Following new ownership and extensive interior upgrades, Monaco-based broker Lesley Excoffon was invited to experience a complete wellness escape in Thailand on board LADY E in February.
The weather was great with daytime temperatures of 30-34°C and around 25°C in the evening, and a sea temperature of 30°C.
The sailing involved short hops with the longest passage, around four hours, sailed overnight. We always had a cooling breeze and, though windier at times in the afternoon, glass screens sheltered us while dining and we thoroughly enjoyed the cruising and facilities on board. Underway, the views were spectacular and the scenery made our overnight anchorages magical.
LADY E is a 68.5m (224.7ft) Amels, delivered in 2006. She has been impeccably maintained and systematically upgraded to ensure that every aspect of the experience aboard remains extraordinary. On board, you’ll find artwork by Picasso, Chagall, Dine, Lichtenstein and Warhol, tableware by Hermès, Baccarat and Christofle and new soft furnishings inside and on deck. The overall impression is stunning.
There are some great new watertoys as well, including a 7.7m Super Air Nautique sports tender to accompany the air-conditioned 9.1m Serenella limousine tender, and a 11.6m Wajer S for exploring. Pump up the energy on the Flyboard, Fly Ride and Zapata Hoverboard or enjoy the waterpark with trampoline, 3m Jungle Joe and Fun Air slide from the bridge deck.
We flew into Phuket and took a short taxi drive to reach the yacht at Ao Po Marina where we received a warm welcome from Captain Charles and his lovely crew with refreshing welcome drinks followed by a detailed tour of the yacht. She is in superb condition after her upgrades and the new artwork fits perfectly.
En route to our first anchorage at Ko Yai, chefs Barry and Brandon prepared a wonderful Japanese lunch. On arrival we took the Wajer to explore the fabulous Phang Nga Bay, made famous in Bond Movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. It’s the perfect way to get close and explore the amazing limestone structures.
We began the day with a sunrise yoga session on the sun deck, enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the upper deck aft, then we took the Wajer ashore for a private tour of the nearby Elephant Sanctuary for rescued working elephants. Interacting with these gentle giants as they enjoyed their freedom, rescued from service and reintroduced to their natural habitat was a wonderful experience. Back on board in the afternoon, we enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch with a vibrant Mediterranean market table setting as we cruised towards Railay (Rai Lei) Beach. You can only access the area by yacht and it’s spectacular.
We were given the choice between rock climbing for the adventurous and total pampering in Susie’s spa for those of us who preferred to wind down. In the evening, we took off to the delightful Rayavadee Resort in Krabi’s beautiful Phranang Peninsula, on the edge of a Marine National Park. A sunset cocktail at The Grotto was followed by dinner at ‘The Krua Phranang’, famous for classic Thai dishes.
After a smooth overnight sail, we awoke at Ko Muk and went to explore Emerald Cave. Having checked it earlier, the crew led us safely for a swim through the 70m-long cave at the end of which you discover a magical lagoon with a white sandy beach and limestone cliffs. A definite highlight.
The afternoon took us to Ko Haa Yai where the crew set up the inflatables. We wore ourselves out and laughed ourselves dry before settling into a Greek-themed lunch as the yacht cruised on to the Phi Phi islands. Despite winds of 28kn, LADY E was so comfortable at sea that we were able to enjoy another yoga session. On arrival we prepared for a Mexican evening with cocktails and canapés on the barbecue deck, wearing sombreros.
Head Chef Barry, at the barbecue, explained how he likes to theme meals from around the world. Of course, he adapts to suit the guests’ preferences and ensures that he has regular chats with everyone. He’s fascinating, very experienced, he loves to experiment and let his creativity take over.
Mitch, the bosun and a qualified dive master, accompanied those interested in diving to a great site close to where ‘The Beach’ was filmed. The snorkellers among us were able to enjoy the clear waters as well, teeming with local marine life. Back on board, we were treated to a divine Indian head massage and facial and relaxed throughout the afternoon, since in the early evening we set off for a sunset hike at Koh Phi Phi Don. We walked through the village and up to Koh Phi Phi Don’s lookout. It was a steep climb rewarded with breath-taking views.
On our return we were given fresh-flower head garlands and invited to an Island style Thai buffet. It was a perfect setting for our last evening on board and the food and service were as impeccable as ever. We ended the evening with a late movie session on the drop-down cinema, ‘The Beach’ of course, from the comfy sofa and armchairs with freshly made popcorn.
We enjoyed a final brunch underway then cast our fresh flower garlands into the sea and making a final wish (“Please let me come back to LADY E again…!”). In the main lounge we watched a video of our four-day stay that ETO Richard had edited from photography and drone footage. Charles tucked LADY E into her berth between two other yachts and golf buggies ran up and down the piers to help transfer guests, luggage and provisioning.
With all the crew on deck or ashore looking very smart we said our goodbyes and left with lovely memories of a wonderful time spent on LADY E.
Captain Charles DuGas-Standish leads an experienced international crew of 19 including Head Chef Barry (right). Everyone is extremely friendly, very professional, always ready with a smile and really showed us how well they look after guests. They make a great team. The four-day itinerary gave us a great feel for the area and we always felt that our comfort and safety on land or using the toys was uppermost at all times. Wide bathing steps descend into the water and transferring from LADY E to the Wajer and back was really easy.
Chief Stewardess Nicola Nischk planned elaborate and refined tablescaping for each meal, setting the scene for a relaxed lunch or elegant dining experience. She never missed a detail and service was impeccable throughout. Masseuse and yoga teacher Susanne (Susie) Rosic spoiled us with relaxing spa treatments using ESPA products in a private treatment room - revitalising, relaxing and restoring, Susie offers six different head and body massage treatments, and eleven facials. A Turkish Hammam complements the treatments.