This winter season, take a trip to the country.
By Tom McLean
With its expansive scenes of natural beauty, Khao Yai is famous for reinvigorating visitors to the area. Clean country air and serene, rolling hills make for a fantastic break from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I was eager to get back to nature at this tranquil setting. Fortunately, the newly-rebranded Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai perfectly encapsulates the best bits of this countryside location while elevating the Khao Yai experience into something akin to a trip to rural Florence.
Only three hours’ drive from Bangkok, we were welcomed with a glass of freshly-squeezed fruit juice upon arrival, soaking up the natural splendour of the property while the warm and accommodating staff checked us in. The main building’s Tuscan-inspired architecture was truly a sight to behold, with elegant turrets giving the property a castle-like aesthetic. The interior was equally impressive, with refined wooden furnishings and marble flooring complementing the enchanting atmosphere.
After settling down, I set about exploring the rest of the spacious resort. There are two distinct guestroom buildings with their own styles and designs, as well as a collection of villas. The rooms of the first building follow a Renaissance theme, with calming notes of cream and beige serving as the primary colour palette. Bathed in the afternoon sun, these rooms transported me to the Mediterranean, with graceful fixtures completing the calming visage.
The rooms of the second building feature Modern Baroque styling, with more vibrant colours and eye-catching fittings. This was the building where I had the good fortune of staying, and my Deluxe room was a veritable exhibition of sumptuous interior design, with an ornamental fireplace, arresting artwork, and chic décor. Regal red and gold wallpaper adorns the room, while silky wall-curtains hang behind the room’s soft bed. The focal point of the room was its large patio windows, which filled the space with natural light and provided spectacular, open views of the local countryside. The bathroom was equally lavish, with striking marble finishes, a retro style bathtub, and a separate, roomy shower.
I then took a short buggy ride to check out the villa properties. These trendy holiday homes benefit from the same refined level of style and culture as the guestrooms, with the additional option of having a private pool or garden. The entire villa area is picture-perfect, emulating the look of a model village. Ideal for groups and families, the villas are complete with their own barbecue sets so guests can revel at their leisure.
Dining and Refreshments
After familiarising ourselves with the property, we were taken to the resort’s main dining venue, Flavours of Khao Yai, for a welcome lunch. The meal was an absolute feast, served banquet-style on the restaurant’s veranda. We were presented with a smorgasbord of classic Thai dishes like Tom yum gung, deep fried pork, Isaan sausage, a Thai-style crab dish, and an entire fish smothered in spices. All of the dishes were authentic and moreish, with the fresh, expertly-cooked seafood standing out in particular. Being able to look upon the resort’s mountainous scenery while relishing their delectable Thai fare was a dream-like moment and more than worth the journey in itself.
The resort certainly doesn’t skimp on special dining events and later that evening, we were treated to their Winter Beer Garden, a spellbinding night of fun, food, and drink on the luscious front fields of their estate. With Christmas approaching, the area was decked out with glittering lights and festive trees, making for a charming December ambience, while we indulged in their specially-selected German beer; an ode to the resort’s European sensibilities. We quenched our thirst before being presented with a variety bar-snacks and freshly-cooked meats from their open barbecue. We chilled the rest of the night away, listening to live music and gazing at the stars in the clear night sky.
Breakfast at Flavours of Khao Yai was an array of Western and Thai favourites. I was especially pleased to discover an extensive selection of cheeses, cold cuts, breads, pickles, and condiments on offer, while a live pancake station, with customisable toppings, made for a special treat. Likewise, our second round of lunch at the same restaurant had a stronger focus on continental delicacies, with locally-grown salads, a live hamburger station, and Mövenpick’s famous schnitzel on offer.
The final dining soiree of our stay was the poolside cocktail party and dinner at Aqua Bar. This light-hearted bash was the perfect endnote to our sojourn, with an array of unique cocktails to sample as we settled into the evening’s party atmosphere. Accompanying the tantalising beverages was a table packed with goodies, including delightful seafood dishes, freshly-made desserts, as well as a phenomenal live gnocchi station with a range of sauces to choose from. I selected the gnocchi with blue cheese, which went perfectly with their White elephant cocktail, an invigorating pick-me-up suffused with sharp notes of passion fruit.
Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai offers a wealth of opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in the local landscape. First on the agenda was their Sunrise Nordic Walk, a gentle workout that gave me a chance to watch the sun rise over the peaks while breathing in the crisp morning air. Sunrise yoga was also available and I was informed that the accompanying views were likewise sublime.
In the afternoon, we took a trip to their farm, which features the My Ozone Animal Club. With goats, rabbits, and horses to pet and play with, the animal club is a must-try for families. The farm also features luscious vegetable gardens which guests can pick their own herbs from and use in the hotel’s cooking classes, which are available for adults and children. We were happy to learn that the resort’s kitchens also make use of the fresh produce, meaning the food is truly farm-to-table.
The pride of the resort’s recreational offerings is their 18-hole, links-style golf course and while I personally didn’t play, the course itself was massive and well-maintained. The resort has a Pro Shop, so there’s no need to fret if you forget to pack your tees, as well as a gift shop, La Boutique, for souvenirs and Mövenpick’s world-renowned sweets and jams.
Health & Wellness
The core of Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai’s health-conscious amenities is Panacee Khao Yai Wellness and Spa, a state-of-the-art wellness centre that will have you feeling tip-top in no time. I tried out their holistic check-up which utilises innovative German technology to perform an analysis of the entire body, highlighting potential areas of concern. I was amazed at the non-invasive apparatus that performed the scan, which gave me information about ways I can improve my health for the future. Since coming back home to Bangkok, I’ve begun following the dietary advice I was given by the facility’s health experts and am already feeling the benefits. The wellness centre also offers hair and facial detoxes, anti-aging remedies, massages, and an infrared sauna room, so there’s something for everyone at this cutting-edge clinic.
Making the most out of the striking natural backdrop, the resort’s fully-equipped fitness centre boasts panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Refreshing outdoor and indoor swimming pools are the perfect place to unwind when the sun is high, while an additional children’s pool gives adult guests breathing room and peace of mind for parents.
With their eclectic variety of recreational activities and an intuitive understanding of their guests’ needs, Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai is a model site for events. Their principal function space, the Ozone Hall, stands at 195 square meters, can accommodate up to 200 guests, and is designed with the same keen eye for visual brilliance as their other facilities. Similarly, the resort looks like it was practically built for weddings, with its romantic, fairy-tale aesthetic serving as the perfect backdrop for marital gatherings and pictures. The meadows near Castleton Café even feature a charming garden archway, making it the perfect spot for wedding ceremonies. Most importantly, the naturally cool temperatures of Khao Yai mean guests can get dressed to the nines without feeling uncomfortable.
Chocolate Hour at Castleton Café. Chocolate Hour is a hallmark of the Mövenpick brand but with the addition of Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai’s striking locale, the experience is raised to another level. The quaint Castleton Café is directly situated on the gardens adjacent to the main building, offering wonderful sights of the stunning property. With a decadent assortment of cakes, pastries, and sweets to enjoy, along with a luxurious chocolate fountain, the result is truly magical.
Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai
334 Moo 6, Tambon Wangsai,
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, 30130
Tel: 076 396 139