Khao Lak Paradise Resort, Khao Lak, Phang Nga $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Phang Nga, the coastal region along the mainland north of Phuket, was slammed by the tsunami. In the years since, the area has not only revitalized itself, it moved straight into a development boom. And while the renaissance is heartening to see, all that hammering can be noisy. Fifty-five miles north of Phuket, one small oasis of serenity is the Khao Lak Paradise Resort, which reopened its doors in late 2005. Of the 30 units, the best are the villas ingeniously tucked into the rain-forested hillside, all intimate charm with palm-frond roofs, huge beds, tubs, and private shaded verandas. Wooden pathways throughout the junglelike grounds bring you up close and personal with nature's finer works. The beachside restaurant, Leelavadee, is a prime spot for watching a sunset and contemplating how fine life can be, given the right landscaping.