Romantic retreat with a French country flair
Having just opened in October of 2016, the elegant U Khao Yai is one of the newcomers on the Khao Yai scene. The hotel is located within the confines of the Magnolias French Country residence—a vacation home property development comprised of 18 French-inspired maisons set against a tranquil countryside setting (complete with a meandering stream, foot bridges, and a beautiful lake).
This Gallic theme is carried on throughout the hotel itself; from the spacious grand lobby to the pastoral landscaped gardens that surround the Chateau-style main building. Inside there are several farm-related visual themes at play—most notably horses and rabbits—making the whole experience like staying in a luxurious country manor.
There are a total of 63 units to choose from, starting with the 34 sq.m Superior Rooms, and continuing all the way up to the four 72 sq.m Suites. The lovely Deluxe Rooms—which range in size from 47 to 57 sq.m—are a welcoming option for vacationing couples, with lavender pastel shades adorning the walls and furnishings, and even the twin bunny pillows on the gorgeously comfortable king sized bed. Other room amenities include flatscreen TV, W-Fi, mini bar and fridge, three separate closets, a picturesque balcony overlooking the back garden, and a relaxing day bed lounger. The bathing facilities include a rainfall showerhead and marble shower bench, and as with all U hotels guests are invited to choose their preferred soap fragrance upon check-in, whether jasmine, orchid, or bamboo.
As for what to do once you’ve unpacked, the hotel offers guests a 24-hour fitness centre, six treatment rooms at the U Spa by Tao Garden, a billiard and games room, meeting and function rooms, and a relaxing outdoor infinity edge swimming pool in the back that overlooks a garden stream. And should you wish to venture out into the surrounding area, there are free bicycles available for all guests to use (the Khao Yai Art Museum is just a 30-minute leisurely pedal away).
By contrast, the wonderful Papillon French Bistro Restaurant, the property’s only F&B outlet, is what will make you NOT want to leave the premises. This bright and airy restaurant gives diners the option of indoor or outdoor terrace seating, and apart from being the breakfast common area this bistro eatery also tempts with scrumptious lunch and dinner menu items. With meat products from Sloane’s, the restaurant’s exclusive artisan partner, diners can sample exquisite variety of unforgettable farm-fresh, French-style fare.
The hearty assorted cold cuts platter, with pork rillette and smoked black pepper duck, is a nice starter option, but the exquisite crab meat timbale—a cold soup, much like gazpacho—is the real show-stopper. The dollop of tender crab, prepared with mayonnaise and coriander, sits in a bright red splash of bell pepper vinaigrette. It’s a must try!
Another must-try for fans of classic French nosh is the traditional farm-style cassoulet, a braised white bean stew served with a meaty pair of Sloane’s Toulouse sausages, and a hefty hunk of belly bacon. Even the humble croque monsieur toasted sandwich—here made with thick slabs of ham and plenty of melted Gruyere cheese—becomes a gastromé pleasure. And since we couldn’t possibly sample every temptation in one sitting, we happily returned for dinner and made short work of the sugar cane whole-smoked corn-fed chicken (a dish specifically made for two persons) served with a selection of homemade sauces and delicious sides. Trés bien!
U Khao Yai
99/22, Moo 1, Moosi | Tel: 04 407 9999 | www.ukhaoyai.com