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An invigorating holiday in Phuket which encompasses the hottest wellness trend in paradise, Bikram yoga, is just what the doctor ordered to re-energise your life. Try this on a vacation infusing Thai massage and island boat tours and you'll return home feeling amazingly rejuvenated, no matter how short the stay.
Phuket offers a huge number of boutique hotels, The Barameehip Resortel and Baramee Hotel in Patong are two of the newest and cleanest options. Also they won't break the budget..
Located in Patong, very near to the beach, The Barameehip Resortel and Baramee Hotel are both owned by the same company, so very similar in hotel set up and design.
Where Kate Moss holidays in luxury.
"Where do celebrities stay when they come to Phuket?' ‘The Amananpuri...' answers anyone on the heavenly island I ask this question to. I discover the Amanpuri is synonymous with fame and fortune, rest and relaxation. This is where Kate Moss stays when she visits, and Britney spears.
My night at Phuket's Baan Rim Pa Group dining experience involved one sunset, three restaurants, multiple celeb stories and my very satisfied belly. Dashing out of the hotel lobby to my waiting taxi, the resort manager asked where I was hurrying. ‘Baan Rim Pa' I answered, not really having time for this conversation. Reading my mind he replied that I'd best hurry ‘so as not to miss sunset.
The Best Western Resort and Spa on Bangtao Beach, Phuket, offers a comfortable holiday area for your relaxing break, just 25 mins from the airport.
When you stay at a Best western hotel, you're usually booking for the assurance of knowing what you're in for - affordable comfort, and very reliably. Booking online can be a risky task, I remember finding amazing seaside huts in beautiful Goa at an outrageously cheap price for a large group of my friends, but on arrival watched my friends faces drop as we realised I had actually booked us all in for a week's stay at crumbling huts - hidden from the ocean, with bring-your-own-lock, and the toilets...may as well have been buckets. We actually ended up having an amazing time, bonding over the situation and spending more time outdoors than sleeping. But the experiece definitely made me aware online photography is not always to be trusted. So I knew, when checking in to The Best Western Premier Bangtoa Beach that I was staying at a brand name - which a good reputation for an economically cheery stay.
This Best Western is actually a resort and spa - even better. A bright blue lagoon laden with several cute dolphin statues lets kids splash in the pool, while adults chill on surrounding sun beds. Facing the lagoon are tropical palm trees bordering a large block of suites, where guests can dine on room service from their balcony, enjoying the holiday atmosphere. The beach is directly in front of the resort, so if you fancy a swim in the ocean or some sand castle action it's simply a five step stroll past the restaurant - where a full continental buffet breakfast begins every day. If sunbathing isn't your style, there is a library with books, magazines and newspapers, or fitness equipment at the gym. The spa offers a fine menu of massages and pampering.
The rooms here are clean and colourful. My room had thick orange curtains, perfect for stopping the early morning sun waking me up. A modern fridge stocked with mini bar treats, large kingsize bed, desk for working (if you must) and table and chair dining set create a fine room for any short break. A complimentary fruit basket greeted me, with several aqua bottles too. The bathroom is simple, but clean and modern with a western flushing toilet, yay! Room service is available, and I recommend the chocolate mousse. What I don't recommend is indulging in too much (be warned - it's that good, you'll want to!)
A stay at The Best Western Resort and Spa on Bangtao Beach won't set you back an arm an a leg like some of the luxury hotels can, (but watch the extra's) and lets you enjoy your Phuket holiday in a setting that is just what the doctor ordered.
Andara Resort Villas is Phukets' hottest new luxe villa stay, a chic urban hotel infused with subtle contemporary Asian flavours and ultra-exclusive Hollywood luxury. Guaranteed: you won't want to leave.
Located near beautiful Kamala Beach, along a strip known as the ‘Millionaires Row' area, glamorous homes and hotels cascade mountainside towards the bay, as fashioned by Europe's Monaco or the south of France. The Andara is the newest arrival, and boasts 26 deluxe pool villas with 37 divine pool suites, each facing the bay with dramatic ocean and mountain views.
