Elegant, exclusive and child-free, The Pavilions, Phuket hotel is perfect for a romantic escapade. Ensconce yourselves in the seductive confines of a luxury pool villa where you can eat, sleep and skinny dip in total privacy. Should you decide to come out, there’s a fine restaurant and must-visit bar, plus the thrills of Phuket on your doorstep.
Luxe private villas
Lofty location with startling sea views
Child-free chill-out zone
A one-hour Pavilions oil massage for two
In the know
Also need to know:
Smoking is allowed outdoors only. For a spa session with a difference, the Pavilions' treatments have been picked for their holistic properties. Relax with the utterly indulgent Scentsual Passion (the signature treatment) in the privacy of your villa.Although it's tucked high in the hills, the Pavilions runs a free shuttle bus to Layan Beach in Sirinat National Park throughout the day (and can provide a picnic hamper for lunch). There are also restaurants by the beach.
Bring a pair of binoculars for spotting wildlife or scoping the panoramic views from the bar.
Come as you are – Liza Bruce kaftans and relaxed linens fit in just nicely around the resort.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Phuket’s recently celebrated image as a luxury destination disappears in a puff of scooter smoke as we travel through the sleazy streets of razzle-dazzle holiday-makers, sex tourists and pissed-up Australians that is Patong. Think London’s Camden Market but beside the coast with hookers. I’m being harsh: if fakes are your thing then you can shop till you drop but my advice is visit, don’t stay.
Thankfully, we’re not. We’re about an hour north, halfway up the west coast, at the Pavilions, Phuket resort on a headland overlooking Bang Tao, a five mile-long horseshoe bay of travel-brochure white sand. It is probably the island’s best beach outside a national park and is definitely the most serene. The seductive hideaway we are now entering hovers about 100 metres above sea level, a mile inland, camouflaged by coconut groves from unwanted attention. I am getting the feeling this is where the rich or famous stay.
As our taxi swings into reception we are greeted by an army of linen-clad staff, handed a cooling towel and whisked towards soft seating. Our very own personal guest handler, Ms Wong, welcomes us while simultaneously choreographing the ballet of booking us in. It is gracefully done. I share a grin with Mrs Smith – we are liking this place already.
A golf cart carries us up to the doors of our private Ocean View Pool Villa. It’s huge, all 310sq metres of it. Comfortable sofas are set in a vast living room with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open onto a secluded sun-deck with its own infinity pool. As it’s facing west, with an uninterrupted view of the ocean, we know the sunsets will be spectacular.
A king-size bed dominates the master bedroom, with more sliding doors opening up extra space, light and views across the pool. The bathroom is bigger than the bedroom, its cool, painted floors inviting us to kick off our Havaianas. Right on cue, spa therapists arrive to administer welcome foot massages.
We could have visited Ko Phing Kan, where they shot Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, or kayaked through the caves of Ko Panyi; instead I pour drinks from the well stocked fridge as Mrs Smith connects iPod to sound system before we both jump into the pool. Bobbing at the edge of our aquatic galaxy we stare out to the sea’s infinite horizon. So relaxed we’re motionless, we order dinner off an extensive room service menu, make arrangements for the following day and snuggle down to watch a film.
We sleep deeply in the most comfortable bed in Asia, which is more than big enough for the both of us. In the morning we literally flop out of bed and into the pool, a perfect way to get up. Stop. Just give me a moment to be please. Here is perhaps the very essence of the Pavilions’ appeal, a combination of time and space in which to enjoy life’s true luxuries.
Mrs Smith dries her hair as I phone for a buggy. We are promptly collected and delivered to the Plantation Club, the communal hub of the Pavilions. It is stylishly designed; built on the site of an old rubber plantation then decked out with colonial elegance. You can take afternoon tea in the formal living room, check emails from the study’s sofas, and guzzle or quaff all day long at the terrace bar. It’s all beautifully designed, with hardwoods, soft pastel fabrics and overhead fans. Although it makes me want to take up bridge, we opt for breakfast instead.
This is served on the Terrace, a circular main dining room, with half its perimeter open to the elements. We take a table on the edge and enjoy the view. There’s only one other couple here but ample provisions of food: French cheeses, Italian meats and Scottish salmon. Mrs Smith’s carbon footprint policy means we opt for the local produce. So fruit, freshly baked bread, and a three-egg omelette is washed down with strong black coffee, my only concession on the imports.
We choose to push Mrs Smith back up the hill, then I crash breathlessly on the sofa. There’s a knock at the door and a troupe of beauty therapists arrive: we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of having a treatment in the privacy of our villa. Mrs Smith weirdly elects to have her nails done, while I stretch out in the bathroom and prepare to be rubbed, pummelled and pulled. Instead, I am caressed, soothed and anointed in a spectacular display of Asian massage prowess, followed by my first facial. The effect is miraculous: I look and feel less jaded and more angelic.
Topping up our tans dominates the rest of the afternoon, as I float back to earth after my massage high. Come sundown, we head up to 360° for expertly made caipirinhas. This is the Pavilions’ highest point, a lofty look-out marked out with an alfresco drinking lounge bedecked with white linen-wrapped chairs. We order some tapas and raise a toast to our setting. Sexy and secluded, it’s the perfect place to spend time together and reconnect behind closed doors. And as promised, the sun doesn’t let the show down, sinking below a blue horizon as if with a satisfied sigh.
31/1 Moo 6, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, Thailand, Thailand 83110
7.0 mi / 11.3 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Aerobics instruction
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Hong Kong designer Rene Ozorio turned his finely tuned eye to the Plantation Club and created a pared-back, stylish take on Chinoiserie. The elegant dining room, with its ever-so-slightly distressed tables, high-backed chairs and charcoal colour palette, has floor-to-ceiling windows that fold back so you can enjoy the breeze and views. Chef Belinda Tuckwell's signature dishes include yam makua yoaw (roast eggplant salad with Thai herbs and poached jumbo prawns) and keang massaman gai (cinnamon- and anise-scented curry).
It’s hard to beat eating by your pool, but the best restaurant table is in the middle of the front row for unobstructed sea views.
Dinner is served at the Plantation Club 6pm–10.30pm; bar 360º stays open till 11.30pm.
Full restaurant menu available 7am–11pm.
The Pavilions has three bars – there’s the masculine, clubby lounge at the Plantation Club, where you can sink into a comfy armchair as you nurse a brandy, and the fashionable 360 ?. Perched up a lush path at the very top of a hill, this outdoor bar attracts locals in the know for sunset cocktails and tasty snacks with serenity-boosting views (it's at its busiest 5.30pm–7.30pm). Try the delectable mandarin and lemongrass mojito.