Friday, October 30, 2009

The First Ritz-Carlton Reserve Opens December 22 at Phulay Bay in Krabi, Southern Thailand


Having been born and raised in the Baltimore -D.C. area, I only truly realized the power of the Ritz Carlton brand when my visit to their Georgetown Boutique location powerfully altered the way I perceived my home town and provided me with a new creative center. Now, as a former ex-pat (East Java and Bali) and Southeast Asia Studies major, the new "Reserve" line of Ritz Carlton Locations is very much having the same effect on the way I see Southeast Asia.

On December 22, 2009 (a mere 8 days before my birthday) The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will open the doors to the first of it's "Reserve" properties in Phulay Bay in Krabi, Southern Thailand.
The world’s first Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Phulay Bay will embody the attributes, philosophy and unique style and design of the Reserve brand extension. Appealing to affluent and discerning travellers seeking more from their leisure time, Ritz-Carlton Reserve will offer exquisite resorts in secluded and naturally beautiful locations around the world.

Set on the shores of the Andaman Sea , Phulay Bay is a hideaway 54-villa and pavilion boutique hotel with unspoilt views of the towering limestone karsts which make up the beautiful landscape of this part of southern Thailand. Coupled with sandy beaches, a coastline flecked with more than 200 islands, surrounded by a national forest with rugged rock formations and hidden waterfalls, Phulay Bay is a natural wonder.

“Ritz-Carlton Reserve will feature signature, one-of-a-kind boutique resorts positioned in unique settings, each with a distinctive personality and sense of place reflecting its history and culture,” said Simon F. Cooper, president. “A refuge from the expected, Reserve is for travellers seeking to discover a singular location and peerless resort that will offer guests’ exotic, hand-selected ‘hideaway’ destinations in a relaxed, casually elegant atmosphere. Phulay Bay in Thailand is a natural choice for the first Reserve,” said Cooper.

The essence of Phulay Bay will be about enlivening the senses. Guests will subtly and gently have their senses enriched and stimulated with the resort’s own scent, signature drink, beautiful and stunning scenery both inside the suites and in the environment of the resort, as well as by the sounds of traditional Thai music coupled with the gentle lapping of the sea on the shores of Phulay Bay . This will be coupled with the environment of tactile natural Thai silk soft furnishings and coverings to help guest’s truly relax in this unique and special environment.

Nestled on the shore of the Andaman Sea , the exclusive resort is the vision of in-demand Thai architect Lek Bunnag and features modern styling and architecture with accents of Thai culture and design to create a harmonious synergy of luxury and tradition to compliment its secluded location. Bunnag draws strongly from Thai traditions and cultural heritage to create an environment where relaxation and enjoyment are the bedrock of guests' experience.

The architecture, landscape, interiors and accessories fuse to create a marriage of style and design that is completely in keeping with and tied to the natural environment of the location. Oversized beds, pillows, chairs, baths and doorways create a sense of comfort and welcoming that sets guests at ease.

The use of traditional Lanna art forms both in architectural structure and design, as well as paintings and artworks on the walls and doors of the villas, further create a contemporary setting extracted from the area's deep cultural traditions.

“When styling and designing Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, we were very conscious of the abundant natural beauty surrounding us which is what makes people fall in love with Thailand,” explained Estelita Sebeto, the resort’s General Manager. “We want guests to enjoy and discover the extraordinary diversity and beauty in this part of the country in a setting of relaxation and rejuvenation. So we have worked with nature to maintain a setting that evokes the very best of the natural environment of the hotel and sourced local and sustainable materials in its construction and styling. We see the resort as an ambassador for the local environment and for the tradition of the land here in Phulay Bay.”

With an emphasis on bespoke experiences, guests can ‘design’ their visit to suit their needs and desires. A light BBQ lunch in your favourite area of the resort? A meditation class with local monks? Elephant trekking to a remote picnic spot? A sea plane tour of region’s dramatic scenery? No problem. The resort will tailor-make your visit to make it a truly unique visit.

Upon arrival guests will immediately know they are somewhere special and unique. High aubergine walls and ‘hedges’ made from indigenous trees create a sense of wonder from the outside and a great sense of peace and stillness once on the inside. Guests enter the resort over a stepping-stone walkway that leads them to a wooden Thai pavilion situated on an island surrounded by thousands of gently flickering candles.

The ESPA at Phulay Bay promises to be a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation with stepping stones meandering through the spa leading to decked walkways and relaxation terraces surrounded by vegetation and reflection ponds that perfectly capture the unique character of Phulay Bay . The Spa itself comprises three traditional Thai pavilions set over two levels offering 11 treatment rooms including single and couples massage rooms and two VIP treatment suites.

The opening rates for Phulay Bay , A Ritz-Carlton Reserve are as follows: Resort Pavilion THB19,550; Ocean Pavilion THB21,250; Beach Villa THB 27,200; Reserve Villa THB44,200 and Royal Beach Villa THB68,000. All rates are subject to 18.7% service charges and taxes. Enjoy!
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