Top 10 reasons why you should stay at Soneva Kiri (Thailand)

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (March 23, 2020): Top 10 reasons why you should book a stay at Soneva Kiri (Thailand).

If you’ve been following my travel blog for a while, then you know that I cannot stop raving about Soneva, my favorite hotel brand in the world. Soneva’s property in Thailand, Soneva Kiri, is without any doubt my favorite hotel in the world. Remote yet accessible by a one hour flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. The estate’s 36 incredible villas rank among of the largest resort villas in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers. Spectacular highlights include the open air Cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate and ice cream parlour, the fabulous beach and the incredible treetop dining pod. Here are 10 reasons why I love Soneva Kiri so much, and why I think that you should consider a stay here as well.

Have you ever stayed at Soneva Kiri, and if so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.

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Soneva Kiri can be reached by a short 70 minute flight on the resort’s private plane direct from Bangkok’s international Suvarnabhumi Airport. Yes, you read that right: a private plane! Guests are transferred from the Thai capital to Soneva Kiri in style onboard the resort’s luxurious custom-fitted eight-seater private plane (a Cessna Grand Caravan). The Soneva experience begins as you disembark at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where you will be greeted by the resort’s airport representatives at the gate, escorted through immigration and checked in at the Soneva Kiri counter. After landing at Soneva Kiri’s private airport, you will be taken by a luxury speed boat to the resort’s jetty where the Soneva team will welcome you.


Ancient Siam meets privacy and ‘intelligent luxury’ at Soneva Kiri, as the award-winning luxury resort is located on the remote northwestern tip of Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood. Koh Kood is located in the eastern part of the Bay of Thailand, and this is Thailand as it was years ago, with untamed jungle, pristine beaches, and fishermen going about their business. The largely undeveloped tropical paradise is a real gem. Surprisingly, Koh Kood is one of Thailand’s best kept secrets as the island remains an ‘off the radar’ destination. Soneva Kiri offers several excursions to explore the beauty of Koh Kood, which has a distinct local feel and is a real step back in time to the Thailand of decades ago.


Soneva Kiri is located on a massive, 41-hectare (102-acre) site, so as you can imagine, getting around does take some time. But you don’t have to worry about this since private electric buggies are provided to guests (one per villa) for the duration of their stay. It’s so much fun to drive around with your loved one through the lush tropical foliage, although you’ll soon discover that the resort offers more jungle, beach, and leisure activities than your buggy will be able to hit in one day. In addition to golf carts, bicycles are provided are well (one per guest) which is an even more fun (and decidedly more healthy) way to explore the resort, although the hilly nature of the domain may be a challenge for some guests.


At Soneva Kiri, you can watch classic movies under the stars in a return to the old traditions of Hollywood enjoyment. The magnificent resort’s Cinema Paradiso marries three passions close to the heart of the founder’s (Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malstrom): classical beauty and elegance, immersion in nature, and relaxed indulgence. Film screenings are scheduled on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday in the resort’s open-air theatre, a jungle-enshrouded auditorium of cascading cushions over the waters of the reservoir lagoon. While watching the movie, you can nibble on a playful menu of gourmet comfort foods, accompanied with your personal fancy of creative cocktails. You can also book the open air cinema for a private screening with your travel party.


All Soneva resorts feature by far the most lavish breakfast buffets of any hotel in the world. The amazing breakfast at Soneva Kiri features a dedicated ham and cheese room, with sumptuous homemade cheeses, charcuterie and own-smoked salmon, in addition to a menu of creative Thai and Mediterranean fare from the Cooking Hut. You can also take your pick of more luscious delicacies straight from the wood-fired rock oven, hot and cold smoke oven and the earthen tandoor. And after breakfast, you can always retreat to the chocolate room, where the cocoa goodness is presented in blends of up to 95%, be it in the form of mousses, cookies, drinks, bon-bons or truffles.


A giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray, The Den (the resort’s version of a child’s club) is dedicated to learning, excitement, and meaningful experiences. Professional child minders pique your children’s imaginations, teaching them to play Thai instruments, unleashing their creative talents with painting and the visual arts, and carefully watching them at play in the wonderous world of moulded bamboo spaces up, down and around. Soneva Kiri also offer a special program aimed specifically at one to five year-olds, and is the only resort that offers such comprehensive, age-specific facilities. Here, the children get to play with toys and take part in activities, that meet Soneva’s stringent standards of social and environmental responsibility.


The restorative effects of Soneva Kiri’s environment along with its invigorating facilities and holistic treatments are the key to a truly rejuvenating stay. Hidden among the island’s wild jungle foliage, the resort’s Six Senses Spa provides lasting wellness and rejuvenation therapies. From soothing scrubs and oils of local coconuts to Tibetan hot stones, the spa invites guests to embark on sensory journeys of authentic treatments from near and far, including mud massages, Thai herbal baths, silk facials, and a rich selection of wellness rituals. IMHO, Six Senses is the world’s best spa brand. Sonu Shivdasani – the CEO of Soneva – is also the founder and former CEO of the Six Senses Resorts & Spas, across South East Asia and Europe, which he sold in 2012.


Private beaches in Asia are a rarity, but you find one at Soneva Kiri. The resort’s magnificent North Beach is accessible by a short 5 minute speedboat ride from the resort. The white, sandy beach is fringed with palm trees, and offers sunbeds and umbrellas for guests to lounge on. Light snacks and drinks are served on the beach, and a barbecue can be arranged. The ocean water is crystal clear, warm, and calm. Soneva Kiri’s repeat guests may notice that the resort is now using a different beach as the one they used a few years ago (South Beach; which ranks among my favorite beaches in the world), although there’s a good chance that South Beach will be joining the resort grounds again (in addition to North Beach) in the near future.


Dining at Soneva Kiri is a sublime culinary experience, with several restaurants catering to different tastes. The View restaurant offers international cuisine with an Asian twist; the Dining Room offers fabulous themed buffets on selected evening; and then there’s Benz, an open-air lantern-lit eatery on stilts amidst the mangroves which offers the most exquisite, spicy Thai food I’ve ever had. However, the resort’s most memorable dining experience is the Treepod, which is inspired by the childhood’s desire to climb into a leafy canopy and find shelter amidst a simple wooden construction. Taking fine dining literally to new heights, you can gaze out across the boulder-covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves from a bamboo pod high up into the ancient rainforest, as you savor gourmet delights and your chosen wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter.


Soneva Kiri features 36 elegant and sophisticated villas, which are all massive in scale and rank amongst the world’s largest and most impressive hotel accommodations. Located along the idyllic bay or on the sunny slopes in the rainforest, all villas have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers. In Soneva’s trademark rustic-chic eco-design, the villas feature large outdoor living areas and indoor, air-conditioned bedrooms, and beautifully designed semi-outdoor, en-suite bathrooms. In all my travels, I have never been more impressed and ‘wowed’ by a hotel accommodation than here (even on my repeat visits).

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  1. I truly have loved, and continue to love all your trip reviews and videos. Other than the the ones in the Maldives…My first resort trip like this will someday be to Soneva Kiri. Life is short and we must do all we can to enjoy it. I will one day enjoy this.

  2. Thank you so much for opening this world to me. I look forward to every Saturday to watch your videos and they are the highlight of my weekend!

  3. I Do agree completely in your descriptions Sir about Villas at Soneva ! Nothing Else – Nothing Else – Really – Nothing Else compares !
    As repeat guest you are welcomed in your villa again with that very special tropical / Woody odeur that is so distinct at all 3 Soneva resorts……as tropical birds sing you welcome ! It’s completely unique ! right in the middle of Nature !
    At Soneva Kiri, as you right mention, special cheeses are available for breakfast that you won’t found elsewere ! Not even at other Soneva resorts.
    Soneva Kiri is absolutely unique in the World – I Do agree.
    What a design ! A design created ~ 13 years ago ! Talk about being ahead of time ! So impressive What Eva & Sonu created at that time.
    I Think I would suggest dinning with Madame Benz should be High on that top 10 list !! Unique dinning globewise !

  4. If you wanted to go on to another resort after Soneva Kiri, where would you go? And would you have to go by boat or plane?

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