With enriching simplicity and an ethical dimension underscoring its creation, Wa Ale Island Resort brings barefoot luxury chic to a remote island in Myanmar, turning it into an enchanting new destination.
These days it is difficult to find a corner of our planet relatively untouched by civilization, and one which also allows a discerning traveler to unwind and relax in comfort.
Until recently, the Mergui Archipelago has not seen many foreign visitors. After all, it is quite far away from the main attractions of Myanmar, and the tourist infrastructure in the region is basic. But now Wa Ale is putting it on the map, and on new itineraries, opening it up to the luxury travel niche.
A different kind of luxury
From the moment we boarded the luxury boat in Kawthaung, Myanmar, we knew this is a special kind of hotel arrival. First off, just as we got to the boat there was a massive torrential outpour, and stepping into the cabin felt like reaching a welcoming shelter — padded with leather seating, no less. The ride to the island took almost three hours, but we had snacks, drinks, and passed the time in a conversation with two other couples, who were, like us, the new arrivals to Wa Ale.
We were warmly welcomed in the main pavilion of the resort, but then we drove over the hills and through the dense forest, to the beach. With every minute, it felt like going deeper and deeper into the wild interior of the island — until we emerged onto the clearing and walked to the beach villas.
Perched between lush tropical jungle and the vast, empty beach, our tented villa felt like the perfect place to disconnect from civilization. The simplicity and the aesthetics of the accommodation fit that idea. The villas have no private swimming pool, no air-conditioning, not even phones. And the room service is limited, again, due to the distance from the rest of the resort.
But the amazing four-poster bed, the outdoor bathroom-under-the-stars, and the direct link to the deserted beach were the essential things that mattered.
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Boho in the wilderness
The design of Wa Ale is clearly inspired by some of the most beautiful safari lodges of Africa, with hints of a boho style weaved into its earthy style. This aesthetic is also apparent in the main pavilion of the resort, a lofty thatched building with an open-air space furnished with handmade rugs, rattan armchairs, huge wicker lamps, and reclaimed wood furniture.
This is where all meals are served, sometimes on a communal table, safari lodge style. The ever-changing menu, prepared by the award-winning chef Ray fits the style of the resort perfectly: the dishes are simple and healthy, and always delicious.
The style of Wa Ale matches its location. Surrounded by a lush rainforest island, with a beautiful beach on one side and a dark mangrove forest on the other, from which emerges the arrival jetty, the place evokes the sense of a carefree vacation.
An uninhabited island like Wa Ale calls for a luxury experience that goes in a direction opposite to gold door handles, butlers and evening dress codes. Instead, the resort focuses on essential experiences that enrich and help to disengage from the stress of everyday life. And based on our few days stay here, we can attest that the Wa Ale Island Resort delivers on that promise.
The creators of this beautiful property turned a forgotten spot in the Andaman Sea coastline into a new, unique destination for a discerning traveler.