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Reviewed September 5, 2016

I was recently a guest of Keemala, and what a unique and special place it is! If you're looking for a Phuket stay that's not on a beach, this is a resort well worth considering. The design elements alone elevate the resort, though you must know what to expect when booking. As Keemala is built on a hillside, some villas offer less true privacy than others. The staff are pretty accommodating, though, so let your preferences be known, and they'll try to get you into the right villa. The other result of being on a hill is that many of the villas are not at all suitable for the mobility-challenged. I was in a Tent Pool villa (amazing, by the way) -- number 503 -- and getting to this villa required walking up, then down, then up again over 100 stairs. Some villas are much more easily accessed, of course. The slope of some of the resort's roadways to the uppermost villas is quite extreme and one wonders at times how the tires on the resort's buggies manage to keep their grip!

Keemala's main pool is lovely and includes a waterfall feature, but I never saw anyone in or by it at all. I suppose that's a side effect of every villa having its own pool! The plus point is that if you want a larger pool than what's in your villa, you may well have the main pool all to yourself. There are also resident ducks and water buffalo onsite, too -- though they don't use the pool, either.

The staff for the most part are very friendly and helpful, but this is still a new resort -- less than a year old -- so it's possible some service standards are still being worked towards and refined. Service was certainly never bad, but I would use the word "inconsistent" on the whole. Happily, there was never a doubt that the desire to do better was there, so that's half the battle. In time, I think the few missteps will be sorted. English is spoken and understood by the staff to varying degrees.

There is a free carpark at the resort, so I took advantage by renting a nice scooter. I think in general, arranging your own transportation is advisable here, rather than relying solely on taxis and/or Keemala's daily shuttle service. Very little is in walking distance from the resort. It's always good to have your own wheels, and it's a short drive to both Kamala Beach (or the village) and also Patong -- and just a bit further south to Karon Beach.

The spa at Keemala is excellent and I enjoyed one of the best massages I've ever had there -- the one-hour "harmonizing massage". In addition to the spa services, holistic practitioners also visit in-residence, and complimentary classes and programs are frequently offered to guests.

The villas themselves are quite special. Spacious, well-designed, and boasting some of the most unconventional architecture you're likely to see in Phuket. In the Tent Pool Villa, for example, some 70% of the exterior walls (and all of the roof) are indeed tent canvas. Obviously very high quality, waterproof, and very well-built, but it's like being in a big luxurious tent! The "maxi-bar" in the villas is great -- beyond a mini-bar, it offers various snacks, sodas, juices, and local beer, all complimentary and restocked daily. Quality teas and coffee beans are also offered: grind your own beans and brew a cup of real coffee -- none of that rubbishy coffee pod nonsense. The bed was insanely comfortable, too. Just outstanding in every way. The Tent Villa bathroom, while not as jaw-dropping as the one in the Bird's Nest Villas (seriously, that bathroom is amazing), was still quite nice. Loads of water pressure for the indoor and outdoor showers, and a nice soaking tub by the window, too. There's also a pair of sunloungers by the pool, and a spacious "front porch" that's a nice place for dining or relaxing. Furnishing in the villa is amazing -- Thai-designed and much of it carrying the subtle motifs of the resort, the four primary designs matching the four clans that inspired the villa designs. I also liked seeing that many of the villas were built to preserve existing trees; in some, they literally built the villa or its pool around a tree, rather than just bulldozing it.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is a semi-buffet, with the menu offering a wonderful range of dishes prepared to order and the buffet supplementing it with pastries, breads, a few cheeses, and a basic salad bar of sorts. Fresh juices, smoothies, and the usual coffees and teas are available. Service was pretty spotty here when the restaurant was busy. As the resort has only 38 villas, the restaurant is quite small -- only 10 tables inside and a handful outside (which were not in use during most of my stay due to rainy mornings). With so few tables, one would expect fairly crisp and responsive service. It wasn't bad, but could be improved.

At the other meals, I would say the Thai and Indian dishes are the best bet. The Thai tom gha kai (a chicken coconut soup) was outstanding, as was the green curry. On the Indian side, I tried the chicken tikka masala and it was very tasty. Prices on the menu might seem a bit steep, but it's important to note that the prices shown are inclusive of tax and service, always a nice touch for me so you know what you're really paying, rather than seeing the bill at 15-21% higher (depending on the country you're visiting) at the end.

