Sizing up the newest addition to Phuketâ€™s scenic Cape Panwa
By Simon Ostheimer
For more than a quarter of a century, Cape Panwa Hotel, a five-star resort in the quiet southeast of Phuket, has been drawingÂ the rich and famous; guests have included theÂ likes of Pierce Brosnan, Elizabeth Taylor, and Leonardo DiCaprio, the latter when he was in town to film The Beach. But as competition has heated up around the popular Thai tourist island, the property has been undergoing a wholesale refurbishment designed to bring it up-to-date in terms of modern conveniences. The pinnacle of this refit is the 530-square-meter Absolute Suite, more of a private villa than a standalone room.
It is, in fact, completely separate from the rest of the resort, perched atop a headland with 360-degree sea views. Completing the splendid isolation is the in-room check-in and checkout service, private butler and chef, and a 15-meter-long infinity pool. With a fully equipped kitchen and a private spa room on the lower floor, you donâ€™t ever have to leave the two-bedroom suite during your stayâ€”many of the honeymooners and high rollers booking the suite since it opened in January havenâ€™t been.
So what else does the US$1,200 rack rate get you, apart from little things like laundry, Wi-Fi, snacks, and spectacular sunrise and sunset views? Complimentary airport transfers byÂ limousine, a bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival, the use of a Mercedes around Phuket, and access to the hotelâ€™s 25-meter yacht.
And for those who wish to socialize, Cape Panwaâ€™s 10 restaurants and bars are near at hand. The highlights are Panwa house, a replica Sino-Portuguese mansion on the beachÂ that serves traditional Thai cuisine and is often used as a set for films and music videos, and the Light House, a nautical-themed pub with live daily music.
Cape Panwa Hotel, 27/2 Moo 8, Sakdidej Rd., Phuket; 66-76/39-1123; Cape Panwa Hotel’s website
This article originally appeared in theÂ June/July 2013 issueÂ of DestinAsian (â€śHow Suite It Is”)