Sivalai is the Thai rendition of the English word, "civilised," which tells you something about the sorts of guests that this large upscale resort tries to attract.
With the cheapest villas running 5,000 baht in high season, this is not a backpacker hangout. The smoothly run but impersonal resort sprawls on a squeaky white-sand plateau on either side of the peninsula-esque sandbar that juts out for a good 30 metres into the teal water at low tide. Settled into a lounger near the large restaurant and small swimming pool, it feels like you're in the middle of a panoramic photo with 280-degree views of Hat Chao Mai National Park on the mainland. The smart wood-and-concrete Balinese-inspired villas are very spacious and tastefully decorated with wide glass windows, soft lanterns, rattan touches and silk pillows on luxurious beds. All rooms are in the form of standalone villas that are at least 35 square metres large and equipped with LCD TVs, minibars, gorgeous hot-water bathrooms and wide decks with cushioned lounge chairs. Prices depend mainly on proximity to the best part of the beach (away from The Wing the beach isn't so inviting around here), and the largest villas are great for families. The pool is a bit of a disappointment, though the Thai-European restaurant/bar enjoys prime views. Staff is exceedingly polite, and they offer bicycle and kayak rental along with private transfers from the mainland in Sivalai's own speedboats. High season starts November 1, so it's great value if you're here in late October.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 12th February, 2016.