To get there, a fancy air-conditioned transfer car collected me with chilled refresher towel, ice water and a soundtrack of trendy Buddha Bar beats to listen to on the way to the Resort. Adorned with exquisitely chic Asian infused décor, the hotel foyer is just begging for a glossy magazine photo shoot. Magnificent gold buddha statues tower ceiling-high, lit up with trendy and charismatic ambience to decorate the walls. A stylish boutique garment store and deluxe winery featuring acclaimed vino in a modern and elegant setting complement the grand entrance.
A futurist bespoke buggy will take you up the hill to your suite or villa, I was staying in a Pool Suite, and my expectations were beyond astounded when I entered the outrageously large abode. Before me lay an LA condo that belonged to a Hollywood star, had I died and woken up famous, and was there a divorced Brad Pitt waiting for me in the next room? This suit is so spacious I could play football in it, so LA g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s I forgot I was in Thailand, and with my own infinity pool and panoramic views, massive divine and dreamy bed, flat screen home theatre, and ipod docking station - just so heavenly. I had to check this wasn't really a villa.
Being escorted to view the Villa area, I imagined it couldn't get much better. How wrong I was. Perched on top of the world, or so it seems when you sit on the fancy platform lounge setting, by a double sized private infinity pool, you can't help think you could be sitting in a trendy music video right about now. Basically the villa area is a magnificent mansion, with elaborate decor. A personal chef and housekeeper are on call around the clock for those lucky enough to stay here. With it's 6 bedroom, I imagine these special people would be a large wedding group, someone of royal status, or someone of great fame - complete with their entourage troupe.
The staff at Andara are all very helpful and exceptionally qualified at their job. Hand selected from the best of the existing hotels in Phuket, it shows. As close to two weeks prior to my visit Feb 2010, the dazzling premiere party was held, where Andaras' general manager, Andew Whitaker, graciously included invites to the finest of his competing hotels. Many declined, in protest to loss of their favourite staff. Well, new staff do have to come from somewhere! Regardless, the party was an overnight success, I can tell from asking anyone in town about the Andara, ‘Oh yes, big party, fireworks and shows.'
In the evening I stroll down to the restaurant. Seated inside or al fresco dining, your gaze wanders past the fountain water feature, past the pool bar, to where you must spend some time later - the resorts main infinity pool area. Stylish black bed-lounges with shading umbrellas are set amongst lush palm trees and purple boganvillea. If you want, a trained masseuse from the Spa can massage you while laying in the serenity here.
The wait for my food to arrive wasn't long. Most people assume I'm vegetarian when ordering tofu, but I just really like the taste - and have a high standard of how it should be served. Boy, was I glad I ordered the silken tofu at the restauant called Silk. Infused with soft Thai flavours on a bed of white rice the tofu felt like err - silk, melting in my mouth. I ordered it the next day. I am dreaming of it now. Damn it, can I go back please? For dessert I recommend the indulgently rich chocolate mousse, just divine. Silk was famous in it's own right in Phuket before relocating within Andara. Cuisine is Thai or western, whatever you fancy. At the rear is a trendy urban bar, coloured with a fine coctail selection.
If you're like me and easily eat too much food, there's a fancy new fitness centre to work it off the next morning. This gym is so large you may ask if they have relocated a Fitness First studio to the grounds. Shiny new state of the art cardio equipment and weights stand, perfect for slogging away the calories. Daily activity classes are held, only I can't decide between morning yoga or stretching. Lazing-by-my-private-infinity-pool is the class I choose, it's a new one! A stay at the Andara Resort Villas in Phuket is an unforgettable experience, which I recommend to anyone and everyone - you will like it here.
Dewa Phuket Resort and Spa is a boutique style hotel located so close to the airport you won't think twice about stopping for a quick rehydration spa treatment and luxury slumber – pre or post a long flight...
For holidaymakers, Phuket is an idyllic island-paradise destination, a perfect place to spend a well-earned holiday chilling out. The last thing you want to feel on a holiday like this is jetlagged or dehydrated, particularly if your flight movements involve uncomfortable o’clock hours in the morning. What you need to combat this is a bit of osmosis therapy like soaking in your own private pool, or circulation stimulation from an expert masseuse, and a good night's slumber somewhere near the airport. Enter The Dewa Phuket.
