Elevating the destination, Banyan Tree Krabi becomes the first luxury resort to open in Krabi after 11 years.
Banyan Tree Krabi, a 72-key luxury resort nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, opened its doors on October 24 at little-known Tubkaek Beach, a 45-minute drive from Krabi International Airport. Launched by Banyan Tree Group, one of the world’s leading independent, multi-branded hospitality groups known for sustainability and wellbeing, this latest 5-star hotel is owned by Thailand-based Asset World Corporation (AWC).
The new resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-luxury beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites—each of which has its own private pool—a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman Sea. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying springwater to the sea.
Facilities at Banyan Tree Krabi include two restaurants and a beach bar, a kids’ club, a fitness centre, a meeting centre, and in keeping with Banyan Tree’s global wellbeing branding — a rainforest-themed spa.
The centerpiece of the resort, as guests walk through the naga legend-inspired entrance, is a circular water feature in the lobby that cascades into a cavernous meeting room area below. With a backdrop of emerald sea and karsts, the awe-inspiring spectacle is shaping up as one of the resort’s signature images.
“Water and nature are the predominant themes here at Banyan Tree Krabi,” said the resort’s new General Manager Robert Sexton. “You are never more than a few steps from a canal with quaint wooden bridges or within earshot of fountains and waterfalls among the gardens.
“One water-related concept we have adopted is that of the ‘Naga’, a sea creature from Hindu mythology that is popular among local legends in Krabi. Long ago, people believed that the Great Naga lived here in the four mountains behind us. From sea, you can see the rollercoaster-shape of the range, somewhat like a slithering serpent. It stretches from Naga Crest Hill, just 500 metres behind the hotel, to Laem Hang Nak Mountain, which represents the tip of the Naga’s tail.
“From the lobby, an eye-catching naga staircase leads downstairs to a shaded ‘grotto’, and you’ll see naga-themed design inspirations throughout the hotel, including wavy artwork on the walls and amenities in all the rooms. The designers have clearly applied elements of the natural landscape to create a unique ambience and a sense of place.”
Banyan Tree Krabi offers eight suite and villa types. The most modest accommodation type, coming in at 99 sq.m, is the Deluxe Pool Suite. Highlight of the room is a sumptuous double bed, situated beneath a pitched hardwood ceiling and fan. A private terrace, plunge pool and jet pool surround the bedroom, giving guests the feeling of being on a small island.
The largest is the majestic seven-bedroom Presidential Villa, which sits directly in front of the beach. Guests can reserve the villa as a three-bedroom unit or take an option to combine the three-bedroom with the two adjoining 2-bedroom beachfront villas, transforming it into a seven-bedroom wonderland of saltwater pools, canals, and myriad balconies and terraces. Designed as a retreat for multi-generational family vacations and intimate wedding celebrations, the Presidential Villa commands a palatial 1,335 sq.m as a seven-bedroom arrangement.
All suites and villas have private saltwater pools and water features. Each is modern and bright with gentle tones of wood, stone and sand. Decor is modern chic, while bathrooms are resplendent with sandy beige marble tiles, a double sink, and decorated with naga art.
One of the most dramatic features at Banyan Tree Krabi will be the three “Bird’s Nest” tables perched precariously among the trees around the resort’s highly-elevated signature restaurant, Saffron. With a lush jungle scene as backdrop, and a sea vista of Krabi’s world-famous limestone wonders at sunset, this romantic dining spot will make for some memorable Instagram moments.
Saffron Restaurant and its accompanying Sunset Wedding Deck can be accessed by a quaint electric funicular, large enough for eight persons, which will ascend and descend the hillside throughout the evening.
The resort’s all-day dining destination will be called The Naga Kitchen, catering breakfasts, lunches and dinner with a plethora of international choices. Executive Chef Jakkrit Traibun, who was the sous-chef at Banyan Tree Samui for seven years, is a southern Thai and specialises in the aromatic and spicy flavours of that culinary style.
Always popular at Banyan Tree is its in-room dining. Exuding romance and relaxation, novelties include a floating breakfast, floating sunset tapas set or a sizzling poolside barbecue prepared by a personal chef.
Some 154 islands — most of which are uninhabited, except by monkeys, monitor lizards and aquatic birds — lie off the coast of Krabi. These limestone karst towers stand as monuments to natural evolution, and are one of Thailand’s most recognizable and photogenic images. Thanks to its dramatic landscape, Krabi is home to numerous outdoor activities, chief among them rock climbing, where the sheer cliffs are world famous for this daunting and exciting sport. Also popular are mountain biking trails and tours, kayaking through mangrove forests, and whitewater rafting.