Overall, Keemala is already a great place to visit that I think will only continue to get better as it gets settled and matures. For a new resort, it's quickly made a great impact on the Phuket luxury villa scene and now just needs a bit of time to refine itself. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and would return again!

Room tip: 502 or 503 for Tent Villas, 701 or 709 nice for Bird's Nest Villas. If you have a kid, choose the 2-story Tree House villa.
Date of stay: September 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank chadley25
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
ConorOLeary, General Manager at Keemala, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2016

Dear Chad,
Firstly thank you for coming to stay at Keemala during your visit to Phuket last month. It was really a pleasure to meet you and share stories and I appreciate the valuable feedback you offered us given your extensive travelling record. I will not go into too much detail regarding your review as your great detail covers it all, but only to say thank you.
I really do hope that we will have the pleasure to welcome you again and in the meantime if I can ever be of any assistance, you know where to find me.
Warm regards,
Conor O'Leary

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2016

We loved every second of our stay there, 4 nights in Paradise. Private Villas, beautifully designed, private, original, private swimming pool, lovely service to match. Garden and location out of this world.

Room tip: Try every category of bungalows they offer, we loved the clay bungalow best
Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank CMM430
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
ConorOLeary, General Manager at Keemala, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2016

Dear CMM430,
We are delighted that you loved every second of your stay and hope that means we will be welcoming you back soon. As Keemala is always developing and maturing, in gardens and services, we will be only getting better and better everyday and we look forward to having you join us again on that journey.
Until next time, take care,
Conor O'Leary
General Manager.

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Reviewed August 29, 2016 via mobile

Yesterday I stay in Keemala it's superb specially it's Indian food is awesome and there Indian chef is also great.so you can't find better hotel and Indian and Muslim halal and tasty food in Keemala resort

Date of stay: August 2016
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank Sheikh Ahsan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
ConorOLeary, General Manager at Keemala, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2016

Dear Sheikh Ahsan,
Thank you for visiting us and thank you for your nice review. Khun Sunnil our Indian Chef was especially pleased to see you enjoyed his cuisine and he is looking forward to preparing something very nice for you during your next visit.
Best regards,
Conor O'Leary

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Reviewed August 15, 2016 via mobile

Just got back yesterday.
This is my first hotel that i give a review in my life but i think it's needs to be done.

We arrived here at 3 p.m. and we got rooms in 4.30 p.m. Try to let it go at first but t.v. is broke and plug over bed can not be use (electrical mechanics come to fix it for us use like 50 mins) in the night our group have some drink and ask them to pick someone from the room they said "it's a detour to pick us up if u walk by yourself it's will be nearer" (around 400 meter with the slope almost 40 degree) need to explain and argue that they are a women and not in the condition to walk. (they always say no until i start to ask is the charge of the ride include with the bill that i already pay or not then they send someone to pick up)

Saturday someone of my group order for a sea bass for dinner in room and hotel tell them that we don't have any kind of fish left. (In menu they have many kind of fish) and when they finish meal (before 7 p.m.) and ask for someone to pick the tray no one come till morning)

Room is very beautiful decoration and building is very nice but if u stay in the high room do not expect a view from your room outside of hotel is not thing to look at all and no privacy if you hope for it.

And last the slope to the room is very very high if you come to amuse yourself with roller coaster with no seatbelt "be their guest"

Ps. Roller coaster thing it's the best part for me in this hotel.

All this cost you 500 usd/night.

Date of stay: August 2016
Trip type: Traveled with friends
12  Thank nut R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
ConorOLeary, General Manager at Keemala, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2016

Dear Khun Nut,
Thank you to you and your group coming to visit us at Keemala back in August. I am very sorry that everything was not perfect during your stay but I am also very surprised to see your review content, at least that even when mentioning your dissatisfactions you chose not to mention that during your stay, learning about some issues, I did contact you and discuss the issues personally. I did also respond and offer some compensation as a gesture of apology which you later took the time to call me directly and thank me for my gesture. I am sorry that you did not feel the value to inform our future guests about this. Regarding to the poor way in which you were treated when requesting a buggy transfer, I can confirm that action has been taken to ensure this does not happen to any other guests here at Keemala. And regarding to the fish that had run out on saturday night, please note that we limit our ordering every day by portion amount to ensure that we have the freshest produce being delivered and prepared for our guests daily. On the saturday evening when your friend called down, unfortunately the Seabass had been fully ordered by other guests, I am sorry that there was a miscommunication regarding other fish as we did have fresh grouper still available in the kitchen.
Over all once again I thank you for staying at Keemala and for your review, but although I accept that we were unable on this occasion to fully satisfy you, I find it important to inform correctly that we did make an effort to ease the situation and make you all feel better.
Very best regards,
Conor O'Leary
General Manager

