Hotel Review: The Pavilions Phuket, Bang Tao Beach in Thailand
Words by Daisy & Sally Megee
Phuket can be many things. Endless, quiet tropical beaches as well as 24/7 parties. But, nestled in the North of the island is a tranquil paradise that I hadn’t heard of until I was invited to review it. And boy, am I glad I know it now! The Pavilions, Phuket is a classy, luxurious resort that caters to both families and couples. It’s particularly ideal for couples on their honeymoon, with romantic ocean view villas hosting infinity pools that lead straight into the bedroom and incredible, spacious open plan designs that make you want to stay forever.
Although all of the accommodation available at the Pavilions boasts a huge amount of 5* luxury, offered is a selection of different apartment and villa sizes (ranging from 3000THB/ £70- 40,000THB / £900 per night). You can choose to stay in smaller, yet still luxurious suites with your own private garden exhibiting gorgeous flowers all year round, to entire penthouses with multiple rooms, a private swimming pool and a personal spa room. Whichever you choose, you can be certain you will be enclosed by complete privacy as all of the residences have been designed so that none look onto another. Quite a brilliant achievement! My sister, my 3 year old niece and I were lucky enough to stay in one of the Spa & Pool Pavilions for a weekend of utter 5* delight.
After making our approach through the lush green Phuket valleys on a Friday late afternoon, we encountered the first treat of our stay; the descent up to the resort was a drive through a magical corridor of tropical plants beautifully decorated with tiny fairy lights. We were guided by these all the way up to the main lobby, which was as impressive as you’d expect and surrounded by stunning views of the island.
The villas are reachable by golf buggies (driver and buggy available on demand 24/7) and after a yummy welcome cocktail, us, our luggage and a few bottles of champagne were driven over to our villa. Exquisitely designed, we spent a good few moments in silence taking it all in. Outside, a beautiful water fountain running into our private pool, a large Sala housing a king-sized sunbed and a dining table fit for 6. Inside, a huge bathroom with a luxurious bathtub, the biggest sofa I’ve ever seen and a handsome 4 poster bed right in the center. The staff had thoughtfully also added a cot for my niece (which must have been so inviting, she spent her first night ever in her own bed!). We couldn’t bear to leave the villa for dinner and so we ordered from the room service menu which offered a great selection of western, Thai and Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, it’s rainy season this time of year in Southern Thailand but this didn’t stop us from dining outside, under cover watching the storm, and dancing in the rain in the shallows of the swimming pool all evening. A perfect start to our weekend.
Saturday morning was spent sunbathing before a Thai cooking class set above the beautiful Phuket hills in the renowned Plantation Club restaurant. Chef Belinda was a fountain of knowledge about Thai cuisine and ingredients and had us laughing and totally hooked throughout. After a year in Thailand, I’ve finally learnt how to make a Pad Thai and my favourite lemongrass and coconut milk chicken soup, ‘Tom Kha Gai’. Both tasted divine, even if I do say so myself! Belinda was also very accommodating of my sister who is a vegetarian, and showed her how to make equally delicious, vegetarian versions of both meals.
During the afternoon, Dominique (the charming resort manager), gave us a tour of the world class amenities the resort has to offer. The tranquil and serene garden spa offers a selection of massage packages as well as daily yoga classes above the lake. The spa is also available to be hired privately for both Thai and Western weddings and I would fully recommend considering this if you are looking for somewhere in Phuket to celebrate your big day. A huge swimming pool is available for guests of the resort and of the famous Firefly restaurant as well as a fully equipped fitness centre.
On Saturday night, we were invited to dine at the Firefly restaurant and were fortunate enough to be there on Salsa night! (Held on the first Saturday of every month). I ate a tasty chicken, bean and salsa dish (350 baht / £8) from the special Spanish menu available on this night only, and my sister and niece shared a freshly baked mozzarella, tomato pizza (300 baht/ £7) from the regular menu. My sister also tried the meringue, passionfruit yoghurt and mango dessert (240 baht / £6 baht) and hasn’t stopped talking about it since! Best of all, was the wonderfully talented latino duo who kept all of us thoroughly entertained throughout our meal and even got my sister and niece up dancing between the tables. Another perfect evening!
Although the resort is obviously not set up directly with children in mind (a romantic weekend away would be perfect), my niece, Lolas’ needs were warmly catered for, and she was made to feel so welcome, with all the staff doting on her! The pool with its shallow levels at one end was perfect for Lola. It was so nice for her to be able to spend hours splashing around, and that she could get in and out whenever she fancied, in-between using the entertainment system in the villa, and there were plenty of shady spots for her to relax in the garden. The whole experience, although completely relaxing, constantly kept us entertained and she was never stuck for anything to do, enjoying every minute. She was invited to join us on our cookery course. She even managed an impromptu morning dip at the Firefly after our breakfast on Sunday morning!
Although there wasn’t a huge range of vegetarian options at the resort, there was still plenty to choose from, as meals could easily be adapted to your requirements. The chefs on the cookery course discovered Lola and my sister were vegetarian on our arrival, but they were very accommodating, and recipes were quickly adapted for them with no fuss, also offering to make them vegan if they desired. There is a wide range of food that would suit any palette, even pleasing our very fussy toddler!
I have to also mention the incredible two and a half hour massage I was treated to. I was asked beforehand how hard or soft I wanted it to be and the brilliant and skilled masseuse proceeded to give me the most relaxing full body massage, body scrub and facial that I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps the most luxurious part of it all was that I was able to have it in the especially equipped spa room inside our villa. Just heaven!
After saying our goodbyes at the end of the weekend, we left the resort with that special refreshed feeling that can only come from being truly pampered, a satisfaction that only a place with the Pavillion’s attention to detail in such beautiful surroundings could provide.
Rates at The Pavilions Phuket start from £145 per night on a B&B basis. For more information, visit www.pavilionshotels.com/phuket
Address: 31/1 Moo 6, Cherngtalay, Thalang Choeng Thale, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 317 600