A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

Luxury and space aplenty at The Pavilions, Phuket

As you make your way up toward The Pavilions – one of Phuket’s prestigious adults-only resorts perched high on the island’s hills – you know you’re moving into above-par territory – not only geographically but stylistically, and in terms of service.

As the tall front gates open, the first thing notice is a grand Buddha sitting centred, hands clasped in mediation as if to be sending positive vibes out especially for you. And the positive mantra continues throughout The Pavilions, only enhanced by plentiful space indoors, a private infinity pool outdoors, and – from most of the villas – some of Thailand’s most spectacular sea views. The vibe at The Pavilions is so instantly optimistic that my travelling guest, designer Nicola Finetti, and I just had to stop and take a snap in front of a statuesque god already.

Each villa is like a modern temple – pared-back chic in design with plenty of room to move – be it an ocean-view pavilion with spectacular vistas or a penthouse villa where plus-space is a priority. The penthouse villa also comes with your own private spa and steam room, as do the popular spa-and-pool pavilions.

The Pavilions are a sanctuary with a key focus on well-being, hence the resort offers an array of spa treatments and massage options from traditional Thai to more western/remedial methods. Beauty options are aplenty, too, so while she keeps busy topping up with facials, he can kill time at the new purpose-built state-of-the-art gym (note: this addition to the resort will be complete by November’s end).

Back ‘home’, the high walls surrounding the gardens of your villa assure privacy, so it’s no surprise when the managers tell you to “feel free to skinny-dip” in the very generously-sized plunge pool. No-one else will see you; it’s that simple.

A veiled sala adds to the already heavily romantic notion, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of butterflies had even made their way into our sala’s netting, only adding to the picture-perfect scene.

Inside your villa, everything seems super-sized: from the king mattress in the bedroom and sofa in the living ‘room’, through the easy-to-navigate kitchenette, to the bathroom with his and hers vanity space, free-standing bath and rain shower.

Pavilions Bed

On the mod-con front, your ‘house’ is equipped with satellite TV, iPod docking, impressive sound via concealed speakers (Note: the penthouse villa goes one impressive step further as it is SONOS-fitted), and Wi-Fi throughout the house, all on the house (ie: no hidden internet billing on checking out).

Pavilions Modcons

If you’re lucky enough to be staying in a spa-and-pool pavilion or penthouse villa, a treatment in your own private spa and steam room is a must, morning or evening, or – heck – spoil yourself and make bookings for both! .

And if you’re feeling too blissed-out and not wanting to walk up the steps to the lobby, just push a button outside your villa gate and a cable cart will arrive to take you to the top! Admiring the tall trees, colourful orchids and even occasional singing birds on your way up is par for the course.

Popular at The Pavilions, too, are Thai cooking classes, which you can opt to do with a group or in the privacy of your own villa. Not only will you learn some easy and delicious Thai recipes to take home with you, but the logo-ed apron is yours to keep.

Pavilions Door

When you add all the positive elements of The Pavilions up – the practical contemporary style, the space galore, the quality cuisine (see sidebar) and second-to-none spa treatments), the sum puts this resort close to the very top of our must-visit destination list.

 

The Pavilions are situated in Moo 6, Cherngtalay Thalang, Phuket, Thailand.

Book with Mr & Mrs Smith for the best available rates and a free extra on arrival. Ring their expert travel team 24/7 on 1300 89 66 27 or visit www.mrandmrssmith.com. Also, download the free Smith Hotels booking app from the App Store (www.mrandmrssmith.com/app).

 

Pavilions Tapas 360

ON A CULINARY NOTE…

Let’s start with breakfast – since it does kick off the day. The big thing to begin your mornings with at The Pavilions is a champagne breakfast in the Plantation Club, where bellini and mimosa offerings change daily. The al fresco restaurant is inspired by the colonial homes of the Asian trade routes and offers picturesque views which you can enjoy while sipping on a bellini or mimosa champagne cocktail. A hearty menu tempts you with Pacific Rim specialties, bet it at breakfast, lunch or dinner.’

While you’re here, be sure to sample the Grilled Wagyu Beef Salad with crunchy toasted rice, kaffir lime leaf, lemon juice and fish sauce (300 baht) or deliciously crab meat, sautéed in lemon, dusted in breadcrumbs, then cooked in browned butter and breadcrumbs (350 baht). And all tastes are catered for – from vegetarian to hefty on the seafood including a lobster club sandwich (600 baht). Pastas are popular on the menu here, too.

In the afternoon, guests can enjoy high tea in the lounge next door to the library – scrummilicious morsels of savoury and sweet to whet your appetite until dinner-time proper.

An ideal option for dinner is tapas at the 360 Bar & Grill where you can order a variety of tapas from pan-Asian inspired (egs: soft shell crab in betel leaf cups, sundried Wagyu beef with a spicy Issan dipping sauce) to western tapas options (think: sliders, dips; simple seafood bites, even feta, mint and pine-nut “cigars”). The tapas are delish, but best of all are the 360-degree views (hence the restaurant’s name, don’tchaknow!).

 

 

Point Yamu Intro

TRADITIONAL SPIRIT MEETS CONEMPORARY CHIC AT POINT YAMU by COMO

The first thing you notice when you enter your suite or villa at Point Yamu by COMO are the clean, minimalist lines with occasional bursts of colour. The first thing you’ll say is simply ‘Wow’.

Hotel designer and interior decorator Paola Navone has done a superb job in melding contemporary pragmatics with traditional Thai touches. A row of 12 metal-cast Buddha hands line one wall, for example, which could easily double up as towel holders, should guests feel so decadently inclined. Sea-blue ceramic tiles cover every inch of the walls of one very spacious bathroom, its centre-piece lighting also connoting sea-life – looking like a fluoro jellyfish turned upside down.

Point Yamu Bath

The resort itself is located on the tip of a peninsula on Phuket’s east coast, hence every guest gets to enjoy spectacular views of sparkling Phang Nga Bay via floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a magnificent vista to soak in from the luxury of your own infinity pool – if you happen to have checked into a Bay Pool Suite.

Every room and suite includes the now-standard mod-cons (satellite TV, DDT phone, WiFi internet, aircon) and the bathroom amenities are so cutely packaged you’ll want to keep nicking them so as to ensure they’re replenished nightly.

Point Yamu Stationary

Elsewhere around the hotel you can sense Navone’s artisanal presence, including wood tiling in the lobby and woven rattan artworks in the corridors – but in vibrant colours. A giant Buddha hand acts as the handle to a vivid orange door – which upon first impression looks like a postmodern temple but turns out to be the entrance to a private dining room. A shrine in the lobby is set up that offers different ‘gifts’ to the gods than the usual – brightly coloured dolls, musical instruments and fresh flowers aplenty.

Point Yamu Temple

Point Yamu by COMO is so well-appointed in creature comforts, you’ll likely want to spend days lazing by the pool or sinking cocktails at the Aqua Bar, but for the more outward-bound there’s a host of things-to-do in the great outdoors, like rock climbing, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, biking, Thai boxing, even elephant trekking. I opted for a relaxing longboat ride to semi-secluded Rang Yai Island where snorkelling opportunities will see you getting up close to amazingly coloured coral. Most stays at Point Yamu include at least one island excursion, so it’s excellent value.

After a day of nature adventure, there’s nothing like a wind-down with a spa treatment, and the signature massage at in-house COMO Shambhala Retreat is just what the doctor ordered, using a blend of massage oils to completely calm your mind and rejuvenate your body. Seriously, after a 90-minute treatment I swear I could have kept sleeping.

Point Yamu Spa

There’s good reason why COMO Shambhala is referred to as a ‘retreat’ and not merely a ‘spa’ – its extensive list of treatment options is very impressive. You can opt for a hot stone massage, Indian head massage, Taksu massage (stronger pressure to really get the blood circulating), shiatsu, acupuncture, reflexology, or good old-fashioned remedial.

As you’d expect from any COMO property, there are other wellbeing options to consider, including a 100-metre swimming pool to chuck laps in, a spacious yoga studio, and huge gym. And on the subject of comparing this establishment with its sister properties, Point Yamu by COMO scores 9s and 10s all-round: for everything from heritage and location, to style and taste, activities to relaxation, and, for sure, value for money.

 

Point Yamu by COMO is situated at 225 Moo 7 Paklok, Phuket. 

Book with Mr & Mrs Smith for the best available rates and a free extra on arrival. Ring their expert travel team 24/7 on 1300 89 66 27 or visit www.mrandmrssmith.com. Also, download the free Smith Hotels booking app from the App Store (www.mrandmrssmith.com/app).

 

Point Yamu by Como - Thai breakfast with a difference

ON A CULINARY NOTE

There are two criteria the chefs at Point Yamu by COMO abide by: innovation and wellbeing. On that first note, even breakfast at signature restaurant La Sirena the menu is a marriage of eastern and western cuisine as you’ve never seen. The ‘Thai-style Bacon & Eggs’, for example, consist of a succulent rib of pork paired with perfectly-poached egg on a bed of sweetcorn and sticky rice. Like no breakie I’ve tasted before. Or since. And I’d go back for this dish alone.

Lunch at La Sirena gets decidedly healthier with raw foods keenly featured on the menu. But this doesn’t mean the dishes aren’t tasty. On the contrary, while they’re conspicuously light, each meal is a gourmand’s delight, like the veggie curry I enjoyed, served with nutty cous cous and honeyed greens.

As for dinner, you could close your eyes and randomly pick several dishes on the menu at Nahmyaa Thai and you’re sure to be content with your selection. Spicy southern Thai is key here, with inspiration coming mainly from traditional street food, so expect a rotating menu of curries and satays, noodles and grilled fish. In fact seafood is particularly big on the Nahmyaa menu, which might explain why the restaurant itself looks like a vibrant underwater wonderland – again, quirky designs from the magnificent mind of interior rule-breaker Paola Navone!

Point Yamu by Como - Main restaurant

 

Thai Airways and Virgin Australia offer flights from Perth to Phuket several times a week with a flight time of just over 6 hours. Qantas and Jetstar fly Sydney to Phuket with a flight time of approximately 9.5 hours.

 

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