The Sarojin, Phang Nga $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Set on the mainland an hour north of the Phuket airport, the Sarojin puts you within reach of five national parks, including the tropical forests of Khao Lak and Khao Sok and the Surin and Similan marine reserves. Spread over ten acres of gardens and white-sand beaches, the resort is focused on the outdoors: Complimentary mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks, and Windsurfers will appeal to active types (and a free 30-minute massage in the on-site spa will relieve your achy muscles). An "Imagineer"forgive the cheesy namecrafts personalized experiences like private cooking lessons beside a waterfall, bamboo rafting, and elephant jungle treks (request the hotel's best guide, Aom). A no-kids-under-12 policy means that most guests are couples, and the 56 rooms have a decidedly romantic feel: You cross a small stream to get to your unit, fresh flowers float in the bathtubs, and smooth stones form the floor of the rain showers. The 14 Pool Residences have gardens with outdoor relaxation salas and plunge pools; all others have private outdoor space. There are several dining options: The main restaurant appears to float on a lotus pond around the gnarled limbs of an ancient ficus tree, and the hotel can arrange private beachfront or in-room dining.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:Although the 2004 tsunami sent waves through The Sarojin's then-unfinished rooms, these days the hotel, an hour north of Phuket, makes the most of its beachfront location with uninterrupted stretches of sand. The owners, ex-backpackers whose travel habits took an upmarket turn, have integrated a laid-back vibe into their 56-room luxury lodging. The Paris-trained Thai chef turns out gourmet meals at the beach restaurant and at the more sophisticated Ficus, the dinner pavilion hidden under draping branches. For an underwater perspective, the hotel's 38-foot Lady Sarojin yacht sails to fish-filled depths around the Similan Islands. 2006 Hot List
When to go: November through April, when the days are dry enough to enjoy all of Khao Lak's delights.
Which room to book: Suites 3 and 4, for the best sea views (doubles, $245–$368).
Amenities: Beach, Pool, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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