Praised for its unique Scandinavian and Thai fusion design and superb location on an unspoiled beach in Khanom, Aava Resort and Spa was voted one of the best hotels in the world by TATLER Travel Guide 2013.
Finnish entrepreneurs Atte Savisalo and Kati Hakkinen received a great Christmas present in December last year when their Aava Resort & Spa was voted one of the 101 Best Hotels in the World in the globally acclaimed ‘TATLER Travel Guide 2013’.
“After we heard about it, it was difficult to keep it a secret. The Guide was published just before Christmas and it was our best Christmas present ever,” says Kati Hakkinen with excitement.
Making the grade
Located in Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat province in Southern Thailand, Aava Resort & Spa was one of the five hotels and resorts in Thailand included in the top list of the 2013 TATLER Travel Guide.
Focusing on glamorous lives and lifestyles, TATLER has been around for more than three centuries, making it one of the oldest magazines in the world. The magazine publishes various supplements including the world renowned Travel and Restaurant Guides. Being voted as one of the best hotels in the TATLER Travel Guide was a proud moment for the Finnish couple.
“We are proud of ourselves and our staff. This is the biggest achievement in our career in the hotel business. And the fact that no other Finnish-owned hotel has ever received a similar recognition makes it even more special to us,” said the Finnish couple.
In the review, Aava was praised for its unique design – Scandinavian and Thai fusion – and its location on white powdered 9km stretches of the stunning and deserted Nadan beach in Khanom where you only have the odd fisherman for company.
“I love seeing genuine smiles from locals here. It’s something that is very rare in touristy places,” says Kati.
Khanom – pristine destination
Virtually unheard of by most people, Khanom is a tranquil, pristine and unspoiled destination with an authentic backdrop of Thai provincial life. There are also many beautiful waterfalls in the hills, huge limestone mountains pocketed with mossy caves, pods of pink dolphins in the sea, and a vast national park with the oldest evergreen forest in the world.
“Khanom is what today’s holidaymakers are looking for – naturally beautiful beaches, authentic Thai atmosphere, no hustle of street/beach vendors, and stunning nature on your doorstep. They are looking for new destinations and somewhere neighbours or colleagues have not yet been,” says Atte Savisalo.
Despite it quiet location on the placid Na Dan beach, the resort is just an hour and a half drive from the two major airports: Surathani and Nakhon Sri Thammarat. There are several daily flights from Bangkok to the two provinces. Transfers between the resort and the two airports, plus Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi can also be arranged.
Designed by Finland’s leading interior designer Mr. Vertti Kivi, Aava Resort & Spa consists of 28 bungalows, two restaurants and a spa. Mr. Kivi won ‘Interior Architect 2011’ award for his work for Aava. The award was given by Finnish Designers association ‘ORNAMO’.
“Since the beginning, we had a plan to build something that will be seen, something unique and different,” says Kati.
On top of its design and destination, Aava Resort & Spa was also praised for its facilities for children and incredible food at its fine dining restaurant ‘Aalto’.
The resort’s beachfront Aalto restaurant offers Euro-Asian fusion dishes and an extensive wine selection in a stylish and romantic ambience. Although seafood is popular, Kati says that most of the visitors tend to go for classic steaks. Since November last year, the menu has been extended after a visit of the Guest Chef Petri from Finland. The restaurant is recognized as serving the best international cuisine in Khanom.
The resort also has another restaurant ‘Aava Pizzeria & Bakery’, offering traditional wood fire oven pizzas, freshly baked breads and pastries.
Since there are more tourists looking for wellness activities on their holidays, Aava Resort & Spa offers a weekly wellness schedule to health-conscious guests, featuring various classes such as Anapanasati meditation, Flow Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Stretching and Pyanayama (breathing exercises). The latest addition to the wellness schedule is Kids Muay Thai which has been well received by families with young boys. Wellness Coordinator Khun Chack teaches daily. The individual wellness holiday packages can also be created catering to specific needs of customers. However, Kati says that the resort doesn’t offer detox and weight loss programs as it focuses mainly on overall health and wellbeing.
In September this year, American yoga guru Gabriel Azoulay will visit the resort to host a special yoga retreat. For more information about Mr. Azoulay, visit www.gabrielazoulay.com.
Since its grand opening in September 2010, the resort has been growing fast in popularity. According to Kati, the biggest clientele are Danes and Thais, followed by Finns, Swedes, Britons, Italians and Germans.
“We had nine nationalities at our Christmas dinner. During Christmas, New Year holidays and in February, we had more booking requests than what we could accommodate,” says Kati. “We’ve noticed that we need more room capacity and we would like to expand. The resort has always been our own project but this year we plan to look for investors.”
Though the high season is from December to March, Kati says that the best time to travel to Khanom is from March to October because the weather is fantastic and prices are lower.
For reservations, contact +66 824199617 or visit www.aavaresort.com