Accommodation: 41 pavilions, 44 villas
Beach: Semi-private (shared with The Surin next door)
Airport: 25 kilometres
Pansea Beach, Phuket, Thailand
+66 76 324 333
Back in 1988 Phuket wasn’t the popular destination it is today. Most people had never heard of a boutique hotel and there was no such thing as an Amanjunkie. That all changed with the opening of Amanpuri, the first in what would quickly become a global collection of resorts synonymous with understated luxury. Three decades on and, while other brands may have aped the style, this is still a very special place. The legend goes that founder Adrian Zecha stumbled upon a coconut plantation on the then little developed west coast of Phuket while looking to build a holiday home and came up with the Aman concept to subsidise it. You can see why he fell in love with the 100-acre spot, on a lush peninsula rising sharply out of the Andaman Sea, curved around the golden sand of Pansea Beach.
Honeymooners and high-flying weekend escapees from Singapore. Steep steps to the beach make youngsters a rarity.
To see where it all began. And for a sneak preview of what’s to come: Amanpuri is a testing ground for concepts later rolled out at other properties. Case in point is new restaurant Nama, which launched a few months ago and celebrates washoku, traditional Japanese food with a strong focus on seasonality and local produce.
As well as Nama, there are Thai and Italian restaurants, a new South American lounge, a casual beach club and a bar with nightly screenings of classic movies. Head for a dip in the iconic midnight-black swimming pool, drop by the spa or try Thai boxing in the gym.
The Thai-style pointed roofs and liberal use of teak have been copied by plenty of pretenders, but the resort remains refined and characterful. Rooms are perhaps a little smaller than you’d expect, but tucked away in your coconut grove oasis, you’ll hardly notice.