PHUKET: Club Med Phuket has emerged after a makeover that adds one of Phuket's shapeliest new restaurants. However, only guests can sample the scenery and the fare at Chu-Da.
French designers Marc Hartrich and Nicolas Adnet have taken the opportunity to make a bold Phuket statement in renovating the resort that was a pioneer on Phuket's west coast, soaking up a stretch of prime real estate along Kata beach.
A low-rise pathway leads to Chu-Da, where the decor is ritzy and glitzy. The restaurant, open for a late lunch or dinner, overlooks the Quiet Pool, with its see-through wall, tranquil pergolas and space-age lounger Phuket umbrellas.
Rooms have also been upgraded but there's no opportuinty to see the freshest ones as the resort is fully booked, testimony perhaps to the all-inclusive model that Club Med Phuket has turned to an art form.
Rain is falling this morning but the large central pool is surrounded by activity. Close to the pool, children are enjoying a swing that carries them up into the air with the ease of acrobats, perhaps just a rehearsal for using the full-size circus trapeze outside.
Although there's a golf course and tennis courts, bungy and archery among a host of activities that are all-inclusive, Club Med Phuket still retains the quiet charm of a resort set within expansive tropical gardens.
With six main languages spoken among 25 all told, the large Phuket expat staff are constantly available and mingle with the guests at every opportunity.
And as the grey skies lighten, there's a general movement towards the pedestrian entrance that leads across the beach road to the sands of Kata, still one of Phuket's top beaches.
Guests here know that the culture is self-serve, so they stream to the bar for fruit juice and carry the empty glass back when they finish.
Although the Phuket resort is fully occupied, there's still a feeling of spaciousness and today, true to its name, the Quiet Pool is exactly that.