Escape Khao Yai pampers guests with friendly service, cool tones and mood music
WITH EASY access to Khao Yai National Park, and boasting trendy cafes and beautifully decorated western eateries, it’s easy to see why Escape Khao Yai has become such a popular place for families wanting to escape the urban chaos.
Occupying 20 rai on tranquil Pansuk-Kudkla Road, the boutique resort was opened four years ago as a member of the Sansiri Hotel Collection.
The hotel is made up of dark grey and white stone blocks, looking not unlike a low-rise condominium. After a two-hour drive from Bangkok, I arrived on a scorching hot day and was happy to drop off my luggage in an open-air lobby and accept the welcome drink made with local herbs and flowers proffered by a friendly staff member.
The lobby is furnished with wooden chairs and comfy sofas overlooking a west-facing sundeck that’s great for catching the sunset. Shaded by towering trees, the path and courtyard are framed by flowering grasses, evoking the romantic ambience of the hills.
During the day, health-conscious travellers can manage their workout routine at a well-equipped fitness centre, while kids can splash around in the salted sloped swimming pool and have fun in the playground. There are bikes for rent for those who want to venture out into the countryside as well as DVDs for those who prefer to stay in and relax.
The hotel offers 56 guestrooms, ranging in size from 25 to 263 square meters. Options include Deluxe, Deluxe Corner, Sunken Heated Pool Villa, Escape One-bedroom Sunken Heated Pool Villa and Escape Grand Three-bedroom Sunken Heated Pool Villa, the latter ideal for families or large groups of friends.
Inspired by nature, the interior designs come in four themes – Earth, Wood, Forest and Floral – each using different colours, scents and music to create a homey touch. The Earth concept has smooth cream walls and the scent of fresh citrus, vanilla, cinnamon and ylang-ylang while the “Cold Mountain Soul” melody plays quietly in the background.
The Wood design represents the warmth of harmony through brown hues and the scents of lavender and cedar with “Chillin’ Acoustic” sounds adding a sense of calm.
The Forest theme uses a palette of green and the sweet aroma of citrus to infuse a relaxing ambience with “Electronic Down Tempo” generating a joyful mood. The Floral series, meanwhile, is all about purple and blue with the fragrance of essence of lotuses and the sarapee flower along with “Bossa Blossom”.
Honeymoon couples will love the 45-square-metre Sunken Heated Pool Villa complete with seven-foot bed, complimentary mini bar and a coffee maker. It comes with a temperature-adjustable outdoor private pool, a spa bed on the terrace and an easy-to-access rooftop dining space, perfect for a quiet meal for two.
The 230sqm Escape Grand Three-bedroom Sunken Heated Pool Villa has four bathrooms – all of them with bathtubs and showers – and a temperature-controlled pool with a spacious private balcony. The two large living rooms come equipped with TVs, bookshelves, sofas and a working area and there’s even a dining table for six.
I spent my two nights in a 25 sqm Deluxe Room with the Earth concept in one of the four-storey buildings. The decor is pleasant with paintings of natural scenes, plenty of wooden furniture and bedding in earth tones.
The room is small but adequate, with a compact living area furnished with a two-seat sofa, a plasma TV, DVD player, coffee and tea making facilities, refrigerator with mini bar and – that must-have – complimentary Wi-Fi.
The vanity area has a huge mirror and a closet, packed with bathrobes, slippers, umbrellas, hair dryer, safe box and torch. Small but luxurious, the bathroom is divided into two zones – a dry area with a single washbasin with a toilet and a wet area with a bathtub and rain shower. I particularly liked the private terrace, where I sat in a comfortable chair looking out at the swimming pool, lush courtyard and mountains
In the morning, the all-day-dining Green Oak Bistro serves Thai-and-Western style breakfast from 6.30 to 11am. For those with Asian preferences, there’s green curry with pork, stir-fried kale with salty fish with fried rice, Thai-style clear soup with congealed pork blood, dim sum, chicken sausages, pancakes, croissants with butter and Thai-style toast topped with butter and sugar.
On the theme of Farm to Table is a salad bar that shares space with cereal with fresh milk, while a team of chefs are on hand to prepare eggs – scrambled, omelette, boiled and fried eggs.
The Escape Yard is the perfect place to hang out with friends in the evening. Adorned with shimming lights and comfy beanbags, you can lounge around while sipping a cocktail and listen to live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights. During winter, the yard is also a venue for barbecues.
AT A GLANCE
High point: The staff are very friendly and the surroundings peaceful.
Low point: Rooms are compact and the main buildings feel more like a condo than a resort.
Pay for it: See the website for the best rates
Find it: 329, Pansuk-Kudkla Road, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima
Call it: (044) 756 669, (063)196 4999
Browse it: www.Escape-hotel.com