Adriaane Pielou checks into the new Point Yamu by Como hotel in Phuket, Thailand.
Hotel insider: Point Yamu by Como, Phuket, Thailand
Charm all the way, from the entrance – where asymmetrical pillars studded with mirrored glass flank a broad flight of steps up to a lofty, open-sided lobby with sea views on both sides. Someone takes my bag, someone else offers me a glass of cold sage lemonade; Bond, the cool star of the front desk, makes witty chat and the owlishly bespectacled general manager, James, emerges from his office with a smile. The hotel opened in December and visitors still seem a novelty.
Topping a narrow peninsula on Phuket’s east coast, the hotel is surrounded on three sides by Phang Nga Bay, with its photogenic limestone islands. A few minutes’ walk down the hill, past walls concealing expensive villas, brings you to the jetty, from where you get a long-tail boat for the 15-minute ride to the hotel’s island beach club.
Everyone keeps to themselves; an immaculate Singaporean couple on the pool terrace, he with geek glasses and sharp haircut, trying to read a broadsheet newspaper in the constant breeze, she all svelte fragrance in hat and long sleeves, protecting that must-stay-pale skin; two design types from London; a plump young Chinese family.
Paola Navone, who is famous in Italy for her breezy, blue-and-white Mediterranean look, designed every element of the interiors – and from rattan-disc light shades to black-and-white striped crockery, it’s all bespoke. Flooded with natural light, my suite is all airy, white minimalism with flashes of turquoise. The bathroom – its circular bath lit by a cluster of suspended light bulbs that look like bubbles – is as big as the bedroom, which, like the living area, opens onto a terrace across that runs a plunge pool long enough to swim eight to 10 strokes in. It all feels a bit stark at night, though.
Disarming. There’s almost too much of it. On my first morning, I open my door to go to breakfast to find a teeny micro-woman waiting outside. “Hello. I am Dim, your daytime butler,” she says, covering her mouth to giggle uncontrollably. “I take you to restaurant.”
Breakfast is the main meal here and entirely delectable. You can get anything that you can think of in terms of traditional Thai, Japanese, British or German breakfasts, plus freshly made smoothies and juices. The high-ceilinged, glass-walled restaurant opens onto the pool terrace, making it a lovely place to linger for an hour or two. This is deliberate: according to the manager, what guests want now is a leisurely brekkie, to skip lunch and eat just a light dinner before an early night. I find the Thai restaurant – open for dinner – the only unappealing space in the hotel, with one wall covered by a print of a giant goldfish. But the food is delicate and delicious, although “spicy” means scarlet-in-the-face, eye-wateringly hot.
Being on the relatively undeveloped east coast of Phuket rather than the overcrowded west, and discovering the 19th-century heart of Phuket Town, about a 20-minute drive away, and exploring its old Chinese shops and engrossing museum.
Not being able to walk out of the hotel onto a beach. The water’s edge below the hilltop hotel is a muddy stretch where local people forage for molluscs.
Design-wise, this is easily the coolest place to stay in Phuket.
The bottom line
Room rates range from 17,805 Thai baht [Dh1,982] per night, including tax and service, right up to 54,000 baht (Dh6,012). Cape Yamu, Phuket, 0066 2 625 3322, www.comohotels.com/pointyamu.
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