It looks like something out of the fictional Nomanisan Island in The Incredibles, with its retro-utopian architecture of modernist white villas anchored by a monumental pavilion rising high above the tip of Cape Yamu, 360-degree views of the Andaman Sea opening directly to the ancient limestones karsts of Phang Nga Bay. But looks can be deceiving. Step right into the wide open lobby and be unexpectedly greeted by a fascinating mise-en-scene of stacked limewashed wooden tables decorated with wooden figures, wabi-sabi wooden bowls, basket lamps, and fresh market flowers — an irreverent take on Buddhist temple altars, and almost an antithesis to the exotic extravagance of Asian luxury resorts.
This was my third stay at Como Point Yamu, and each feels more like returning to a holiday home, especially with the familiarity of oceanic-style living spaces and warm Thai hospitality. The sprawling property continues to pull off its cool down-to-earth vibe, and yet with such elevated elegance. Not easy, I’m sure, but when you have Paola Navone, iconic Italian designer, crafting the experience with her eclectic visual vocabulary and sense of whimsy, you know you’re somewhere quite special. Hand-folded paper fish mobile to a mural-installation of temple garlands, and little laughing monks along a passageway, this joyfulness and unpredictability create delicious anticipation around each corner of the property–appealing to the art lover as much as the child.
We took a boat out to the new-ish Como Point Yamu Beach Club located on Naka Yai Island, one of the smaller, forested isles located in the famous bay where they filmed James Bond’s The Man with The Golden Gun. It’s a half-hour trip out, but well worth the day as we booked a shaded bamboo sala and enjoyed the private island as if it were a mini resort complete with its own saltwater pool, beach bar, barbeque nights, water sports, and even outdoor spa! We snacked on sublime baby ribs, polished off the Thai Fried Rice served classic-style in a pineapple, carbed out on mango sticky rice, and took a long post-prandial nap under the breezy trees. Back at the resort, sun-baked and kayaked-out, we sauntered into the award-wining Como Shambala Retreat for some hands-on healing with the signature Combo Shambala Massage, overlooking the bright blue ombre of sky meeting sea. It’s truly some kind of magic, and next, we were relishing coconut ice-cream in the garden (free treats every afternoon!) as if someone had switched on a rainbow.