aerial view looking over beach towards tropical hill with thai-style huts comprising a luxury hotel
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Amanpuri, set among soaring coconut palms on a Thai hillside overlooking the sparkling Andaman Sea, is the very first Aman. For many, it remains the best.

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Pool view suite at Anantara Phuket, Phuket, Thailand

Anantara Phuket

On Phuket’s northwest side, Anantara Phuket’s eighty-three villas are scattered along Mai Khao, one of this island’s best beachfronts and waterways designed to resemble a traditional Thai fishing village. Inside these high ceilinged houses with Wi-Fi, iPods and docking stations, flat screen TVs and DVD players, espresso machines, gourmet snacks and a wine cellar, the focal point is the pillow top bed, canopied by mosquito netting. Natural fibers decorate the interior and the walk-in closet is a plus. The bathroom extends from an indoor shower with relaxation bench to an outdoor rain shower, both stocked with bespoke bath products made with ylang-ylang, cardamom and frankincense. Each villa has its own private swimming pool, no meager plunge pools here and many add overwater relaxation spaces with cushioned day beds. Bangkok-based architect Bill Bensley does some of his most elegant work here in the gardens, lavishing the grounds with indigenous greenery and fuchsia lotus flowers, a magnet for birds.

The hotel’s numerous restaurants offer a range of food from Italian and Thai to barbecue and notably tasty seafood at the waterfront Sea.Fire.Salt. As with all Anantara properties, the spa is a strong suit, and the Turtle Club, for kids, will keep the little ones safe and happy. Indeed, having a great kids’ club (rare on Phuket) could well turn out to be the hotel’s raison d’être. If you can tear yourself away from your room, you can enjoy moonlight canoe trips on a stunning lagoon, sunset cruises aboard a private fishing boat, a diving expedition to the Similan Islands and a picnic breakfast at a rubber plantation. The packed weekly schedule of onsite activities also includes beach power walks, batik painting, cocktail making and Thai language lessons, which come in handy as the staff here struggles a bit with English.

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Two Bedroom Pool Villa at Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa , Phuket, Thailand

Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa

As is to be expected from the Anantara brand, Phuket-Layan succeeds in creating the serene, Zen-like atmosphere that makes and retains fans. A quick 20-minute drive from the Phuket airport, the resort transports guests quickly to a fresh and modern retreat built on a pristine, secluded bay at Layan beach. Reflecting pools lit with floating candles surround the reception and helpful staff members discreetly stand by, waiting to assist with any need.

The warm sea breeze from Layan Bay together with the resort’s dimly lit, open-air environment creates an instant sense of peacefulness. Opened in 2014, the hotel has accommodations that are fresh and modern, featuring king-size beds and spacious showers, while villas include furnished outdoor decks with oval soaking tubs and private swimming pools. Accommodations here are more generic in style and lack a great sense of place but are of the utmost comfort, with luxurious bedding, dark-wood furniture, natural color schemes and rich textiles. The best rooms are the beachfront villas and Layan villas, both of which offer dazzling sea views, and some boasting direct access to the beach from your private villa deck.

On-property dining is minimal by comparison to other resorts, comprised of only two restaurants. Sala Layan offers international cuisine throughout the day in a soothing dining room or on the outdoor deck with views of the water. The breakfast buffet here is not to be missed, with various cook-to-order stations and a wide array of options. The more formal Thai restaurant, Dee Plee, is also a lounge that offers evening cocktails. During the day, the pool bar, Breeze, offers full-service to those enjoying the resort’s facilities.

The service at the Anantara is on par with its sister properties—professional, helpful and responsive. Guests are made to feel right at home with friendly staff who are eager to please, but not overbearing. Overall, the property’s atmosphere is one of ease and peacefulness, leaving guests to feel that what the Anantara lacks in drama and style, it makes up for in comfort.

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Bedroom at Andara, Phuket, Thailand


Built by a villa owner at Amanpuri who also happens to be one of Hong Kong’s top restaurateurs, this all villa property fans out from the colossal 130-foot long infinity pool into the hills above Kamala Beach. Guestrooms filled with Thai antiques are clad in warm, polished wood with plenty of neutral hued pillows and cushions on the Thai inspired daybeds, all with roomy sea facing terraces. The mattress and pillow top on the beds are some of Phuket’s plushest, and the deep soak bathtub is built for two. Standard accommodations come with an exceptional kitchen outfitted with Gaggia espresso maker and a shiny array of cooking appliances plus a considerable living and dining area. The colossal LCD flat screen television in the living room of standard accommodations here is a mixed blessing: stare into its considerable 52” dimensions or take maximum outdoor advantage of this tropical location. Other in-room technology includes a Bose surround sound stereo and speakers in every room, iPod docks and another massive flatscreen television in the bedroom, both with notably straightforward remote controls.

