Whenever the grey and cold get a bit too much, I let my mind wander back to this:

The stretch of sea between Phuket and Koh Yao Noi was smooth and still as a lake. I’d read about Six Senses years ago, somewhere in the pages of a glossy magazine. The article described villas perched high on a hill, cooling private pools to linger in, a butler to care for guests’ every need – the sort of place, in short, I could only afford in my most indulgent day dreams.

I’d been restless about the trip for weeks. I’d quit my job the week before, and it marked, for me, the symbolic end of my stay in Singapore, an end to the weeks and months of anxiety, the endless hours in the office, my wretched health. I sighed as the boat curved before the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga bay, heading for the private pier of the resort.

How can I describe perfection? The villas were beautiful, little nests of day beds and mosquito nets, hidden behind bamboo walls and lush vegetation.

Every thing was quiet and welcoming. It would be so easy to never leave the resort. There is simply too much to enjoy. I could have spent half a day selecting a pillow from the extensive menu, or trying out the scented toiletries (lemongrass? aloe vera? unscented?), or playing chess, or learning to thai box or kayak or snorkel or…

I settled for eating my body weight in charcuterie and strolls along the private beach. The water itself was a bit disappointing, silty underfoot and not the clear turquoise of my fantasies. But the view was beautiful, the perfect place to watch the large, graceful hornbills who nest at one end of the beach.

The view was at its best from the Hilltop Reserve, a luxurious private residence that had just recently been converted to a restaurant and pool area for all the guests. I’d never quite understood the term “infinity pool”, until I floated in the hilltop pool, its crystalline water blending into the bay beyond, so that I was simultaneously towering above and part of the endless sea.

On Friday night, a large screen materialised behind the pool, with the moon illuminating the bay behind it, and the smiling staff brought round little bowls of popcorn to enjoy with the film. I sipped a lychee martini and watched The Devil wears Prada, acutely aware of how utterly, utterly spoiled I was. Did I mention the all day all you can eat free ice cream buffet? There were also cakes, biscuits and macarons if delicious home made ice cream in exotic flavours is not your thing.

I could kick myself for not having taken a camera to the spa, because it was glorious. Huge stone tubs large enough to stand in, massage rooms filled with sunlight and orchids and waterfalls, expert masseuses almost managing to send me to sleep.

When I returned to the villa, the staff had left a new bookmark in my opened book. “Slow Life”, it said, and this is, perhaps, the best piece of advice I have ever been given. I’d struggled that morning at the yoga class, my lungs constricted with the effort of clearing my head and forgetting about my daily worries, unable to fully appreciate the stunning view from the purpose built platform.

But as I sped away from Yao Noi, rushing in the dark towards the spectacular sunset, life suddenly seemed full of calm, and possibilities.


Where: Six Senses Yao Noi, about halfway between Krabi and Phuket. The hotel arranges speed boat transfers from either airport.

Tip: The list price for one night at the resort is a ridiculous £600+. I went during the rainy season in October, at a fraction of the price with an Agoda deal. The weather was stunning. If you’re a neurotic mess like I am, stay for a week if you can afford it, three days is not long enough to unwind and enjoy all the facilities.