Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort Unveils Original “Chao Lay” Southern Thai Design Concept With 100 Stylish Bungalows

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Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort is scheduled to complete an extensive THB160 million (USD4.5 million) refurbishment programme in October that will see 100 of the island resort’s 201 unique bungalows re-launched with a fresh, contemporary Thai feel just in time for Thailand’s tourist high season in November.

The overall vision for the renovations follows a “Chao Lay Southern Thai design concept”. Chao Lay means “people of the sea” in the Thai dialect used in this part of Thailand and therefore provides a fitting name for a style that complements rather than dominates the natural island environment. The renovations will also offer guests a rare combination of natural simplicity and comfort in one of Thailand’s most inspiring destinations.

“Although the main aim is to upgrade our rooms and facilities to keep pace with the demands of visitors from around the world, we have also been very careful not to lose the essence of Thai culture and tradition that people expect when they visit our country,” said Mr. Chao Treenawong, General Manager, Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort. “Contemporary Thai design is still a major attraction, even on a remote island like Koh Phi Phi, but it must also evolve with the times.”

To strike a balance between authentic Thai architecture and a more modern tropical resort style, Thailand-based design firm Last Word Studio was engaged to create stylish interiors for the revamped bungalows while drawing on southern Thai architectural traditions. Spacious, airy, comfortable living spaces have long been a signature in this part of the Kingdom with properties built largely from local materials to blend with the tropical surroundings and a focus on air circulation to keep accommodation cool in the year-round hot climate.

Reflecting this approach, the new bungalows at Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort are raised slightly from the ground on sturdy pillars and also boast tall, pointed roofs which catch the sea breezes and funnel fresh air through the interiors. Air-conditioning units are installed, but not always required, thanks to a sensitive, smart design scheme that dates back hundreds of years.

“Through the décor and design our new look rooms offer a local Thai village feel, but they also come with all the added amenities of modern lifestyle. By staying true to the region’s architectural roots, we have also remained sensitive to the island environment – physically, and in terms of sustainability,” said Mr. Treenawong.

In addition to the rooms, the resort recently completed the new-look restaurant called Api and is putting the finishing touches on a stylish new al fresco coffee club called bean/Co, as well as introducing a new menu recently renamed The Beach House. These three outlets compliment the elegant architecture and ambiance of the resort’s Ruan Thai restaurant, Phi Phi Island’s only authentic Thai dining experience.

Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort is also constantly evolving and innovating in terms of eco-sustainability. The resort recently installed a new reverse osmosis (RO) plant which provides 20,000 litres of clean per hour plus managing a coral reef rehabilitation nursery off the shores of the property. In addition, a 5-acre plot near the resort grounds has been dedicated to the planting and nurturing of new mangroves.

Resort guests will also have the opportunity to join staff and community leaders in bi-annual mangrove planting events, with up to 700 mangrove trees to be placed in the on-site plantation, as well as new reef planted as part of a coral restoration project.

“Thailand is known around the world for its natural beauty and rich culture. With its pristine beachside setting and culturally sensitive designs, Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort invites guests to enjoy the best of these Thai attractions all in on one delightful beachside location,” added Mr. Treenawong.