Starting with one-bedroom suites, room category configurations here are slightly unusual: opt to upgrade from the standard model and another door of these multi-bedroom villas is unlocked for your use. Thus these one to six bedroom accommodations work best when reserved as a whole villa for family and friends. Each villa encompasses a generous infinity pool, incorporated within certain room types.

The poolside Thai restaurant, Silk, balances Thai classics like som tom and pad Thai with fresh Western salads, grilled fish and hearty cuts of meats. The six-treatment room spa is under the radar but one of Phuket’s most restorative. Try signature treatments and an excellent mani-pedi. To indulge without anxiety, leave younger ones at the well-managed Kids Club, known for keeping little ones busy.

While not on the beach, the hotel does have a barefoot chic private club on nearby Kamala Beach and a shuttle to ferry guests for the five-minute ride. Also close by is Patong Beach for those seeking the island’s throbbing nightlife while others will prefer to rent the 92-foot and 115-foot air-conditioned motor yachts that cruise the Andaman. Head for Phang Nga Bay, Phi Phi Island and to dive among the Similan Islands in search of turtles, barracudas, ghost pipe fish, lion fish, scorpion fish, grouper, sea horses, black tip reef sharks, leopard sharks, sea snakes, soft coral and spectacular anemones.

Pool lounge at Banyan Tree Phuket, Phuket, Thailand

Banyan Tree Phuket

Of the seven hotels that make up the Laguna Phuket development, Banyan Tree Phuket is by far the most glamorous and, accordingly, priciest resort.

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Sundeck at Boathouse by Montara, Phuket, Thailand

Boathouse by Montara

This twenty-five-year-old stalwart along Kata Beach, previously known as Mom Tri’s Boathouse, received a major facelift in 2012, overseen by its owners who are also behind the sublime design of Trisara.

All the whitewashed, vaguely Thai-finished guest rooms here look out at the Andaman Sea (which is not always the case, even at much pricier Phuket properties). All also incorporate a generous balcony or terrace, and guests can expect the kind of cotton linens and fluffy bath towels usually associated with a high price point. Ground-floor rooms have the advantage of sitting steps from Kata Beach’s powdery soft sand but couples seeking privacy will prefer the top 4th floor Hideaway Seaview Suite. Families book up the singularly stunning two-bedroom penthouse, although this works well for space loving couples too.

The Boathouse Wine & Grill restaurant is a plus for gourmands with an 800-label wine cellar and several Wine Spectator awards. The French food is probably Phuket’s best and includes longtime favorites like the rock lobster ravioli pan-grilled Angus beef tenderloin with duck liver and truffles in Madeira sauce. Other times of day, relax by the free-form beachfront pool, at the rooftop sunset lounge or in the Zen calm spa.

Aerial View - Point Yamu by COMO, Phuket, Thailand

COMO Point Yamu

Seemingly camouflaged by a gray and unassuming concrete shell, this uber-tranquil 106-room wellness retreat is brought to life by the unique and contemporary style of Italian designer Paola Navone, where blue and purple design accents merge with cool, clean-lined white and grey tiles, fabrics and furnishings. Not a detail was missed in Navone’s vision; every inch of the property has been meticulously assembled with the hotel’s natural surroundings in mind. The effect created is one of utter peace and tranquility.

All accommodations maintain the same aesthetic—retro and contemporary pieces with sleek lines and pops of color. All accommodations have water views, some over the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay and others facing inland across the Cape. The Bay rooms and suites are impeccably designed and well-appointed with private pools and spacious outdoor decks. The Verandah rooms and suites, though more spacious, are accessed through a subterranean hallway, slightly detracting from the property’s airy ambiance. The spacious one- and two-bedroom pool villas have floor-to-ceiling windows and large private pools with furnished outdoor decks overlooking the water. Families and groups will do best in the two-bedroom COMO suite or one of the many private residences on property.

Dining options include exceptional Thai and Italian cuisine and each restaurant offers organic, vitamin- and mineral-rich ‘COMO Shambala Cuisine’ menu items, which are aligned with the resort’s emphasis on wellness. La Sirena, the Italian restaurant has a large, partially open-air modern dining room that overlooks the pool and sea and is spotted with Navone flair, like black-and-white checkered floors against cylindrical light fixtures and brightly colored contemporary chairs. Guests take breakfast here or outside under the pergola that sits above the pool deck. Along with the light COMO Shambala menu options, La Sirena offers a spectacular breakfast spread and natural juices in the morning, and wood-fired lunch dishes like pizza and seafood.

