Twin Palms, Surin Beach, Phuket $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The 21 new residence suites at the Twin Palms hotel eschew the cliff-top isolation and fawning service of Phuket's poshest resorts in favor of a make-yourself-at-home brand of luxury. When you wake in your airy triplex loft, you don't have to wait for your room service espresso. Instead, you can brew one of the four blends stocked in your private kitchen. Later, you can pull a bottle of white from your private cellar (and perhaps a Cuban from your humidor) and bring it up to your rooftop infinity pool. A residence host is available 24/7, but the villas are so well equipped (two flat-screen TVs, bedside controls for temperature, sound, and light) that you could quite happily exist without ever needing to make use of this resource. The rest of the 76 rooms, located in two buildings flanking a meandering, free-form pool, have fewer bells and whistles but a similarly easygoing mentality: First-floor guests can step right into the water. At the main pool, lounge chairs are positioned in the water itself, like inviting little islands. The onsite Oriental Spoon is the island's hottest brunch ticket. Reserve a month in advance during high season. The hotel's location in the rapidly developing west coast area of Surin Beach means that its stretch of sand can be a bit crowdedand you have to cross a road to get there. This can be a plus, however: You're able to get a feel for Phuket's freewheeling beach culturewhere locals hawk fresh pineapples, massages, and sarongsand then head back to the relative serenity of the hotel. And the affiilated Catch Beach Club adds some Miami style with haute seafood barbecues and nighttime bonfires. Soon guests will be able to split their stay between the hotel and a new $4 million yacht that will be used for both day and overnight trips.
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