Few could deny the countryside outside Phuket is the exotic paradise idyll incarnate. White sands, blue waters to die for, tropical fauna and flora, and a pace of life that defines laid back. Save for the flights from Heathrow- even in business class- everything about a holiday in this corner of the Andaman Sea coast should be relaxing and luxurious.
Our accommodation accentuated this aura of calm. Checking into the Villa Saanti Natai, is a luxury experience in itself. A modern, newly-opened residence that still feels box fresh, from its state-of-the-art private gym to the huge pool out the back and generous 80-square metre rooms (some directly beside said pool), it’s the kind of address that you would be happy living in the rest of your life. The aesthetic is sleek, clean and yet remains in-keeping with the island’s more traditional architecture; a great compromise if you want contemporary luxuries but loathe sticking out like a sore thumb, as so many upmarket villas have a habit of making you do.
Located along the Natai beach Road, the situation itself is nothing short of stunning- a unique selling point if ever there was one. Just a stone’s throw from the coastline- we would swim a length in the pool, emerge, and be on the sand in less than two minutes- few alternatives can offer such a position, even less with equivalent facilities, especially located within 20 miles of the international airport. Travelling here with a party of ten, our first full day concluded with a party of sorts in the on-site covered sala, which made for the perfect hosting venue, gazing out across the endless sea at the end of our garden, watching dusk slowly set in whilst the staff- amongst the most helpful I’ve encountered at comparable addresses- catered to our every need.
But whilst it was easy enough to lose entire days without really moving, when we finally decided to spend an afternoon partaking in some activities one phrase immediately sprang to mind; ‘spoilt for choice’. Some members of our group opted to indulge in a yoga session, which took place in the 1800-square-metre garden- arguably the best spot on the planet for flexing joints in all manner of poses. Others decided to drive out to Ao Phang Nga National Park, a vast expanse of seemingly endless river estuaries, islands and yet more incredible coastline to the west of our location. I, on the other hand, led a party of five on a high seas adventure, making the most of the opportunity to hit the sea via speed boat, a favourite pastime of mine.
Quite the vacation, then, as an avid traveller who tries to touch down in as many continents as possible, as regularly as possible, and always demands the highest standards, despite benchmarks set by recent trips to the BVA and Bali it’s impossible to deny that Saanti Natai can hold its own. The food prepared by our chefs never faltered from exquisite, you could have spent a lifetime in bed they were so comfortable, and even the most ADHD prone guests would struggle to get bored of the view, or indeed the abundant ways to while away a day. Hence the reason we’ve now booked a return visit, and expect to walk away from that equally satisfied.