If you wish to avoid staying among the hustle and bustle of the main beach strip in Ao Nang, then the Phu Pi Maan Resort and Spa may be the place to book. Located approximately 5 minutes drive to the beach by motorbike or by complimentary 8 am - 10 pm hotel shuttles, this hotel is literally built around the magnificent nature for which Krabi province is known, affording guests tranquility and privacy in a lush jungle setting.
The resort structures are pleasingly contemporary in architectural design, mixing traditional and more modern Thai architecture and decor in a way that only royalty and the uber-pampered can fail to be impressed by.
The reception lobby itself is beautifully built, with very comfortable lounge seating and lovely woodwork throughout, as well as two computers, free for guests' use.
When we first arrived to write this review, we noted immediately that the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful. A quick look at Tripadvisor confirms this with very few exceptions. The resort grounds are lush and tropical green, and host a two-level pool, where the levels actually separate the kids' pool from the adults'.
Guests can lounge in the pool and take in the beauty of the majestic limestone cliffs that separate the village of Ao Nang from the Railay peninsula, and for which the region is famous.
The pool itself is very attractive, but perfection doesn't exist, however, even here at the Phu Pimaan - on closer inspection we noticed that the covers on some of these loungers which are located in the pool itself need replacement, as they were worn and not very pleasant to look at, let alone to lounge upon. A well-maintained wooden boardwalk allows guest an easy access around the resort with as little natural disturbance as possible.
Just opposite the reception lobby sits the resort's restaurant, which we are told by Tripadvisor has pretty average buffet breakfasts, but also has staff who are willing to listen and try to make things right for their guests. The views of the towering cliffs from the dining area, however, are just about as good as it gets.
Whilst the resort's web site says room service is 24 hours, we were informed that the restaurant offers room service until 10:30 pm, so don't expect all night service, but after dinner munchies in one's room shouldn't be a problem.
One other thing to note is that this resort is run by a local Muslim family, so bacon lovers beware. There is no pork served here. Period. Don't worry, though, a quick walk or shuttle bus ride away from the resort will provide you with a great choice of locally run restaurants that serve delicious pork dishes. Also, as good Muslims, they do not serve any alcohol at this resort. However, that should not be a show stopper, as they have no corkage fees in the restaurant and have no restrictions on guests bringing in their own drinks, which can be easily purchased at the nearby 7/11 (which while nearby, is not too near).
The resort has four types of rooms. All rooms come with full amenities, cotton bath robes and slippers, hairdryer, torch, umbrellas, 32 inch wide screen LCD/TVs with satellite channels, DVD players, WiFi, safety boxes, kitchenette with microwave oven and a mini bar with refrigerator. The resort offers complimentary water, tea and coffee, though we had to giggle when we got excited about the Twinings of London tea boxes that hold the complimentary beverages, only to have our hopes dashed upon learning that the Twinings boxes were filled with none other than, you guessed it, Lipton.
Perfect for singles, couples or even small families, the resort's 10 Deluxe Rooms are located in the main building atop reception. The Second floor offers 5 Deluxe Rooms with two large twin beds, the 3rd floor offers 5 Deluxe Rooms with a king sized bed. Both room types have large daybeds as well, which, for children under 9, the staff will happily convert to sleeping beds free of charge. Extra beds are also available.
The rooms themselves are spacious, and offer huge balconies with comfy, built-in seating. The bathrooms are large, with "sexy bathtubs", separated from the main room only by glass and a curtain. The tub is fairly deep and is good-sized, as is the separate walk-in shower.
Guests can really relax inside their room or outside on their balcony, while taking in a spectacular view of the rocks, as well as the lush jungle plants and palm trees that make up the grounds of the Phu Pi Maan Resort and Spa.
We also noticed that these rooms benefit from pleasant cross breezes, so that during the day, before 5 pm mosquito time, we would advise guests to skip the air conditioning and open the place up. This way, guests will really feel more a part of nature than apart from nature. Of course, as is often the case, some views are better than others, and we would love to help you request the best of these.
Also in the main building are the resort's 4 Suites. They are not technically suites, as they consist of a bathroom plus one bedroom with a giant King sized bed and a separate single bed.
But they are located on the corners of the second and third floors, offering even better views of the very attractive greenery through floor to ceiling windows and doors along two walls.
The suites are very spacious, bright and are tastefully appointed with lovely wooden floors and other woodwork. They all have daybeds as well as spacious bathrooms, again, with "sexy tubs" and separate showers and all the usual amenities.
The best of these suites are the ones furthest from the road, as they get better views from their 2 walls of mostly glass, if you book through us we will be happy to request one of these better suites for you.
One Bedroom Villa
Away from reception, up an easy hill and surrounding the pool are the resort's 6 One Bedroom Villas. Ideal for honeymooners, couples or small families, these villas have a large four poster bed with tasteful latticed woodwork inlaid above the bed, making us think it would be a lovely last sight before deep sleep! Each villa has built-in lounge/sofa seating as well as a daybed/sofa, and offers a small kitchenette with a large refrigerator and a microwave.
While the kitchenettes aren't equipped for guests' cooking, they do have a deep sink and a good amount of counter space, not to mention the microwave, which is ideal for heating up leftover Thai takeaways. Most people never use the pretty pointless kitchenette at all, as they avoid all domestic chores while on holiday. The bathroom is large, with an over-sized bathtub, a separate large walk-in rain shower, and a 22 inch LCD TV.
Each villa also has a private outdoor terrace or open sided pavilion, where the resort's good taste and tip top quality continues. The terrace roofs have quality wood paneled ceilings fringed with decorative woodworking, and are supported by four antique brick columns, painstakingly built without mortar.
All afford privacy thanks to smart location and Jurassic-sized plant life, and all offer a great view of the greenery, the pool and in some cases, the cliffs.
The terraces are equipped with outdoor fans operated with a remote control device, so there is no need to get out of that comfy chair or put down your book to adjust the fan. What's more, at least you and your significant other will have one thing to argue about on your holiday! Again, not all views are created equal, so let us help you request the best location for your viewing pleasure.
Two Bedroom Villa
Finally, also surrounding the pool are the resort's four 2 Bedroom Villas. They afford lovely views of the rocks, the pool and the neighboring antique wooden roofs. Inside the well-appointed villa are two large bedrooms, joined by a large bathroom, which, while nicely done, is shared. The master bedroom has a king-sized bed with a built in lounge area for seating, as does the 2nd bedroom. And the villas host large, well-equipped built-in kitchenettes, perfect for family needs or for entertaining friends.
All are well-appointed and all are adorned with the same tasteful private terraces, where guests can chill out and bask in the dappled, filtered natural light passing through the jungle trees and onto the terrace.
Because these villas are situated very near the pool, guests can totally relax with their favorite book - with one eye on the page and the other on their kids playing in the pool.
The best of these units is the one nearest the pool, as it is easier to supervise children from here. In our opinion this is the best family option in Ao Nang. Ao Nang doesn't have a 5 star resort (the Centara Grand is located in the next-door bay) and in the absence of a 5 star place, these family units are the best on offer. We know, as we've reviewed all the quality places in town.