Whether you’re looking for a romantic couple of nights away or a family holiday, a private villa is a great option for exploring Thailand. Michaela Bisset recently enjoyed a stay in a private villa in Phuket and the many activities on offer – and she wants to go back!
Around 20 minutes south of Phuket’s airport (mainly on new roads) is The Pavilions Phuket. Set on a hilltop in a massive plantation, the resort’s individual villas all have great views either of surrounding hills and valleys, or of the sea.
What makes them so special is that they’re all completely private – none are overlooked by another villa – and each one is a bit different. There are nine different types of villas, from one to four bedrooms, and most come with private pools.
Cooking & Cocktails
The Pavilions is not all about lolling around, though – there are plenty of activities to get involved in. We took a Thai cooking class that started with a trip to the market with the chef, who talked us through all the different ingredients used in the cuisine, and showed us how fresh coconut milk is made and how to make different curry pastes. As I’m a vegetarian, I was quite interested to see what I was going to cook. It ended up being a curry using plantains (small bananas) – nice enough, though I’m not sure I would make it for myself!
Speaking of the market, one thing that was especially interesting is that at 8am in the morning the national anthem plays and no one in the market moves; it’s an incredible experience. Although I’ve been to Thailand often, I hadn’t realised this was a daily ritual.
Set on the top of the highest peak of The Pavilions is 360° Bar, one of the top spots for a drink in all of Phuket (with a 4.5 TripAdvisor rating) – incredible sunsets too. We had a cocktail-making lesson courtesy of Ja in that beautiful setting (you can also take the lesson in your villa) and made an awesome tom yum cocktail as well as a “Gin and Ja”! (I’ve included a recipe for you, below.)
Recipe: Gin and Ja cocktail
Created by K. Ja, bartender at 360° Bar
- 45ml gin (Ja used Gordon’s)
- 15ml triple sec
- 10ml homemade infused gin (add butterfly pea flower to gin for a few hours)
- 15ml sugar syrup
- Juice of half a lime
- Dash of lemon bitters
- Half of one egg white
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all liquids except the homemade gin.
- Shake well and double strain into a martini glass.
- Top up with the homemade infused gin and a few drops of bitters.
Variety of Villas
The best option for families is the Spa & Pool Villa, which is accessed by a cable-driven funicular railway and has its own massage area and steam room. You can have an extra bed included for the children for a reasonable rate. (Look out for new deals and rates on The Pavilions website.)
The Ocean View Villas are adult only, and the communal areas including dining rooms are separate, so if you’re leaving the children behind or don’t have any yet and want a nice peaceful time, these are the ones for you!
Yoga lessons, magnetic healing therapies and reiki sessions can all be arranged in your private villa. Thai traditional massage as well as more gentle treatments for jetlag are available in-room too. I chose the traditional option, and it was probably the best massage I’ve ever had.
Salsa nights are also a regular event at the resort. Dance teachers lead the way and it’s great fun. I probably enjoyed the food more than the dancing though – it was delicious!
Accommodation packages include daily bubbly breakfasts (definitely a good start to the day!) along with afternoon teas. The whole experience was great, and The Pavilions is somewhere I would love to return to, especially for a romantic break.
10 things to do outside the resort
- Head to the beach and enjoy the water sports and views. The Pavilions has its own shuttle service (posh tuk tuks!) to and from nearby Layan Beach.
- Love taking photos? Go to Baan Teelanka, the “Upside Down House” (upsidedownhouse-phuket.com) for a quirky photo opp.
- Visit the markets by day (Lard Yai, 4 to 9pm on Sunday; Indy, twice weekly) or by night (Phuket Weekend Market or “Naka”, Saturday and Sunday, 4 to 11pm).
- See the Big Buddha (free entry, phuket-big-buddha.com).
- Go island hopping to Phi Phi and other beautiful spots.
- Explore temples, including Phuket’s biggest Buddhist temple, Wat Chalong (wat-chalong-phuket.com).
- Take a walking tour of Old Phuket Town.
- Explore the jungle!
- Try Thai boxing.
- Play golf; the team at The Pavilions can arrange a round at one of Thailand’s best courses, Laguna Golf Phuket, or a number of other nearby courses.
+66 7631 7600 | pavilionshotels.com/phuket
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