Just across the atrium is the resort’s Thai restaurant, Nahmyaa. Here, another masterfully designed dining room invites guests to examine the intricate tile work, bubble-like chandeliers and bold colors that set Point Yamu apart from the other resorts on Phuket. Nahmyaa’s menu was inspired by Thai street food, putting an elegant twist on local classics like fish cakes and satays, alongside sophisticated entrees. The lovely Aqua Bar is the perfect place for an after-dinner nightcap.

Service on property is white-gloved but warm and personal, with much of the staff having had experience at other COMO hotels. Not to be missed is the property’s renowned COMO Shambala spa, where guests can enjoy treatments in rooms overlooking the water. There is yoga and meditation, plus Pilates, and a cliff-top infinity swimming pool.

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Rosewood Phuket

The Rosewood Phuket, the brand’s first resort in Southeast Asia, offers every amenity for a well-rounded beach escape in Phuket, Thailand. Indagare's hotel review here.

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Pool Lounge at Six Senses Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Six Senses Yao Noi

Cruise 45 minutes here from Phuket past limestone outcroppings made famous when James Bond zoomed around them in The Man with the Golden Gun. Explore more leisurely by long-tail boat or paddle a kayak among the blooming mangroves. Other popular activities around Yao Noi include rock climbing, reef diving and snorkeling the coral rich lagoon.

Come back to the generously proportioned villas faithfully served around the clock by butlers who are helpful and especially caring with kids. Inside each villa, the inviting canopy bed gets made with unbleached cotton sheets, and guests have a menu of bespoke pillow choices. Each earthy villa extends to a private infinity pool, terrace and a bathtub built for two, all facing the Andaman Sea. The two-bedroom Hideaway Pool Villa is a family favorite, hidden in the tropical jungle with an outdoor terrace, infinity pool, garden bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, plus a separate living pavilion endowed with plenty of plumped up day beds for lounging about.

This resort takes full advantage of Phang Nga Bay, an ancient area of 42 islands created by shifting underwater plates and now a protected national park that’s home to rare Malaysian Plover and Asian Dowitcher birds. English-speaking guides lead trips by kayak into the mangroves, where sea meets forest. Take out a Hobie cat from the watersports center or the hotel will arrange a traditional long-tail boat to power you to Koh Noi for snorkeling and picnicking. After dark, recline under the stars for a classic film shown at Cinema Paradiso.

In the spa, the Signature Yao Noi Ritual incorporates herbs from the surrounding organic gardens into the traditional Thai massage, a Thai herbal body scrub made with tamarind juice and the Thai silk facial. The spa menu here extends well beyond the indigenous to Tibetan hot stone massage, Indian Chakra Balancing and Chinese Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, plus the therapists will work with you to create a wellness regimen that runs through your entire stay. Three separate restaurants, plus destination and in-villa dining, keep the gourmet experience fresh, as does produce coming from the organic gardens.

The Den Houses a two-story, all-glass wine cellar and a sunken bar serving Thai tapas like deep-fried shrimp wrapped with Phuket noodles in sweet and sour sauce at open-air seats alongside captivating lily ponds. Standouts on the extensive menu include fresh caught sashimi and sushi, Greek salad and thin crust primavera pizza with goat’s cheese and organic mushrooms, grilled pumpkin, zucchini and eggplant from the surrounding gardens. Cool off with scoops of around 50 freshly churned ice cream flavours. Lunch, though, is best taken at the private club-like Hilltop Reserve, perched on the edge of Yao Noi Hill.

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Luxury Pool  Restaurant at Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand

Sri Panwa

Developed and designed by the young Thai power couple, Mr. and Mrs. Isaara, Sri Panwa has an energy and youthfulness that set it apart from other hotels on Phuket. With a small, discreet lobby consisting of only a desk and the resort’s fabulous boutique (where many of the pieces are designed by Mrs. Isaara herself), Sri Panwa feels like an insider’s resort.

Set on 40 acres of lush, tropical surroundings, the property’s villas and residences are very spread out, allowing for privacy and serenity away from the action-filled public areas. The property is set on a hilltop, allowing for beautiful views, but it is not set on an expansive beach like other resorts in Phuket. There is only a small stretch of sand at the base of the property. Almost all accommodations on property are stand-alone villas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and private infinity pools that stretch from the foot of your bed to the cliff’s edge. Residences have spacious furnished sundecks and large bathrooms with oversized Jacuzzi tubs and double vanities. Even the entry-level Pool Suite is incredibly spacious and comes with a private swimming pool. The resort also has three- four- and five-bedroom residences, all of which have full kitchens and dining rooms, private pools, separate living areas and multiple en suite bedrooms on different levels. Though spacious, some of the accommodations do feel tired.

