Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Banyan Tree and the Green-Eyed Monster...

It’s been raining in Sydney for a week now. Miserable, cold, bone-soaking, ugh. I can barely get out of bed.

It was raining two weeks ago in Phuket as well. Fair enough, it’s monsoon season there and to be expected. But in Thailand the rain is warm. Refreshing. Almost therapeutic. And I had my own private pool to swim in. Nothing like skinny dipping in the rain! 

Weather is no obstacle when you’re staying in absolute luxury. I mean, it would have been nice to soak up the sun, but at the Banyan Tree Phuket, the weather, the beach, the destination itself is secondary to the accommodation. Here, it’s all about where you lay your head. 

Part of the Laguna gated community at serene Bang Tao Bay, the Banyan Tree is a sprawling resort, built around the manmade lagoon which forms the centrepiece of the Laguna community. There are 173 villas all up in the complex, each one more enormous than the next - little wonder that golf carts and bicycles are the preferred means of transport, rather than Shank’s pony! 

My new home

Not bad, huh?

I’m staying in a Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary villa, a separate walled complex on the edge of the resort where the focus is on romance, relaxation and revitalisation through spa therapies. As a solo traveller, I’m forced to forgo the romance aspect of course, but I’ll take any treatments you want to throw my way, thank you very much. 

All I can say is .. ah, wow! My villa is massive, bigger than my apartment at home. Outside there’s a substantial 12-metre pool, big enough to swim laps; a jacuzzi, two bubble beds, a sala with twin massage beds for private outdoor therapy, day beds under an umbrella (sadly only used to keep the rain off while I’m there) and another two day beds under the entryway to the villa. 


Massage beds

Inside there’s a separate living space, and a massive dressing area and bathroom featuring a shower/steam room, loo with a view and an outdoor bathtub. The bedroom is a true work of art, built around a lotus pond showcased by three floor to ceiling glass walls. It’s so insanely beautiful, it makes me swoon ... and jump on the bed in joy. 


Loo with a view


So tranquil!

I’m in heaven, and immediately start to plot a permanent stay. Do squatters rights apply in Thailand? 

As part of the Spa Sanctuary package, guests are entitled to a series of in-villa spa treatments, daily morning yoga classes in the Orchid Garden, and a complimentary consultation from an Ayurvedic doctor. Oh, and a yummy afternoon tea in the lobby. Sadly, I’m a mere blow-in journalist and am not offered these extras ... or at least, not told about them... 

My colleagues staying in other parts of the resort are lapping up their added luxuries, however. Over evening cocktails in the main lobby bar, they boast about their private butlers, afternoon canapes and cocktails and complimentary laundry service ... and suddenly my own divine villa starts to pale in comparison. Oh, that evil green-eyed monster - how quickly it turns the tables! 

A later inspection of the top-of-the-range DoublePool Villas reveals that my jealousy is indeed justified. My gorgeous single-bedroom pool villa seems humble, almost embarrassingly small, in comparison. These villas range from 1300 to 2500 square metres - five time the size of mine, each one surrounded by manicured gardens and spacious outdoor living spaces. The main bedroom is a floating pavilion built over a private wading pool; and of course there’s a second 15-metre infinity edge pool and jacuzzi.  


Now you're talking! Pics: Julie Miller
But what sets the DoublePool Villa experience apart is the dedicate Villa Host. My gloating colleagues have their own private slaves to cater to every whim, from washing their knickers to private buggy transfers. They arrive at dinner already blotto from their pre-dinner cocktails, lovingly mixed by butlers Gigi and Poptart; and their excuse for being late is a private Khom Loy ceremony, releasing paper lanterns into the inky sky... 

Ah, perspective, what a wonderful thing! Back in the confines of my own villa, I soon forget about how the other half are living, and simply enjoy this amazing, luxurious experience. 

The rain is soft, the water is warm, the bed a comfy cloud. Really, it doesn’t get any better than this ... does it?

5 comments:

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