On arrival to the villa style reception from the airport literally 5 convenient minutes away (which means transfers are flexible), friendly staff greet you with their famous Thai smiles and present a refreshing iced Rosella tea and cool scented washcloth.
The Resort is a combination of deluxe resident apartments, and luxury holiday villas - there are actually 34 villas, complete with own private plunge pool, flat screen TV with multiple channels, thermostatic air-con, outdoor lounge and table setting in a serenity garden landscape. Soaking in water at sunset is encouraged with a mammoth bathing tub and shower setting (outdoors and completely secluded.) The ultra-mod interior décor features a large cushioned couch to chill out on and the most comfortable four-poster bed with deluxe feather pillows and surround transparent drapings, in which you will find yourself waking to the sounds of the ocean nearby.
The Spa gives each guest a private setting for their treatment.
Continental breakfast includes sumptuous healthy treats to energise for the day ahead, and a gym and lap pool are handy in case you eat too much! If you forget your phone charger or adapter no worries, the hotel can help, and if you fancy a DVD there are free movies to select from. Services available are baby sitting, Extra activities on offer are everything from cooking classes, yoga, mountain biking, fruit carving, snorkelling or diving to cooking classes, scheduled in with the market day to ensure you are cooking with the freshest products.
My Verdict: Best luxury stay before the holiday really begins. Also a great pre-flight prep before that long flight home.
Andakira Hotel is located amidst the hustle and bustle of Patong Beach in Phuket, where a nightlife of beeping mopeds and chaotic streets tailored to tourism are very mainstream, so this shiny new urban hotel stands out from the crowd for the simple fact that it is well, brand new and shiny!
Entering the hip-décor foyer to the sound of surround water features, you can rest on the ultra modern couches for check in. Your Superior room will have you comfortable in air conditioning, in a clinically clean suite with modern western toilet and shower, looking out over Patong's red-tile-roofed town towards the tropical mountain greenery that borders the beach village. ‘Anda' actually means sea in Thai, and ‘Kira' means mountain, so when you're standing on the balcony looking at such a magnificent mountain, a name like that makes complete sense for the location of the hotel.
A large TV and wireless internet access and cute balcony are yours to be entertained with - if you don't head up to the infinity lap pool or jacuzzi and pool bar (where you can also play pool) or have a massage & Spa treatment.
Leave your important belongings in the safe while you take a free shuttle bus to Patong beach for the day, for a spot of swimming and suntanning. Meander through shops, massage parlours and restaurants that keep the Patong tourist town alive, then catch the bus back to the hotel (also free) just be aware of the return bus time, as the last one is early evening.
The restaurant offers daily buffet breakfast for you to start your day with a full belly. It also offers Thai food for sit downs, or you can order room service if you crave Western food. Otherwise, food options just around the corner are at a night bazaar, or extremely modern and fancy shopping mall with high quality restaurant alley - if you're looking to forget that you are in Thailand (it's very tourist orientated) If heading to this mall be sure to stop by the indoor fish tanks to have plank fish nibble at your food for a natural skin exfoliation, 15 minutes for 99 thb, cheap as chips in Thailand. Or for the boys is a massive Muay Thai Boxing Stadium with regular boxing matches, can't miss this hyper-coloured world!
Andakira Hotel is a very clean abode, I'd recommend it as exactly where you should stay if you want to holiday in Thailand during the day, and stay ‘at home' during the night.
Dinner of the Senses, Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand
Dinner of the senses at Banyan Tree Resort in Thailand's Phuket is so picturesque you'll think you are dreaming...
Dinner of the senses Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand
The Spa Pool Villa at the Banyan Tree in Thailand's idyllic Phuket is where you can holiday in luxury and feel like absolute royalty.
I arrived at the Banyan Tree Resort and Spa as a large group of guests were leaving an Indian Wedding holiday stay. Ten packed vans headed for the airport and more guests staying behind, as I entered the grand foyer. My transfer driver had mentioned a very wealthy couple paid for their guests to stay for the whole week, charge anything to their room - completely enjoy themselves, with one bill totalling... well, a very successful week for this hotel. I wondered why such a famously wealthy couple would choose this particular hotel to celebrate a happy and typically expensive union - it must be worth it. I was told that Jean Claude Van Dam and the band Good Charlotte also chose to stay here for their Thai sojourn. Celebrity's stay here? ...Just ten minutes later, after checking in and viewing my spa pool villa, I completely understood.
