Luxury Island Escapism: The Residences at Anantara Layan Phuket Resort & Spa
Finance Monthly reviews The Residences at Anantara Layan Phuket Resort in Thailand.
It’s not that often that I fall speechless. In fact, there are so many beautiful adjectives in the English language that could perfectly describe a luxurious villa in a five-star resort, however, upon entering our private Residence at Anantara Layan Phuket Resort & Spa, I was rendered speechless. The word ‘paradise’ is thrown around far too frequently by pretty much everyone who goes on a tropical holiday nowadays, but I’d be damned if someone wanted to tell me that I wasn’t right in the midst of it.
We dab our faces with the refreshingly cool towels handed to us by the Residence butler Sean (who we would quickly grow to absolutely adore), take a sip of our welcome guava juice and begin exploring the pool area and the high-ceilinged rooms of one of the resort’s 15 uniquely designed Residences; perched on a lush hill which overlooks a calm lagoon at the end of Layan Beach in Phuket. The attention to detail is truly impressive – from the smell of frangipani coming from the front garden you walk past upon entering, through to the delicate oriental touches in the interior and the desserts that have been laid out for us in the living room – a thought has been put into every little detail. Even things like a beach bag and the vast selection of Bulgari products, including bath salts, in the bathroom area (which is quite possibly bigger than a standard studio in London), haven’t flown under the radar and this attention to the miniscule is echoed in the service provided by not only the staff in the Residence but in the whole resort.
The focal point in our Residence is undoubtedly the front garden with its extensive infinity pool (which was all we needed after a 17-hour journey from the UK) and the outdoor dining sala where we would have breakfast the following morning. Palm trees, sun loungers and sunbeds adorn the poolside and everything is so aesthetically pleasing and achingly beautiful that I feel the urge to spend the night right there – under the filled-with-stars Thai sky.
Still recovering from the flight, we take a golf buggy down to the spa on our first day, fully ready for a signature couples massage. As with any Anantara property, a phenomenal spa is to be expected. Fully in line with Anantara Layan Phuket Resort’s authenticity, the spa is finished beautifully with Thai decorative elements and offers seven luxury treatment rooms, male and female steam rooms, a hairdressing salon and an OPI nail salon. Our masseuses begin the treatment with a foot bath, but the next hour is a blur as the combination of Thai massage techniques soothes me into a state of bliss. Once the massage’s over, we ease ourselves back into reality with a cup of herbal tea and granola bars which were waiting for us in the post-treatment relaxation room.
For those wishing to expend energy, the spa also offers a fully equipped state-of-the-art gym, which overlooks a stunning outdoor pool set amongst lush greenery; I’m positive that I’ve had to look at worse things whilst running on a treadmill. Or if you’d like to fully embrace the fact that you’re in Thailand, whilst still breaking a sweat, book a private Muay Thai boxing class. Due to the resort’s perfect location on a private beach, guests can also try an abundance of water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and sailing.
Foodies will be in raptures over Anantara Layan Phuket Resort’s culinary offering which compiles a range of dining options. Dee Plee Restaurant showcases Thai delicacies made with quality local ingredients. Indulge in a selection of fragrant curries and stir-fries, fresh seafood creations and traditional desserts. Tables are set out both indoors and outdoors, with the seating on the terrace overlooking the calm Andaman Sea.
The poolside restaurant Breeze and its menu consisting of light salads, grilled fish, pizzas and pasta, as well as cooling fruit juices and coconut water, quickly becomes a favourite for lazy lunches in the shade after a few hours of sunbathing or a more casual dinner. But for an extra special meal, book a Dining by Design evening, which includes an intimate dinner under the stars with a personal chef and a butler service. The location could be chosen by you, but the beach is, naturally, highly recommended.
Every morning begins with a coffee by our Residence’s pool, followed by a buggy ride to breakfast; a sensational sprawling buffet set out in a few different rooms (yes, I did say a few – there is a whole room dedicated to cheese and cold cuts only). In addition to an impressive continental offering and a myriad of western staples, there is a varied mixture of traditional Asian breakfast items such as noodle soup, spring rolls and the Thai version of French toast, as well as Middle Eastern dips and dishes like hummus, Baba Ganoush and tagine. There’s also a pancake and waffle station as well as an omelette bar where friendly chefs cook up a storm, making me wish I had more room in my belly to try all of the mouth-watering food on offer. My personal highlight was the luscious tropical fruit and juices; if only I could have a plate of freshly-picked dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and mango every morning for the rest of my life.
On our last night, as we peacefully sip on ice-cold mojitos in the resort’s beach bar (fittingly called Mojito), watching the sun dip below the horizon, I muse upon the moments in my life when I have felt fully complete, content and in utter harmony with my surroundings. I reflect on the fact that our whole stay at one of the Layan Residences by Anantara has been one of these moments and I impatiently await my return to this heavenly place.
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