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July 12, 2008updated Feb 11, 2013

Phuket Perfection

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

In October, Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa will open on the remote Mai Khao Beach on the northern shore. Removed from the overcrowded beaches in the south, the new development signifies the island is back and hotter than ever. The hotel affords incredible access to its surroundings, lying on the edge of Sirinath National Park, a verdant ecosystem with secluded beaches, jungles, and mangrove forests. Ideal spots for a castaway picnic include the nearby Similan Islands with their breathtaking coral reefs or remote Phang Nga Bay with views of limestone cliffs that float above the waters of the uninhabited bay and pristine white sand beach. The resort boasts 83 pool villas, arranged in the style of a traditional southern Thai water village around a lagoon. Each villa – framed by gardens and large, lily-filled ponds designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley (included in Architectural Digest’s “AD 100”) – has its own 377-square-foot infinity pool and terrazzo tub for two. Villas start around $905 per night.

Some other items to note.

-Activities abound: take a Thai cooking class (a signature of Anantara properties) or hit the azure waters of the Andaman Sea for windsurfing, sailing, and snorkeling. -The resort protected its lone Banyan tree, building a staircase around the trunk that leads to a tree-top level bar. Here take in bird’s-eye views while nibbling Thai-style tapas and sipping on exotic cocktails. -Dine at The Beach Restaurant featuring terraced seating and an ultra-chic ambience. At The Pavilion Bar, nosh on traditional Thai fare under a canopy of regional silks and a thatched roof or head to the Private Wine Cellar to select one of its rare vintages. -Unwind and rejuvenate at the signature Anantara Spa, choosing from a number of indigenous treatments.

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