These Rainforest Pods in Thailand Are Straight Out of a Fantasy

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By Jen Woo
Built into a wooded hillside in Phuket, Keemala offers a bewitching array of pool villas that range from teardrop-shaped pods to thatched cottages.

Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the hushed jungle escape of Keemala in Phuket, Thailand, offers 38 private pool villas and cottages that call to mind a coastal, tropical Shire. Though each accommodation is unique, all boast sleek, organic interiors with glittering mosaic walls and floors; charcoal tones and cherry wood; circular sofas; rough-hewn, boulder-sized stone tubs; and personal plunge pools in varied dimensions.

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Cocoon loungers hang by the infinity pool in one of the Tree Pool Houses, inspired by a mystical We-ha (Sky) Clan, a creative group that included healers, creators, architects, and inventors.

Cocoon loungers hang by the infinity pool in one of the Tree Pool Houses, inspired by a mystical We-ha (Sky) Clan, a creative group that included healers, creators, architects, and inventors.

The immersive resort experience stems from a fictitious history of four Keemala clans—Earth, Wanderer, Sky, and Nest, each with its corresponding lodging. The Pa-Ta-Pea (Earth) Clan is represented by the Clay Pool Cottages, each with views of the rainforest from the outdoor terrace. Just beyond lie the lands of the Khon-Jorn (Wanderer) Clan with luxe tents with plush interiors, monsoon and outside showers, and a stand-alone tub; the tent can be entirely unzipped for full jungle immersion. From the Rung-Nok (Nest) Clan come thatched domes resting high above with individual lap pools, grand terraces, and warm interiors melding wood and stone. 

The Clay Pool Cottages were designed to embody the culture of Keemala's Pa-Ta-Pea (Earth) Clan, which consisted of farmers, fishermen, carpenters, blacksmiths, and miners.

The Clay Pool Cottages were designed to embody the culture of Keemala's Pa-Ta-Pea (Earth) Clan, which consisted of farmers, fishermen, carpenters, blacksmiths, and miners.

The Bird's Nest Pool Villas, inspired by the Rung-Nok (Nest) Clan of artists, musicians, astrologers, philosophers, and poets, includes a private pool and sundeck.

The Bird's Nest Pool Villas, inspired by the Rung-Nok (Nest) Clan of artists, musicians, astrologers, philosophers, and poets, includes a private pool and sundeck.

Arguably the crown jewels of the resort, the seven teardrop-shaped Tree Pool Houses inspired by the We-Ha (Sky) Clan are swathed in rainforest and mountain views. These two-story villas boast a distinct design—coconut pods wrapped in bent wood with balconies. 

The balcony overlooks the infinity pool of the Tree Pool House.

The balcony overlooks the infinity pool of the Tree Pool House.

Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light with panoramas of the lush landscape, while hanging cocoon loungers provide plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax. A king-sized bed with a curved leather headboard, draped in Egyptian cotton sheets, awaits upstairs. In addition to a monsoon shower, the tree house offers an outside shower and a stand-alone tub for warm soaks. All 1,819 square feet were designed for the ultimate zen-inspired stay.

Relax in the private pool extending from the Tree Pool House. 

Relax in the private pool extending from the Tree Pool House. 

Naturally, the grounds and award-winning spa are every bit as much a healing haven with pod-like treatment rooms nestled in the gardens, each with a sauna, steam room, aromatherapy bath, and rain showers. One can enjoy body wraps, seaweed massages, soothing facials, as well as options for energy rebalancing and raindrop healing, singing bowls and all. 

The thatched spa rooms offer a suite of rejuvenating services.

The thatched spa rooms offer a suite of rejuvenating services.

Take a dip in the lagoon-like pool, which boasts a waterfall and swim-up bar with small bites, or get sweaty in the fitness studio with complimentary classes like yoga, tai chi on the beach, or Muay Thai boxing. Afterwards, you can indulge in an afternoon tea service with local and herbal teas and fresh juices, or pop over to Mala Restaurant for flavorful Thai and Indian eats before retreating to your private sanctuary. 

Circular patterns run rampant in the Mala restaurant. 

Circular patterns run rampant in the Mala restaurant. 

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