What William Wordsworth and Robert Frost expressed in lengthy poems, Sri Panwa has managed to capture in one grand sweep. Panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, Monet-esque vistas, and all the quiet you can nestle in a clifftop — far, far away from the madding crowd of Patong.
Spread over 40 acres of subtly manicured jungle-covered headlands on the south-eastern tip of Phuket, Sri Panwa bears the familiar hallmarks of luxury getaways the likes of Aman and Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas (it isn't a coincidence that Habita, the design mavens behind these luxe digs have engineered the architecture here, too). Wide open spaces, sophisticated food and beverage offerings, a world-class spa, and incredible quiet — it's where you check into if the city has worn down your soul.
Pool porn is real. With over 150 pools, each more spectacular than the one before, you'll find plenty of cool lagoons to (skinny) dip into. It's easy to see why everyone from Rita Ora to Thai royalty has rocked up here with their entourage. Sri Panwa is a byword for privacy and Thai hospitality here is at its acme — all elements that make each guest feel right at home. Below, our tried-and-tested prescription for a weekend escape that sits blissfully close to home.
1. Watch the world sail by at Baba Pool Club
Affable waiters in smart polo tees slide up with cold towels, sunscreen, and freshly cracked coconuts. No one will judge if you choose to have a martini for breakfast. It's never too early to indulge. Deep house oozes from the speakers while stunning, postcard-perfect views see everyone whipping out their smartphones. A 25-metre lap pool dips straight into the ocean where stately ships chart their course. A few hours in the sunken pool beds is quite restorative. Plus, they bid you to linger on with nothing more than a body well slathered with sunscreen.
2. Check into a one-bedroom pool villa
Settle for nothing less. Ranging from 260 to 300 square metres, the one-bedroom pool villas here are anything but small. Making an unapologetic case for excess, you'll find the bedroom and living room housed in two separate pavilions. A Bose sound system places your aural pleasures first — especially useful for setting the soundtrack to languid soaks in your sunken jacuzzi sited within your private infinity pool, no less. The palatial bathroom manages to fit an indoor jacuzzi for two, steam room, and outdoor shower, so there's no reason why you shouldn't be scrubbing up real good. Craving a midnight snack? Your butler's just a call away.
3. Catch the sunset from Baba Nest
A modern-day eyrie, Baba Nest brings new meaning to the phrase 'bird's-eye view'. Offering panoramic views of Phuket, its neighbouring islands, and the Andaman sea, it isn't hard to see why scores of lovebirds have taken to exchanging their vows here. The sunsets here are spectacular and made better with an ice-cold Sri-Jito (lemongrass tinged mojito) and Japanese-inspired bar bites.
4. Rise early
If your pool villa — like mine — is angled towards the sunrise, set your alarm for dawn. Here, Paddle-Pop skies form the backdrop for a chorus of twittering birds while the sea begins to awaken ever so slightly. It's the kind of calm that city slickers covet, one you'll remember long after you've packed your bags for a more frantic world.
5. Hit the mat at dawn
When you're in warrior pose and your instructor bids you to turn your eyes to the sky, you're looking straight at nature's canvas, not some low-slung ceiling in a stuffy studio. The sun warms your body by degrees as you move between asanas. It's easy to slip into a meditative state when there're no barriers between you and the elements.
6. Sate your cravings for Japanese food
We wouldn't call for sashimi at any random Japanese restaurant down in Phuket town, but over at Baba IKI, seafood is flown in straight from Japan, a sure mark of freshness and pedigree. Here, a dedicated sushi chef turns out vibrant sashimi platters and pristine nigiri sushi while his talented colleague mans the teppanyaki station, plating up expertly cooked grub with a side of theatrics.
7. Explore The Habita
A lush enclave to 30 new pool suites and penthouses, The Habita is Sri Panwa's latest jewel in the crown. Even if you're not checking into one of their handsome, well-appointed rooms, the seductive infinity pool is yours for the taking. Those craving a spot of Chinese food can settle for dim sum at Baba Chino, but the opening of Baba Shishi Lounge is where you'll want to book ahead for. The inviting cocoon bids you to shoot the breeze with a cigar or hookah on hand.
8. Wind down at Cool Spa
Treatment rooms here are housed within their own glass pavilions, each with a cascading water feature and private pond. A bouquet of aromatic ingredients — ranging from lemongrass to galangal — pay homage to the Thai pantry, all of which are worked into inventive blends of all-natural, entirely edible scrubs. My 90-minute Thai Herbal Healer revival saw my muscles warmed with a hot compress while a skilled masseuse kneaded me down with a relaxing oil blend spiked with vetiver, turmeric, and Thai herbs.
9. Get to know the magic of a Josper grill
Josper grills are incredible expensive kitchen investments, but you certainly get what you pay for. These high-end grills separate the men from the boys, leaving just enough room for a chef who's truly skilled at the grill. Over at Baba Hot Box, one of the property's latest F&B offerings, masterfully grilled meats and seafood are presented with a flight of western and Thai-style dips. Ask for a seat by the open kitchen and marvel at the chefs as they fire up your dinner.
10. Hoist your sails
Phuket has no shortage of alluring islands to kick back at and you'll do best to charter Free Willy — Sri Panwa's 47-feet luxury speed boat — to reach these tropical cocoons. With picturesque islands such as Coral Island sited just 15-minutes away from Cape Panwa, it's easy to spend an afternoon snorkeling, parasailing, or melting like a piece of ice on the beach. The crew will even pack a handsome picnic for you — one filled with freshly cut fruit, watermelon juice, and bubbly.
Itching for a vacation? Start planning your trip to Sri Panwa.