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Reviewed August 13, 2016

When my wife told me that she booked our family vacation in a Tree House at the Keemala Resort in Phuket, Thailand, I was a bit skeptical and also worried about the safety for our young son. However, after she showed me a picture of the Tree House at Keemala (which turns out isn't really a tree house), I was blown away and we couldn't wait for our trip. Once we got to Keemala, Shane the concierge placed a flower necklace (I think it's jasmine) around each of us and gave each of us a refreshing coconut water to drink. We rode in a golf cart to our Tree House villa (yes, villa not a hotel room) where we were blown away by villa and all of the amenities available to us. Free WiFi, private pool, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks in the mini-bar, and wonderful natural soaps and lotions for that spa experience, just to name a few.

Keemala has several models of their villas to choose from (each with different pricing), but from what I can see, each one is elegant and wonderful to stay in. The Tree House villa we stayed in is two stories, with the bedroom on the top floor and a lounge and private pool on the second floor. Although I haven't seen what the other villas are like on the inside, I believe that the Tree House is probably the best out of all of them. The Tree House may not be suitable for young children (infants to 5 years old) because of the stairs, but for others I think it would blow their minds.

Our son really enjoyed the private pool and the larger pool with a waterfall located near the lobby. We really took advantage of the private pool and spent a good time relaxing and playing games there. Our son also enjoyed all of the complementary snacks he can eat (complementary soda and juice are also available) and the plethora of movies he can watch. Fortunately, there is so much to do in Phuket (Tiger Experience, Cobra Show, Flying Hanuman, etc...) he didn't spend much time in front of the television.

If you have the chance, I highly recommend taking the cooking class from Nadia, one of their executive chefs at Keemala -she was just awesome! The cooking class is more like having a personal chef, then an instructor, but we did learn a lot about Thai cooking and Thai cooking ingredients. It's a bit on the pricey side (about $100 per person), but I believe it was well worth the price for a chance to learn from a professional chef and to have a personal chef cook for you for a couple of hours. Oh...and the food was absolutely delicious!

I have to say, our stay at Keemala was just absolutely wonderful! The Tree House was great, especially waking up to the gentle sound of jungle birds singing, kinda like nature's wake up call. Breakfast is also included with our stay and was absolutely wonderful.

I have only a few concerns: 1) The golf cart rides from our villa to the restaurant or lobby can be a little bit "exciting"...I highly suggest you keep your head, arms, and hands inside the cart at all times. There are some very narrow paths and some steep climbs, so keep that in mind if you plan to stay at Keemala. 2) The villas are kinda close to each other, so if you're looking for real privacy, I suggest you call or email Keemala and request for the villas that are a little more secluded.

Keemala is a boutique luxury resort and pricing is high; but the service and amenities, I believe is well worth it. If you can splurge a little, Keemala is a great place to consider!

I want to make a shout out to Shane, Tobie, Mhaii, Bird, Ram, Pow, and Billman (I may have butchered this person's name) for their attention to service. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the names of all of the staff who took care of us at Keemala, but all of them were wonderful and willing to attend to our needs as best they can.

Room tip: Call or email Keemala to request a villa that is a little more private. The Tree House and Bird Nest are the largest villas.
Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank Biofacto
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Keemala, General Manager at Keemala, responded to this reviewResponded August 14, 2016

Dear Biofacto,
We are delighted that you tried a visit to Keemala and that you loved every bit of it. All my team had great pleasure in taking care of you and your family and miss you since you are gone. Thank you for the lovely review here and especially for the names you have added. As always it makes a persons day to know they have had a positive impact on our guests special holiday. We very much look forward to welcoming you back to Phuket very soon.
Kindest regards, Conor O'Leary, General Manager.

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