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Aava Resort & Spa

Khanom, Thailand

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PROPERTY FEATURES

The Premises 

Aava Resort & Spa is the kind of hotel that we’d keep to ourselves if we could, thanks to its eye-bogglingly beautiful beach, brilliant Finnish owners and dandy Scandi styling. The chefs are supremely talented, rooms are romantic and there’s even an onsite bakery that rustles up perfect pizzas.

Aava Resort & Spa

28/3 Moo 6, Nakhon Si Thammarat Khanom, Thailand

SMITH EXTRA

Compliments of the House 

A fruit basket, home-made chocolate balls from Aava Bakery and a bottle of sparkling wine

At the Hotel 

CHECK-OUT: 5pm. Earliest check-in, 8am. Both are flexible, subject to availability (no extra charge applies).
Rates usually include breakfast (Continental and à la carte), plus WiFi. Stay for five nights or more and you’ll also get free return airport transfers from Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat.

FACILITIES

Beach, swimming pool, spa, bakery, boutiques, library, stash of DVDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, DVD player, minibar.

PACKING TIPS

Pink bathers, to match the baby-pink local dolphins.

CHILDREN

The owners have two children and welcome little Smiths. Extra beds (free for under-13s) and cots (also free) can be added to rooms. The hotel offers free childcare – pick between the kids club or two on-loan, full time babysitters.

SPA

The spa only has one treatment room, so book your pampering session well ahead.

POOL

The dark-blue-tiled pool is the watery heart of the hotel, overlooking the beach, next to the restaurant and flanked by Poolside Villas. There are big white loungers on the wooden deck between the pool and the beach; salas and beanbags dot the beach.

ALSO

Aava has managed to keep itself relatively under the radar, but it did once make Tatler’s ‘Too Cool for School’ list.

USEFUL INFORMATION

There is a compulsory gala dinner for stays over New Year's Eve (31 Dec). Prices are THB 2,500 net per adult and THB 1,200 net per child between 4 – 12 years.

Rooms 

We love the Poolside Villas for their ladder access to the pool and their private sun-deck with a sunbed, comfy sofa and a little table that hints at sunny private lunches. Of the Poolside Villas, opt for 3 or 4 if you want privacy (these two are positioned at the back of the pool, so get less swimmer traffic) or 1 or 6 – at the front of the hotel, close to the beach and restaurant – if you prefer to be in the thick of things.

Food & Drink 

Unforgettable Features 

Open-air Aalto by the beach and pool takes food pretty seriously: the hotel has a visiting mentor programme, which sees international chefs stay for a few months in high season to teach Aava's staff their art and refresh the menus. Breakfast is generous: fruit and pastries from the bakery, followed by a choice of main (bacon and fried eggs on sourdough with garlic and onion foam, perhaps); lunch is a selection of nine amazing salads; dinner is more formal, featuring ambitious fusion food. We would go back in a heartbeat for the 'spicy cow' signature starter: marinated tenderloin with rice vinaigrette, served on a bed of fresh and cured cherry tomatoes with cucumber ribbon. There are Scandi options too, such as the toast Skagen: prawns in dill-lemon mayonnaise, served on sautéed bread.

Liquid Bliss 

No separate bar as such, but you can have a drink in the restaurant or take a cocktail to the breezy beachside salas. We're thirsting for the Aava martini (vodka, fresh lychee and lemongrass, topped with apple juice) and the lemongrass mule: vodka, ginger, lime, lemongrass and ginger ale.
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Experience the Extraordinary 

You can’t go home without seeing a pink dolphin. Head out in a longtail boat with a local fisherman and keep your eyes peeled for baby-pink fins (camera essential). While you have the boat and your captain at your disposal, stop off at the sacred island to see the statue of the famous Buddhist monk Luang Por Tuad. You can also go on a trip to visit the fish spa, in a beautiful mountain river – expect the best natural pedicure of your life. At the entrance to the hotel, the owners have created a sort of Aava village: if you need a retail fix, visit the tailor (responsible for the staff’s elegant uniforms), pick up kaftans and beachwear at Island Girl or buy gifts for the folks back home at the souvenir shop. Stake out Aava’s single treatment room for a few hours – have a Thai or oil massage – and steam up in the traditional Finnish sauna. While you’re on a health kick, find out about the hotel’s weekly wellness programme, which includes Tai Chi on the beach, Muay Thai on the terrace (kids can take part, too) and yoga (some activities are free; chargeable options cost between THB500 and THB700 a session).

Transportation 

Aava occupies a brilliant spot on Nadan Beach, Khanom, in an area that has somehow remained off-the-radar, despite its considerable beauty. Though Khanom feels remote, it’s pretty easily accessible by boat or plane from the mainland or Koh Samui.

Planes 

Surat Thani Airport (www.suratthaniairport.com) is the closest, an hour and a half away by car. Phuket Airport (www.phuketairportonline.com) is a four-hour drive. If you’ve flown into Koh Samui, you can hop across to Khanom in a ferry (see below).

Automobiles 

Khanom is the nearest town, 10 minutes away and the hotel has plenty of onsite parking – but this is a beach escape, you won’t need wheels.

Other 

If you're coming by ferry from Koh Samui, you'll catch the boat from Nathon Pier on Samui to Don Sak pier on the mainland. From there, it's a 20-minute drive to the hotel (staff can pick you up).

Location

28/3 Moo 6, Nakhon Si Thammarat Khanom, Thailand

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