Dusit Laguna, Bang Tao Bay, Phuket $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The Dusit Laguna pulls off the neat trick of projecting warmth and intimacy despite being part of the five-resort gated Laguna Phuket complex. Everything—213 rooms, 13 suites, a pool the size of an aircraft carrier—is tucked away artfully into the 32 acres of landscaped grounds, so the scale of the place isn't apparent until you start padding around. The main building is a three-story affair with a gargantuan lobby filled with ill-advised pieces of "art." Rooms are better: light-filled, with native wood, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and a decent-sized balcony. The beach—Laguna Phuket fronts a stretch of Bang Tao Beach, about halfway up the island's west coast—is only moderately built up, with one-story buildings along the water. It's shared by resort guests and locals, a nice commingling that prevents a hermetical seal from covering the place. (There's no one touting elephant rides at Trisara, that's for sure.) The Dusit's Casuarina Beach Restaurant is on the beach, too, with tanks holding live fish. Point one out and they'll grill it up.