Jason Dundas doesn't mind roughing it when he's on the road for Getaway
, but he's not averse to a bit of luxury either. When he was in Phuket
, someone suggested he check out a new place to stay Sri Panwa
and he couldn't believe his eyes. Accommodation in Phuket has gone up several notches.
Perched 60m above sea level on Cape Panwa, 60 very private villas are sprinkled across 13 hectares of tropical gardens and huge trees. All accommodation has views of the Phuket Islands and Andaman Sea. The resort's tuktuks are at the ready to transport you around.
It's owned by locals, the Issara family, and is run by 29-year-old Wan Issara whose idea was to have a property that was luxurious but relaxed and fun. He seems to have achieved just that.
No matter the location, some people have the notion that if they are surrounded by luxury, they need to dress up. Not at Sri Panwa sandals, shorts, sundresses, sarongs are the go. They've employed a lot of young people who keep the fun and relaxed vibe going.
Infinity pools wrap around glass-encased bedrooms and there are lots of accommodation options. There are one- and two-bedroom pool villas and luxury pool villas, pool suites and three five-bedroom residence villas. They have some properties for sale if you're cashed up.
The panoramic sea-view beach pool is set over Sri Panwa's beach. There are gym and fitness facilities, a playroom, steam rooms and tennis courts. Cool Spa, spread over four levels, has a yoga deck and six treatment rooms with waterfalls. Guests enjoy traditional Thai massage and modern treatments such as body wraps and herbal exfoliations.
Wan is not only a generous host but an exceptional cook so he has a lot of input into Baba Phuket Restaurant. It serves contemporary Thai and international cuisine. Dishes are meant for sharing and sampling the way Thais do it.
The prickly chef Gordon Ramsay and his family were guests for a couple of weeks recently, and while his being there made everyone nervous, he said everything was spectacular, including the food. He even hopped into an apron on one occasion to cook with Wan.
Baba Poolclub features barbecue methods from all around the world with a wide selection of cuts of meats, fresh seafood and a sushi bar. If you fancy, you can learn how to do it at the Baba Hotpot Cooking School.
Baba 88 is in the new entertainment building and international DJs provide music for dancing the night away.
It's quite possible you won't want to leave the resort, but if you do, they will help you arrange shopping trips, kayaking or even an elephant trek. Some of the most beautiful islands in the Phuket archipelago are spread out in front of the resort. Boat trips ranging from 15 to 40 minutes take you there. Jason chose a tuna fishing excursion and had great success.
Sunrises and sunsets are the icing on this perfect place which Jason described as hip, understated, stylish and superb!
Related gallery: Sun-kissed Koh Samui
Related gallery: Khao Lak luxury and more
Related gallery: Bangkok in 24 hours
Phuket in Thailand.
Sri Panwa villas start at $800 a night. Breakfast is included.
V Australia has one-way flights to Phuket from:
- Melbourne and Brisbane $469
- Sydney $489
- Adelaide $649
Valid for travel until December 23, 2010, and between January 25 and February 20, 2011. Conditions apply.
Virgin Blue has one-way flights to Phuket from:
Prices correct at November 18, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Sri Panwa Phuket
88 Moo 8, Sakdidej Road
Ph: +66 76 371 000
Visas: Australians may stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa.
Electricity: 220V with European plug of two circular metal pins or Japanese plug with two parallel flat blades.
Time zone: GMT +7.
Currency: The baht.
International dialling code: +66.
It is recommended travellers to Thailand see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au.