Last updated 10 January 2020
Cape Kudu Hotel Koh Yao Noi
The bar was set high right from the beginning. We had arrived via boat from Krabi to Koh Yao Noi, the location of our hotel for the evening, Cape Kudu Resort. We’d been promised a special treat and it appeared as though it was going to be executed in a way I had never imagined. Hidden from view behind the trucks used to pick up guest’s luggage, were the vehicles being used to transport us to the resort. In matching pastel yellow, a Vespa with vintage sidecar and a 1963 Porsche Type B, complete with white-wall tyres, were spectacular.
Vespa or Porsche?
The hardest choice for the day was going to be deciding on which method of transport to take. Fortunately, General Manager Timo Kuenzli had it all sorted. We could share. Somewhere along the rural roads that cut through the small village en route to the resort, they would stop and the other guests took their turn.
Sitting in the sidecar, low to the ground was a new experience. As we bumped over the roads, I was surprised at how comfortable it actually was. My turn in the Porsche saw me sitting in the rear, on top of the seat back. The vehicle takes it steadily through the small village and there are a few nasty speed bumps that would no doubt take out the front end if it drove at speed. Small shops pass us by, and there are plenty of smiles and waves from the children as we pass through their town. I felt like a movie star!
Arriving at Cape Kudu Hotel
This unique arrival was something else, but it didn’t take long to realise that so was this resort.
The open-air pavilion with raked ceilings and cane chairs exudes a tropical warmth. When you have one of the best locations on the island, ocean views and cool sea breezes, why wouldn’t you make the most of it through your design? The predominantly white colour scheme sets the tone for the rest of the resort, creating a light, airy vibe throughout.
The resort is spread out, with little paths leading back to the main areas. I took a few wrong paths, but on this island, time is your friend. There’s no need for timetables, and besides, taking the wrong path might pop up something unexpected, like this patch of beach pictured below.
There is plenty of variety in the accommodation here. The differences between the standard room and other premium rooms seem to be more noticeable here than I’ve been aware of in other hotels. It’s a key point of difference, especially when you have been used to staying in big hotel chains where the only difference might be an additional 10 square metres or a king size bed instead of a queen. Every room I explore has had a personal design touch. It’s light, unique and fun, but with a luxurious feel.
Accommodation options at Cape Kudu Hotel
Covering 1,315 square metres of space, this is more like a home than a villa. With two annexes, the bedroom and bathroom areas are kept totally separate. The main building features an incredible kitchen and a generously sized living area.
A private villa needs a private pool, right? This two-bedroom villa goes one step further and has two, one at the front and one in the rear.
Robinson Crusoe suite
There’s plenty of space in the Robinson Crusoe suite, along with a sizeable (and useable) balcony and outdoor jacuzzi.
The pool villas, with their own private plunge pool, are smaller than the suites but still offer excellent space. The four-poster bed is also a special touch.
During my all too short time at the Cape Kudu Hotel, I stayed in a deluxe room which was also incredible. It was one hotel that I wished I had more time to hang around and enjoy the room and its surroundings. The king-size bed was super comfortable and there is a pillow menu to help you select the perfect accompaniment for your slumber. The room is well airconditioned, but with a large balcony overlooking the ocean, having the doors open is also welcomed. Light chiffon curtains keep the glare out and help with privacy. In the evening, heavy curtains block out all of the light from outside.
There is good storage space here for those who might stay longer and a desk that doubles as a dressing table with a built-in mirror. A Bluetooth speaker is also provided and USB charging outlets in the wall. My usual bugbear, the lighting, was not an issue here, with excellent natural lighting as well as the powered kind.
The bathroom, with shower, is spacious and the water has excellent pressure and temperature. The complimentary water provided in all rooms comes in recycled glass bottles.
The pool occupies a perfect spot outside the Hornbill Restaurant with views out over the ocean. Sun lounges line the pool edge and make for a very easy transition in and out of the water. With the bar nearby, it’s the perfect spot to hang out and relax.
Just near reception, the guest lounge is the perfect place to escape the heat. Equipped with a TV, Apple iMac, a library, and various games including a pool table, it’s a great place to hang out and relax.
