10 Day Thai Trip

Story #4 of 4. 

April 2016

My last Thailand post, guys! 4 out of 4! I can’t believe this trip is over but I’m honestly incredibly thankful I get to share every story with you. This one is a little different from the rest though. This part of the trip was more about relaxing and connecting with nature at luxurious and comfortable level. Yes, I’m talking about my 3-day stay at Phuket’s Keemala eco-friendly hotel. I’ve been visiting and reviewing eco-friendly hotels for the past two years and I have never seen anything like Keemala before. It takes my motto "lifestyle with a conscience" to a whole new level by making me believe, even stronger, that this world is changing and that entrepreneurs, architects and investors are finally looking for planet-friendly ways of bringing their projects to life. This hotel is a 5-star paradise with nature in mind! Entirely inspired in Phuket's culture and history...on how its first inhabitants got here and built their shelters based on their personalities and beliefs. Their community had 4 clans: Pa-ta-pea (Earth clan), Khon-Jorn (Wanderer clan), We-ha (Sky clan), and Rung-Nok (Nest clan). Each villa at Keemala was designed based on the characteristics of these clans. The one I stayed at was a Pa-ta-pae (earth) villa and was built on the belief that being connected to the earth brings health benefits; therefore, the entire villa was made from soil, clay, bamboo, wood and other earthy materials.

My friend and I flew to Phuket from Bangkok. It was only a 90-minute flight and the hotel had scheduled our pick-up and transportation from the airport to the hotel. We arrived around midnight and, even though it was extremely dark outside, the entire hotel was illuminated with lamps made from natural materials hanging from trees. Small or tall tree, these lamps were everywhere! A driver in a golf cart picked us up at the entrance and drove us to the lobby to receive our room key. The lobby was also astonishing. The floors were made of ceramic collages depicting ancient stories and designed to perfection! Gold and blue and turquoise elephants and tiny people working towards building their community. It was a ceramic masterpiece! Once we received our key, the golf cart driver took us to our villa. The minute he opened the doors, my mind was completely blown away as I slowly walked into this 126 sqm villa with clay and wood walls, huge windows with rainforest views surrounding the bedroom area, a private balcony with a 21sqm pool, and a spacious bathroom with a stand-alone bathtub made from stone, an indoor monsoon shower, and an outdoor shower as well. As I said, nature-loving heaven! Exhausted and all, I HAD to use the outdoor shower, of course! So I did. It was probably the best shower of my life! Right there, in the middle of a forest, covered with clay and bamboo walls and no ceiling, I took a refreshing shower to relieve myself from the 100F temperature while looking at the stars. It was everything I dream of whenever I think about the perfect eco-friendly home or hotel.

The next morning we woke up at 7, mainly due to our excitement but also due to the sunlight coming through our window. I never close the curtains at home or when I travel. I sort of love waking with up with the sun and consequently we did over there too! I immediately took a dip in the pool. It was more like a “get out of bed, open the window, and jump!” type of dip. The bedroom’s window is directly connected to the pool. Can you believe that? As if they didn’t already have me at “eco hotel”, they also had a pool I could jump into from my bed, and an outdoor shower!  Around 8.30am we walked towards the restaurant, had a delicious vegan breakfast (the hotel offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, a holistic spa menu, and green juices made with Thai herbs from the hotel’s garden), walked through the hotel for a few minutes and then headed to our Thai boxing class! This is another feature I love about Keemala:  the hotel offers a holistic activity schedule with daily yoga, Thai boxing, aqua Thai Chi, Circuit Conditioning, Holistic Nutrition, Meditation, and so much more. Our trainer was incredible! He understood the fact that I’m more of a yogi than a boxer, and combined Thai boxing movements that matched and helped my yoga practice while also sweating. A lot! It felt amazing! Lunch at Keemala was mouthwatering! We ordered skewered tofu and mushrooms, brown rice with veggies and a delicious turmeric sauce, and Thai coconut soup. Those, plus the veggies-tofu-noodle soup, were my favorites. During lunch I got the opportunity to meet Dr. Cherisse, Wellness Consultant, and My, Keemala’s PR. Both super, friendly, lovely and knowledge ladies. If you visit Keemala, please give them a strong hug on my behalf!

I spent the afternoon at the holistic spa getting the “Energizer Ritual” treatment designed to provide an energizing boost to your skin and body using zesty ingredients. The treatment began with a foot and body scrub and finished with a deep tissue massage. All in one of the spa’s nest-inspired villas! After the body scrub, I got the chance to enjoy an outdoor shower (probably the 4th of my day) before I received the deep tissue massage. You must be probably wondering how this hotel is “eco” if the guests are inclined to use so much water. Well, here’s the green secret! Keemala has an internal water reuse and management system that comes directly from wells. No outside water is used! As if that were not remarkable enough, they also have a No Plastic policy throughout the entire hotel, which means they don’t offer any plastic bottles, plastic bags or plastic packaging (all their bath products are wrapped in recycled paper and burlap bags). Keemala also has a No Animal Torture policy (this one made me smile. Especially in Thailand where all hotels offer Elephant Riding activities) and does not support or sell tickets for activities that use animals as entertainment.

After dinner, we decided to head to town to experience Phuket’s nightlife. We took a taxi to Patong Beach and walked a little. It’s a very touristic area full of bars, vendors and strip clubs. If you’re into that sort of thing, you might enjoy it. It was a little bit too crazy for me so we stuck to the vendors, walked around the beach and then headed back to the hotel to get some much-needed sleep.

Our second day was all about the Phi Phi Islands. (Keemala offers boat tours and other sightseeing activities.) We woke up at 6am, had a quick breakfast, and left the hotel around 7.30am straight to the pier where a boat with other tourists was waiting for us. This is a full-day activity, guys! Even though I LOVED the Phi Phi Islands, their clear waters, and tiny markets, I would not recommend doing the full-day tour but asking if there’s a way you can focus and visit one or two islands instead. The fact that the tour took us to 4-5 different places meant staying at each place for 40-50 minutes top. Too little. Too fast!

Once we were back at the hotel from visiting the Phi Phi islands, we walked around the hotel discovering every little eco corner it had to offer. This place was so meticulously thought out and designed, that it caters locations and activities for each of its guest’s personalities. From a wine cellar for wine lovers, to a game room area, to a library, to a meditation and tea area, to a boutique. Each place uniquely designed with bamboo and wood, surrounded with magnificent views of the hotel, and illustrating the hotel’s extraordinary architecture.

Pure planet-loving magic!


Eco things to know about Keemala:

-They used local materials for construction

-Their plates and flatware are all handmade

-They reused materials for decoration and construction

-All their bath and spa products are natural and handmade with Thai herbs

-They have herb, veggie and fruit gardens throughout the hotel

-The hotel runs on an internal water reuse and management system

-The restaurant offers holistic, vegan and vegetarian meals besides their regular menu

-They have a No Plastic policy

-They have a No Animal Torture policy

-They have 38 eco villas

-Each villa has a mini bar with coconut water and other drinks, and a traditional coffee making machine (my fave!!)

-Adult environment only. Peace, relaxation and quiet. If you take your kids, they HAVE to behave accordingly.


Earth-friendly brands I wore during my trip:

-All swimsuits and bikinis: made from natural and recycled materials by EcoPeaceSwim

-White maxi dress with Pineapple stamps: fair-trade and handmade by women in India by Symbology Clothing. Use code "ValeriaSpring" at checkout for a special discount!

-White boho pants: handmade by artisans in Indonesia and supports different charities by MettaLovingKindness.

-Sunnies: made from natural materials and give back to different charities based on the design you purchase by Westward Leaning