Paradise calling: Amanpuri is Phuket’s secluded slice of heaven
Lovers, dreamers, and me
There's a reason why the term "Amanjunkie" exists. Or well, a multitude of reasons. It's my first time to an Aman property, and it's befitting that I've set foot at Amanpuri — the luxury hotel group's inaugural property in Phuket, which opened its doors in 1988. Almost three decades later and Amanpuri, which means "place of peace", doesn't look more than a year old. It's set amidst a secluded coconut plantation on a well-maintained strip of Pansea Beach, practically your own private island should you wish to spend the entire day by the water. The distinctive pointed, tiled roofs of the villas nod to the ancient architecture of Ayutthaya, while its stunning black-tiled freshwater pool by Edward Tuttle serves as inspiration for any modern-day summer residence in Europe. An air of stillness covers the vast grounds, punctuated by the calming roar of the waves from the ocean, and birds chirping as the sun goes down. It's a place where crowds don't exist, where you can hear your heartbeat, and where you feel like you're the only person on this paradise.
Check-in is a breeze. There's no need for sitting down at counters and filling out any forms. I'm led straight into my villa, showed all the necessities, and with a quick signature, I'm left on my own much to my delight. My pavilion is spacious with an outdoor lounge area overlooking the ocean — I could easily fit an army of 10 in there — and in contrast to the Thai façade, the aesthetic is clean and contemporary on the inside. From a divine king-size bed, to a deep bathtub, rainshower, a fruit platter and homemade cookies, there's nothing more you would want. Except for a television, which I later learnt is standard Aman protocol to not have one in the room. However, if a guest requests for it, they'll set it up straight away (and will make a note in your profile to have a television in the room on your future Aman bookings). I was more than happy to take my book and sit in my outdoor pavilion all day, while listening to the sound of the ocean.
All Aman properties are designed as part of an insider's club. There's no signage whatsoever when you drive in, elevating the level of expectancy when you finally arrive. Staff bustle around quietly, greeting you courteously by name as you amble past. They're friendly without being overly enthusiastic, and are full of suggestions should you be open to them. A particular waiter at a restaurant remembered what I had for breakfast the day before, and kindly offered an alternative when I tried to order the same thing again — one I took with no regrets, for the dish was impeccable.
Food at Amanpuri is beyond delightful. For a place so secluded, it comes as no surprise that the kitchen has to be top notch to cater to all their guests, but here I was having some of the best food of my life. There's great Thai, Italian, and South American food served all year round and a Mediterranean lunch menu down at the Beach Club, with a live grill and wood-fired pizza oven. Whether you're after moreish pad thai, creamy pasta, or hearty tacos, you name it and they'll have it. From November to April, Nama's open kitchen sets up just steps from the beach. Serving up delicate Japanese fare, expect only the finest with a focus on the UNESCO-recognised heritage cuisine of Washoku. My personal tip-off? At 4.30pm daily, head down to the pool for complimentary afternoon tea. It's a gathering of both guests and staff alike over a beautiful spread of Thai pancakes, generous slabs of cake, and tea. A group of Thai ladies are flipping traditional pancakes right in front of your eyes, which is fascinating to watch.
Wellness seekers will also find their magic at Amanpuri. The resort has designed four individually tailored immersions — physical fitness, sustainable weight-loss, digestive cleanse, and mental awareness — lasting anything from three to 14 days. It begins with a pre-arrival assessment and an in-depth consultation on arrival. While you're on your immersion, every single day is tailored to your needs, and includes two to three specialist therapy and movement sessions, which ranges from holistic stretching to Reiki to life coaching. Amanpuri's specialist raw food chef, Ben Flowerday, individually crafts all meals to reflect your nutritional and psychological needs, with your goals in mind.
Alternatively, if you're just after some light to moderate exercise, head down to the gym, perched at the property's highest point. The glass-walled space offers spectacular views of the glittering waters below. Take your pick from yoga and Pilates sessions, weights, and a variety of cardiovascular equipment. Personal trainers are on-hand to provide individual assistance and group training sessions in Thai boxing, High Intensity Interval Training, beach bootcamp, and TRX. There are also four floodlit tennis courts to pick from, where everything from racquets to balls to hitting partners are available at your request.
As the sun dips below the horizon at Amanpuri, there are only two places to be. Curled up on a beachside canopy bed with a cocktail in hand, or in the relaxing surrounds of the Aman Spa. The latter features six airy treatment rooms, each with its own steam room, shower, bath, and outdoor meditation area. Try the Royal Thai Massage, certain to soothe all aches in your body by using pressure point techniques to stimulate blood flow. You'll leave feeling like you're floating on clouds.
Amanpuri might only be an hour and a half by plane from Singapore, but its sublime world extends far beyond the short flight time. It's a place where lovers bask, dreamers are taken on a wild ride, and where you leave wanting more. This "Amanjunkie" has already set her sights on the next one.
For more information, visit Amanpuri.