Concierge.com's insider take:
The 30-minute drive to Aleenta takes you away from the resort-clogged circus of Phuket through small towns, rubber-tree farms, and rolling hills of palm trees. But the feeling once you step into your room is pure Malibu. The 30 all-white villas (the larger ones with kitchens and living areas) have floor-to-ceiling retractable glass panels that open onto expansive views of the Andaman Sea. The neutral interiorspolished concrete floors, mocha and cream bedding, beech-wood furniturekeep the focus outdoors, where teak decks open onto infinity pools. And the Cali vibe extends to the service, which lacks the stiffness sometimes found at other luxury properties. Nearly everything has been custom-designed for the resort, from the electro-lounge playlist on the in-room iPods to the complimentary yoga mats and featherlight cotton meditation clothes. The two on-site restaurants benefit from the presence of visiting Michelin-star chefs (pastries and breakfasts are outstanding). You can spend a night at the tasting table, schedule a cooking class, or have a private seafood barbecue on the beach. The hotel donates a small portion of each night's bill to support a nearby sea turtle sanctuary, which guests can visit. Aleenta may lack the laundry list of facilities that come standard at places like Amanpuri and Trisarathere are no dive instructors or tennis pros on the premises, for examplebut the thoughtful design, secluded location, and mellow vibe attract the laid-back sophisticated set.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Far from the island's madding crowd, a local sister-and-brother team has opened the 30-villa Aleenta Resort in Phang Nga, where the nearly deserted Natai Beach is the central focus. Whitewashed standard suites are right on the sand and come with tropical gardens, outdoor showers, and floor-to-ceiling retractable windows that open onto private infinity pools. Set back behind lemongrass stalks and lotus ponds, eight duplex suites have double-height ceilings, while two villas are outfitted as spa residences for hotel guests. Pilates and yoga sessions are the domain of an Indian yogi at the resort, and one of the treatment rooms in the four-room spa faces the water. A French chef expertly turns out Western dishes while adding fine touches to Thai classics. He's also perfected the beachfront picnic, making a barbecue grill from a hollowed coconut trunk.2007 Hot List
When to go: Beach days are best during the driest months of January and February.
Which room to book: Any of the four pool suites that face the Andaman Sea.
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Beach, Gym, Pool, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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