If you have a Mac, make sure you take it to The Headland Villas. The five properties on this luxury development are elegant, stylish, compact and desirable enough to have been designed by Apple Inc. There's something extremely satisfying about reclining on a cushioned sunbed by a blue-tiled swimming pool, tropical islands silhouetted in the distance while you chat on Skype, courtesy of the villa’s WiFi access, knowing that you fit the scene perfectly.
But it's not just the modern touches that make this villa (and neighbouring Headland Villas 1, 3, 4, and 5) so special; it's the way its design is so perfectly integrated into the stunning, natural setting. Clever features like folding doors (front and back), with roller blinds for daytime shade, add new meaning to the well-used phrase ‘bringing the outside in’ and keep the villa blissfully cool. These touches, along with an intelligent use of space make what is essentially quite a compact residence feel very roomy. It's therefore easy to switch between pleasures on a whim. You can wander straight from your king-size bed down to the pool to float in peace surrounded by tropical greenery and the soothing sound of crickets, then pop back to your bright, open-plan bathroom for a refreshing rain shower before grabbing a snack and freshly brewed coffee on your way upstairs to watch a movie in the TV lounge overlooking the sea.
The staff, like the decor, are discreet. There's an efficient daily maid and a friendly, knowledgeable on-site manager, but once you've enjoyed your healthy continental breakfast (included) you can turn the service on or off to suit your day (a full-time chef and provisioning are available at extra cost). It's a steep climb down to Taling Ngam beach but well worth the effort as you'll probably have it to yourself most days. Restaurants and resort-style amenities are in nipping distance, while boat trips, fishing trips and elephants rides are easily arranged. Drinking in the cinematic views with Vivaldi flowing through the Bose surround-sound system in the lounge is nothing short of living poetry.
The Headland Villas are set on a secluded cliff side overlooking a stunning bay with small islands stretching to the horizon. Interconnecting pathways and steps lead to each villa entrance, and a narrow garden path from behind Villa 2 allows easy access to Villa 4 for groups or families renting both properties (but this also means there’s a danger that kids could stray into a stranger's villa). More steps lead down to a semi-private section of Taling Ngam beach that's quite rocky in places but swimmable at high tide and shared only by occasional guests from the nearby InterContinental Baan Taling Ngam Resort. The guarded (public) road that leads to the villas’ car park is also used by this up-market resort. The villa manager can organise buggies to take you to the resort's restaurants and spa facilities. A one-kilometre drive (the road is walkable, but steep) takes you to Baan Taling Ngam village and beach offering a handful of low-key resorts and restaurants, plus a peaceful temple to visit.
From a communal car park, landscaped steps and walkways lead to each of the five Headland villas. Climbing two short flights of stone steps to enter Villa 2, you first reach a small lawned garden with a 12m infinity swimming pool and loungers placed for sun and views. From here, more steps rise to two olive and white, thatch-roofed buildings. To the right, the bedroom pavilion is set back slightly, leaving space for a small garden terrace with outdoor table and chairs. The living pavilion is on the left separated from the bedrooms by a covered passage (planted with greenery).
Inside, the spacious open-plan living and dining area is served by a well-equipped (with brand name appliances) kitchen and breakfast bar. Built-in cupboards contain enough crockery, glasses and cutlery for a dinner party. One cupboard also houses the mood lighting controls and a powerful stereo system which feeds wall-mounted speakers. The dining table seats eight, and there's an inviting sofa close by to sink into after you've eaten. Fold-out glass doors on all four walls welcome the views and sea breezes, but there's the option of air conditioning and ceiling fans (throughout the villa) to supplement.
The twin bedroom faces the living area across the covered passage and features folding doors on two sides with roller blinds for day-time shade and privacy, built-in storage and soothing contemporary artwork. The room opens onto a spacious ensuite bathroom with rain shower, beyond which is a small private garden, guaranteeing plenty of natural light. The adjacent master bedroom features a double four-poster bed and offers the same spacious bathroom amenities. At the end of the covered passage is a guest shower room on the right and, on the left, a wood and steel stairway rising to a mezzanine lounge area above the living area, furnished with twin beds and a comfortable double sofa bed, in front of a flat screen TV and DVD player. (This area, along with the downstairs shower room, could be used as an extra bedroom for a larger group.)
6.2m X 6.2m
6.2m X 6.2m