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Weekend at Banyan Tree Phut

The advantages of living in Bangkok? The resorts are only a short flight away. We traveled to Phuket as guests of Banyan Tree Phuket for a long weekend of fun in the sun – here’s what we thought:

The immediate surroundings (a gigantic golf complex and many serviced apartments) and the (non-private) beach of the complex are not the best, but none of that matters, because the Banyan Tree Phuket offers many activities to keep busy all day.

The villas, for starters, are the kind of excavations in which you will want to spend the whole day. We stayed in a family villa in the beautifully landscaped main resort area. Executed in a typical Thai resort style, so tons of teak and fine Thai arts act as a headboard. The master bedroom opens directly onto a (very large) private swimming pool, and in our private walled garden we also had access to a hot tub, a Sala Lounge and two open–air bathrooms with outdoor showers and a bathtub (a nice touch, but if the creepy crawlies come out at night, it’s better to stay at the villas are no longer the newest (although renovations are underway) – but they are well maintained and spotlessly clean.

The complex is scattered over a large area, but golf carts can take you to the pool, Spa or lobby with a quick call to the reception. And because all the villas – even the entry-level villas – have one (or even two) private pools, the main pool of the complex is delightfully quiet. At any given time, we only saw a few other guests. And even if it got more lively, the pool is huge and there are plenty of cots available.

The breakfast served by the lake is a scream. The buffet may not be the largest, but the choice is excellent. This ranges from continental classics to noodle soups, salads and curries. We particularly liked the many Thai notes, the mango and sticky rice, the Thai milk tea and the Khanom wrapped in bamboo leaves. There is even a separate Station for Phuket Specialties like fish curries and soups. The service is remarkably attentive and a clean plate will fall under your nose once you have eaten the last bite of your previous one. More to like: mimosas and bottomless champagne are served on request.

Serious spa addicts should book into one of the Sanctuary Spa Villas, located in a separate area outside the main complex. The spacious mature-only villas all have private pools, steam rooms and beautiful glass-walled rooms that seem to float in the surrounding lily pond.

Here, it’s an all-you-can-eat Spa affair with wellness activities throughout the day. Upon check-in, you sit down with one of Banyan Tree’s wellness advisors to design a personal itinerary. Whether you want to rest or recharge your batteries, the wellness program offers all kinds of activities.) Massages, Yoga and meditation sessions go without saying, but what distinguishes the resort from other spas are the specialized activities such as postural alignment and couples yoga. In addition to the free weekly wellness program, a number of other treatments are available to you: sleep celebrations, detoxifying diets and cleansing baths (with honey, ginger, Tamarind and milk) are included in the room rate.

Tip

Bring the strongest mosquito repellent you can find, because these little guys will eat you alive.
We only ate at the resort’s Thai Restaurant, which was mediocre. You are probably best taken care of at Tré, their contemporary Fusion place.

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