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Alila Cha-Am, Petchaburi

Thailand, Asia: The entrance to the Alila Cha-Am in Petchaburi, Thailand
115 Moo 7
Tambol Bangkao
Thailand 76120
Tel: 66 32 709 555
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag secures his reputation as the latest Thai design wunderkind with striking minimalist work at this 79-room beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. Guest rooms are set within six wood-and-glass buildings with pocked raw-concrete walls on the inside, but the rooms don't feel austere, thanks to beds that closely approximate sleeping on clouds, chocolate-brown cushioned club chairs, furry rugs, 12-foot-high rain showers, Apple TVs that work like iPods, and bijou balconies overlooking dense palm fronds. Chef Joel Wilkinson brings his health-conscious talents—honed at Antigua's Jumby Bay—to dishes that range from vegetarian pizzas to spicy Thai. The always attentive staff replenish cold water for guests lounging on shaded beachfront daybeds, and can arrange tours to the nearby royal palace or the night market. But most guests will be content to walk along the unbroken shore or lounge by the two pools, one surrounded by hibiscus-dotted hedges, the other for adults only between the groovy Red Bar and the ultra-relaxing spa.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: The most pleasant, rain-free days fall between November and April.

Which room to book: The seven deluxe pool villas feel like private beach houses.

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