Named after the 'heaven of heavens' in Sanskrit, Paresa boutique hotel in Phuket perches high on the cliffs of Kamala Bay, with sandy beaches within easy reach and god-given views of Andaman Sea sunsets from all of its contemporary rooms. Relax in the seductive day spa, learn Thai culinary tricks in the smart cooking school or just chill out by the jaw-dropping infinity pool. Overwater dining day-beds put the 'I do' into proposals.
Lofty coastal location with sea and sunset views from all pool villas
Seductive modern design, from the sleek infinity pool to freestanding bath tubs
Romantic outdoor and overwater dining areas, and a smart Thai cooking school
A Thai set lunch with a glass of house wine for two at Talung Thai Restaurant
In the know
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During peak season, a five-night minimum stay applies, and there's an optional Gala Dinner for guests staying on 31 December (THB9,000 a head). Smoking is allowed on room balconies only; pets are not welcome.Dine away from prying eyes in the Khao Sok forest; ask the Adventure Team and they'll set up a linen-topped table on a raft underneath the tree canopy. A little more labour intensive, but no less magical, fishing for your own supper in the Andaman Sea is a rewarding way to sample local fare.
If ever there was a time to splash out on a fashion-forward bikini or pair of board shorts, it's when you've booked a sojourn at Paresa. A pool this dreamy deserves a sartorial style statement. Bring a notebook for jotting down Thai cooking class tips, yoga gear if you plan to get bendy, and boat shoes for hiring out the resort's yacht.
Relaxed by day, racy by night. There's something about oh-my-god ocean views that cry out for a bit of dramatic dressing up.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Think The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on steroids. It’s our last night in Phuket and we have VIP tickets for Simon Cabaret, famous for its lady boy stars. The costumes are incredible and, despite the fact that most of the performances are mimed, the ‘girls’ look stunning with bodies my gal pal and I would kill for. There’s even a little bit of Kylie Minogue thrown in for added camp. We walk out with faces aching from smiling.
Scroll back two days and I can sense Mrs Smith’s excitement as our plane flies in over the densely forested island. She’s my best friend and is soon to celebrate her fortieth birthday, which is what brings us to Thailand. We only have two nights on Phuket and are staying at Paresa to kickstart our holiday in luxurious style.
Perfectly poised on a cliff-edge overlooking the Andaman Sea, Paresa is a 45-minute car transfer from the airport. After a speedy check-in we’re invited to bang the huge brass gong to announce our arrival. Oh boy, have we arrived… the view of the rainforest-cloaked coastline and sparkling turquoise sea from the terrace takes our breath away.
The sharply angled buggy-ride down to the villas, tucked away amid towering trees and tropical gardens, is not for the faint-hearted. My suggestion that we could walk back up to the bar for sunset drinks is met with amusement. Stilettos and steep paths are not a good combo.
After our white-knuckle rollercoaster ride to our super-private Aqua Pool Suite, we survey our serene, expansive space complete with enormous king-size bed and bathroom. Useful given we’re two girls travelling together! The huge bath tub is in prime position for soaking up tree-framed sea views. Even more exciting are the outdoor shower and our own infinity pool. I promptly stretch out on one of the two sunloungers on the terrace. Mrs Smith slips into her bikini and into the pool just as the sun slides beyond the horizon. The only sound is the waves crashing onto the rocks below and the only signs of life are the distant lights along the coastline. Total bliss.
Later at Paresa’s spa we both luxuriate under the expert hands of our Thai masseurs. The treatment begins with a gentle foot wash and ends with fresh pineapple and lemongrass tea on a sea-facing terrace. I’m really starting to feel like I’m on holiday.
As our buggy rocks up at Diavolo Restaurant, the beautifully dressed staff show us to our table on a sweeping deck under a canopy of giant banyan trees. Our waiter points out the faint twinkling lights in the darkness, which turn out to be fishing boats. All this talk of fish makes the seafood platter from the Italian menu a natural choice – you can also select delicacies from the local menu af Talung Thai Restaurant in the same space – and we pair our meal with a surprisingly delicious Thai wine. Plugging in our iPod back at the villa post-dinner, we pour ourselves a glass of wine from the minibar, recline on the sunloungers and admire the star-filled sky.
During a leisurely breakfast, which takes in Asian and European treats including an amazing purple dragon fruit smoothie, we plan our day. The hotel provides an enticing array of free activities such as Thai cookery demonstrations, wine tasting and cultural tours. Mrs Smith explains to Moncy, the flamboyant and funny guest relations manager, that she has her heart set on elephant trekking and shopping. It’s all arranged in minutes, along with the aforementioned cabaret tickets.
We spend over an hour riding through the jungle on Owen at the nearby elephant camp (you’d think they would give the animals more exotic Thai names!). We feed the elephants bananas afterwards and marvel at what enormous but gentle creatures they are. Next stop is Kamala Beach, where we discover some fun boutiques for summer wear, fantastic antique shops and a chic store called Lemongrass House, selling handmade spa products. We intend to lunch at the cool and brilliantly located Catch Beach Club on Surin Beach, but we’ve both over-indulged at breakfast so settle on a lemongrass martini instead. What is it with lemongrass today?
As a birthday treat for Mrs Smith that night I’ve lined up Paresa’s signature ‘infinity dining’ experience – a table set up in the main infinity pool filled with LED lights that mirror the twinkling stars. By day, the three sets of sun-beds sit in shallow water at the pool edge; by night, they’re the perfect setting for a ‘cough’ romantic dinner for two. Sandals off, we wade through the water to our aquatically alluring table where, reclining on the sun-beds, we enjoy a delicious five-course candle-lit dinner of freshly caught prawns, sweet Phuket lobster and coffee panna cotta. The numerous cocktails we consume make for an amusing wobble to the safety of dry ground at the end of the meal.
Our night out on the town with the lady boys brings our Phuket sojourn to a saucy end. The next morning, we depart at a horrible hour to Koh Phi Phi Island, but luckily the gorgeous hotel staff supply us with a breakfast box to take on our journey. Bless them. Lounging in the luxury of the Paresa SUV, while chowing down on our picnic, we remark on how relaxed we feel despite our jam-packed schedule. We make a pact to return to Paresa, but next time to do absolutely nothing – except for a spot of cabaret…
49 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Road, Kamala Kathu, Phuket, Thailand 83150
13.2 mi / 21.4 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Onsite laundry
Italian and Mediterranean cooking is a devilish temptation at sleek wood-lined Diavolo Restaurant, where chef Luca Mancini serves up light, tasty treats for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as smoked salmon and goat's cheese mille feuille with capers and gold leaf. Roasted fish, rosemary and Prosecco risotto with black truffle and asparagus veloute gets our attention, too. If you'd rather go local, Talung Thai Restaurant shares the same dining space and serves authentic cuisine with a southern Thai slant, with a gorgeous outdoor deck for saluting the sunset. Plus, there's a stellar drinks list with cool cocktails and wines from around the world.
We love swimming and dining, so imagine our delight when we discovered Paresa's ultra-romantic 'infinity dining' concept. Snaffle a day-bed for two suspended over the infinity pool and waiters will wade out to serve you supper.
10.30pm for dinner, although the restaurants stay open from 6pm until midnight.
Available 24 hours a day, mirroring the restaurant menu.
As well as Diavolo Bar, which keeps pouring until 11.30pm, Paresa serves drinks at the dramatic Infinity Pool Bar, the perfect spot for a sundowner. There are no DJs, but you can chill out to Latin sounds and lounge tunes. 'Rush hour' kicks in from 6pm, when guests gather to pay homage to the sunset.