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Who needs a beach? Cape Sienna mixes its own blue cocktails

Cape Sienna, Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Phuketwan Resort of the Year

CAPE SIENNA Resort and Villas is the Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2009, as much for what it says about the future as for the place itself.

This is a headland hotel, a slick-chic destination with a time capsule and a turntable, and no beach to really call its own. There are some things we really do not like about Cape Sienna, too.

But first things first. Some superb resorts have opened around the Andaman in 2009, resorts of such distinction and quality that the future of the region's tourism-travel business seems assured.

Cape Sienna is different. Space is at a premium here. You enter, as if in a city environment, via an elevator. And you emerge . . . with a magnificent holiday island view out across Kamala Bay. It's the wow factor, and this one is a winner.

Marketing is what counts these days. Cape Sienna, perhaps taking a leaf from the Twin Palms how-to-do-it guide of a few years back, has aimed for a cashed-up niche and hit its target.

Its two F&B outlets, Plum and Vanilla Sky, are already well known. That takes some doing in your first year. For so many older, more staid resorts, where risk and adventure are shunned, Cape Sienna sets the pace.

While others seem desperate for beach clubs in prominent spots along Phuket's northern sands, Cape Sienna has brought the club indoors and kept it sand-free. It's a music venue with no noise pollution problem.

The villas, nine of them, are across the winding Kamala headland road, superbly positioned. They were easy to sell and they will be easy to manage.

In Phuketwan's world, though, all construction on the seaward side of Phuket's coastal roads would be prohibited. The villas block the view for everyone. From the sea, they spoil the coastline aspect, too.

How could any environmentally-sensitive authority let these beautiful monsters through? Yet that's the problem for most of us: as much as we hate them, we'd love to stay in one.

The photos in our album were taken earlier this year but we imagine the poolside setting has just as much appeal as it did back then, perhaps even more.

Having taken the time-capsule elevator to heaven, the swimming pool is merely a few steps away. Compact, thoughtful, sleek and sophisticated, Cape Sienna offers urban escapism on a tropical island hillside.

As to the future, if the time ever comes when the 80-metre building limit is lifted (and for those who will continue to build above it anyway), Cape Sienna represents a blueprint for hillside holiday havens.

Our love-hate thing will probably become even more intense then. If last year's winner, SALA Phuket, made flat fashionable, then Cape Sienna this year hits the heady heights.

General manager Frank Dreist makes the point that all 170 rooms have a vista across the sea and agrees that the resort has progressed ''pretty well'' since opening in February.

November's occupancy rate put Cape Sienna in profit and January, February and March are all looking good.

He believes the guests come for the resort. Prices are pitched at keeping them inside and poolside, for quality and service.

''Not many of them bother to slip out for fried rice around the corner,'' he said. Dips and tapas at a package price seem to be attractive to outsiders, too.

''You have to target both inside guests and the outside market,'' Mr Dreist said. ''We can add revenue from outside.''

With a growing reputation for food and music, Cape Sienna is likely to attract plenty of hillside imitators.
Other Phuketwan Award Winners

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Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2008 Award
Photo Album Phuketwan starts its second year with its first award for 2008, a new one, for the resort of the year. Take the tour of the resort we think tops the lot and sets the standard.
Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2008 Award

Phuketwan Innovation of the Year 2008 Award
Photo Album Golf and sailing vie for Phuket's top sporting spot and the latest award from Phuketwan reflects that competition. Greet this year's winner of the innovation of the year award.
Phuketwan Innovation of the Year 2008 Award

Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year 2008 Award
After dining out at a large number of Phuket restaurants for 12 months, we have cast our votes for the Phuketwan Restaurant of the Year.With a rumble of stomachs rather than a drum roll, here it is.
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Phuketwan Attraction of the Year 2008 Award
Photo Album Happiness probably is more important than success. At least, that's the view from 2008 and the view from the Phuketwan ''business'' award winner of the year.
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Phuketwan Person of the Year 2008 Award
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Comments

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Congratulations and well done. Keep up the good praises and a very happy new year to you all.

Posted by Graham on December 29, 2009 13:29

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What a joke. Went there today and has the worst service ever experienced on this island.

Waited 30 mins for my beer and it came warm and the staff are useless. Food came before the drinks did.

I don't know if this was paid advertisement or what but never will I take this publication seriously again when it comes to reviews or awards.

Dirty floors, poor service and understaffed. 3 out of 10 and the 3 is just for the view.

Editor: If you had a bad experience, I don't blame you for feeling upset. We've never had the pleasure of enjoying the hospitality at Cape Sienna, but feedback from reliable, independent sources has been good. Perhaps Cape Sienna had a bad day . . . which is, of course, inexcusable. Consistency is absolutely essential.

Posted by Nick on January 4, 2010 17:29

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Been there. The food was rubbish and cold, 1200 baht spent for two on what amounted to little more than a snack, and my beer was 200 baht and warm. Nice view though.

Posted by Henry on April 22, 2011 18:23


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