Phuket beach retreats: Exclusive resorts, tropical gardens and private pools
The Big Six
Saturday 15 February 2014
Anantara, Layan Beach
This new resort is testament to the upmarket revival of Thailand's original island getaway. Launched on Layan Beach last month, it offers an array of traditional-style rooms and private pool villas, with lots of dark wood, silks, elegant orchids and vaulted ceilings. Many also have views of the waters which give the "Pearl of the Andaman Sea" its romantic title. International dishes are covered at the all-day Sala Layan restaurant, while Dee Plee proffers spicy Thai salads, rich curries and seafood. If you tire of lazing around on the beach, you can take a Thai cookery class, visit the watersports centre or even charter a private yacht.
Anantara, Layan Beach (00 66 76 317 200; phuket-layan.anantara.com). Doubles from 8,690 baht (£160), including breakfast.
Sri Panwa, Cape Panwa
This exclusive resort stands atop the Cape Panwa peninsula, on Phuket's south coast. Guests get the choice of one- or two-bedroom villas, each with an infinity pool and glass windows that give way to tranquil tropical gardens or views of the Andaman Sea. For even more space, there are private residences, with three to five bedrooms. The Nest rooftop bar is the place to watch the sun set, before heading to Baba Soul Food for Thai sharing plates.
Sri Panwa, Cape Panwa (00 66 76 37 1000; sripanwa.com). Doubles from 32,000 baht (£588), B&B.
Outrigger, Bang Thao
Hawaii-based chain, Outrigger, unveiled this five-star resort on Bang Thao beach last April. The 8km white-sand sweep stretches from quiet fishing villages and food shacks to beach clubs and the huge Laguna development, which comprises Banyan Tree, Angsana and Dusit resorts, as well as the Outrigger. The benefit of checking into such a vast complex is that you can cherry-pick services. Take a lap in the Dusit's pool, visit Angsana's spa, dine at Banyan Tree, then crash out back at your own hotel.
Outrigger, Bang Thao (00 66 76 360 600; outrigger.com). Doubles from 7,013 baht (£128), B&B.
Pullman, Naithon Beach
Affordable luxury is on offer at this new Pullman hotel, which opened last summer on Naithon Beach. While most rooms don't come with a private pool, the main one is grand enough to satisfy. Reaching out to an infinity edge, with views of the sea beyond, it holds a seating area in the middle, which you can plop into for a spot of sunbathing. Treatments in the spa start from a reasonable 1,600 baht (£29), with yoga (300 baht/£6) and rainforest walks (1,200 baht/£22), equally accessible.
Pullman, Naithon Beach (00 66 76 303 299; pullmanphuketarcadia.com). Doubles from 4,800 baht (£88), B&B.
Point Yamu by Como, Phang Nga
The latest resort from Como Hotels opened last year at the tip of Cape Yamu. Overlooking the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay, it has breezy nautical interiors by Italian designer Paola Navone, with full-wall windows in the rooms and bright white cotton sheets. Like all Como hotels, the Shambala Spa is a cornerstone, with eight treatment rooms, two massage alcoves and a yoga pavilion. La Sirena serves rustic Italian cuisine, while Nahmyaa dishes up Thai street food.
Point Yamu by Como, Phang Nga (00 66 2 625 3322; comohotels.com). Doubles from 17,805 baht (£328), B&B.
The Pavilions, Layan Beach
This adults-only resort stands on one of the island's highest points. Hugged by tropical gardens, it hides low-rise, pavilion-style pool villas that make it a favourite among honeymooners. Some are situated on the site of a former rubber plantation, up a terraced hillside that's accessible by funicular. Others stand sentinel over the coast, with dazzling views of the sea. Restaurant options are equally romantic with the 360° bar for sunset views and the Plantation Club for candlelit dinners.
The Pavilions, Layan Beach (00 66 7631 7600; thepavilionsresorts.com). Doubles start at 15,000 baht (£228), B&B.
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