Expansive white beaches, idyllic islands, cool tropical weather, delicious food; these are just some of the characteristics which make the Southern Thai island of Phuket much loved for a beach getaway. Coupled with the island’s bustling nightlife scene and glamorous resorts, one can very easily live it up in style.
For some, the glitz and glamour of living it up may be fun, but for others, the appeal is in the opportunity to retreat from the hustle and bustle of life and imbibe in the peace and serenity of Phuket’s tropical landscape. Nestled on the hills that make up Cape Panwa on Phuket’s Southeastern tip, the Sri Panwa Phuket offers the perfect canvas for your very own personalised experience.
An Escapist’s Fantasy
The standard bearer for private escapes, Sri Panwa eschews the ostentatious in favour of subtlety. Rather than frame the guest experience with structure, the resort lets them paint their own versions of a holiday from the moment they seemingly disappear up Cape Panwa’s verdant hillside and head off towards their private retreats.
Save for a sign at the road that turns into the property, one won’t ‘see’ the Sri Panwa estate. Rather, the sprawling 40-acre estate slowly reveals the elements that appeal to you as one soaks in the views from the accommodation, explore the dining options available and live out the holiday you intended.
Perched on the highest section of the cape’s ridge some 50 metres above sea-level, this writer’s hideout for the two nights at the property was a single-bedroom villa that afforded breath-taking views of the of the Andaman Sea, rounded off with azure blue skies and pillowy clouds, the first revelation of what was on offer at Sri Panwa.
Trendy, full of flair and tremendously fun are a few ways to describe the homely living space that I shared with my better half during the stay to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Shaped around the natural landscape of the area and styled with a ‘tropical contemporary’ design, the villa was tricked out with everything from outdoor day beds to lounge in, high thread count bedsheets and even a shower that can double as a steam room.
Despite all that, the seduction of the private infinity pool, especially with all 12 metres of it surrounding the spacious 280sqm villa proved hard to resist. Giving in, much of the day was spent watching yachts in the distance swaying with the wind in slow-motion as they navigated around the neighbouring Coral, Racha and Lone islands. It proved to be an exceptionally cathartic experience where life’s worries could drift away and be replaced by carefree conversation and plenty of laughter.
Sunrise to sunset: time seemed to drift by serenely as we did absolutely nothing besides enjoy the spacious villa. It’s not often we get to devote an entire day to spend uninterrupted in the lap of luxury and alternate between taking dips in the pool, tanning by the deck chairs, sipping beers by the sala and lounging on the day beds—which is ideally what a trip in paradise should be about.
Building the atmosphere, it wasn’t just chemistry that made everything come together, but thoughtfulness in the little details such as having the surround-sound system pipe music throughout the villa’s indoor and outdoor areas of the villa that helped set the mood. Meticulous and with a sharp eye for detail, Sri Panwa’s owner Vorasit Issara had actually personally mixed each of the playlists in the iPods available in the villa.
Things to See, Places to Eat
Each villa may be private, but it is not isolated. Staff-operated tuk tuks are just one call away and will take guests around the property, even outside to the surrounding seafront. At the ready to offer help, being greeted by their warm smiles went a long way towards feeling very welcome and comfortable.
And as you leisurely find your way around the resort, that warm personable character of the estate begins revealing itself like a person you’re getting to know better; surprising you with places and experiences.
One such spot is Sri Panwa’s own private beach and pier where guests can partake in complimentary activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding. Day trips to nearby islands can also be arranged for a cost.
Another is Habita, the latest development on the property with some 30 pool suites and penthouses, each with their own private pool. A must-see is the beautiful Forest Waterfall Pool which is not only a fun place for a swim, but an ideal spot to lie back and chill out with a cocktail, or two, as you catch some rays. Should you feel peckish, consider getting something off the grill from Baba Hot Box.
Where food is concerned, breakfast at Baba Poolclub (the all-day dining restaurant) is where you’d go to start the day. With a combination of a la carte and buffet line offerings, there’ll be something to suit any palate and dietary preference.
For local fare, Baba Soulfood is a fantastic option for a hearty Thai meal in a cosy setting. Rich in flavours and cooked to perfection, we couldn’t get enough of appetisers like the Khao Tang Ghoong Pirod & Lhon Ghoong (mixture of shrimp in green curry and shrimp in coconut dip, served with crispy rice crackers), Yam Neur Yang (Crispy duck with herbs, cashews and chilli with Thai coconut-chilli dressing) will certainly whet your appetite before you tuck into delectable mains and fresh seafood like the Khat Liew Poo (Crab meat omelette) and Moo Hong (Phuket-style braised pork belly).