24-hour room service: The Naka Island, Thailand

Barefoot luxury with Thai flair

Stepping off a gleaming speedboat is a pretty glamorous way to arrive at a hotel. For this tiny private island resort, off the coast of Phuket, it's the only way to arrive. Shades on, windswept hair, twinkling seas beyond ... it's a fabulous prelude to The Naka Island resort.

The isle of Naka Yai is a five-minute swoosh on the seas from Phuket, but it feels a world away from Thailand's biggest island. While Phuket is brash, noisy and neon, tiny Naka Yai is serene, secluded and star-lit, home only to this newly opened resort and a small fishing village.

Guests stay in one of the 67 villas dotted around the main communal buildings, which house the restaurants, bar, library and spa. Despite the high-octane arrival, the ambience is pleasingly laid back. There's a stripped-back, natural feel here, with bare floorboards, thatched roofs and rough-hewn walls, rather than the pristine, starched-collar approach of other five-star resorts. It's the kind of place where you can mooch around barefoot, without being bothered by anyone.

To see what Naka Yai has to offer beyond the resort, each guest is given a vintage bicycle – personalised with a wooden plaque carved with your initials – to explore the 2.5sq km island. Pedal out to the small fishing village and the stunning beaches. But it's probably best to do this before you discover the Naka Spa. Once ensconced there, the thought of doing anything more strenuous than lifting a cup of herbal tea seems preposterous.

Treatment rooms are housed in peaceful pavilions set on "islands" surrounded by gentle, lapping waterways. The piped Thai music felt a bit laboured, but the hydrotherapy room, watsu pool, ice room and kanieep pool (for foot massages) are deeply pampering. A must, of course, is a Thai massage – taken very seriously here.

As is the food. British executive chef Ian Thomason is overseeing operations across the two main restaurants – My Grill offering Thai food with a European twist (squid tentacle confit and lemongrass chicken are stand-out dishes) and Tonside for more casual, lobster-on-the-barbecue kind of dining. Freshly caught fish and seafood play a starring role in both.

Location

Naka Yai, off the north-east coast of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, has covetable views towards the lush Phi Phi Islands that rise out of the emerald waters of Phang Nga Bay. Also, close by is the top-heavy limestone rock, Ko Tapu (or "James Bond Island"), made famous in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Naka Yai also has a nearby sister island, Naka Noi, home to a pearl farm. Normally off bounds to visitors, it does occasionally open its doors; it's worth checking times with the concierge.

Comfort

There are five types of villa to choose from, some on the beach, others with gardens or sea views. A Tropical Villa was my shelter. As the name suggests, it is built around its own lush garden. A crooked gate opens up to polished stepping-stones, which trail up to your room.

Inside, the scene is simple yet cosy with exposed beams, white linens and brightly coloured Thai silk yoga mats and pillows.

Sliding doors reveal a private plunge pool, while another door takes you to the al fresco bathroom, where teeth are brushed as insects whizz by, centipedes parade while you soak in the bath, and using the loo in a tropical downpour gives a new meaning to being at one with nature. (There are plans to cover these.) Safely inside, there are enough mod cons to keep you happy – iPod docking system, music library, Bose sound system and free WiFi (although only in the public areas). It's perfectly wild at heart.

The Naka Island, Tambol Paklok, Naka Yai Island, Phuket, Thailand (00 66 76 371 400 luxurycollection.com/nakaisland)

Rooms ****
Value *****
Service ****

Villas start at 8,910 baht (£184) B&B, with transfers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why