PHUKET: The Anantara brand has won plenty of friends among the quality tourists that Phuket is trying to encourage and the Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa lives up to expectations.
Remodelled extensively from the old Bundarika, the resort sits in a prime location on the west coast, overlooking a secluded bay and a wooded island that becomes accessible at low tide.
For those who are suffering from too much big city living, Anantara provides a near-perfect antidote.
Plenty of expertise has been applied in designing the private villas by the sea and the rooms that extend across a hillside.
Anantara claims it even helps make holidays more perfect by having incoming guests express their personal preferences via email so that the task doesn't have to be performed in the foyer.
The resort is classical and a mite conservative in approach, although there's a boxing ring for athletic guests who want to try muay thai and plenty of other diversions.
Chief among these are the food and a spa that sets new standards in offering relaxing alternatives.
This is not the spot for those who enjoy swimming in the sea. By comparison with Phuket's popular beaches, the beach is more typical of the east coast than the west coast, and the tide goes out a long way.
There has been no compensating with a large pool. The main pool at Anantara is small, but pleasant enough. Lack of provision for serious swimmers is about the only negative.
From what we saw and heard, the Ananatara touch continues to work when it comes to dining and the spa.
There are plenty of room and villa styles to choose from and if a quality resort is what will attract quality tourists, this Anantara has its pitch just about perfect.
Best check, though, whether construction of the residences above the resort has been completed if you wish to be completely free of urban noises.
Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa is a contender for Phuketwan Phuket Resort of the Year 2014. As reviewers do not stay at the resorts, the review is a guide to look and design, not service.