The three story four bedroom house with a full time housekeeper, one of 63 homes at the 30-acre luxury resort, stood on a small hill facing Kamala Bay. My stay, although marred by nearly continuous rainy weather, was quiet and pleasant in large part thanks to my comfortable and well appointed accommodations. I liked that in addition to striking views of the bay Villa 9 was outfitted with most creature comforts and, except for food, just about everything I might want. For meals the resort main area and restaurant were a short golf cart shuttle away. The restaurant also offered room service of a limited selection of menu items. Given the rainy weather I especially appreciated the option and, with Tan’s help translating my order to the kitchen, I took advantage of it several times during my stay.
Since exploring was limited by the rain I focused on indoor activities like watching videos, reading and listening to music. When the rain slowed down I ventured out a bit, visiting the resort’s main building, fitness area and restaurant (the spa was under construction). One morning it looked like the sun wanted to break through the clouds so I tried my luck at the beach which was a few minutes by golf cart shuttle. By the time we arrived it had begun to rain again.
Villa 9 was pretty, new looking and spacious. Its 1,686 square meters provided ample indoor and outdoor space including a large terrace with an infinity edge pool overlooking the bay (my favorite place in the house), a game room, a fitness/massage room, a television and a combined dining room and living room area with comfy furniture. The house had many touches to enhance a guest stay like WiFi connectivity, clean smelling towels, guest bathroom in the pool area, a wireless phone in the living area (and regular phones elsewhere), a full size kitchen, a sound system and a large television as well as a television in my room. My favorite feature was the bay views from most areas of the house including my upstairs room and bathroom, the terrace, living and dining area, and television room. I welcome the opportunity to return to Andara and will recommend Villa 9 to friends seeking an island getaway in Thailand.
Class Of Accommodation Five-Star luxury resort and spa
Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi connectivity in Villa 9 with signal strength that varied between weak and medium.
General Manager Andrew M. Whitaker
Handicapped Access Yes, according to a property spokesperson. There were many stairs throughout the common areas of the hotel and in the three-floor villa where I stayed.
Length Of Stay Three nights
Location The resort is 28 kilometers from the airport.
Managed Andara Resort and Villas Co. Ltd.
Owned Allan Zeman of the Paradise Group
Pets Allowed No
Size The development employed 330 staff and was home to 26 four to six bedroom Villas ranging in size between 4,000 and 20,000 square feet and 37 two to four bedroom Residences ranging in size between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet.
Year Opened-Renovated The resort was established in 2006 and the villa was built in 2008.
The master bedroom and two bedrooms were one flight of stairs up from the main floor. A second set of stairs down from the main floor to a lower level. It had a large locked game room (I had to call the housekeeper to get in) with a pool table and a large flat screen television, a bedroom and a fitness room with a Precor elliptical machine and a universal weight machine. The room also had a massage area in the corner. There was a guest bathroom in the hallway.
The air conditioned living, dining and kitchen areas of the house were under one roof with sliding glass doors dividing the kitchen from the combined living and dining space. The living room had two comfortable cloth and wood khaki sofas with cushions, a large wood coffee table, three metal side tables with lamps, two wood cushioned armchairs, several planters and large decorative items and a mini bar with a small refrigerator. The center of the dining room was occupied by a wood dining room set with cushioned armchairs. Floor to ceiling glass doors on two sides led to the pool area which was populated with lounge chairs and umbrellas and had a lovely view of the bay and the beach.
High ceilings and wood floors, large glass and wood windows and doors accented the villa’s main feature, the view to the bay. The villa garden was lush, landscaped and lit at night. There was a water feature near the entrance and outdoor decorative artefacts within the gardens. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the large black tiled infinity pool facing the bay and beach with a built-in concrete settee on one side and an adjacent gazebo.
My room, upstairs on the third level of the villa, had a tall ceiling, a wall to wall wood closet with ample hanging and drawer space, and lots of windows. A comfortable and firm king bed with feather pillows, a duvet, and matching wood night tables and lamps on either side of it occupied the center of the room. The headrest was made of stone and wood and set against a wall high wallpapered surfaced with a wood frame. Two armchairs and a metal round table stood to one side of the room next to a small Sony flat screen television hanging on the wall in the corner and a Yamaha DVD player set within a small table below it. I set my computer on the wall facing wood desk with a matching armchair and a lamp stationed across from the bed.
