The Final Frontier of Space
The Phuket Gazette.
FOR those looking to indulge in life's luxurious moments, Phuket has always been an Asian trump card destination.
Instead of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it has been the innovative private pool villa sanctuaries prompting collective oohs and ahhs from our guests.
Back in 2006, an enterprising Hong Kong solicitor and hospitality entrepreneur Gordon Oldham opened The Pavilions on a hillside overlooking Layan Beach and Laguna.
Sinful pleasures were touted in provocative, playful adverts which used the tagline "no tan lines", and bragging openly about the total absence of those tacky welcome drinks and institutionalized hotel buffets reminiscent of public school days or, for the darker personalities, feeding time in jail.
At some resorts, the only thing that's missing is a warden or perhaps someone with a name tag and a shotgun saying: "Get back in line, mister. Punch your timecard and do your time."
Now four years later comes the next step forward in the journey of the boutique resort. Headlining is an expansion of 24 new pool villas with a twist.
The new product has been described by the hotel as individual retreats. Now this does sound nice, but what sets this apart from the herd is each has its own personal 60-square-meter "my very own private spa".
Spacious, spacilious, and spantastic are the first words that enter my mind. Since the dawn of time, after a hard day avoiding falling meteorites, outrunning dinosaurs and just keeping track of the tribe, it's been mankind's luxury to kick back in your very own steam bath and retire to a Zen-themed courtyard to chill out.
For this latest project, leading resort architect Fredo Taffin of Espace Concept Bali teamed up with Phuket-based roof and Hong Kong interior designer Rene Ozorio, whose credentials boast stints at Jim Thompson and the development of his very own line of Chinaware. Ozorio was wooed – or possibly Shanghaied – aboard the merry ship to instill what boils down to an Internet inspired date night. The result is a fresh East meets West story for the first time.
Zen and now, now and Zen, the guilty pleasure of space is flouted with a pouting set of ruby red lips: 18 pool pavilions tilting the scales at 275 square meters apiece and then even grander six plantation pool villas built by top of the line contractor DCM touting 400 square meters each.
If space were sin, this place would be ablaze. Sin seems to have a certain impact on people, flaming up their passions like a Mai Tai on fire at the tiki bar.
Boredom continues to run amok at so many island hotel offerings, with herds of guests driven insane by the sterile atmosphere of same-sameness. One could even say a new traveler's disease of "insamnity" is on the rise, like thermometer mercury on a scorching hot day.
As I stare through the bars on my window of ordinary life, Pavilions has brought a welcome breath of fresh air to my troubled soul, for a few moments at least.