For the check-in process I was escorted poolside with chilled rose tea and scented ice washcloth, while my passport details were recorded. Presented with a host called Oai, who was to act as my personal assistant for the entire stay, Oai told me she would make sure I was at the right place and time for activities I selected. Oai was super smiley and efficient, providing me immediately with a mobile phone - programmed with her number and the hotel reception, so that we could keep in contact easily. Offering to carry my handbag, and ordering the bell boy to transport my luggage to my room, Oia drove the buggy (while mumbling ‘oops' a couple of times - as driving a buggy is different to driving her regular moped she told me, and I had to laugh for I could see that were true,) through the very large resort grounds to the Banyan Tree's Private Pool Spa Villa Section (it has it's own entrance and lobby.)
If you are ever lucky enough to stay in a Spa Pool Villa at the Banyan Tree, you'll find that being treated like royalty is how you spend your stay. Relaxing in your own royal oasis within an oasis. Just walking across a bridge upon lily pad waters to your exclusively luscious garden with serene pool area is a breathtaking experience. An infinity pool looks out to a magnificent sky-mirroring lake, adjoining an outdoor bubble Jacuzzi and bath with an outdoor shower area too - all yours to enjoy completely and privately. Cushioned beds face towards the pool by another lake of floating lily pads, which also encircles the villa and gives a great glimpse inside your ultra modern abode, through transparent glass walls. An outdoor sun lounge and twin massage tables stand overlooking the horizon to watch the Thai sky turn pink at sunset and sunrise, and a Buddha statue watches over - encompassing a Zen-like state.
I was still mesmerized with the outdoor area, as Oai took me inside for the interior tour. Stepping into the villa I found myself in perfectly chilled air-con with three mysterious doors presenting themselves. I felt like Alice in wonderland opening each door. Behind door number one to the right, I found an ultra modern lounging area with luxurious Asian décor of black and gold trimmings. With patterned canvas prints adorning the walls, and an overflowing fresh fruit bowel, (refreshed everyday of my stay,) as the centrepiece. A huge flat screen TV, fancy mini bar and complimentary Twinings tea selection, modern espresso machine, and DVD player were mine to be entertained with. A large soft sofa lounge adorned with giant sized cushions, and sidelined with travel magazines and Thai Photography books - there to peruse in my down time. (What down time? I'm too busy indulging in luxury!) A study area set with a stationery and inward facing desk were perfectly placed for the laptop I had brought along (If only to describe my luxurious surroundings to friends on Facebook... ) Views through the window-walls were of surrounding lush tropical plantation, my infinity pool and horizon lake. Yes, I was in heaven.
Opening door number two I found a deluxe bathroom with glass walls revealing more exquisiteness of the exterior gardening, and a tall mirror area. Here was an abundance of complementary toiletries such as soaps, hairbrush, toothbrush and paste, nail file, sunscreen and usual accessories all of a very high quality. Banyan Tree proudly decorates the room with self-branded hand towels, lotions and potions, comfy slippers and dressing gowns. Under the mirror were two pots of salt, with instructions ‘Scrub of the Day: Prepare warm bath, soak your body for 10 mins, scrub gently with a circular movement.' And at the end of the room two grand outward opening doors took me directly to a generous bath - aka second outdoor Jacuzzi, also surrounded by floating lily pads. (This gets filled with flower petals and lit up with candles if you are lucky enough to experience the Banyan Tree's ‘night of bliss.')
The last door, number three - in the middle - opened to the master bedroom with a extra large king size bed and feather pillows encompassed in a glass wall - showing off outsides tropical plant life on water. Double layer curtains were electronically hooked to close at night (if you prefer not to be awoken by the sunlight in morning.) Looking up, a huge silk tent ceiling extended the luxe factor for slumber time. A miniature pillow selection was on display in case I wanted to change the material of my bedding. Aromatherapy filled the rooms with a beautiful scent everyday, and an incense and oil selection was also provided.
For complete luxury, friendly faces, and serene grounds - a stay here should be on the to-do in life list.
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