Hat Yai Villa, Ko Kut, Thailand (Vrbo): The dreamy thing about travel is that, in the best of years, we’re jetting off to some fabulous location to soak up the new sights, sounds, and tastes. But when, say, the whole world goes to hell, we can still dream of all the places we aren’t able to visit. (As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “All the places you will go if the pandemic ever ends,” or something like that.) Whether you’re vaxed, waxed, and rushing to book your next getaway, or planning the epic trip around the world you will take once it’s safe again, may we introduce you to the Thai paradise of Hat Yai Villa.
Located on the island of Ko Kut on the Gulf of Thailand, Hat Yai Villa is not so much one fabulously sizable chateau and more an island estate made up of interconnected treehouses and pavilions. The $15,400 a night stay may put a dint in your vacation budget, but this jungle paradise is well worth it for the memories you and your Tarzan (and maybe your little jungle bambinos) will make.
The master bedroom has sea views and its own private terrace next to the pool. It also brings a whole new meaning to the go-to move of modern design: the open-plan concept. Here, it’s all about open-air living.
There’s a reason the bedroom walls retract to allow you to sleep en plein air—outside is where you really want to be when you’re vacationing on an island in Thailand. If you can’t bear the thought of moving from your lounge chair, rest assured that there are resident chefs on hand to cater to your every whim.
The villa has five bedrooms and sleeps 14, including a whole bunch of kiddos thanks to the bunk room that is complete with four bunkbeds. As if the young ones needed any more enticement to travel to Thailand, there is also a slide your little daredevils can careen down into the pool. The more mature kids in your group will enjoy a dip in the hot tub with a glass of bubbly.
Like the villa itself, the pool is less of a singular space to swim and sun and more of a lazy river that ensures no guest in your party will ever be more than a quick step away from a dip. As if you needed any encouragement to embrace the lazy side of vacation…
“Mmm a Thai massage sounds nice,” you were probably thinking as you went about making your holiday plans. But then, the thought of leaving your villa sounded too stressful to imagine. Luckily for you, you can book your very own masseuse to come to your very own in-residence spa room.
Kayaking, paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling, sailing—if you can dream of a water sport, you can probably find a place to do it on Ko Kut. But if you fancy yourself a member of the hoity-toity class, opt instead for a ride in the property’s private boat and find an empty beach to call your own.
Vacation is about having it all—who really wants to have to choose between a relaxing beach destination or a jungle adventure? On Ko Kut, you can have both. Spend one day on the white sandy beaches and the next traipsing around the jungle mountains looking for waterfalls.
The listing agent promises Hat Yai Villa residents will have a personal Villa Manager “who will be on hand 24 hours a day to ensure your happiness.” It’s a luxurious service to offer, especially given the—er—demanding nature of some tourists. (You know who you are.)
If the island has that lovely, remote feel, it’s for good reason. Ko Kut isn’t accessible by car and less than 2,500 people live here full time. But what the island lacks in human inhabitants, it makes up for in exotic neighbors: 300-year-old Macca Trees, vibrant coral, a rainbow of fish, turtles, barracudas, and even sea horses.
Hat Yai Villa visitors also have access to all the amenities at the Soneva Kiri eco-resort, like a private beach, restaurant and bars, and, naturally, a chocolate room.
A movie on the lagoon? Don’t mind if we do. May we suggest you choose any film that isn’t part of the Jaws franchise. There’s such a thing as being too on-the-nose. (Dun dun… dun dun… dun dun…)
This is a perk that every vacation home should offer: access to a private wine cave. The only choice you have to make on this holiday: red, white, or rosé?
Everything tastes better when you’re dining high up in the trees (well, unless you’re afraid of heights.) May we suggest you end your stay with a romantic sunset dinner in the sky? But what about the kids, you ask? Oh, don’t worry about them. We’re sure they’ll be fine flinging themselves down their massive private water slide.
Book Your Stay: Hat Yai Villa, Ko Kut, Thailand: $15,400/night via Vrbo