Luxury Bliss in Khao Lak
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Oh The Sarojin, how we miss thee! If you’re ever in need of a recharge or just a bit of pampering then THIS place should be high on your list of considerations.
We hadn’t planned on a holiday right after our wedding, we were keeping the ‘honeymoon’ idea up our sleeve for the longer European adventures down the track. But when we arrived back home after hosting our 70 guests at a destination wedding (which we loved and wouldn’t change a bit of!) we were so tired we couldn’t even string a sentence together. We needed a week of downtime to recharge.
We didn’t want to fly too far, didn’t want to have to think too much (we weren’t really capable of that at this point) and wanted somewhere with a touch of much needed pampering. Enter ‘The Sarojin’. We found this little piece of heaven internet searching and the reviews were amazing. When we read the words “all-day a-la-carte champagne breakfast included” we were sold and on a plane within two weeks!
The Sarojin is located in Khao Lak, one hour drive north of Phuket airport on the mainland of Thailand. The boutique beach resort is nestled in amongst multiple national parks on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach. On our arrival to Phuket we were met by Pong, our driver who whisked us smoothly into a luxuriously decked out SUV and we were on our way in minutes. Just outside of the airport he pulled over where it was safe so he could introduce himself properly, present us with cold hand towels, our choice of beer/wine/champagne or soft drink, as well as a folder with a Welcome Letter from the Management team and an ipad full of resort information to browse on our journey as well as music for us to choose to stream through the car stereo system. Oh, and we were able to peruse the restaurant menu and order ahead so that lunch was waiting for us on arrival! With this kind of attention to detail and personal service we knew we were on to a winner and it never wavered throughout our entire stay.
After a refreshing welcome drink on arrival we were guided to our room to get settled before lunch. We had chosen a Pool Villa which was a real treat. A spacious 120sqm of comfort including a king size bed, a luxurious naturally lit bathroom with enormous open shower, double sized bath and separate toilet, and all the mod cons you would expect from a luxury resort and then some! All this was beautifully complemented by a spacious outdoor area with a 5.5 x3.5 metre fresh water plunge pool and Thai style poolside bungalow. Our biggest decision each day was whether to laze by the resort pool, on the beach, or by our own private pool – most days we did all three!
The resort is cleverly designed so that even when it’s at capacity it never feels ‘busy’ and there is an overwhelming sense of calm and tranquillity in every corner. The whole place has been designed with both privacy and space in mind and the clever landscaping means you hardly even glimpse the rooms from the communal spaces meaning that you feel totally secluded either in your room or by the pool. Whilst you can’t see the beach from the rooms you can hear the waves of the Andaman sea from everywhere in the resort which just adds to the calm and tranquillity.
There are five distinct communal areas at the resort each with their own ‘Sarojin’ branded character:
1. The Reception area includes a beautiful lounge area, library, business space and gym for those dedicated to their gym routine while on holidays – can’t say we visited this space at all but it’s there if you’re keen!
2. The Ficus Restaurant and Bar is one of the centrepieces of the resort built beside a tranquil lagoon and includes indoor and outdoor restaurant spaces, and a relaxed bar area with a pool table.
3. The Pool area, where we literally spent most of our time, is the pinnacle of relaxation and perfect for days whiled away reading and paddling around. The poolside bungalows are particularly inviting and pool staff are always on hand with fresh towels, cold water and whatever drinks and food you desire at any time of day.
4. The beach area has plenty of day beds and umbrellas (all serviced by the always attentive but not in-your-face staff), an activities centre that has a list of things to do that would take you at least three weeks to get through, and a Beach Restaurant and Bar that is the perfect place for beachside cocktails (especially at sunset) and delicious Asian style meals.
5. If the Pool is the pinnacle of relaxation the Pathways Spa is literally heaven on earth. We really pampered ourselves on this trip and visited the spa each day during our stay. The massages and treatments we had were honestly the best massages I’ve EVER had (Shane agrees with this and he is a bit of a massage connoisseur!) Words can’t actually describe how amazing these treatments were. All the spa staff are exceptional, professionally trained and able to customise treatments to whatever you need. The spaces are beautiful, the products luxurious. We truly couldn’t fault a thing and I would fly all the way back just for their Royal Oriental Massage and Heel Scrub/Jet Lagged Legs treatment. My legs and feet have never felt better!! What we didn’t know when we booked here was that the Pathways Spa had actually won a World Luxury Spa Award in 2012 and 2016 (and subsequently 2018) and we can certainly see why.
The food at each of The Sarojin restaurants was amazing! They have a great mix of Thai, Mediterranean and Asian fusion dishes that had us salivating every day. The staff and the chefs were not only able to cater for my gluten-free needs but the Head Chef went above and beyond to make sure I felt completely comfortable with the food they were preparing for me. On our first morning I almost hugged the waiter when he brought me my very own dish of gluten-free baked goods and told me they could make pretty much everything on the menu gluten-free, even the pancakes!!
