Best Pool Villa, Sri Panwa, Phuket
The luxurious Sri Panwa takes its name from the lush hilly peninsula of south-eastern Phuket, upon which it proudly perches. We had the choice of either a sunrise or sunset villa and, after some deliberation, we opted to enjoy what we hoped would be glorious sunsets, made all the more fabulous with an ice-cold sundowner cocktail in hand. We were expecting a golf buggy transfer on arrival but instead found ourselves in a quirky customised tuk-tuk, which trundled along to our villa. The first thing that hit us was the stunning panoramic view over the aquamarine Andaman Sea, stretching to the horizon. You’re guaranteed this view from every aspect, as the outward-facing walls of the villa are made up of floor to ceiling glass windows. We were surrounded by our very own private infinity pool: should the urge have taken us, we could have rolled out of bed and straight into the water. Even the outdoor bathing area has its own sunset pavilion. Villas are beautifully appointed and make the most of natural woods, warm fabrics and clever lighting in a style coined as Tropical Contemporary, all with subtle state-of-the-art entertainment factored in for a real sense of luxury. After what turned out to be an impressive all-singing-all-dancing sunset, which we toasted with drinks in-hand, we decided to investigate the Baba Pool club. This is the pulsing hub of the resort, which has a huge swimming pool, bar, restaurant and a fully sound-proofed basement nightclub. Having been offered a selection of seating options including beanbags on a deck and sunken sun chairs surrounded by water, we settled into huge black-and-white-striped chairs and chilled with our aperitifs to unobtrusive music, watching the resort come alive. Venturing into the stunning Baba Phuket Restaurant we were once again surprised and impressed by the stylish surroundings, beautifully lit and superbly designed using Sino-Portuguese motifs. Sitting in lovely wooden rocking chairs, we feasted on a Thai-style menu that delivered a delicious array of exquisitely presented dishes. Contentment indeed.