The Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort covers a large area on the island and the resort grounds are massive. The property sits on one side of a peninsula that extends into the sea. Coming in on the boat a long dock extends out to greet the arriving guests. To the left there is large hill formation were the villas and hotel towers reside. On the right is the master resort complex and a beautiful white sand beach.
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The Santhiya has 30 pool villas and 84 deluxe rooms. The villas are scattered about the hillside and follow the resort roads. The deluxe rooms are located in the several hotel towers that stand watch on the hill. All of this is surrounded by natural jungle vegetation that is laced with the resort road network.
There is a large pool complex, full treatment spa, fitness center, master resort complex, and a couple different bars and restaurants at the beach. Every structure is adorned in the natural teak hardwood that really gives the place a cohesive look and feel.
Susan and I both felt there resort and stay were near perfect. One of the few criticisms I would issue would be with the timeliness of the wooden car service. About 70% of time it was prompt. And then 30% of the time it is was very late and would require an additional call to fetch the driver. I think the misses were a function and high demand and a little disorganization. After a while we figured it out, which is to say if they didn’t show in 10 minutes call again. The second call would usually bring them right there. The resort is a family owned operation (not a corporation), and I wondered if this had something to do with this oversight.
Every room comes with breakfast which is served at the Sanitaria Restaurant, located in the Hotel 5 tower relatively high on the hill overlooking the sea. The breakfast is a buffet style and is served from 7:00am to 10:00am all mornings.
The offerings included a variety of hot dishes, and egg station, European cold cuts station, several different sliced fruits, breads and pastries, and juices and coffee drinks. There was also a couple traditional Thai performers providing music during breakfast.
The breakfast dinning space was always clean, functional and again included lots of beautiful teakwood. The interior space was comprised of small tables that seated two, or could be pushed together for larger parties (read families). On the seaside of the restaurant the entire space was a long open counter that would allow guests to sit side by side and look out over the water. Susan and I did this every morning and it was a highlight. The quality and presentation of the food was not on par with the Anantara, but it was pretty good. Some of the egg dishes, including the eggs benedict, were outstanding. Service was typically good, but by 9:00am the place would get jammed. The servers couldn’t always keep up with this rush, though they tried, and service times would suffer. The service attitude was always sweet and friendly.
On the beach there were 3 restaurants with 2 of them open for lunch. We would usually have a decently sized breakfast, with a lite bite midday and a full dinner in the evening.
For dinner the choice included 3 restaurants on the beach. Choices include; “The Chantara” a full buffet dinner restaurant, the “By The Sea Restaurant” is a cook to order beach restaurant/bar, and the “Titan Grab-N-Go Grill” which a casual eatery on the beach. Susan loved all our dinners (she’s a huge Thai food fan) and I thought all resort meals were good to quite good.
I only have a few criticisms of the resort and dinner service was one of the them. Service was typically spotty and slow. I don’t know if this is a specific issue with the resort or a cultural reflection of the island, but even Susan noticed it, and she is easy going. I also enjoy a couple cocktails at dinner and I found the pours small and overpriced. I’m not trying to sound like a lush, but the drinks at this resort were noticeably light. For as 5-star as this resort was, the dinner restaurant service was a defined shortcoming. Big picture these shortcomings were easy to live with, but they were also blemishes on a near perfect visit.
The Ayurvana Spa is the resorts full service SPA. It is located in a free standing structure on the high side of the property. Prices were affordable by U.S. standards, although I heard they were high for Thailand standards. They did have an early day special for 1-hour message that ran at 1,500THB ($45us) before 2:00pm. Susan is not usually a SPA person but was up to take advantage of the special. We both really thought it was perfect.
The wooden car service would deliver us a little before our appointment. The check in facilitates looked beautiful, and the architecture was consistent with the rest of the resort. Check in service included cool towels and a refreshing Thai beverage. Then we were escorted to the SPA room. The walkways were elevated wooden paths wondering through the jungle to the different treatment rooms. It was delightful. We had the package together as a couple’s massage, and the local Thai masseuses were superb. Afterward tea and a sweet treat was served, which was a nice finish to a pleasurable indulgence.
Again, the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort is a perfect place to relax and enjoy. The grounds are terrific, the pools are beautiful and the SPA is luxurious. A couple service items could be improved, namely service at the 2 main restaurants during evening dinner and the method of calling wooden cars. They are small inconveniences, and overall we really loved this place.