Last year I made the wise decision of getting out of town for the Rugby 7s weekend. This year I was not quite so wise and stuck around for the craziest weekend of the year. As we had work events and friends in town, this actually extended to the week before and the week after the 7s too! Needless to say that when it was all over we were exhausted and ready for a holiday. Here’s where my wisdom did come into play: I booked in a short trip to the beautiful resort of Sri Panwa in the south of Phuket, perfectly timed for some much-needed rest and relaxation… with some delicious Thai food thrown in too, of course!
Part of the attraction to living in our hectic city is the ease and convenience of hopping on a plane and flying to some gorgeous destinations in no time at all. Phuket takes less than three hours to fly to, but often, with the hoards of tourists that flock there daily, it can sometimes prove more stressful than it’s worth – particularly if you’re only travelling there for a weekend. Sri Panwa is over an hour’s drive from the airport (perhaps further than you’d ever normally travel in Phuket) but once you’re there, it’s like you’re in a completely different place, entirely remote and tranquil.
On the day we arrived, the weather was misbehaving a little bit, undecided on whether to pour with rain or let the sun shine. We took this as our chance to explore the resort a bit, starting with a delicious lunch at Baba Pool Club overlooking Cape Panwa. Even on a cloudy day, the view was breath taking, so it wasn’t a surprise to see several people (ourselves included!) posing for photos in front of it.
We were then driven in a tuk tuk the 10 long metres up the hill to our incredible villa, which was easily bigger than our flat. It had a dining and lounge area with a daybed bigger than our normal bed, a kitchen (again bigger than our HK kitchen), a huge bathroom with his and hers sinks and a shower/steam room and a walk-in wardrobe! The bedroom had a ginormous king-sized bed as well as a terrace with a bath and open-air shower, and, most impressively, our very own private infinity pool that wrapped around the entire villa. Once we had picked our jaws up off the floor, we got straight into our swimmers and headed for the pool, where we spent the rest of the afternoon, ignoring the light drizzle.
For dinner that night, after Happy Hour cocktails back at Baba Pool Club, we took a tuk tuk (isn’t that fun to say?!) to Baba Soul Food for some authentic Thai cuisine. Along with all the classic Thai dishes you’d expect to find, Baba Soul Food also offers some unique specialities such as crispy duck with cashew nuts and our new favourite dessert of crispy shredded rice and caramel coconut with warm milk.
Our holiday rule is to never set an alarm. Instead we slept with the curtains open, allowing us to wake up to the natural light. Given the rain the previous day, we weren’t expecting great things from the weather gods. And yet we awoke to the most incredible view – blue skies, palm trees, gorgeous deep blue sea. See the photo above? That’s actually taken from our bed!
One of the things I tend to judge hotels on is their buffet breakfast. The breakfast at Baba Pool Club didn’t disappoint, with a vast array of eastern and western delights, as well as a special a la carte menu just for eggs. One of my favourite things about it, however, is that you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast overlooking such an incredible view, whilst sitting on a rocking chair! It doesn’t get much more relaxing than that!
With the choice of our own private pool, the pool at Baba Pool Club, the Beach Pool or Sri Panwa’s private beach, we weren’t short of sunbathing options. We decided on the Beach Pool, which might as well have been our own private pool, as we had it all to ourselves.
A few hours of lying in the sun and doing nothing was very hard work, so we decided we needed to unwind with a massage at the Cool Spa. However, at the time we had requested, there were no spa rooms available; instead two masseuses came and set up two full-size spa beds in the comfort of our own villa – talk about service!
Once suitably pampered, it was time to head to Baba Nest to catch the sunset. With 360-degree views of Phuket’s southeastern peninsula and neighbouring islands, it’s easy to see why Baba Nest has won awards for being one of the best beach bars in the world. My advice is to make sure you book ahead to secure yourself a beanbag on the top deck, and then sit back, enjoy a few cocktails and soak in the beauty of it all.
Since there aren’t too many dinner options at Sri Panwa and we outright refused to face reality and leave the resort a moment before we had to, we headed for another delicious dinner at Baba Soul Food. Although we insisted on trying different dishes to what we’d had the night before, we simply could not resist another serving of that amazing dessert!
Sadly, on the third day, it was time to say goodbye to this incredible resort, but not before we had enjoyed a tasty breakfast (pad thai included), soaked up every single ray of sunshine that shone down on us and devoured yet more tasty Thai treats for lunch. We left the resort suitably bronzed (well, maybe lobster red, but it soon turned brown!), unbelievably relaxed and dreading a return to reality. Sri Panwa is one of the most beautiful resorts in which I have ever stayed and is easily my favourite place on the island of Phuket. It’s definitely not the cheapest resort, with pool suites starting from $4732 per night (definitely a treat!). However, in our hectic Hong Kong lifestyle I crave the peace and tranquillity that Sri Panwa offered and I’d jump at the chance to return… maybe after next year’s rugby!