Editors' Picks


Hip, glamorous, peaceful

Pansea Beach, Cherngtalay Thalang District, Phuket 83110

+66 76-324-333

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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

The world’s original Aman—where the “Aman Junkies” phenomenon began—Amanpuri sits on its own peninsula jutting into the Andaman Sea in Phuket. Its clean lines, stunning open-plan lobby and dreamy pools helped define the look for future Amans. The 44 raised villas (some with as many as nine bedrooms, a phenomenal option for a large group or big extended family) and 40 wing-tipped pavilions were inspired by Thailand’s Ayutthayan period in the 14th through 18th centuries. Blending into its lush surroundings, the property rises from the swimmable beach of Pansea (arguably Phuket’s best stretch of sand) up a steep, forested hill. Hidden in the landscape is a wellness center that peeks out of the palms with six treatment rooms that have views of the sand and sea more than 100 feet below. Spa offerings here include Muay Thai boxing, craniosacral therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments and myriad types of Thai massage.

The Standout: Pansea Beach, one of Phuket’s finest and most secluded white-sand beaches Don’t Miss: Daily afternoon tea by the pool with freshly made khanom khrok (Thai rice cakes)

Indagare Loves

  • The poolside restaurant Buabok, for an exceptional southern Thai lunch or dinner (think crabmeat yellow curry)
  • The hilltop wellness center, with its customizable fitness programs and sublime spa
  • The family-friendly vibe, with kids’ activities from nature exploration and sports to Thai crafts and cooking workshops


The original Aman, for many, remains the best. Since it opened in 1988, as the island’s first superstar resort, "Puri," as it is known to insiders who are often called Aman Junkies, has aged gracefully even under the equatorial sun. Adrian Zecha’s superlative clean-lined design embodies sleek Zen precision—this is the hotel that spawned a thousand open-plan lobbies and cool pools scattered with water lilies—and the setting, in the calm of a former coconut plantation, remains stunning. It calls itself a “place of peace,” and it really is quiet. The swimmable beach is arguably the best on Phuket. It is shared only with The Surin, and there’s a refreshing absence of hawkers on its sifted flour white sand.

Guests stay in 40 Thai style wing-tipped pavilions, some with private pools plus 44 private houses that have pools and three to ten bedrooms. Light makha wood and smooth granite interiors are elegantly rounded out with just picked orchids and Jim Thompson Thai silks. Of the pavilions, numbers 103 and 105 will give you bundles of space and the best views of the blue sea hues.

Even entry-level villas offer indulgent comforts and exquisite privacy. The indigo pool in the palm-studded courtyard is more than big enough to keep guests in the pool pavilions quite happy, but for those who won’t be satisfied with anything less than the ultimate Amanpuri experience you must check into one of the 44 privately owned villas that dot the palm covered hillside. These are known as luxury villa homes, with infinity pools against the Andaman Sea. Each villa is individually decorated, many showcase museum-quality Thai antiquities, and all are at least as gorgeous as the rest of the hotel. Other perks include a live-in housekeeper and cook, private kitchen plus outdoor living and dining salas. The newest of these sprawling tropical estates were added during 2013. Starting from a more than comfortable 3,700-square-feet, they increase in size to 10-bedroom retreats at 8,600-square-feet.

Amanpuri redefined service when it opened, manifesting founder Adrian Zecha’s mantra to treat people like an honored guest in their own home. Many Amanpuri staff have worked here from the beginning; and they seem to have learned mind reading along the way. On the beach, for instance, beach attendants have been known to spray cool water over the hot sand to keep guests’ feet from burning on their way to the sea.

The stunning spa nestles between palm trees at the top of a cliff. Book a Thai massage in one of the six treatment rooms, which look out over the Andaman Sea. The fabulous library is chockablock with artworks and an intelligent selection of books, magazines and periodicals. If you prefer something a little more exciting, you’ll enjoy the fleet of 20 boats Aman can charter for you, including a 90-foot cruiser.

Don’t miss eating at Buabok for an exceptional lunch or dinner showcasing the cuisine of southern Thailand. But save room for afternoon tea, served at the main infinity pool looking out across the sparkling Andaman Sea, a sweet and addictive array of freshly made, colorful Thai rice cakes and royal desserts as delicious as they are photogenic. Amanpuri was a trailblazer in its day and remains at the top of its game.

Who Should Stay

Aman Junkies and anyone wanting to experience a relaxed, tropical getaway as well as families who can enjoy the fantastic kids club and teens club with amenities such as a half pipe and a DJ table

Cynthia Rosenfeld

Written by Indagare

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