Stepping through the enormous wooden gates into Knai Bang Chatt resort, visitors are instantly transported to an altogether different world. A winding stone pathway will guide you to the reception area, where upon your arrival you will be greeted by smiling, fully English-speaking staff, and presented with a cool washcloth and fresh
lime juice as they check you in with efficiency, yet in a relaxed and genuinely welcoming manner.
After a short introduction to the resort, one of the staff will cheerfully don your bags and walk you to your room. Crossing the carefully manicured green lawns, all the main features of the exclusive property will be pointed out to you: the on-site private beach, which features deck chairs and tables, some beneath the shade of sweeping, leafy trees; on-site massage huts; a large outdoor pool and showering area; the spa room, where you can be pampered by a range of quality relaxation and rejuvenation packages; a games and TV area, equipped with a range of new release DVDs, books and free use of a Wi-Fi-connected laptop – perfect for entertaining smaller children; and, of course, the restaurant at which buffet breakfast is served every morning (expect a smorgasbord of quality French pastries, breads and brioches, fresh tropical fruit, homemade yoghurt and muesli, cold cuts and cheeses, eggs any style, noodles and spicy Khmer dishes).
The rooms themselves vary in style, size and positioning, with prices adjusted accordingly. At the lowest rate is the single room, which, at an impressive 21sqm, will hardly fail to impress even the most fastidious of visitors, featuring a twin bed, garden view, private bathroom and balcony. At the higher end is the Knai Bang Chatt Suite (80sqm), which covers the entire second floor of one villa and is accessible via a private staircase. The suite comprises large sleeping quarters, a comfortable lounge area with a flat screen TV, as well as a separate, large bathroom with double-sized bathtub. Guests can relax on their private terrace with comfortable seating and far-reaching views of the Gulf of Siam. Despite variation in style, every room includes all the facilities required to ensure maximised comfort, including hot water, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, fridge and room service. Each is decorated tastefully, with minimalistic colour schemes that retain a rustic, provincial feel, yet attention to detail essential to that extra level of refinement.
After taking some time to relax into your surroundings, and perhaps make use of the resort’s spa and pool, it’s worth taking the short stroll just a few metres from the private property to the neighbouring Sailing Club. Here, you can indulge in a beachside dining experience with an extensive menu featuring both Khmer and Western cuisine and some of the best seafood you are likely to taste this side of the Kingdom. Drinks are reasonably priced, particularly if you time your visit to catch the excellent value happy hour from 5-7pm on weekdays, which coincides perfectly with the breathtaking sunset that can be fully appreciated from all outdoor eating areas in the club’s grounds. It’s worth planning your visit to the club in advance, as the venue often features live jazz, movie nights and more. Call ahead for the week’s schedule, which the friendly staff will be happy to provide.
To get the most out of your stay, it’s worth participating in at least one of the variety of activities and packages Knai Bang Chatt and the neighbouring Sailing Club offer. Whether you’re motivated by learning a new skill, relaxing and rejuvenating, or energy-fuelled adventuring, or perhaps a little of each, an endless list of activities and packages are available to suit all ages and interests. Knai Bang Chatt offers tours to local caves and secret lakes, the surrounding countryside, offshore islands and Kep National Park, as well as traditional fishing experiences and cooking courses. For the adrenalin junkies, hop on a dirt or mountain bike and explore the picturesque landscape, hire a kayak, windsurf, or – for the truly adventurous – take part in a sailing course and walk away with a certificate, as well as an unforgettable experience.
For those looking to relax and rejuvenate, try out one of the yoga and meditation retreats frequently offered within the tranquil gardens of Knai Bang Chatt, a perfect setting to unwind and reenergise. The courses combine easy breathing, stretching and movement techniques designed for both body and mind, which can be adapted to all levels of experience and needs. Check the website and make reservations in advance, as the courses are offered on set dates only.
Of course, another perfectly understandable way to spend your time here may simply be lazing by the private beach, poolside, lawns or in your own self-contained suite, soaking up the serenity and idyllic surrounds. Just make sure you don’t get too comfy – it’s easy to forget a whole other time and space exists beyond the gates of this of this secluded, otherworldly secret garden.