Located just a stone’s throw away from the national park, ESCAPE Khao Yai offers a functional stay in a natural environment.
by Anita Zaror.
It always amazes me when I drive outside of Bangkok for a couple of hours, and I find a totally different place. A great example of this is Khao Yai, where the Thai craze for pork becomes a love of beef, where some constructions remind me of European cities, and where it’s so, so green and peaceful, that a break there becomes not only a rest for the eyes but also a true reenergizing experience.
Sansiri, the real estate developer, entered the hotel business last year with its ESCAPE, Sansiri Hotel Collection. Hua Hin and Khao Yai were the first two locations chosen to pioneer this concept of mid-scale design hotels and resorts in Thailand.
We recently visited ESCAPE Khao Yai (329 Pansuk-Kudkla Road, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima; 04 756 669–70; www.escape-hotel.com/khaoyai) and witnessed the “disconnect from the world, reconnect with nature” promise it offers its visitors. The modern construction—very “Sansiri” in its style and with a wide use of stone and wood—stands out amidst a backdrop of astonishing green mountains. Aptly inspired on nature, the décor of its 48 Deluxe Rooms and six Sunken Heated Pool Villas (featuring private heated pools) follow different themes of earth, wood, forest, and flora, which are enhanced by specific aromas and music compilations in each type of room.
The hotel is located just a short drive away from the entrance to Khao Yai National Park, which makes it very convenient for a day-trip there. Just grab one of the hotel’s bicycles and picnic sets, and you’re good to go. However, as Khao Yai’s microclimate is characterized by a hot, a rainy, and a cold season, with temperature oscillations that go from 10°C-30°C, a visit to the park might not always be ideal. So, when the weather doesn’t allow you to venture into the greenery, making use of the hotel’s services and facilities is a great way to still soak up the fresh air and calm vibes in the area.
Some of ESCAPE Khao Yai’s features include a spa, where the use of stone, together with the aromatic essential oils used by therapists in hermetic, quiet rooms, make getting a massage there a must in order to complete a full relaxation therapy. Next to the spa, there is a fitness area equipped with high-tech machines and, right outside, a swimming pool. An open-air activity ground with an outdoor fireplace that glows at night, offers a fantastic view (especially on a starry night) from Green Oak Bistro, located on the second floor of the main building.
The restaurant opens up to a 360-degree view of the surroundings, and it serves farm-to-table Thai and international dishes prepared with local produce, including their signature cocktails, such as Escape to Sangria and the Ginger Cooler. Choices you may enjoy from the menu are the fun-to-eat salmon nam prik, the very spicy ham salad, a tasty tom yum gung, and freshly fried banana fritters.
The hotel also has conference and catering rooms for up to 90 people which, together with its functional rooms, proximity to Bangkok, and outdoor offerings, make it ideal for hosting team-building activities and meetings away from other distractions.