The general vibe at Sri Panwa is relaxed and friendly: smiling and helpful staff dress in logoed polo shirts, transporting guests around the property by tuk-tuk; light lounge music plays in public spaces; there are multiple inviting nooks and crannies in which to laze, dine and sip allowing for both mingling and privacy. The main building houses the front desk and primary dining restaurant, Baba Pool Club, where lounge seating is scattered about, often filled with families, couples and groups of friends throughout the day and night. A swanky bar where mixologists pour cocktails is tucked in a corner by the entrance of the property’s disco, Baba88, where international DJs provide a nightlife atmosphere. The best place for a drink, though, is the resort’s rooftop deck, Baba Nest, which is surrounded by a wrap-around infinity pool and offers 360-degree panoramic views over the Andaman sea and surrounding islands.

Sri Panwa offers a well-equipped wellness program, with a state-of-the art gym, tennis courts and a variety of non-motorized water sports. The spa is not to be missed, its lobby a large, outdoor courtyard featuring reflection pools that line the oversized, sea-facing yoga deck. Each spa treatment room is its own stand-alone building, which includes a well-equipped en suite bathroom and features a large window over which water cascades, creating a soothing waterfall sound.

Garden Lounge at The Surin, Phuket, Thailand

The Surin

The star attraction at The Surin is its location, on postcard-perfect Pansea Beach.
Pool at Trisara, Phuket, Thailand


Spread out generously across forty-acres of tropical bamboo and banana tree jungle–which is tended to by a team of full time gardeners–Trisara feels marvelously sheltered from the rest of Phuket. Founded by Anthony Lark, the original manager of Amanpuri, this insider’s address of 60 villas, suites and private homes is a younger alternative. The name Trisara translates from Sanskrit to "three stages of heaven", and all 39 villas and suites face the Andaman Sea from one of three levels along the verdant hillside. Subtle Thai touches round out the high ceilinged, smooth wood interiors, and all accommodations are big and bright with floor-to-ceiling windows that let the sunlight stream in. Each villa also comes with a private pool and an excellent spot for stargazing at night. Trisara's privately owned residences–between two and seven bedrooms–occupy the northern and southern headlands of the resort’s bay and are available for rent with chefs and maids included. The service is outstanding, and all guests have a personal host throughout their stay.

Trisara has knockout views across the Andaman Sea everywhere you look, even in the spa. However, if the think of moving from your sun bed as too taxing, the therapists will give you an invigorating aromatic massage in your villa. Other standout treatments include the six-handed massage, chakra balancing and private seaside yoga. Trisara also offers a complementary Move in Nature program, which includes private nature walks and training sessions focused on holistic health.

Snorkeling just offshore around a deserted island is a wonderful Blue Planet adventure—the private bay is protected by a coral reef, which keeps buzzing jet skis out of sight. The reef prevents guests from wading right into the sea during low tide, but there is a long floating jetty into the water December through April. You can also go further afield aboard one of Trisara’s speedboats, sailboats and super yachts. All are privately crewed, and a PADI dive staff is available for longer trips. However, you may want to plan to be back in time for Trisara's signature Sunset Experience. You can select favorite sips from the glass clad wine cellar stocked with 2,000 bottles and 235 labels, or signature cocktails like a lychee and lemongrass martini or a passionfruit margarita. Trisara's in-house digital and film photographer will be on hand to capture these sublime moments.

Some of the island's tastiest eateries can be found at Trisara. The main restaurant, with its outdoor dining area shaded by soaring coconut palms, offers an extensive and authentic Thai menu, plus Western salads and comfort foods. Sunday here means Jazz and a cornucopia of delectable eats accompanied by champagne. At the southern end of Trisara's expansive oceanfront deck sits Trisara Seafood, where you can enjoy a Mediterranean spin on Phuket lobster and other fresh catch. PRU, which stands for Plant, Raise, Understand, is Trisara's Michelin-starred restaurant and is not to be missed. Meals at PRU are sophisticated and ecosystem-based with an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Trisara's other signature dining experience is their farm-to-table food experience, which takes place at their farm a few minutes off the property and includes many fun surprises and interactions. For those who prefer even to dine in privacy, every villa has a private service entrance, and a personal chef can prepare a BBQ with your choice of food items.

Staying here feels like a super chic villa holiday rather than a typical resort stay. Bucket-and-shovel fans will like the two- and three-bedroom oceanfront pool villas best, which are closest to the beach and have gigantic infinity pools.

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aerial view of a pool overlooking curved tropical bay

V Villas

Overlooking Ao Yon Bay along the Andaman Seak, V Villas Phuket has 19 pool villas and offers a relaxing, intimate and personalized experience.

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