Sala Resorts is a company that manages a few boutique-sized hotels around Thailand. They have an excellent property in Phuket, one in Koh Samui and one just North of Khao Yai National Park, the largest nature reserve in Thailand (and one of the largest in South East Asia).
After experiencing the Phuket product a couple of years ago (a wonderful resort that offers the best food of any hotel I have tried – by far!), we decided to try out the small property in Khao Yai. We were not disappointed.
The setting is amazing. Perched on top of a hill it offers 360-degree views towards that park hills and the plains below. The hotel has just 7 rooms. Three suites in the main building that give you fantastic sunrise views, and are build on a split level, with a huge bed / lounge area in the low level, and an opulent bathroom area with a huge tub and separate shower in the upper level. Two smaller pool villas and two larger ones face the opposite side of the hilltop, offering sunset views. These villas have their own small pools, a secluded garden with a huge swing seat, and a roof deck area that has a circular sofa that can accommodate four people with ease, and from which you can view the sunset while sipping evening cocktails. Luxury furnishings, a sunken bath, separate shower area and a huge lounge complete the interior.
The main pool is on top of the hill, and is long enough for those who need to swim away a few laps, but beware that it is completely exposed to the sun all day. Loungers and deck areas complete the rest of the hilltop.
Other reviewers have pointed out some of the downsides of this otherwise outstanding property and I would agree with some. First of all if you are not a resident of Thailand and familiar with the area, it is a difficult place to find. You absolutely need your own car to go there, so if you are a tourist visiting from abroad you will need to rent one. If you are driving in directly from the airport, you don’t need to enter Bangkok but can take the outer ring road and then follow the signs for Saraburi and then Pak Chong/Khao Yai; turn left on the road you see just before the park entrance, coming from Pak Chong; the resort is about 16 Km away off that road.
The second issue that has been raised (especially by those who have also visited the Sala Phuket) is that the food is disappointing. This is true by Sala Phuket standards, but you are setting the bar very high in this case. Considering that the place is in the middle of nowhere, everything has to be trucked in and that there are only 7 rooms to make money on, expectations might need to be reset a bit. We have been there three times now, since the place opened, and the quality of the food has been steadily improving. On our last visit (June 2011) we only ordered Thai food and it was very good. The bar staff also know how to make great Margaritas! But if you are still craving for some variety, you can drive about 5Km back towards the park and turn left in to the Toscana Valley development that has a restaurant with a wider choice (and is not too bad either).
The only issue I would raise is that if you arrive during a rainstorm, or during the height of the days’ heat, you have to schlep yourself up a long, steep staircase to reach the hotel from the parking lot. There is absolutely no cover. It is possible to drive closer to the reception area, but for some reason the guards won’t let you.
But this is a minor annoyance especially once you reach the top and get to see the view that you will enjoy for the rest of your stay there. In summary this is not you standard resort, but that is exactly why you should try it out. There isn’t anything remotely as spectacular in the area. Final tip: if you can, go mid-week as the prices are much lower.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An intimate embrace all your own consisting of only 7 special, private rooms and pool villa accommodation, sala khaoyai resort is dramatically perched on a scenic hilltop above the lush, green khao yai countryside. our boutique resort in khao yai features the enchanting sala hilltop restaurant and bar with panoramic 360 degree views of the surrounding area. next to the restaurant is a stunning infinity edge swimming pool with spectacular elevated views of romantic khao yai sunsets. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sala Khaoyai Hotel Pak Chong
- Sala Khao Yai Thailand/Pak Chong