Check into Sri Panwa and check out of everyday life. Private villas, infinity pools and picturesque views are the setting for some serious R&R. Well away from the hustle and bustle of the bars and beaches for which Phuket is known, Sri Panwa is for those seeking a different type of Thai holiday – one that’s quieter and far more indulgent.
The best rooms at the resort are the private Pool Villas (although, to be fair, all the rooms are pretty amazing). Open the villa door and you’re greeted with a breathtaking view of the Andaman Sea. Turn left for your living area, kitchenette and day bed. Turn right for your bedroom, lounge area, spacious bathroom, steam room and walk-in wardrobe. Go straight ahead and there’s your sundeck and private infinity pool wrapping around the villa.
The villas have floor-to-ceiling glass doors so the view is uninterrupted, spectacular and – in the beginning at least – impossible to take your eyes away from. Thanks to careful planning, the villas are totally secluded so it’s easy to imagine you’re the only person at the resort.
Your every need has been considered, from the two-person spa bath with views of the ocean to the international adaptor for charging your tech. You ask for it, your villa has it. Fresh fruit: check. Fully equipped sound system: sure. Outdoor shower with – you guessed it – ocean views: of course. Free minibar that’s replenished every day: you’ve got it. Your own personal butler: no worries!
An hour’s drive from Phuket airport, Sri Panwa is a 16-hectare property at the south-eastern tip of Phuket. Only a small area of the space has been developed so the resort is lush and green. It’s also extremely hilly so to get from your private villa to the spa (Cool Spa), the fully equipped sports complex or the bar (Baba Nest), it’s best to call for one of the resort’s tuktuks. Sri Panwa also has its own private beach and a pontoon for boarding the resort’s speedboat to visit the surrounding islands.
You have options galore for dining – you can pretty much take your tastebuds on a tour of the globe just by wandering around the resort. Start at Baba Soul Food for authentic home-style Thai food.
Dishes are intended to be shared and some of them pack quite a chilli punch. Make sure you also check out Baba Iki (Japanese), Baba Chino (Chinese) and Baba Hotpot (Asian fondue cooked DIY-style at the table). A great lunch spot is Baba Hot Box for barbecued meat and seafood.
Despite the no-alarm wake-ups and lying-by-the-pool nothingness you’re guaranteed, there’s actually plenty to do. Step into the ring for a Thai boxing class with a professional coach, take a private cooking lesson or do a sunrise yoga session overlooking the ocean at Baba Nest (in the mornings, this area transforms into the best yoga deck you’ve ever seen). There are also lots of water-based activities at the private beach (think kayaking and paddleboarding) or you can ask the concierge to organise a daytrip to a nearby island.
And if you need even more R&R, book a treatment at Cool Spa. There are all the usual massages and facials as well as specialised treatments that use techniques, oils and fragrances specifically for your blood type.
“Normally, guests come to Sri Panwa to stay at the resort but I always recommend a daytrip to an island,” says concierge Kae Tuntjai. There are plenty within easy reach of the resort, including the world-famous Phi Phi Islands, which are 60 minutes by boat, but Tuntjai recommends something closer. Racha Island, where the water is turquoise and the sand is blindingly white, is just 30 minutes by hotel speedboat from Sri Panwa’s private jetty. “You can do this trip in a half-day and then still have a sunset drink at Baba Nest,” says Tuntjai.
Come dusk, you’ll want to be – no, make that need to be – at Baba Nest, Sri Panwa’s sunset bar. Grab a throw pillow and a perch, order a daiquiri and listen to the smooth beats of the DJ while you watch the sun dip into the ocean. You’re guaranteed chilled vibes and amazing views and you’ll find yourself drawn back to this paradise day after day (there’s an extensive cocktail list to try, after all). Love the music? Sri Panwa curates its best playlists on SoundCloud.
Location: 88 Moo 8, Sakdidej Road, Vichit, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand; +66 7637 1000
Style: Resort with suites, private villas and penthouse rooms; villas range from one to five bedrooms
Perfect for: Leisure travellers
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