- Posted July 18, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
World's coolest hotels and resorts
Live Like a Rock Star in Phuket, Thailand
I should clarify: live like a rock star who wants privacy and seclusion, along with opulence and unfailing service. The rock star who wants to get away from it all in a place surrounded by gorgeous natural beauty and where he can be left to his own devices; if everyone knows your name and face here, it’s simply because they do with all of the guests who are treated like royalty in a completely unobtrusive yet casual, not overly-deferential way.
At the exquisite Sri Panwa, perched on a hillside in an isolated southern corner of the island overlooking the Andaman Sea, guests can hideaway in their private luxury villa as much as they want; or make full use of the grounds, amenities, restaurants and nightclubs that the resort offers. The choice is up to you – and this is Phuket, after all, so if decadent partying until dawn breaks is your rock star style, there are plenty of places on the island to indulge in that as well.
The beauty, as well as the regret, of Sri Panwa is that its private guest villas are so incredible – so serene and stylish and amenity-filled – that you may not want to leave them at all. From the 100-square-meter suites to the two-bedroom, 350-square-meter luxury villas sprawled between two private buildings, each accommodation surrounds its own private infinity pool with spectacular sea views beyond. Warm teak and stone contemporary interiors feature large indoor and outdoor living spaces separated by glass walls; handcrafted Thai furnishings; state-of-the-art entertainment systems with Bose surround sound, large flat-screen televisions and iPods pre-loaded with chill music; kitchens with pre-stocked pantry and fridge; and huge bathrooms with double Jacuzzi tubs, rainshowers and steam rooms.
But you not only get the villa, you get a personal villa assistant as well. Your assistant restocks the snacks and drinks in your kitchen each day (all included except alcoholic beverages), delivers and serves any room-service meals, arranges for any activities you might desire such as kayaking or spa treatments, and turns down the bed each evening, complete with mood lighting and music.
I must admit that for the first two days, my inclination was to hole up in the paradise of my own villa with my boyfriend, and rarely venture out. The hard choices of the day included which coffee to brew in the fancy machine; when to go for breakfast or lunch in the resort’s phenomenal restaurants; and whether to have another beer or start the next chapter of my book as I sat in my outdoor terrace daybed overlooking our private pool (hey, why not both?).
There was no reason to feel guilty; the strong pull of inertia is apparently a common one among guests, who have included Gordon Ramsay and the King of Bhutan. However, when you can motivate yourself to venture out, the resort grounds have a lot to offer.
Chauffered tuk-tuks whisk you wherever you want to go, from one of the two pools, private beach, tennis courts, gym or the Cool Spa; to the Baba Dining Lounge or Baba Poolclub restaurants. The island of Phuket is one of those places that becomes whatever one wants it to be. You can easily party the night away among other visitors, locals and ladyboys in Patong or Bangla Road, in nightclubs like Seduction, White Box and Nine Lounge; or just have a more relaxed beachside beer at Joe’s Downstairs.
If outdoor adventure is more your thing, few places compare. With eight of the most beautiful islands in the Phuket archipelago within easy reach (Racha, Maiton, Phi Phi, Coral, Lon and others are 15-40 minutes away by boat), day trips for boating, snorkeling or diving are plentiful. Private yachting, safari and elephant trekking and golfing at seven island courses are also popular activities.
But be warned – after any of these excursions, you will likely find yourself yearning to retreat to your private oasis at Sri Panwa.