9 Hornbills is unlike any other place we’ve seen before. Hidden away atop the scenic hillside of Koh Yao Noi overlooking the world famous Phang Nga Bay, these adult only, luxury tented villas are next level.
After spending a few blissful days relaxing by the beach at Koyao Island Resort, we were whisked away in our private buggy up the winding hill path to check-in to 9 Hornbills. As we kept climbing higher and higher into the hills we knew we were in for a treat, but we had no idea just how special.
Welcoming us at the villa was our own personal butler Mr. Bao with his warm smile and bubbly personality. He walked us through the wooden gates, where we found ourselves gobsmacked by the luxurious setting and surrounds. The uninterrupted views of the entire bay are breathtaking with the sounds of birds chirping in the trees, an eagle soaring high in the sky, surrounded by the green lush jungle.
The tents are completely open air, where you can unravel all openings yet are completely sheltered from the sun and heat, while enjoying the breathtaking view and cool ocean breeze. Open the glass French doors and you are welcomed by the grand four-poster bed as its centrepiece; with canopy air-conditioning to keep you cool while you laze away in bed. Take a left into the separate sitting room with statement Danish-inspired furniture and on the opposite side of the villa was the bathroom of our dreams – huge mirrors with double stone-carved washbasins and a huge claw foot bathtub. No matter where you turn and which way you look, all you can see is that view.
With full mini bar and in-villa meals included, we loved the luxurious comfort and design of our tented retreat. We spent most of our time outdoors soaking up the sun from our private infinity pool. We have never felt as much peace as this, and it is truly the place to come if you really need to unwind and get away from it all.
We took full advantage of the full complimentary activities on the island – from paddle boarding, canoeing and mountain biking, to hiring a scooter for a day of sightseeing and exploring. You can also request a tailor-made private island hopping tour and visit some of the most beautiful and isolated beaches on offer. With your own personal butler and buggy on request, we hardly ever wanted to leave the villa and we never really had a reason to.
Enter the dawn of a new day and after watching the sunrise over the bay, our signature floating breakfast was served poolside, featuring a full traditional Thai buffet along with fresh tropical fruit, pastries, coffee and fresh juices. We couldn’t recommend the floating breakfast more – it was certainly one of the most enjoyable experiences we have had in a long time.
Mr. Bao recommended a candlelit dinner and later that day, we took him up on his recommendation and ordered the stunning Chef’s Menu served by the amazing folks at Pum Pui Restaurant. When we arrived back to the villa just in time for dinner, Mr. Bao and his team set everything up poolside by the deck along with floating tea light candles in the infinity pool. We indulged in a huge spread of the most delicious Thai food, accompanied with beautiful desserts and drinks by candlelight. It was a pretty special night that will definitely remain in our fond memories.
9 Hornbills is a beautiful place in a world class setting but it’s their attention to the small details that make your stay here just that extra special. Everything is well considered and the wonderful and friendly team are always on-hand and willing to help.
The island of Koh Yao Noi is one of the most magical and unspoilt places on Earth, untouched by mass tourism and over-development that has engulfed most of Thailand’s other islands. It’s what makes this place so special. You truly feel one with nature in a luxurious setting; you will probably contemplate misplacing your passport just so you can stay a little longer.