Lying on one of the 800 islands that make up the Mergui Archipelago, the Wa Ale Island Resort is a luxury eco-resort that takes inspiration from the breath-taking natural beauty of its surrounds to create an unassuming yet exclusive island retreat.
Wa Ale Private Island Resort might well be the definition of barefoot luxury – an idyllic natural paradise meets earthy, wooden interiors and food and drink that impresses from breakfast to dinner. The main pavilion is the centrepiece of this tropical bolthole, a lofty teak structure covered in thatch and skirted with reclaimed decking.
There are rattan armchairs and leather barstools, plus coffee tables and glossy photo books to peruse alongside a glass of something cold. Beyond the main pavilion, there’s a sand bocce court and table tennis room, plus kitchen gardens, beanbags, and beachside loungers.
Designed to blend seamlessly into their tropical surroundings the 14 villas on Wa Ale are beautifully bohemian in style and with fantastic eco credentials to boot. Reclaimed natural wood, stylish bamboo furniture and quirky patterns are complimented by ocean views, outdoor showers, and private decks in all villas. For direct beach access and a larger living area opt for the Tented Beach Villas, and for a more private setting opt for one of the two thatched Treetop Villas.
Built mindfully with extreme care and thought, no tree was removed during Wa Ale Resort’s construction. As a result, every aspect of this barefoot luxury blends meticulously into its jungle and marine surroundings.
Wa Ale Resort can be found on the 9000-acre island of Wa Ale in the Andaman Sea, off the southern tip of Myanmar. If coming from Yangon, you would take a 1.5-hour flight to Kawthaung followed by a 15-minute trip to the jetty to board a one-hour-and forty-five-minute speedboat ride to the island. It’s a very similar journey if wishing to come from Bangkok. Or, from Phuket it is a 3.5-hour drive to Ranong followed by a 15-minute-long tail boat ride across the border to Kawthaung to pick up the speedboat.
This private island setting is a place of staggering natural beauty, where lush rainforest undulates towards patches of pristine private beach. The 10-minute walk from your villa to the main pavilion is an adventure that will leave you dazzled and in awe. There are small sharks that buzz through the shallows, sea eagles that soar overhead and soft floury sand underfoot.
The ‘villas’ are more like luxury safari tents than conventional hotel rooms, with low lying double beds draped in mosquito nets, set upon dark stained floorboards. Each has an offset seating area with a coffee table and sofa, plus outside decking that leads directly to the beach. The lapping ocean is just a hundred feet or so away and it’s not uncommon for sea turtles to nest right beside your porch.
In fact, jetlagged guests are encouraged to wander along the beach in the early hours with a torch, just in case. Bathrooms are in an enclosed outside space, allowing guests to shower under the stars surrounded by lush green shrubs.
The main resort features 11 Tented Beach Villas and 3 Treetop Villas located on the Turtle Beach. A new four-bedroom Beach House and three Beach Bungalows have been added in 2020 on the private Honeymoon Beach offering ultimate space, luxury, and privacy to its privileged guests. In line with the resort’s ethos of supporting conservation and sustainability, all the structures have been carefully constructed using locally reclaimed materials in order to minimise the ecological impact on the surrounding environment.
The resort’s emphasis is on the great outdoors with minimal modern distractions. Therefore, the villas are devoid of television and telephone. Furthermore, the retreat is remarkably eco-friendly, as it relies primarily on solar power and most of the waste generated is recycled. The guests are also encouraged to support this cause during their stay by being sensitive to excessive energy usage within the villas.
There is no air-conditioning, hairdryers, or mini bars in the villas. Instead, all the villas are fitted with high-efficiency fans, which combined with the cool sea breeze work like magic, and complimentary in-villa tea and coffee service is offered every day. Wi-Fi internet is also available in the villas as well as in the Main Pavilion and River Café. Tap water within the retreat is double filtered and drinkable, and luxury bath amenities on offer are completely biodegradable and coral safe.
Your days at Wa Ale are likely to be spent wandering between the powder-fine sands of the beach and the warm waters of the Andaman Sea. Set within the waters of Lampi Marine National Park, the diving and snorkelling here are world class, with whale sharks, dolphins, eagle, and manta rays all calling the islands home. Above the water, be as active or indolent as you like. Wa Ale is also home to pythons, civet cats, monitor lizards and macaques, while whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins can be found offshore.
Children of all ages are warmly welcomed at Wa Ale. However, the active outdoorsy nature of Wa Ale and its remote location might not be particularly suitable for very young children and infants. Its spellbinding experiences are ideal for families with older kids.
Weather in the islands is dominated by two main seasons. The dry season and the rainy monsoon. Wa Ale is closed during the monsoon from 01 June to 30 September. October and May can also see some rain, so we recommend visiting from November to April when the skies are clear, the winds calm, and temperatures rise upwards of 27˚C.
Wa Ale Island makes every effort to reduce its carbon footprint while maintaining a high level of service for you. The hotel donates 20% of their profits per annum directly to the Lampi Foundation, whose projects currently include turtle conservation, coral protection, community projects and local charitable donations.
For further information, please do feel free to contact Nicola directly or at The Explorations Company for further inspiration and unforgettable safaris and holidays to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
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