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Asia travel

Phuket's Keemala resort defies stereotype with its original, whimsical design

Unusual and eye-catching architecture makes this highly anticipated newcomer stand out, writes Adam Nebbs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 October, 2015, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 October, 2015, 10:08am

When a new hotel or resort is described as being "much-anticipated", the term is usually just a euphemism for "long-delayed". But the recently announced "hugely anticipated" opening of the Keemala resort, on the Thai island of Phuket, isn't too far off the mark, thanks to the drip-feeding to travel and design media over the past few months of tantalising photos and artists' impressions of its unusual and eye-catching architecture.

Located on a wooded hillside on the west side of the island, Keemala is themed around the legends of four mythical tribes: the Pa-Ta-Pea (Earth); the Khon-Jorn (Wanderer); the We-Ha (Sky); and the Rung-Nok (Nest). Accommodation comes in the form of Clay Pool Cottages, Tent Pool Villas, Tree Pool Houses and Bird's Nest Pool Villas. There are 38 in all, as well as a spa and some interesting dining locations.

Three- and six-day "holistic living retreats" are also on offer, featuring massages, wellness consultations and guidance, body-enhancing exercises and daily spa cuisine. Despite the playfully fanciful layout and design, Keemala plays up the romance angle and admits only children aged 14 and over. Nightly rates start from 19,050 baht (HK$4,060) for the smallest Clay Pool Villa (126 square metres). Go to for a virtual visit.