Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best

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First published 12th July, 2006

Nestled between two jungle-clad headlands on the northwestern coast of Thailand's Phuket, Trisara boasts gorgeous villas with some of the most breathtaking views from the tropical palm-fringed island, so if you're looking for a bit of unparalleled luxury to break up your thatch bungalows, and have a spare 20,000B or so in your wallet, Trisara is a mighty fine option...

This luxurious hideaway is the baby of Anthony Lark, the man who made the Amanpuri name synonymous with ultra-luxury chic retreats. With Trisara, which opened November 2004, he has again raised the bar when it comes to top-of-the-range plush getaways.

Though private pool villas are almost at the point of being passe in Thailand -- even three-star resorts seem to offer them these days to justify over-the-top prices -- Trisara's are something else entirely. When you see your Trisara pool villa, you'll realise that there are pool villas -- and then there are Trisara pool villas. Evason, the time has come to step aside.

Everything, not least your 10-metre private horizon pool, is palatial at Trisara. Your 240 square metres of living space with polished wooden floors and 270-degree views out over the turquoise Andaman Sea is worthy of nothing less than royalty. Recline on one of your twin sundecks that jut like planks, leaving you suspended over swaying palms, and savour your slice of paradise.

Trisara Resort, Naithon Beach, Phuket

The bed is the centrepiece of each villa, screaming "lie in me" as soon as you glimpse it. Ensconced in crisp linen, peer out over the glassy horizon pool where the water seemingly pours straight into the Andaman.

A meticulous eye for understated style has had particular success in the villa ensuites. A plush sofa beckons but an arm's distance from a suspended bath, itself surrounded by windows looking over yet another private patch of Trisara greenery. Beautifully-finished and majestic in size, you'll be spending almost as long in the bathrooms as in the pool. Don't forget the balmy outdoor, open-to-the-moonlight shower... So much water, so little time.

Decoration in your oasis is minimalist. Tasteful Khmer-influenced statuettes and a long wooden naga-like bedhead are as heavy-going as the decor gets. The necessary mod-cons are top-notch, with a 37-inch plasma TV and broadband internet, for those who must stay in touch with the real world.

Trisara Resort, Naithon Beach, Phuket

Outdoors, your deckchairs are shaded by ivory linen umbrellas. The deck areas are generally well-shaded for most of the day, but at mid-afternoon they bask fully in the sun. Room service will, of course, bring you afternoon cocktails to keep you cool as your tan intensifies.

You'd never realise there are 24 pool villas and 12 residential villas spread over the 40-acre property and although one or two can be seen from each, they're way out of earshot and always separated by a vast expanse of dense jungle and garden. From wherever you look outside - your desk, the bathroom window or the stupendous open-air showers, all you'll ever see is the striking blue of the Phuket sky and the green of Trisara's lush gardens. Sitting out on your deck, you'll immerse yourself in the gentle sea-breeze, leaving you feeling like you're sitting on the beach rather than way above it.

Trisara is never going to be crowded. In fact when we visited there were just two other rooms occupied and it was blissful. Electric golf carts whisked us up to a villa with a gentle purr as our bubbly driver giggled, telling us that the only thing she missed at Trisara was power-steering. Golf carts aside, the only sound you're likely to encounter is the breeze in the trees and the echo of bird calls. This is super-secluded luxury at its finest.

Trisara Resort, Naithon Beach, Phuket

Should you actually manage to drag yourself out of your villa and away from the pool, the bed, the showers and the exquisite sunsets, plenty of activities will keep you busy within the resort's grounds. First stop would be the seductive spa complex, conveniently set on the hillside between many of the villas and reception and comprised of six private treatment suites, which, as you'd expect, are extremely spacious and tasteful. Although air-conditioned throughout, if you'd rather get back to nature while having your body rubbed down with succulent oils and aromatic herbs, then use the outdoor area -- each suite has one. In fact, if you can't bear leaving your villa, the spa staff will come to you instead.

For the totally deranged, a fully-equipped gym is located right by the spa with the standard (yawn!) spectacular views. Further afield are tennis courts, complete with a coach or partner if you need.

Down by the water's edge, a 45-metre pool runs along within eyeshot of the restaurant and bar. With your own pool, and ample swimming in the sea from mid-to-high tide (the beach is rocky at low tide, though staff will whisk you off to another beach then if you wish), it's difficult to imagine this pool getting too much traffic.

The reef offshore provides two important services: a very pretty snorkelling spot and also as a barrier to those pesky jet skis that plague so much else of the island. It's a natural finishing touch to a resort that for now, clearly has no equal on Phuket.

More information:
Official Trisara Resort website
Travelfish review
Check rates with Agoda

About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

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