The Duchess Of York And Her Secret Thai Jungle Hideaway

In Flying Sporran, Uncategorised by Andrew Drummond7 Comments

Bangkok, May 12 2011
I just could not believe it. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, or perhaps best known as Fergie was in Thailand during the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.  Well I knew that, but did not know whether it was Phuket or Koh Samui,  not necessarily my destinations of choice.
I had severals calls, along with my colleague, from the media  in the U.K, and U.S. , but as they all baulked at sending me on an expenses paid holiday, quite a common occurrence until recently, I stayed put.
But then Fergie has apparently told Oprah Winfrey that she stayed at a place called the Camelia. Well here’s the quote. At least that what the Daily Mail reported.
“I chose to go and be in Thailand in a place called Camelia … the jungle embraced me,” she said.
Now there’s a  good plug for a Thai resort in Kanchanaburi  I am happy to give. Its just 1,000 or so baht a night!
 I have actually stayed there once myself on one of my many trips to Kanchanaburi , which is a favourite for ‘old lags’ , ‘retied drugs dealers’ and guys who are scared to go to Pattaya now.
Actually I quite like Kan.  But the bar scene on the River Kwai Road – The Strip – which I am occasionally drawn to is a little bit on the depressing side. And I positively hate the disco boats. Anyway so much for the plug for the Camelia. There seems to have been a phonetic problem, as it actually turned out that she stayed at the Kamalaya Wellness resort on Samui, a place where she has been before as well as the Amanpuri on Phuket.
I thought Fergie must have been hamming it up bit with the ‘jungle embraced me’ quote, not that there is not a lot to embrace.  Prince Andrew slips into Thailand a lot too.  Here his name has been linked to a well known luk-krung, but as she is now married I’m not going into that here. Thats them in the picture or course, Andrew and Fergie,she does not look like that now, him neither, but I can only give you the official stuff
Fergie of course did not get an invite to the Royal Wedding, something I guess to do with her publishing deals and self-questioning.  Or perhaps because she cannot say nothing. Anyway continuiing the plugs for the Camelia here courtesy of TripAdvisor are a couple of reviews from both ends of the spectrum.
‘I thought the hotel was really nice, it’s in a great location with a beautiful view as well. I think since their renovation a couple of years ago it has changed so much for the better. Our room was nice and comfortable, staff were really friendly and the food was tasty. Looking forward to going back there! ‘
‘Sadly deceptive, this one. Lovely position but absolutely no other reason to go for it … unless you’re into falafals and Wiener Schnitzel. Cuisine reflects predominantly Israeli customers. Seems a long way to come for stained ceilings and walls, bathroom doors that don’t reach the ceiling, holes in the walls and bedrooms that have all the ambiance of slightly spacious and upmarket prison cells’
That was a bit bitchy though I do tend to avoid Israeli tourists.
 The Camelia and below the Kamalaya. That $1000 a night instead of 1000 baht. Spot the difference.
In the interest of balance here are a couple of TripAdvisor reviews for the Kamalaya.
‘I hope heaven is this good’
“This is my third time here, as my husband mentioned in another review, I have very strong feelings about never returning to the same place, the world is too big and I want to explore as much as I can during my stay on Earth! However, Kamalaya is an exception, truly and honestly. There is nothing quite like it, it’s caters for everyone…be it healing your hurts, putting yourself back together for one reason or another, simply relaxing, detoxing, weight loss, yoga, pilates, getting fit (most fabulous gym), lap pool, classes offering everything imaginable. Anyway, as you can guess, I am truly in love with the Place….I have to say it really is the people that make it what it is, they are genuine, kind, honest and trustworthy. They make you feel special. The location is perfect, just far away from the buzz of koh samui but close enough if you fancy a shopping spree or a walk in Chewang or Lamai (the two closest towns). I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone, I would put my life on it.
AND for more balance
‘Over priced for what it is’
“Nice atmosphere and high quality food, however the accommodation leaves alot to be desired and we had a suite. The detox packages are a complete rip-off. The charges are extortionate and not justifyable in my opinion. For the price you pay, the resort is not as a standard you would expect, with very poor facilities”
To be honest I never thought people who booked into these places bothered to write reviews.



  1. sam

    I somehow doubt me and Fergi have the same accommodation tastes.

    I have stayed at this place many times, we always go here when we head to Knchan…..the river here is beautiful and first thing in the morning at sunrise is spectacular.

    The food is one reason for staying there, it is/was awesome, they used to make their own bread and a change from Thai food is excellent. Only bad thing about the place is the pool is shallow and gets hot during the day, no real cool dip. But the river is a great swim, but not for the weak as it has a very strong current.

    I think her jungle lodge must be up north somewhere……somewhere large, big beds, personal mosquito swatters etc.

  2. TT

    Another freeby eh?. C'mon Andrew, dig the dirt a little, who paid for that bill then?. Bet she didn't. And as for Randy Andy's exploits within the Kingdom, well dash it all we are allowed to speak of such things in Blighty. It's not like they are any great secret, heh-heh.

  3. Bill Hickey

    Is it perhaps more likely that the Duchess mis-pronounced the Thai name of where she was staying and it just sounded like Camelia? For a start, an Israeli might have persuaded her to part with her passport for a quick 'business' trip to Dubai and that could have landed her in even more hot water. And other things that don't stack up include the room rate costing less than her daughter Bea's hat. In return for staying away from the wedding – even in an American TV network commentating capacity in a van outside – I'm sure the Queen will have bunged her a few quid to stay somewhere with floor-to-ceiling bathroom doors. And the wiener schnitzel is definitely a red herring as the Royals are German, not Austrian. Just a theory.

  4. Andrew Drummond

    Bit sad Bill really, newspapers are cutting down on their budgets! But it means less people in the bushes!

  5. Sean

    Like many hotels in Thailand (not least of all a conference hotel in that well known ""family"" resort on the east coast) – I suspect that the favorable review was written by the hotel manager rather than a real guest.

    Some hotels in the Land of Smiles appear to have more enthralled reviwers than guests. The hub of great reviews………?

  6. Andrew Drummond

    Yes I don't really trust TripAdvisor reviews. There have already been well known cases of hype and slander there. But it has become an all powerful site

  7. john

    She's divorced from the Duke of York. Why are people still calling her the Duchess of York? She is the Duchess of Fat & Stupid.

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