CHECKING IN | CAPE KUDU, KOH YAO NOI
Cape Kudu is located on the island of Koh Yai Noi and belongs to a small independent group of hotels that started life with the opening of the first luxury resort on Phuket in 1980, which is visited by A-lister celebs, Thai royalty and plebs alike. The group Cape and Kantary now have 23 locations across three different brands, but the Cape collection currently has only six places, most of which are by a beach.
Cape Kudu is situated right by the beach and is all white compared to the other luxury hotels around the island. The collection of white clapboard buildings are reminiscent of the kind of houses you see in New England and the big white and blue striped loungers lend a sophisticated Med feel too. The small hotel features just 55 rooms and villas, an infinity pool, coffee shop, games room, restaurant and plenty of shady and sunny spots to bed down for the day, most overlooking the beach below.
We stayed in one of the Pool Villas which came with a small sitting room area and a huge TV with Chromecast (because you’re gonna want to watch The Man with the Golden Gun given it was filmed just across the water), an even bigger bed and its own small terrace with plunge pool. Due to the size of the hotel, the pool villas have lots of privacy, so you’re free to tan your white bits on your terrace should you wish. Factor 50 advised.
Breakfast is served in the Hornbill restaurant and comes in the form of a buffet which includes a Roti cart that makes traditional Thai Rotis, fresh fruit juices (actually fresh – which is pretty rare, even in 5-star spots), a croissant warmer (there’s a lot of French guests) and some other local specialities. The Hornbill restaurant also serves lunch and dinner and is named after the big birds which nest in the trees opposite. If you fancy something sweet or caffeinated there’s a small coffee shop, Cafe Kantary that happens to serve beer and wine too; or, if you want to keep it clean check out the Cape Spa, located up the hill with a long list of treatments.
The hotel group prides itself on being local which means they use mostly local produce in their food, employ local staff and offer local experiences. We did the Afternoon Sea trip which involved visiting a local fish farm, eating oysters fresh from the sea and a long tail boat ride over to one of Koh Yao Yai’s white sandy beaches to watch the sunset. We also made use of the hotel’s complimentary bikes, cycling the whole island on a loop, through paddy fields to the coconut farm, along the small market to find authentic dishes and curry pastes to take home, and eating delicious dinners at Sawasdee, a restaurant located just out of town on the small river in the mangroves, and ลานริมเล on the Baan Tha Khao Pier at sunset. We even cycled up to Long Beach, which is quite the mission in the full heat of the sun but worth it at the end when you find a fully deserted beach with not a soul in sight. A short walk from the hotel you’ll find Honey Chicken, another unmissable spot serving its namesake honey-coated sweet BBQ chicken and the largest Thai salad menu we’ve ever come across – don’t miss the corn one!
Koh Yai Noi is the kind of island that you fall in love with straight away and find yourself Googling houses to buy whilst you’re there. It has zero nightlife, a much more local feel, and is super laid back, yet has enough going on to keep you entertained if you do want to be active. It’s just a short boat ride from Krabi & Phuket too, yet it feels like it’s a world away…
Tambon Ko Yao Noi, Chang Wat, Phang Nga, Thailand