Ritz-Carlton unveils new brand extension

Ritz-Carlton is to launch an exclusive new brand extension, The Reserve, with the March debut of the Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Southern Thailand.Set on the shores of the Andaman Sea, Phulay Bay, which will open 1 March 2009, will be a hideaway 54-villa and pavilion boutique hotel with unspoilt views of the towering limestone karsts which make up the beautiful landscape of this part of southern Thailand. Coupled with sandy beaches, a coastline flecked with more than 200 islands, surrounded by a national forest with rugged rock formations and hidden waterfalls, Phulay Bay is a natural wonder.

The essence of Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve will be about enlivening the senses. Guests will subtly and gently have their senses enriched and stimulated with the resort’s own scent, signature drink, beautiful and stunning scenery both inside the suites and in the environment of the resort, as well as by the sounds of traditional Thai music coupled with the gentle lapping of the sea on the shores of Phulay Bay. This will all be coupled with the environment of tactile natural Thai silk soft furnishings and coverings to help guests truly relax in this unique and special environment.

Nestled on the shore of the Andaman Sea, the resort is the vision of in-demand Thai architect Lek Bunnag and features modern styling and architecture with accents of Thai culture and design to create a harmonious synergy of luxury and tradition to compliment its secluded location. Bunnag draws strongly from Thai traditions and cultural heritage to create an environment where relaxation and enjoyment are the very bedrock of the guest experience.

The architecture, landscape, interiors and accessories fuse to create a marriage of style and design that is completely in keeping with and tied to the natural environment of the location. Oversized beds, pillows, chairs, baths and doorways create a sense of comfort and welcoming that sets the guest at ease and welcomes them into the resort.

Combining contemporary Thai styling in the buildings with preservation of the environment, the natural flora of existing trees and plants relies on the past and tradition to create something sustainable today and for the future. The use of traditional Lanna art forms both in architectural structure and design as well as paintings and artworks on the walls and doors of the villas further create a contemporary setting that draws on tradition to offer a unique and luxurious environment and further enlivens the senses.

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“When styling and designing Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, we were very conscious of the abundant beauty surrounding us which is what makes people fall in love with Thailand,” explained Estelita Sebeto, the resort’s General Manager. “We want guests to enjoy and discover the extraordinary diversity and beauty in this part of the country in a setting of relaxation and rejuvenation. So we have worked with nature to maintain a setting that evokes the very best of the natural environment of the hotel and sourced local and sustainable materials in its construction and styling. We see the resort as an ambassador for the local environment and for the tradition of the land here in Phulay Bay.”

With accommodation offering a variety of unspoilt ocean views, private plunge pools, sheltered outdoor baths and showers set among lush indigenous flora the sense of privacy and comfort allows guests to indulge in the scenery and detach from the world during their stay. Coupled with the natural warmth and easy smiles of the Thai people and Ritz-Carlton’s world-famous service, Phulay Bay is the perfect destination to host the first of The Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s exotic, hand-picked hideaways.

With an emphasis on personalised, bespoke experiences, guests can ‘design’ or tailor make their visit to perfectly suit their needs and desires. A light BBQ lunch in your favourite area of the resort? A meditation class in a local monastery? Elephant trekking to a remote pick nick spot? A sea plane tour of region’s dramatic scenery? No problem. The resort will tailor-make your visit and personaise your experience, to make it a truly unique and one-of-a-kind visit.

The sense of arrival will immediately let guests know they are somewhere special and unique. High aubergine walls with even taller ‘hedges’ made from indigenous trees create a sense of wonder from the outside and a great sense of peace and stillness once on the inside. Guests will enter the resort over a stepping-stone walkway that leads them to a wooden Thai pavilion situated on an island surrounded by thousands of gently flickering candles. Guests will be treated to a traditional welcoming ritual and taken directly to their accommodation for in-room registration.

Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve will offer world-class culinary experiences throughout the resort. Lae Lay, the resort’s seafood grill, will allow guests to enjoy the best local fish and seafood available in a contemporary outdoor setting overlooking the Andaman Sea - a private dining room on the roof top of the restaurant will allow for a more personalised experience with live cooking by your own private chef. While the resort’s signature Thai restaurant, Sri Trang, will offer more traditional Thai cooking in a modern, minimalist setting using the very best of ingredients and cooking traditions from Thailand’s southern region. The restaurant’s chef table, which seats up to 12, will even offer cookery classes so guests can learn tips and techniques from the best local chefs.

The infinity pool bar, Plai Fah, will offer oversized cabanas where guests can enjoy lighter, more relaxed culinary offerings, while Chomtawan, the resort’s sunset lounge, will tempt guests with day beds, oversized pillows, chill-out lounge bar music and candle lamps for a truly intimate and relaxing feel.

The ESPA at Phulay Bay promises to be a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation with stepping stones meandering through the spa leading to decked walkways and relaxation terraces surrounded by vegetation and reflection ponds that perfectly capture the unique character of Phulay Bay.

The Spa itself comprises three traditional Thai pavilions set over two levels offering 11 luxurious treatment rooms including single and couples Thai massage rooms and two VIP treatment suites. Each suite includes a private decked terrace with raised platform for Thai massage and a deep bath for soothing relaxation. The peaceful setting enhances the therapeutic ESPA treatments and enables the richness of the natural surroundings to be absorbed.

The opening rate for Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which will open on March 1, 2009, will be $1,500 for two nights, and includes round trip transfers from Krabi Airport in Mercedes E-Class/BMW 5 Series, pack and unpack service by your private butler, daily breakfast for two, a yoga retreat for two and unlimited WiFi high-speed internet in all accommodation. Guests can also fly directly to Phuket airport and be transferred by car to Phulay Bay.

“The Ritz-Carlton Reserve will feature signature, one-of-a-kind boutique resorts positioned in unique settings, each with a distinctive personality and sense of place reflecting its history and culture,” said Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer. “A refuge from the expected, Ritz-Carlton Reserve is for travellers seeking to discover a singular location and peerless resort that will offer guests’ exotic, hand-selected ‘hideaway’ destinations in a relaxed, casually elegant atmosphere. Phulay Bay in Thailand is a natural choice for the first resort.”
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