Just a three-hour ride from Bangkok, Villa Maroc Pranburi will transport you to Fez and Marrakesh with its food, décor, and style.
by Asha Sehgal
Villa Maroc Pranburi (165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi; 032 630 771; www.villamarocresort.com) brought back memories of a trip to Morocco several years ago, and it was fascinating. When I was offered an opportunity to take a vacation in a resort that would bring back those recollections, it was exciting, as was the fact that it was only a few hours’ drive from Bangkok. What followed was an unforgettable stay, and I was happily transported back to the joyful days I spent in Fez and Marrakesh. I remember being very impressed with the gentle courteous service offered to us in the riads of Morocco, and this has been replicated by the staff in this riad-style resort to the minutest detail.
Stepping out from the car into the portals was a happy feeling (oh, those huge wooden doors that open into sheer bliss!), of this North African-themed resort, directly into the pampering arms of the staff. From then on I wallowed in the comforts that they graciously provided at every step.
The resort’s ethnic architecture and colors are displayed in the individuality of every villa – each distinct from the other. One villa with four bedrooms has no feature common to any other bedroom, and every piece of decoration has been imported from Morocco, which gives the overall style an authentic feeling of being back in that enchanting country. The bathrooms are another wonderful story … most open out to views of the ocean and the beach, and Jacuzzis abound.
Every villa is named after a Moroccan spice, and ours, the Royal Villa 2 is called Za’fran (Saffron), after the world’s most expensive and exotic spice. The villa lives up to its reputation with its grand décor, colors, art, and antiques. Upon entering the grand portals, you are greeted by a dramatic indoor swing hanging from a high ceiling, followed by another theatrical feature: a lounging bed in place of a sofa looking out over the expanse of the beach and ocean. One more notable piece of décor is a large sun-splashed terrace on one side of which is a luxurious open-air Jacuzzi.
The main bedroom is located on the second floor and upon opening your eyes in the morning, you can enjoy a full view of the sky and the sea, while you are still cozily wrapped up in your king-sized bed. You will feel like a real monarch in every room, including the bathrooms as they all open out to the sea.
In the basement is yet another bedroom, with romantic canopies and a well-appointed bathroom, which is ideal for accompanying children and friends.
The third floor rooftop overlooks not only the ocean but also the countryside, and is ideal to entertain in, with an open air shower to boot.
Do you think you might never want to leave these premises again? But wait, there’s more with Casablanca, the Moroccan-style restaurant. Breakfast was a veritable delight every morning, with a choice of Western, Thai, and Moroccan cuisine served at the table. We tried all three and enjoyed each one. Meals were beyond complaint and the service, again, was superb.
And then again there’s still more with the Sherazade Hammmam & Spa. Can I state that this was perhaps the best spa treatment I have enjoyed for a long time? The ambience was wonderful as we first unwound in a fragrant steam bath in a dimly-lit room, followed by an invigorating black salt body scrub, and then on to an oil massage that offered the ultimate feeling of deep relaxation.
Stepping out onto the colorful mosaics cemented into the ground, we came upon beautiful water features everywhere we turned. And then there’s the ocean … ah the ocean in its entire expanse accompanied by the wonderfully clean beaches. Did I forget to mention the luxurious swimming pool where we spent many, many hours looking at the sea, enjoying watching the kitesurfers and jetskiers pass by? What’s more, watching newly-weds take advantage of the ideal setting for the most romantic photo opportunities that the resort offers.
We were provided with an unforgettable stay in a resort that redefines luxury on one of Thailand’s most sought-after coastlines, and Villa Maroc delivered on its promise.