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Amanpuri, Pansea Beach

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Similan Islands, Thailand, Asia: A pavillion at Amanpuri
Pansea Beach , Phuket
Thailand 83000
Tel: 66 76 324 333's insider take:

Few hotels in the world make a better first impression than Amanpuri. Upon arriving from the madness of the airport—only 25 minutes as the limo glides—you find yourself in a serene green enclave in a former coconut grove. Amanpuri is the Sanskrit word for "place of peace," and the computer-free, open-air lobby sets that tone, guiding the eye past a midnight-blue pool to the Andaman Sea. Thai sculptures, orchids, and reddish maka wood lend romantic warmth to the otherwise spare decor of the 40 enormous (1,200-square-foot) pavilions, some with private infinity pools, and the 30 villas, which include a maid, cook, outdoor living room, and private infinity pool. Service is beyond thoughtful: Attendants on the wedding-white beach deliver drinks and snacks; take guests snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, and kayaking (all complimentary); and spray water on the sand to keep it cool beneath your feet. There is another infinity pool at the beach club directly along Surin Beach. Buggies cruise around the property 24/7, stopping off at the hilltop gym, which has Andaman Sea views and a Pilates studio, and the spa, where guests glide between the black granite steam room, Thai herbal massages, and jungle-shrouded beds overlooking the ocean. The resort also owns a fleet of 20 boats, including a 90-foot cruiser featured in Architectural Digest. The isolation and expansiveness of the hotel may frustrate more social travelers, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a resort more perfectly configured for a couple's escape. Even if you can't afford to stay, come for lunch or dinner at the terrace Thai and Italian restaurants or at Naoki, the oceanfront Japanese spot, to see how the other one half of one percent lives.—Updated by Cynthia Rosenfeld

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 95.0
  • Activities: 96.7
  • Design: 96.7
  • Food: 90.0
  • Location: 96.7
  • Rooms: 93.3
  • Service: 96.7
Multi-tiered rooflines and locally inspired interiors prevail at this hillside resort on the Andaman Sea. "Plush pavilions," all with salas, are peppered amid the coconut palms. Terrace Restaurant serves Thai and European dishes alfresco; enjoy drinks at sunset on a teak chair on The Bar's beachfront terrace. "Staff pay close attention to the details." Complimentary yoga and meditation sessions are offered on the hillside.

(40 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.