Island Style – Cape Kudu
Newly-opened Cape Kudu Hotel on Koh Yao Noi blends seamlessly into the ambience of this magnificently unspoilt island with rustic attractions in a luxury boutique setting
Sitting midway between Phuket and Krabi in Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Noi has succeeded in steering clear of modern developments in favour of adhering to traditions. Most local inhabitants still fish the sapphire blue seas or grow coconuts and cashew nuts in plantations amid spectacular green jungle scenery.
Cape Kudu Hotel takes the attitude that its guests should embrace this island life, rather than be cocooned from it. This is part of the ethos of the island itself, which in 2002 received a World Legacy Award for Destination Stewardship from Conservation International, with particular mention of its homestay programmes offered by local residents.
Stays at Cape Kudu Hotel may not be as down-home as putting up with a local, but they offer delightful opportunities for hands-on experiences of local culture from the comfort of premium accommodation and facilities in a paradise island environment.
Guests can watch fishermen making nets in the traditional way, then join them as they skilfully cast the nets on the sea and even catch their own fish or squid for dinner.
Seafood dinner options of a different variety can be found at a local lobster farm, and there’s also a local organic garden and poultry farm to be visited.
Island life inevitably involves the sea, and water activities here include kayaking, board-paddling, snorkeling and diving excursions, as well as private dining aboard a boat traversing the scenic bay.
And there’s no getting away from the local ambience even if staying within the confines of the hotel’s infinity pool – it’s filled with salt water.
Accommodation choices are Deluxe Rooms, Pool Villas and the delightfully-appropriate Robinson Crusoe balconied rooms. They’re luxuriously appointed in rustic chic décor and boast stunning views of the ever-present surrounding seascape.
Local roots are also evident in the Hornbill Restaurant, named after the iconic tropical bird that’s a frequent and brilliantly-impressive visitor.
Trips to this rustic island time-lapse are easily accessible by speedboat to Koh Yao Noi from Phuket, which takes 30 minutes, and from Krabi which takes 20 minutes, with the option of a traditional longtail boat at a more leisurely 40 minutes.