Designed by Thailand-based firm Architect Space, Keemala is one of the most unique resorts on the island of Phuket
While most tourists visiting Phuket head to the likes of Patong Beach or Ban Karon, an astounding amount of development has popped up further north on the island, where the atmosphere is decidedly more chic and design-driven. Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated openings of late is Keemala, a unique resort nestled on a slope amidst the rainforest and located a mere five-minute drive from Kamala Beach.
As part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, this is not the Phuket of bachelor party or 'Spring Break' fame, but rather a wellness retreat, aimed at taking care of its guests' minds, bodies and souls. "We have started to see a lot of medical tourism here in Phuket, and we wanted to create something truly different, something that focused on wellness," says Tanapong Somnam, Keemala's executive director, hotel operations. "For that reason, we decided to base the concept behind the resort on four fictional clans, all who embody the spirit of ancient Phuket settlers."
The story goes like this: once upon a time, in the days of the ancient maritime trade routes, an epic journey began merging eastern and western worlds. A caravan heading for China travelled together and the people formed a strong bond. While crossing the Indian Ocean, they encountered a major storm; the surviving ships were scattered in the roiling sea through the dark night. Once the storm passed, the battered caravan found itself adrift. With the guidance of skillful navigators, they followed the stars and landed on an island in the Andaman Sea known today as Phuket.
Keemala and its grounds have been designed as an expansion of the surrounding landscape, making use of natural features such as mature trees, streams and waterfalls and integrating these into the overall design. The architecture of the four different villa types reflects the skills and way of life of each of the different fictional clans, and offers guests a range of unique accommodation options, each with their own individual pool.
Through the Clay Pool Cottages, the earthiness of the Pa-Ta-Pea clan is reflected, while the Tent Pool Villas have been designed to reflect the nomadic lifestyle of the Khon-Jorn tribe. The We-ha people worshipped the universe and chose to live suspended from trees to be closer to the sky and they have been represented by the Tree Pool Houses. Finally, the Bird's Nest Pool Villas were inspired by the Rung-Nok community and encompass their opulent way of life.
Designed by Thailand-based firm Architect Space, the majority of the building materials throughout the resort are natural, and resources found on site have been recycled. Wherever possible, the design is environmentally sustainable and the construction complements the surrounding ecosystem. Pisit Aongskultong from Pisud Design Company completed the interiors for the project, and also had the creative vision for the resort.
This is an excerpt from the “Beyond Enchanting" article from the September 2016 issue of Perspective magazine.
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