The best travel tips and holiday recommendations come form those who have been there before.
In the second part in our guest questionnaire series, we ask some of our regular villa clients on Phuket
to offer their advice on making the most of an exclusive island stay.
Last year, in Part One of our Villa Satisfaction Survey (see blog entry on December 27, 2012
), we asked regular villa guests about the various elements that make for a perfect private holiday. The questions we posed ranged from what guests like to do first on arrival at a private villa to their favourite daily activities and the reasons they choose to venture beyond the privacy and comfort of their personal holiday home.
The answers we got were not always the ones we expected, but they definitely offer anyone considering a villa holiday some useful insights into the pleasures and attractions that await. The responses also showed that even when guests staying at the same villa have different tastes and preferences, the range of facilities and services on offer gives each individual them freedom to choose how best to enjoy the vacation.
For Part Two of the survey we decided to delve deeper into the private villa experience and focus on some of the finer details. When we got a general answer, we pressed for more information, and as in Part One of the survey, the responses were enlightening.
Before getting down to the nitty gritty, it seemed sensible to ask people about their lasting impressions. What memories do they normally take home from a holiday in a private villa?
The answers varied enormously, depending on the type of property and the people sharing it, but a lot of guests highlighted the location and views. When we asked for specifics, the responses were split right down the middle…
"Breakfast time or sunset"
Guests that chose breakfast time said they loved the feeling of starting a new day in their villa, sitting on the pool terrace looking out at the ocean and blue skies as they planned the day ahead. Meanwhile, the sunset lovers talked about the sense of relaxed satisfaction they felt as they sipped on a cool drink and enjoyed the feeling of absolute freedom when the sky turned crimson and they looked forward to the evening's fun and food.
Next we discussed guests' favourite spaces in their villa. All the families we spoke to said the private pool at first, but then on reflection, most of the adults switched to the drier places, but still generally those outside. When all the responses were counted, the most popular place to hang out was…
"The relaxation sala (or gazebo)"
If you have never stayed in a villa you may not have experienced these open sided chill out areas, which are actually inspired by Thai villages where a wooden "Sala" is generally the centre of community life. IN private villas they tend to be much grander structures with cushioned sofas or tables and chairs for dining al fresco. Some even come with built-in fridges so you never have to venture far from your favourite relaxation spot.
As most of the focus had so far been on the outdoor experience, we then asked guests about their villa's interior spaces and which rooms they used the most. Somewhat surprisingly, the most popular answer to this was…
Not so surprising, perhaps, when you consider that most people choose a private villa for the peace and quiet it offers and that many guests also use their holiday to catch up on some much needed shut-eye. Unlike at a resort where you are often woken by the cleaning staff knocking on the door or clattering their buckets outside, at a private villa you can sleep until your ready to rise. You can even tell the staff to have your breakfast ready at noon if you like.
Speaking of meals, we thought it would also be interesting to ask what kind of food guests enjoyed most when eating in at their private villa. With a good number of holiday homes now offered with a private chef, the choices at mealtimes are not only delicious, but endless. So what was the favourite cuisine?
In the case of Phuket and Samui this obviously means Thai food, but once again, when we pressed for more details we got some surprising answers. Simple Pad Thai noodles came top of the list. In fact, a good number of guests said they ate this every day at the villa, particularly at lunchtime. Next was any dish with fresh seafood, which in Thailand literally means a choice of hundreds. One of the joys of staying on island is the fresh seafood, and with the flavours and spices of Thailand
thrown in, it's clearly an irresistible culinary combination.
To round off the second phase of our survey, we switched the focus to more active island pleasures. Phuket and Samui offer so many activities on land and at sea, we thought it would be useful to share guests' recommendations for the best day trips the islands have to offer. Families with smaller children chose attractions they could all enjoy, like the aquarium, monkey shows and elephant riding. But for the grown-ups, there was one (or rather two) top choices for a fun day out…
"Snorkelling or Scuba Diving"
Photo by Dave Malabar
The myriad opportunities that Thailand offers visitors to experience and enjoy the undersea world is definitely something that makes a beach holiday in the kingdom extra special. No matter your level of skill, there are plenty of sites within easy reach of your villa where you can slip on a mask and gaze at the colourful fish and corals. More experienced divers can go deep to mix with a multitude of incredible marine life, and with regular trips and even private speedboats easily hired to pick you up right from the beach, underwater adventures are high on most people's holiday hitlists.
We believe the above answers, combined the ones we received in Part One of our Villa Satisfaction Survey, offer an interesting and appealing snapshot of a private villa holiday on one of Thailand's two favourite islands. We will follow up with more questions and answers in a future blog, so check back regularly for tips and highlights from the people who know best — the guests.
by LVH Marketing