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Phuket Designer Retreat Road Test – Part One

Phuket-Designer-Retreat1

The island of Phuket doesn’t always evoke imagery of seclusion, exclusivity and exceptional style. On a mission to dispel any overriding misconceptions you may have about the island (that likely includes overcrowded family resorts and markets filled with fake merchandise), we invite you to rediscover the island.

 

Point Yamu by COMO

When rumours started to circulate about a collaboration between COMO Hotels and Resorts and Italian designer Paolo Navone, our jet-setting aspirations went into overdrive. Navone is undoubtedly one of the design world’s hottest talents and COMO founder Christina Ong’s escapes are among the world’s most coveted.

 

Perched on a promontory, overlooking the Andaman Sea and the photogenic limestone karats of Phang Nga Bay on the east coast of Phuket, Point Yamu by COMO is elevated above most other accommodation options. Blessed by a vast ocean expanse offering dramatic sunrises and sunsets, the area is also notoriously lush, remote and relatively unspoilt.

 

While you may find your arrival at the commanding charcoal-grey entrance a little confronting, it’s only because the resort’s striking architectural facade is like nothing else on the island. Originally a Philippe Starck development, Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy’s masculine edifice rises out of the lush and landscaped terrain setting.

 

As soon as you step into the foyer, all seems in perfect balance. Open-ended, expansive views through to the lush tropical surrounds and a fresh cross breeze off the bay (which never seems to depart), greet you in abundance. But it is Point Yamu’s interiors that will capture your imagination and have you swooning over every last detail throughout your stay. Navone’s combination of bespoke furniture and selection of covetable modern Thai artefacts and finishes grace every aspect of the property, promoting Thai culture and craftsmanship.

 

This contemporary aesthetic flows perfectly into all the rooms, suites and (soon to be launched) villas which open up to the sparkling waters of Phang Nga Bay. All the suites feature perfectly beach-fresh whitewashed walls, Gervasoni linen couches, choice blue accents overlaid with locally-made furniture and sumptuous in-room amenities, while a selected number include in-room kitchens and private pools. The decadent bathrooms are a triumph. A heady combo of glass, Sino-patterned tiles and freestanding baths, will no doubt steal a large proportion of your downtime.

 

Be sure to pop on one of the crisp white robes, throw a few recreational essentials into one of the in-room paper totes and head down to the 100m infinity pool, suspended over the dramatic landscape below. Recline on a sun lounge and expect exceptional pool-side service including lush cocktails from Aqua Bar.

 

Dining at COMO is an experience in itself.   La Sirena is an all-day Mediterranean-style cafe that includes COMO’s famed Shambhala Cuisine. Largely organic and locally sourced, the cuisine is perfect for healthy eaters but doesn’t skimp on taste. Don’t miss breakfast, it is a definitive highlight. The freshly pressed juices and yoghurt compotes are appropriately addictive.   A second restaurant, Nahmyaa, serves spicy southern Thai street food served with visionary aplomb, courtesy of Australian chef Daniel Moran.

 

If you’re seeking a private group experience, fear not, for an all-white room (hidden behind a huge orange door featuring a large Buddha hand) offers intimate dining at a long white marble table that seats 20 guests against a hand-cut painted mosaic wall of shimmering tiles.

 

As expected, Point Yamu features a COMO Shambhala spa, offering holistic, Asian-inspired therapies, treatments, exercise, and nutritional instruction. The turquoise, grey and white-tiled interior with expansive views over the bay, will have you feeling connected and pampered before your treatment even begins. We loved the signature COMO Shambhala Massage.

 

Still in its soft-opening phase the resort is still working on its very own beach club on an adjacent island. Granted, it’s not right on your doorstep, there is something magical about being ferried in style to a dedicated island getaway which will no doubt sport its own inimitable COMO flavour.

 

Images and words by: Elana Castle

Visit: http://www.elanacastle.com

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