One of our favorite locations on earth. They treat us so well with the friendliest and most accommodating staff we have ever experienced. Even the grounds keepers stop work and greet you as you walk by. Even with 85% occupancy, many staff members call us by our first names.
In the past, off season occupancy was at its best 40%. Now, it is at 85%. The burgeoning international tourist market includes hordes of Chinese and now Indians who are beginning international travel. The Chinese women are dressed to the 9s in sun dresses and large Gatsby era hats. Their bikinis are all covered in hanging lace. Almost laughable. Think their clothes cost as much as their trip. The Chinese spend half their time posing in model poses while having their pictures taken. If someone else isn’t available to take their picture, then it is 10 minutes of selfie time. We Westerners stick with shorts and t-shirts and flip flops. Never a selfie stick to be found.
All Deluxe (cheapest) accommodations are in the two story cabins with a British helmet shaped roof. Beautifully furnished, the downstairs is the living room with a half bath and upstairs is the bedroom and large bathroom. We stay in the “cheap” cabins. There are privately owned villas within the resort which are rentable. All were occupied by the Chinese. Almost every item in our homes was made in China. Nixon was right, engage them and when they have something to lose they won’t want to lose it. The Chinese today definitely don’t want to lose what they have. They are investing all their money in the West.
The resort fronts two of the top rated beaches on earth. Phranang and Railay. Can UNESCO preserve beaches? Hordes of day tourists arrive by speed boats from Phuket. They disembark and stroll and swim for an hour then back into the boat and onto the next beach. All beaches are public in Thailand and public access must be provided over private land.