The Hornbill Restuarant reflects the mood of the resort in its design, but the food here is anything but casual. There’s a good range of more western foods, but as you might expect, their traditional Thai food is excellent.
Hornbill Restaurant also houses the buffet breakfast each morning.
Long Island Bar
Adjacent to the Hornbill Restaurant is the Long Island Bar, with seating that allows for a view over the ocean in several directions.
Breakfast can also be taken at the Long Island Bar, where a live roti station is set up each day.
For a quick cup of coffee, some ice cream or a tasty piece of cake, Cafe Kantary is the place to go.
Private dining on the beach can also be arranged.
Activities on Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi is a small island. Whilst many people will come here simply to relax and swim, there is still plenty you can do both on the island and in the surrounding area.
Motorcycles can be hired and if you are intent on just having a drive around the island, you can easily circumnavigate it in around an hour. Or, you can talk to the friendly team at Cape Kudu Hotel and have them organise a small tour, to take in some of the island’s highlights.
Best things to do on Koh Yao Noi
There’s no better location to do a cooking class here than in the Hornbill Restaurant, overlooking the pool and ocean. During a two hour class, we learned how to make some classic Thai dishes, then sat down to eat them all.
Visit a coconut farm
On Koh Yao Noi, you can wander through several coconut farms and have one cut open for you to drink the fresh milk.
Find a pier for sunset
Get over to the west side of the island in time for sunset and if the weather and clouds are behaving, you will see the sky light up. We watched our sunset on the pier near the Municipal Park, where all the locals tend to hang out at night time.
Watch the sunrise
Equally, on the eastern side of the island, the sunrise can be amazing. This shot was taken from the balcony of my room.
Take a day trip to nearby islands
The waters off the coast of Krabi have so many options to choose from when it comes to islands. The area is known for sheer limestone cliff faces that rise up vertically from the sea. Often, there will be clumps of them together. They look spectacular.
Trips can be taken that will allow you to cruise the clear waters in the comfort of a speedboat, admiring everything in your path. Alternatively, boat tours can integrate with opportunities to swim, snorkel and even have a picnic lunch on the white sandy beaches.
On the way to Koh Yao Noi from Krabi, we stopped by the beautiful Koh Hong. Whilst the beach here is great, it’s also a major stop for day trips from Krabi, so expect to see a lot of people. Instead of stopping here, we went out to the back of the island and through what felt like a secret passage. Through a narrow gap in between the limestone rocks, a lagoon emerged. It’s the perfect spot for swimming too. Once again though, there were plenty of boats and people here.
We spent a half day exploring the area onboard the Kudu Wanderer Tour, organised by the Cape Kudu Hotel. Following a relaxing cruise around the islands, we stopped for a picnic lunch and a swim at Koh Kudu Yai, a beach that felt quite private with two large limestone rocks guarding the entry.
Visit the Big Tree
Our last stop for the day was to Ao Kian Beach where the “Big Tree” lives. At almost 65 metres tall, it’s a beautiful tree in the rainforest and worthy of a stop.
Where is Cape Kudu Hotel located?
Cape Kudu Hotel is located on Koh Yao Noi in Thailand. The island is in the Phang Nga Bay, approximately halfway between Phuket and Krabi. It is a small island, inhabited by a very small local population who farm and fish in their backyard. Koh Yao Noi is not a tourist destination, but it is worthy of a visit. Surrounded by the incredible waters of the Andaman Sea, it’s a tropical paradise.
How to get to Cape Kudu Hotel
We flew with Thai Airways from Bangkok to Krabi. Once in Krabi, getting from the various areas and islands can all be done by either long tail boat or speedboat, depending on your location. We had a speedboat charter from Krabi to Koh Yao Noi, which also allowed us to stop at various points of interest along the way.
From Phuket, a longtail boat can take you from the Bang Rong Pier or from Krabi to Koh Yao Noi, ferries and speedboats operate from Thalen Pier.
Beer and Croissants was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. As always all opinions, editorial and images are always our own.