Ayara Kamala is nestled into the hillside of Phuket’s famous Millionaire’s Mile. The exclusive, boutique resort and spa became our luxury hideaway for a few days on the island’s picturesque west coast. From the moment we arrived at Ayara Kamala, we felt at home. The staff were friendly, the rooms and suites beautifully appointed and the view would rival those of the best resorts in the world.
There is a feeling of calm that seems to sweep across Ayara Kamala. With just 42 rooms it is a true boutique hotel. Ten stunning villas are spaced out across the property to ensure complete privacy. The resort is a peaceful place that prides itself on personalised service. The design philosophy centres around a respect of its natural surroundings; ‘Ayara’ is a reference to the calm and gentle nature of elephants. The elephant motif features around the property as a reminder of that principle.
The view was breathtaking as we slid open the door to our Grand Pool Villa. The villa was divided into two spacious living quarters but we spent most of our time in the space in between. A lawn with sun chairs and a day bed took full advantage of the million dollar vista. Looking across the private infinity pool we could barely distinguish where the brilliant blue of the Andaman Sea met the sky. We sat spotting yachts and watched as the water sparkled during the day, turning tangerine each evening. It is one of the most stunning sunset spots we’ve ever experienced.
After sundown, we relaxed in the living area, furnished with an oversized lounge, kitchen and dining area. We later, retired to our bedroom suite where a king sized bed, huge master bathroom and jacuzzi were waiting. In the morning, we could watch the sunrise from the comfort of our sheets, morning coffee in hand. It was heaven.
The Cradle Restaurant
We sauntered into breakfast at The Cradle Restaurant each morning to the hum of soft jazz and the muted conversations of other guests, seated around the pool. Each table is positioned to take in the ocean panorama. We preferred to settle into the corner spot which gave us a view across the tree-covered landscape, the additional infinity pool below and the sea. Guests ordered of the menu and could also fill their plates from the breakfast buffet, featuring both western and Asian dishes.
We ate all of our meals during our stay in Kamala, at the resort. Partly because we were so relaxed during our days at the villa and it was convenient to simply wander down to the main building or order room service. Mostly though, it was because the food was so fresh and delicious. The menu includes some western favourites like pizzas, burgers and salads, but we stuck to the tasty Thai dishes; Tom Kha Gai, Tom Yum Goong and grilled and steamed seafood with chilli and lime sauce were just a few of our favourite finds.
Overflow is a destination made for sundowners or a poolside tipple. Enjoy a post-swim signature cocktail and a game of pool, dip your toes into the water or recline on a day daybed and listen to chill-out tunes while warming up for dinner.
Staying Active at Ayara Kamala
The hotel has a modest gym in the main building with a few pieces of cardio equipment and a boxing bag. We are told the hotel will renovate the space, this year. There is also a tennis and basketball court on site with rackets and balls available to guests.
We couldn’t resist the convenience of the yoga lawn in our villa for high intensity training sessions followed by a dip in the pool. A walk down to the private rustic beach is a must in the morning as well. With only a few local fishermen for company we had the area to enjoy undisturbed. Andrew explored the rocks as I watched the waves roll in, the occasional boat passing by. It was a really calm way to welcome the day. Afterwards, we ran intervals up the stairs on the way back up to get in our morning workout before breakfast. For the less mobile, there is an inclinator that can carry you up and down to the beach. Guests can also relax in the sun chairs, eat lunch on the rocks, paddle out with a snorkel or a kayak to venture further. Guides are available to show you the coastal sites.
For aching bodies or those in need of some pampering Ratana Spa offers free sauna and steam rooms for guests’ use. They also have a full treatment menu featuring a range of massages, facials and scrubs utilising local healing ingredients like coconut and tamarind.
The cute town of Kamala is just ten minutes drive from the hotel and is definitely worth a visit if you can pull yourself away from your pool. There are market-style shops selling souvenirs, clothing alongside a few local cafes, convenience stores and restaurants. There are a few bars along the strip too that always looked to be buzzing when we passed. We had a couple of suits made for Andrew, thanks to the hotel’s recommendation of a great tailor in Kamala, Royal Armani. The suits and a shirts look to be great quality and miraculously were made and delivered in about 36 hours. Ayara Kamala operates a free shuttle to and from Kamala which made it effortless to head in and out of the town.
Patong and Phuket town are just 20 minutes drive away if you’re looking for some more serious shopping or you are up for a night on the town. The hotel can arrange a car for you (at cost).
Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa
22/10 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Rd, Kamala , Kathu, Phuket
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.