I was beyond excited and everything was delicious. Not only did we have amazing meals just off the normal menus (like Seared Tuna and Seaweed Salad, Nasi Goreng, Satay Chicken Skewers, Lobster Bisque just to name a few) but we had a 5 course Degustation Dinner included in our package which was divine and they adapted everything GF so hubby and I could enjoy all of it together.
On our last night we were lucky enough to be there for the ‘Mediterranean to Michellin’ dinner, an endless buffet of deliciousness, free flowing drinks, live music and an awesome night with some new-found friends from one of our day trips. Turns out that the Ficus Restaurant was gearing up to go for a Michellin star in the near future and we were more than happy to be guinea pigs! The most amazing part about this night for me was that the staff really went out of their way to not only make sure I was catered for, but also that it felt inclusive. All the salads and seafood dishes were already GF so that was all good, they had a separate basket of GF bread on the buffet just for me (I felt like I had to eat the whole thing but that wasn’t even possible), and they had GF pasta available and all the sauces were GF so I was able to just order easily off the menu like everyone else. On a night that was all about celebrating with others this really meant a lot to me and it was such a lovely feeling to feel effortlessly included.
I felt so reassured and safe eating here, so much so that even though we could have gone down the road or into town for cheap meals here and there, for me it was so blissful to feel so safe on this trip that I didn’t want to go anywhere else!
The food theme carried over into two of the experiences that we indulged in off The Sarojin’s impressive list of ‘Adventures and Discoveries’, all of which are endlessly customisable to whatever your heart desires. They specialise in private dining experiences that are simply magical, you can dine on a secluded sandy atoll, on a private strip of beach, in one of the bungalows by the pool or the one we chose, in the National Park beside a waterfall!
On the evening of our dinner we had a quick cocktail at reception overlooking the lagoon before our driver Pong, whisked us away to our secluded destination just 15 minutes down the road. When we arrived we were welcomed by a forest path lit by over 100 lanterns which the staff had spent the last 3 hours laying out for us. It was stunning and I was already sufficiently ‘wowed’ before we’d even started! At the end of our forest path we were met by our private waiter and chef, Kai and Joe, who seated us at our waterfall table for an extraordinary dinner. At this stage we could hear the waterfall but couldn’t see it but once we were seated Kai switched on the lights and there it was, literally right beside us! With drinks and food served Kai and Joe made themselves scarce to give us our romantic secluded dinner for two, but they were never far away if we needed them. The food was all amazing, a 5 course modern Thai banquet all gluten-free, and so much of it we couldn’t finish it all. Thankfully we had a good break between mains and dessert which gave us the chance to go for a swim. Not something you do every day during a fancy dinner!
After the swim we moved to another table in a little forest alcove just a little down from the waterfall for dessert. There was absolutely no rush for us to leave but when we were ready to go we headed back down the path where Pong was waiting to take us back to the resort. It was a truly special, seamless, wonderful experience and now we’re keen to try the beach dining when we go back!
The second experience we treated ourselves to was a day trip on The Lady Sarojin to the nearby beautiful Similan Islands. There’s so much to say about this day that I need another post for that. Stay tuned!
WHAT WE LOVED MOST
Apart from the incredible attention to personal, professional, luxurious and practical detail the thing that really struck us most was the story of how The Sarojin came to be. It’s not a story they advertise on their website and we only learnt about it through reading their coffee table book which we came across at reception. I won’t regale the whole thing for you here but it’s an incredible story of a young couple with a vision, the creation of a community through the five year development of that dream, and the tragedy of the whole resort being wiped out by the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 only 17 days out from their grand opening. Not only was the resort completely gutted but the whole surrounding community was damaged beyond belief as most of us remember vividly from the media coverage at the time. Incredibly the owners and staff of The Sarojin came together to rebuild the resort, the local community and their lives and finally officially opened the resort less than 2 years later! It’s an inspirational story of resilience, commitment and community and what they have collectively created is truly magical.
Our week at The Sarojin is an experience we will never forget and hopefully will be replicated many more times to come. Highly, highly recommended!!!
How to get there: Fly in to Phuket International airport (there’s direct flights from most Australian capital cities these days) and book the private car pickup – well worth it!
Rooms: Choose between a Garden Residence, Pool Residence, Spa Suite or 2-Bedroom Pool Residence. All include all-day a-la-carte breakfast!
Age Limit: Adults/Teens/Tweens only. Sorry, no kids under 10.
Offers: The Sarojin website has some great package deals so consider booking direct through them. They also appear on all the regular booking sites.
GF Tips: Email them beforehand and let them know of your dietary needs. You’ll come across new staff each day so make sure you remind them each time you order and they’ll take good care of you.
For more information check out The Sarojin’s website: www.sarojin.com
This trip was not sponsored or supported by The Sarojin in any way and there are no affiliate links in this post.