HOTEL REVIEW

BEACHSIDE
HIDEAWAY

For private relaxation and adventure in equal measure, Teresa Ooi finds Anantara fits the bill.

You can’t get more romantic than dining in splendid isolation by the beach with your own private chef and butler, the only distraction the sound of waves crashing on the beach. And here we are, under a canopy of fluttering, white chiffon drapes held up by bamboo poles; the candle-lit table covered with red roses, white flowers and excellent Thai food. This is Dining by Design, a private, alfresco experience at Anantara Mai Khao villas, the luxury resort on the northern tip of Phuket island, the largest in Thailand.


The resort consists of of 91 exclusive pool villas clustered around a lagoon in a southern Thai-style village. It overlooks a prime stretch of Mai Khao beach in Phuket where you can go horse riding, do yoga at dawn or simply swim in crystal water.


We sign up for a Muay Thai boxing class where the instructor teaches us how to spar Thai style

The resort is particularly popular with wealthy Russians, British and Chinese holidaymakers escaping their chilly winters; many come en famille and take villas for several weeks. You can do as much or little as you like here. Go for a spin on the free bikes, book a spot at the tennis courts, borrow kayaks and paddleboards, or take lessons in sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving or game fishing. Or head to the main pool that stretches the length of the beachfront and has shaded cabanas and a bar you can swim up to for your fresh coconut or margarita.

For a taste of local gamesmanship, we sign up for a Muay Thai boxing class where the instructor teaches us how to spar Thai style; we quickly realise it takes more than a boxing glove to improve hip mobility and leg strength.

Lunch at beachside grill restaurant Sea. Fire. Salt. is a lesson in Himalayan salt brick cooking, in which the food is grilled on a slab of salt for extra complexity of flavour.

For dinner we visit The Tree House for an Arabic meal and are surprised and delighted by our assortment of cold and hot mezze followed by a main course of grilled shish kebab and chicken. If you fancy afternoon tea, try the champagne high tea at The Tree House, where a variety of Thai desserts, western cakes and sandwiches are served in a decorative bird cage. The only problem – how can you possibly manage dinner after that?

In a bid to indulge further, we treat ourselves to a 90-minute signature massage at the salubrious Anantara Spa which uses both Elemis and its own spa products. With traditional kneading techniques to release muscular knots and tension, the massage paves the way for a very restful sleep that night.

No visit to Phuket is complete without a private catamaran trip to nearby Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island, where The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed in 1974. However, as the Thai Princess is visiting the island during our trip, we have to anchor in the bay. We go kayaking around the limestone outcrops, and with the help of Captain Charlie we cast a line off the boat and catch several large fish.

On our last day, we sign up for a cooking class and make Thai fish cakes and green curry. Not only are both dishes delicious, but we each walk away with a certificate, an apron and a wooden chopping block.

Anantara Mai Khao villas are special, an unspoilt beachside resort that’s perfect for both families and couples alike.

TAKE ME THERE

Fly: Flight Centre has return fares to Phuket from Sydney with Qantas from $811 and Singapore Airlines from $974.

flightcentre.com.au

Stay: Anantara Mai Khao villas, a luxury resort of villas with private pools. Prices for a villa start at $550 per night including breakfast. Visit anantara.com

HOTEL REVIEW

BEACHSIDE
HIDEAWAY

For private relaxation and adventure in equal measure, Teresa Ooi finds Anantara fits the bill.


You can’t get more romantic than dining in splendid isolation by the beach with your own private chef and butler, the only distraction the sound of waves crashing on the beach. And here we are, under a canopy of fluttering, white chiffon drapes held up by bamboo poles; the candle-lit table covered with red roses, white flowers and excellent Thai food. This is Dining by Design, a private, alfresco experience at Anantara Mai Khao villas, the luxury resort on the northern tip of Phuket island, the largest in Thailand.

The resort consists of of 91 exclusive pool villas clustered around a lagoon in a southern Thai-style village. It overlooks a prime stretch of Mai Khao beach in Phuket where you can go horse riding, do yoga at dawn or simply swim in crystal water.

The resort is particularly popular with wealthy Russians, British and Chinese holidaymakers escaping their chilly winters; many come en famille and take villas for several weeks. You can do as much or little as you like here. Go for a spin on the free bikes, book a spot at the tennis courts, borrow kayaks and paddleboards, or take lessons in sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving or game fishing. Or head to the main pool that stretches the length of the beachfront and has shaded cabanas and a bar you can swim up to for your fresh coconut or margarita.

For a taste of local gamesmanship, we sign up for a Muay Thai boxing class where the instructor teaches us how to spar Thai style; we quickly realise it takes more than a boxing glove to improve hip mobility and leg strength.

Lunch at beachside grill restaurant Sea. Fire. Salt. is a lesson in Himalayan salt brick cooking, in which the food is grilled on a slab of salt for extra complexity of flavour.

For dinner we visit The Tree House for an Arabic meal and are surprised and delighted by our assortment of cold and hot mezze followed by a main course of grilled shish kebab and chicken. If you fancy afternoon tea, try the champagne high tea at The Tree House, where a variety of Thai desserts, western cakes and sandwiches are served in a decorative bird cage. The only problem – how can you possibly manage dinner after that?


In a bid to indulge further, we treat ourselves to a 90-minute signature massage at the salubrious Anantara Spa which uses both Elemis and its own spa products. With traditional kneading techniques to release muscular knots and tension, the massage paves the way for a very restful sleep that night.

No visit to Phuket is complete without a private catamaran trip to nearby Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island, where The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed in 1974. However, as the Thai Princess is visiting the island during our trip, we have to anchor in the bay. We go kayaking around the limestone outcrops, and with the help of Captain Charlie we cast a line off the boat and catch several large fish.

On our last day, we sign up for a cooking class and make Thai fish cakes and green curry. Not only are both dishes delicious, but we each walk away with a certificate, an apron and a wooden chopping block.

Anantara Mai Khao villas are special, an unspoilt beachside resort that’s perfect for both families and couples alike.

TAKE ME THERE

Fly: Flight Centre has return fares to Phuket from Sydney with Qantas from $811 and Singapore Airlines from $974.

flightcentre.com.au

Stay: Anantara Mai Khao villas, a luxury resort of villas with private pools. Prices for a villa start at $550 per night including breakfast. Visit anantara.com