An architectural masterpiece, Iniala is a place where no indulgence is out of reach, itineraries are tailored to fit your desires and exclusivity is key.
It’s the stuff of dreams… travel to a secluded beach in Thailand, build a few beach front villas and decorate it with the most creative art and furniture you can find from around the world. Then hire the best chefs and sommeliers you can find to prepare your meals. And of course, don’t worry about the cost -- as you're creating an environment that is awe-inspiring, exclusive, and incredibly special. And then when it’s done, just sit and relax as the sun sets on the beach in front of you. Welcome to Iniala.
Staying at the ultra-exclusive Iniala is like having your very own secluded beach front villa… only you don’t have to fret when the USD $200,000 bed you’re sleeping on gets a scratch on it. It’s a place that is completely over the top, totally innovative, and yet still manages to feel completely laid back. This type of indulgence is rare. It’s meant for business tycoons, heirs to great fortunes and yet, somehow we managed to fit in pretty well. That’s what I love about Iniala. Despite the high costs, Iniala is relaxed and completely void of snobbery, and I missed this place the moment we left.
Your Own Private Beach Front Villa
At Iniala, guests don’t just get a “room” for the night - they have private villas. Ours was the “Collectors Villa”, which in the most simplest of terms, is a 3 bedroom villa. Our villa came with a separate glass enclosed dining room, a living room and our own spa, all located directly on the beach. Oh and if we wanted to to watch a movie with 21 of our closest friends, we could in our own private cinema!
But the beach front views weren’t the only thing that stood out to us — the architecture of the villa, and the art that filled it, were equally — if not more — impressive. From walls covered in custom ceramics to an Edra "octopus" couch in the living room, this villa will get any art/architecture aficionado giddy.
Nervous at first, I began to acquaint myself with our new surroundings. I was a bit afraid to touch, to sit and to relax — but that only lasted until I was served my first glass of wine and freshly made macaroons. The room we settled in was designed by Jamie Hayon from Spain, complete with an oversized bathroom, Jo Malone amenities and of course a bright and sunny porch leading straight to the beach.
At Iniala, I was around the things I love; my husband, the beach, and amazing art and architecture. The only thing missing was our dog Karloff. Although I think if I would have asked, the staff at Iniala would have found a way to bring him to us from San Diego. And that’s what Iniala is all about; over the top service, an anything goes attitude — and somehow they’ve found a way to keep the demeanor total barefoot luxury.
A Typical Day at Iniala is Anything but Typical
Hungry? Just ask for anything you are in the mood for, and the chef will prepare it. Thirsty? The sommelier will be happy to recommend a wine from their vast collection or create a cocktail of your choosing. Fancy a spa treatment, just tell your villa manager what time works best for you. Basically, at Iniala, what ever your in the mood to do, is easily within reach.
We’d start our days simply; a little coffee on our beachfront patio, followed by a short dip in the ocean, and perhaps even a little kayaking. Then breakfast, where we’d have fresh baked breads (prepared at Iniala’s private bakery), freshly made juices, and an extensive menu selected that day by the chef. After breakfast we’d head over to the pool, or onto the beach and enjoy the incredibly calm, and oh-so-warm ocean water.
Towards the early afternoon, we’d have lunch served in the beautiful glass enclosed dining room overlooking the beach. Like breakfast, the menu was tailored to our own personal preferences by the chef, and would consist an assortment of meats, fish, vegetables — and of course desserts. Needless to say, the meals at Iniala were all freshly prepared, healthy, and incredibly delicious.
After lunch, we opted to take advantage of the personal trainers that Iniala has, and went for a Muy Thai boxing class. After an hour of learning some basic moves, we were ready for something a little less strenuous, so we headed over to the spa for a massage. Our treatments would end right before the sunset, so wrapped up in our robes we would settle into one of the many balconies overlooking the ocean and take it all in. Like clockwork I would fall asleep for a few minutes and doze off into dreamland. But then a gentle knock would wake me up. “Mrs. Garlotta, here is your afternoon Margarita.” Phew it wasn’t a dream, we were actually still in paradise.
Basque-Inspired Cuisine at Aziamendi
If you’re going to go through the time and effort to create something as extraordinary as Iniala than you might as well kick it up another notch and create a gourmet restaurant (or should I say experience) to match. The restaurant at Iniala, Aziamendi, is the brain child of Three Michelin Star Chef, Eneko Atxa, from Spain and his Chef de Cuisine, Alex Burger. Together they serve a highly creative degustation menu with superb wine pairings. And whether you're a guest at Iniala, or are staying elsewhere in Phuket, Aziamendi is open to anyone who appreciates creative foods in an equally creative environment.
But a night dining at Aziamendi is not just about eating, there is also a whole experience that accompanies it. You’ll start your night in the art gallery with a cocktail (or two) amongst a fabulous collection of art. You can even play pool on a Swarovski pool table if you want, as you snack on gourmet pintxos. Once you’ve finished your drinks, you are lead down a path towards the restaurant where there are a few surprises waiting for you to wet your appetite for dinner… That night we were given some fresh hibiscus juice before being lead to the garden where we sampled a cherry tomato from a blooming bonsai tree, complete with edible bark.
Upon entering Aziamendi, we immediately noticed the beautiful art from around the world, the unique architecture, and the dark and sexy vibe of the restaurant. Dinner starts as we were greeted by head sommelier Fabien Etienne, who explained the wines we would be sipping on. That night we tried their 7 course tasting menu; which featured truffle eggs, foie gras ash, oxtail ravioli, duck a l'’orange and so many other clever dishes. If you had to categorize the cuisine being served, it would be Basque inspired, with a little bit of local influence.
We had a chance to chat with everyone from the baker to the chef, to the Sommelier to the GM and the attitude is the same; they know good food and they are all extremely passionate about what they are creating. We’ve found that for a restaurant to be extraordinary it must have 3 things - ambiance, good service and incredible food — and Aziamendi delivered on all three. Here, you’re not just dining at a restaurant, you’re having an experience. An orgasmic one at that.
For more information about Iniala make sure to visit their website: