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Banyan Tree Phuket —Thailand

Luxury and Sophistication

By Evelyn Chen

Villa Banyan Tree Phuket
Banyan Tree junkies can't resist Phuket's opulent oriental villas steeped in Thai tradition.

For Banyan Tree junkies (a group of elite travelers who have developed a cult-like devotion for the brand), the Banyan Tree experience in Phuket offers opulent oriental-style villas, architecture that is deeply steeped in Thai tradition, sophisticated yet intimate service and the much talked about tropical garden spa experience, painstakingly orchestrated by a charismatic husband and wife led management team.

The lobby is spacious and serene on an imperial scale. A cascading terra cotta fountain spills water incessantly into a pebble-filled pond, and open-air lounges, red tiled roofs and cloisters are laid out symmetrically on the left and right side of the entrance. On arrival you’ll be served a chilled bale fruit drink during check-in and then whizzed by a buggy past the golf course to your villa.

Lagoon Pool Villa Spa Pool Villa

The villas have curved, decorative walls and ramble over hectares of trimmed lawns and neatly tended tropical gardens. Villa choices extend from the basic deluxe villa to the luxury drenched double pool villa, a favourite for royalties and celebrities.  If you have romance in mind, opt for the spa pool villa, which offers a gorgeous view of the lagoon when you are frolicking in the glass-edged pool.

A family of four, like mine, snuggled comfortably into a lavish two-bedroom pool villa. The lack of sea or lagoon view here is more than made up for in ambience and space. As you step through a nondescript door, you enter a stunning L-shaped villa. The living area encompasses a dining area, a functional kitchenette (complete with kitchen equipment, utensils and a coffee machine), a well-equipped study table and an oversize sofa upholstered in neutral tones of Indian cotton with Thai silk throw pillows in vivid tropical hues. Locally handcrafted ornaments and artwork adorn the walls while a sliding door leads to an outdoor courtyard with a gazebo on raised platform, swimming pool and outdoor jet pool. In both bedrooms, paintings of idyllic village scenes on crimson backgrounds adorn the walls. As indulgent as it may sound, both bedrooms come with en-suite bathrooms and outdoor rain-mist shower.

The resort also has a schedule of daily events for adults and children. Options include batik or glass painting, yoga classes or an excursion to the local market with chefs. Those in search of pampering should head to the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa.

Saffron Restaurant Banyan Tree Spa

An experience here is blissful; you enter a freestanding open-air spa pavilion surrounded by lily pond and sip on chilled bale fruit tea whilst the therapist indulges you in a warm footbath infused with herbal pack of coriander, dry lemongrass and cloves. You are then asked to prepare for the herbal steam bath. A lovely scrub of warmed fresh cucumber and dried lemongrass ensues, then a shower followed by a dry Thai acupressure rubdown. The highlight of the entire treatment comes next where herbal pouches, drenched with warmed sesame oil, are used to massage the body. This hedonistic session ends with herbal bath in a sunken marble tub. Whilst enjoying the bath, you are served a choice of hot tea, fresh fruits as well as chilled carrot and cucumber sticks.

Whilst some may be tempted to venture beyond the resort grounds for a dinner tryst, we recommend a dining experience in Banyan Tree. The award-winning Saffron Thai restaurant has, by far, the best Thai fare throughout our one-week jaunt in Phuket (a simple but truly delicious morning glory with minced garlic or a deep fried squid with light yet crunchy batter that is to die for). For a romantic night out, reserve a table at the new Tre, a French Vietnamese open air restaurant located by the lagoon. Be teased by the excellent jasmine tea infused halibut with peppered artichoke and green noodles, succulent pan seared local lobster instead, or choose from a tempting selection of duck, pork, beef and lamb tenderloin.

Banyan Tree provides a perfect retreat for a spa, golf, gourmet or idling break.

Banyan Tree Phuket
33, 33/27 Moo 4 Srisoonthorn Road
Amphur Talang
Phuket 83110

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