The temperature was controlled via fans and in the rooms with air conditioning with in-room digital wall thermostats.
To the side of the stairs leading to the third level there was a family room with comfortable furniture, a 50 inch LCD TV flat screen television and DVD player, and Bose surround sound system which could be heard by the pool terrace. Next to it there was a bedroom identical to mine. Another bedroom like mine was a cross the hall from mine. A covered parking area was immediately past the double wood doors that led to the entrance to the house.
The villa décor was the work of Phuket based Paradise Designs supervised by Branko Pahor and team members from Thai Architect and Interior Designers. The design concept was inspired by ancient Thai culture highlighting wood flooring and framing and high ceilings while juxtaposing contemporary design. The idea was to create a youthful, homey and relaxing atmosphere.
For example, the builders used the original trapezium shape Thai door and windows, but turned them upside down, framing them with teak wood and furnishing them with Thai silk by Jim Thompson. The artifacts and antiques were mostly from the Thai Lanna culture, one of the oldest cultures in southeast Asia dating back to the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Lippon Garden, the company’s landscape architect, was selected for its understanding of tropical climate plants.
From the room service menu I also sampled a club sandwich (The Andara Club) for breakfast. It was supposed to have rosemary focacia but it had regular sliced bread. I also sampled Crispy vegetarian spring rolls with a plum sauce and Miang Pla Grob (white snapper salad with ginger, lemongrass, and cashew nuts). Although there was no mention of chili in the description it was so hot I could not eat it. Thanks to Tan the kitchen replaced it with another identical plate without chili which was delicious. I also ordered Pad Thai Goong Sod (stir fried rice noodles with prawns, tofu, tamarind sauce, crushed peanuts, spring onion and lime). I liked the Khao Niaw Mamuang (traditional Thai style sticky rice with fresh mango).
Beach At the nearby Kamala Beach Andara had a Beach Club open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It consisted of a handful of beach chairs, umbrellas and sun loungers and an attendant at the beach who provided towels and complimentary water. The small area was sandwiched between restaurants, massage tents and the rising surf. From my villa there were two ways to go to the beach, walking down the hill from the villa and through the town or by shuttle which took five minutes. No sooner had I reached the beach than it started raining so I asked the helpful attendant for a shuttle pick up which arrived right away. By the time I reached the villa it was pouring.
Pool The villa pool was was 20 square meters large. The resort pool was 40 square meters large and two meters deep.
Resort Facilities Main swimming pool, spa (was under renovation during my visit), fitness center, Silk restaurant, boutique and wine shop.
Resort Fitness Center And Spa The resort had a 3,000 square foot fitness room with 20 machines and Precor equipment where I worked out until I discovered a small workout area at Villa 9. The spa was under construction during my visit. According to promotional materials it has eight treatment rooms ranging in size between 100 and 200 square feet.
In the lower level of the house there was a massage bed where late one afternoon a spa masseuse gave me an hour long Swedish massage. Although it was a bit musty probably from being closed up it meant she didn’t have to bring any equipment and since the spa was closed it was the best option.
Other The only dissonant aspect of my stay were the frequent sounds of construction work and the chattering of one of the crews in the neighborhood. I saw mosquitos although none bit me. There were mosquito repellent burners and the housekeeper kept the doors to the living areas closed to keep the mosquitoes out.
To reach the common areas of the hotel it was necessary to request a shuttle. Minutes after Tan called the shuttle picked me up at the villa and drove me out of the gated complex to a public street and a block further to the covered area of the main entrance to the hotel.
The resort was listed in the Conde Nast Hot list 2010. According to promotional materials, there were two Baglietto yachts available for charter.
Date Of Review September 2010
Reviewers Article and photographs by Elena del Valle
Service Tan, the housekeeper spoke some English. She was was quiet and ever vigilant as well as friendly and helpful. Tan checked on my room several times during the day, set and replaced pool towels, translated and was an all around great addition to the villa. Ake (pronounced “ache”), my driver on a lunch excursion to a nearby town, spoke some English and was very helpful. The concierge staff were helpful with lunch and transfer arrangements.
Would You Stay There Again? Yes