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A worker tests the waters at the Cher Fah Khao Lak

Andaman's Top Resort? Check Out the Cher Fah

Monday, February 9, 2009
Take the Tour Album Above

THERE'S a Thai who changes his nickname every year, just for fun. And why not? I like that idea. ''Alan'' this year, ''Bryan'' next.

His boss is inclined to go with him to meetings and say: ''Let me introduce my long-time marketing manager . . . sorry, what was your name again?''

Not many resorts are like that. They take on a moniker, and they stick to it, although sometimes they might add a ''Hilton'' or a ''Marriott.''

When it comes to names, the Cher Fah Khao Lak breaks all the rules. But you probably won't know it as the Cher Fah.

Let's see now, since 2004 it has been the Novotel, the Sofitel, the Kempinski, the Rixos Premium . . . and now the Cher Fah.

Beneath all those name changes lies a story of drama and passion that is probably unrivalled in the region.

The tsunami crunched in here at a height above nine metres, there was a battle with the insurance company, yet staff were well-compensated, then just as the owners decided to bring the resort back to life, along came the Bangkok airports blockade and the world financial tsunami.

Whatever name this place has, there are a few words that describe it. ''Magnificent'' is one. We think it adds a capital W to the wow factor.

Now, I admit to a secret uncontrollable lust to visit resorts just before they open. The Cher Fah is due for the soft version any day in February now, with the grand opening scheduled for March.

To me, it shapes as the kind of resort that will delight guests in just about every aspect. It isn't finished yet, and I didn't want to leave.

We have already reported some of the attractions of this resort, under its previous aliases. This time around, the Juniors Club caught our eye, while the yet-to-be-completed spa centre seems to combine the Roman Baths and touches of the Taj Mahal.

Even the simple frustrations of some less considered destinations have been thoughtfully overcome.

There's a swipe card to enter the room (but no maddening insertion slot), a wireless keyboard to operate the Internet on your large screen television set, a smart electrics system and waterproof cushions on the overhanging balcony sofa.

As well as the individual pleasures, rooms that are cushy and comfortable, there's a broad sweep to this resort that, according to management, allows you to swim three kilometres through its pool system without passing the same point.

As the New York Times highlighted recently, apart from the occasional boatload of refugees, the Andaman coast is already deservedly the ''five-star destination of the year.''

By my reckoning, the attention to detail and quality at the Cher Fah makes it outstanding, even among a lot of top competition.

A stroll around this place is a delight for the eye, even with workers scurrying about, making last minute adjustments.

All that drama and passion? It is still there. And you know what they say about roses: sweet, no matter what the name.

If you get the chance, check out the Cher Fah. If you are even more fortunate, check in.

Cher Fah Khao Lak Resort, Telephone +66 (76) 584 888. E: or

Do you have an opening coming up? Tell us via the Comment box below or

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