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I find I have a love/hate relationship with Bangkok. It’s a city that catapults you to somewhere entirely unique, yet after a few days you get the sense you have overstayed your welcome. After a gruelling long haul flight from the UK to Thailand, overtired hot and moany visitors arrive in their throngs but in reality once past security moods lighten and it’s time to throw yourself into the culture and infectious magic of the city.
I have previously had the pleasure of visiting Koh Phangan, and more specifically the tiny beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi on numerous occasions however never to this particular resort. With only a small cluster of hotels on a tranquil beach, it is the
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.
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.