Saturday, 3 August 2013

Impressive new Phuket hideaway with a focus on health

If you feel like enjoying Phuket in conspicuous style, then the new 150-room Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa should be on your radar. 
From the moment you are met by your own butler and driver in a luxury vehicle at Phuket International Airport, Avista offers a five-star experience for those willing to pay for it. This high-end escape has 150 suites ranging from 55 sq m to 145 sq m with spectacular vistas of the Andaman Sea, access to three separate beaches, butler service and three spectacular swimming pools.

Perched high above the nightlife core of Patong - but just a five-minute drive away by taxi or shuttle bus - Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa features brilliant panoramas overlooking Tri Trang and Patong beaches. 

The room designs have been inspired by the heritage and legends of southern Thailand’s fishing villages, spice traders and mountain dwellers  - with a touch of Indian chic thrown in for good measure. 

Avista, the flagship of a new Indian hospitality group, approaches hospitality from a slightly different angle - hiring people with the right attitude and then teaching them about the hotel business. The staff throughout the resort are exceptional. 

All the elements are in place; a private beach club, those swimming pools, three dining options with a variety of cuisines produced by a team headed by American chef Tim Westaway, 24-hour butlers and villas that feature their own day beds, private plunge pools and free wi-fi. 

Other than at breakfast, the resort often feels deserted - thanks to some clever planning. There are zen gardens on rooftops and walls - and the mattresses and pillows are outstandingly comfortable. 

Activities include yoga classes, a fully equipped gym, a library with computer access, kid's club and games room and an authentic Ayurvedic Spa with an on-site resort doctor and nutritionist, Dr Alvin James, who is available to provide health advice and personalised menus. Traditional Thai treatments are also available.

The top accommodation is in duplex jacuzzi suites and pool suites (love those outdoor showers), while all rooms feature satellite TV, iPod docks, fridge, mini bar and tea/coffee making facilities.

The resort website currently has a number of special offers featuring discounts of up to 50% on rack rates. Entry-level Buena Vista rooms start from around $215 a night with ultra-luxe pool villas (below) from about $500. 
Two warnings: the resort is built in a terraced style with quite a few steps to be negotiated. Although you can always call for a golf buggy to move you around I'd suggest older and infirm travellers look elsewhere. Further, and management is aware of the problem and moving to rectify it, the shuttle bus system is quite shambolic at the moment. 

But with taxis so easily available, that should be no disincentive to checking out such a unique property.  

Avista Hideaway, 50/9 Muen Ngern Road, Patong, Amphur Kathu, Phuket 83150. +66 76 681 681. www.avistahideaway.com

Thai Airways International, Asia’s largest full-service carrier, flies 40 times a week from Australia to Thailand with easy connections to a network within Thailand and to over 70 destinations worldwide.Visit www.thaiairways.com.au/ for the latest special deals and promotions or ask your travel agent. Travellers from Western Australia can take advantage of non-stop flights between Perth and Phuket until Oct 19 2013.  THAI’s Winter Escape Sale is on now until the end of August with fares to Bangkok starting from $880 return from the East Coast ($794 ex Perth) or $890 return to Phuket ($802 ex Perth).  Discounts also apply for travel in pairs with Companion Fares from $861 return to Bangkok (book by August 31, travel by November 30).


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