Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Tue November 01 2016

Destination Unwind: Anantara Si Kao Resort

Destination & Tourism Michelle Rae Uy November 01, 2016

Destination Unwind: Anantara Si Kao Resort

Photos by Michelle Rae Uy

There was talk going around in our group about some hanging beds at our Trang resort that were supposedly one of its best features. “What are hanging beds,” some of us asked. No one would tell us for sure.

One of the lovely ladies from the Tourism Authority of Thailand insisted that we just had to wait until we got there. The sky, however, was starting to look thunderous, and the sun looked like it was slowly losing the battle. Since it was supposed to rain the next day, it was essential that we made the most of that afternoon. Those mythical beds were going to have to wait.

So after our unbelievably delicious and incredibly satisfying lunch at Klua Lam Poo, a couple of missed turns and a hasty check-in, we all headed straight to our chosen activities, barely noticing the resort lobby’s high vaulted ceiling and handsome lodge furnishings. To be fair, being on the legendary Andaman coast, with its stretches of sandy beaches lined with seashells of all colors and its shimmering emerald waters dotted with limestone karsts, it was hard to notice anything else.

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One must, however, give credit where credit is due; and Anantara Si Kao Resort certainly deserves plenty. A remote yet easily accessible by-the-beach outpost not far from the wildly beautiful Chao Mai National Park, the 140-room property swaggers in its five-star glory: grand guest rooms, gorgeous pools, an air of exclusivity, and a tranquil spa with epicurean offerings.

It’s that spa where I was ushered to before I even made it my room, which was fine by me. We’ve been hopping from one plane to another and my sore muscles were begging for pampering. The moment I stepped into Anantara Spa’s open-air, lily-pond surrounded lobby, I was treated to a cold towel infused with blended scents of different blooms, effectively shutting down the overworked synapses in my brain and catapulting me into relaxation mode, massage-ready. The centerpiece, of course, are the massages themselves, which combine Western styles with techniques of the East: luxurious with a hint of sensuality.

If the spa is exquisite, then the guest rooms — of which the resort has ten categories, including the paradise-like three bedroom pool villa — are spectacular. Anantara Si Kao bridges that divide between the fine-tuned operation of a big brand hotel and the intimacy and personalized atmosphere of a boutique one. The accessories might be a little contrived and standard, for example--as in a big brand hotel; but each room is also imbued with customized flourishes: high quality wood furniture, hardwood floors, earthy tones with touches of colors here and there, a European-style bathroom with posh amenities and an even posher tub, and best of all, a private balcony or patio with view.

The guest rooms are so divine, in fact, that it’s almost sad that guests don’t usually spend a lot of time in them. Not when there’s so much to see and do outside: swim in the pools, explore the surrounding area on bikes, collect shells on the beach (although you’d have to put them back as it’s illegal to take them home), learn the language, test your skill with Thai boxing, snorkeling, and sample the traditional Thai fares served at the onsite restaurants (a must try is Trang’s legendary pork roast.)

My favorite, of course, was watching the perfect sunsets at The Beach House, Anantara Si Kao’s casual beach restaurant that is, coincidentally, where the hanging beds are. Having arrived early for cocktails but just in time for sunset, I settled on one of them and let it swing me gently from side to side, lulling me into a good kind of mindlessness.

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The name Anantara is derived from an ancient Sanskrit word that means ‘without end’. As I sat there, propped up against a surprisingly comfortable triangular-shaped back cushion, with the sea breeze on my face, the sounds of the lapping sea in my ears, and the setting sun in front of me, I knew that they couldn’t have found a more fitting name. I never wanted that moment to end.

Nestled between the sea and the lush green mangroves in Trang, the five-star Anantara Si Kao is the perfect hideaway for couples, families and anyone looking to get away. Amenities include two dining options, outdoor pools, a separate kids pool, a kids club, a tennis court, a cooking school, and a nine-mile beach. Rates start at $97 per room per night.