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Point Yamu, Phuket

Living the Thai life B

eing able to make the perfect Pad Thai and a tasty Tom Yum soup were just some of the many activities agents

were able to share with their family, friends and colleagues after returning from the latest ttgluxury Experience. And since enjoying a cooking lesson in the

kitchen of Point Yamu’s Nahmyaa restaurant, Travel Counsellor Brian Telfer says he has already successfully tested out the recipes at home. “This was my first trip to Thailand, even though it is one of my top-selling destinations, and Phuket features regularly on my bookings,” says Telfer, who has been in travel for 40 years. “But most clients tend to go to the more developed west coast of Phuket. My impressions were that it offers a lot of accommodation of all standards, but was perhaps a little over- developed. This trip changed my perceptions dramatically as I was not really aware what the east coast had to offer. I have a totally different outlook now and an appreciation of a region of outstanding beauty, where the Unesco site of Phang Nga Bay sits right on the doorstep.” Also pleased with her Pad Thai creation was

Lesley-Ann Birley of La Concordia; something of a Thailand expert, she has visited five times. “Having first been to Phuket 20 years ago and also more recently, my view was that the island

& Resorts’ second hotel in Thailand, a sister to The Metropolitan in Bangkok. The resort has 79 rooms and 26 pool villas and is set high on a peninsula, so wherever you are in the resort, you have non-stop views of the Andaman sea. Reached via little roads through rubber plantations and villages in a predominantly Muslim area of the island, this is a far cry from the likes of Patong over on the west coast. “This trip made me realise that you can get

away from the crowds and that the eastern side of Phuket is stunningly beautiful with very little development,” says Birley. “You can actually see a more authentic Thailand, as it was many years ago. I was also bowled over with how lovely old Phuket Town was; I could easily have spent quite a few hours pottering in and out of shops and cafes.”

East meets west The island’s Chinese and Portuguese heritage is clear in Phuket’s old town and there is a growing movement to restore the old shophouses and homes, now being smartened up and turned into

The latest ttgluxury Experience trip saw agents fly with Etihad to a new resort in Thailand, where a wide range of activities and experiences altered perceptions about what Phuket has to offer author: April Hutchinson

had become spoilt and touristy. As for Phuket Town, I had passed through previously and thought it was run down with nothing of interest. But I was keen to see Point Yamu,” she says. Point Yamu opened last year as Como Hotels

coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and guesthouses. Phuket Town is also home to Raya, a traditional restaurant housed inside a Sino-Portuguese home, where the group was able to try Thai dishes with a Phuket twist. In the island’s hey-day of rubber plantations and tin mines, traders from Arabia, China, India and Portugal all flocked to Phuket and you can see influences from all their cultures in the old town; they all clearly influenced the design of Point Yamu, created by Paola Navone. The resort is also inspired by Navone’s holiday home in Greece, as well as having saffron flourishes around to reflect the iconic colour of Buddhism. Kate Goodrich of Peakes Travel Elite says she

was blown away by the hotel’s design: “I hadn’t heard of Paola before but was amazed by her style and idea of ‘bringing the outside in’. I loved that Paola used local artisans and local crafts and materials, which make it so unique.” One of those unique elements is the lobby –

completely open-air, with a central display designed to reflect an altar, with collections of artefacts, local trinkets and floating flowers. As Goodrich says: “The lobby was so peaceful and lovely to walk through and hear the temple bells on the display chiming in the wind.” Also in the lobby is a small library and games room, with fun touches such as a giant Scrabble


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