaurant, My Grill Restaurant and The Z Bar). Your food experience is led by Executive Chef Jonathan, Sous Chef Bastin and Apicha, Restaurant Manager. Guests have breakfast in the Tonsai. It is a combination of buffet for fruit, salads, cereals and deli meats along with some cooked products including eggs, noodles and other Asian foods as well as your typical sausages and bacon. Topping it off is a menu at the table where you can order pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict and much more. Food is always very fresh and tasty. Tonsai is also open for lunch and dinner. Thanks to the Tonsai team for the pressed coffee! There are many people in the team but look for Boom who always has a smile on her face.
Should you have any food allergies, make the hotel aware of this and they will endeavour to ensure that those foods are not on your plate.
My Grill is your fine dining experience where you can get steak, seafood and much more. The Assistant F & B Manager is Daniele who you cannot miss. He is a true Italian whose natural exuberance is not to be missed. (Daniele is also a Sommelier so he can recommend the right grape to go with your meal). Try the tomahawk steak - enough for two people and very tasty!
The Z Bar with its wonderful vistas looking out from the point over 180 Degrees to the Phang Nga Bay. Fabulous sunsets can be seen from here so if going in the early evening, don't forget your camera. You will see sail boats, power boats, jet skis, Thai long boats and of course the many islands in the distance. Whilst you are gazing in awe, have the gang make you a special beverage or enjoy a glass of champagne. Tee and Yuki will ensure that you enjoy your evening. By the way, you can also order food there. The hamburger is fantastic and so are the calzones!!
Accommodations: All units are villas - Tropical, Sea View or Beach. We stayed in a Sea View (Villa 45) which had a great view of the distant islands. The villa is composed of an air conditioned bedroom (bed has mosquito netting around it) and sitting area; a screened in bathroom area with toilet, double sinks and a large shower. In the enclosed garden area there is an outdoor tub and shower. (Don't worry your neighbours cannot see you). Out towards the water side is a small pool and an open air gazebo along with an umbrella and deck loungers. All very civilized and comfortable.
The rooms team ensure that your accommodation is well cleaned and bring fresh towels regularly. The "Than" brand of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel is a quality product. Noi is the Director of Rooms whose oversight in this area is sharp. If there is any issue, she will make certain it is looked after. As an example based on our previous stays, we knew the room typically has a Bose radio / ipod in it. Ours was missing and just briefly mentioned it and then magically it showed up. Great service - thanks Noi!
Guest Services: This team are available at all times and are very gracious even just to drop in and say "hello to". They can assist you with tours and much more. Did I mention that they are also responsible for driving you around on one of the many golf carts? Since there are no cars one gets around either by walking, biking (they have bikes you can use) or golf cart. Cheerfully they will take you to and from your room to wherever in the resort you want to go. If you have rainy weather they have lots of umbrellas and the golf carts have plastic sides that come down to keep you dry.
Special events: Upon check-in at your villa you will be given a sheet highlighting the many activities the resort offers from yoga, tai-boxing, making gel candles, painting, pilates and more. At 2 pm near the main pool hut they offer complimentary home made ice cream - the coconut is my favourite!
Recreation: Aside from the main pool, there are kyaks, stand up paddle boards, wind surfers and a hobie catamaran. All available at no cost to the resorts guests. One can also indulge in a game of pool at the water sports hut. The gym is well equipped with top notch equipment. HOD or JOE two of the recreation team members can certainly help you out.
Maintenance / Grounds: This team as I had previously reported are the unsung heros of the property. The expanse of the grounds and all of its trees, hedges, gardens, grass areas need to be kept well groomed. You cannot go a day without seeing them busily working away. Jack who leads the Maintenance Team is always looking out to see what needs to be done. We noticed a board for example that was loose in the spa area and a loose hand rail on the beach stairs. Both were taken care of immediately.
We were also quite lucky to see a wedding take place and Jack and his team put up a beautiful structure filled with flowers and lighting. I am certain the bride and groom loved what they saw.
Management: The GM Erich Friedl has been at the property for a number of years and makes his way around to visit resort guests during meal times. His senior management team do likewise. Whether it be from the Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Rooms Divisional Manager, and of course we cannot forget a relatively new addition to the Team - Oliver Constant, Guest Experience Manager who is very charming and action oriented.
Note: This resort is on an island and approximately 10 minutes from the Ao Po Marina therefore it is recommended that if one is planning a getaway to the mainland you do arrange to maximize your day. The guest services team can arrange for a taxi on the mainland and timing for the boat. If you are a Platinum SPG member you can go back and forth as you like. The Chillva Market is as some will say quite funky and utilizes old shipping containers that have been made into restaurants and lounges. Beautifully finished. This market is not as big as the Phuket weekend market but is quite nice.
Verdict: Absolutely a Five Star Resort that has become an annual tradition for the past three years and will continue to be so. If you are looking for a very relaxing vacation as a couple, then check out the Starwood NAKA ISLAND LUXURY RESORT.