The Luxe List 2019: Wa Ale, Myanmar

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The sole occupant of a 1,600-hectare island in Myanmar’s off-radar Mergui Archipelago, Wa Ale rethinks the beach holiday. With 50 shades of blue waters, powder-soft sand, and lots and lots of sunshine, it has all the ingredients for a classic tropical-isle getaway. Yet this is the anti-Maldives. Instead of overwater villas and underwater restaurants, owners Christopher and Farina Kingsley have created an intimate, hand-built resort using reclaimed materials, one that eschews infinity pools, spas, and even air-conditioning in its 11 beautifully outfitted tented suites and trio of tree houses. What you get is wild luxury of the highest order, with philanthropy and conservation at its heart. Macaques skip across the sand during breakfast, pythons curl up in branches above a riverside lounge, and turtles nest just meters from your deck. Between jungle hikes at dawn, kayaking through mangrove forests, and scuba diving among reef sharks, there’s plenty of time for massages and dips in the Andaman Sea. The food, by Englishman Ray Wyatt and Burmese sous chef Aung Soe, is superb, with daily-changing menus that might include Thai papaya salad, wood-fired pizza, fish baked in banana leaf, and Burmese pork curry, all accompanied by a good glass of wine. After all, splendid isolation shouldn’t mean joyless deprivation.
95/950-18269; waaleresort.com; from US$400 per person, full board

See the full 2019 Luxe List in the October/November 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2019: Wa Ale, Myanmar”).

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