There’s something to be said about luscious holidays on tropical isles— the sound of crashing waves; the sexy humidity clinging to your skin; meals of fresh, aphrodisiac seafood that excite the palate with tangy, spicy flavours; and, of course, the famous Asian hospitality that’s second to none. Take all that, amplify it by a million, throw in yacht trips at sunset, supervised exercise lessons and massages at your whim and fancy, and a butler on hand 24/7, and you practically have heaven on a stick.
Welcome to Layan Residences by Anantara in Phuket, to which I’ve been whisked away for a sweet sojourn—in one of its grandest villas, no less (one of the few privileges afforded to me as media is a room upgrade). Set high on a lush hillside overlooking Layan Beach, this delightful residence (“hotel” seems too prosaic a word to use here) in the sun offers panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, with Laguna Phuket Golf Club and Sirinat National Park both within a half-hour’s drive away. But really, that’s all just details when I step into Villa Similan—which belongs to hotelier William E. Heinecke of the Anantara group, but is available for rent (during peak season, it’ll set you back US$20,000 per night).
The epitome of luxe living, Villa Similan serves up contemporary chicness in spades. Lines are sleek, rooftops are flat, the palette is neutral and the vibe, luxurious. Views are simply sublime, with the 90sqm rooftop patio affording the best ones of the bay, which is exceptionally stunning at sunset. It’s truly the perfect place to while away the last golden hours of sunshine, with the coldest glass of bubbly and delicious crudités served up by your personal butler.
The elevated roof terrace is ideal, too, for sunset cocktail parties, with more than enough space for a gathering of 10 or more. It’s also a vantage point from which I marvel at the sprawling decks just below, which span 350sqm, and the 22m-long infinity pool that stretches across the main decks. Tiled in Indonesian sukabumi stone, the pool features swim and massage jets as well as a submerged glass panel that casts light into one of the bedrooms below. Talking about bedrooms, the 3,600sqm villa has eight set across two spacious levels—now, that’s ample space for a house party or two.
At one end of the pool sits a shaded sala with a sunken seating area that all but invites me to lean back and take in the unmatched vista of Koh Kata, a small, deserted, full moon-shaped island that sits in Layan Bay. Water features extend beyond the sala, stretching across the deck before cascading in a waterfall into the pool.
Indulgence is the name of the game here, and nothing says that better than an in-house spa—which I find in the basement. Conceptualised by renowned spa consultant Farida Brouwer and designed by her husband Hans Brouwer, the Asiabased protégé of Sir Norman Foster, it is a cocoon of bliss and extravagance, as sensual as it is fantastical.
Dappled light, coming in through small, asymmetrically sized holes in a burnished metal wall to recall a night sky filled with twinkling stars, lends the massage room a romantic glow. A few steps away, a golden-tiled footbath guards the wet room, and paves the way to an iridescent ice fountain and two experience showers. Meanwhile, a custom jacuzzi pool hides away in a grotto-like niche with a night sky feature overhead. Heated marble chaises rest beneath another starstippled wall.
I would never have left this place if I hadn’t known that elsewhere in the palatial villa lies my very own personal cinema complete with a popcorn machine, and an entertainment room with an extensive wine cellar, a full-sized pool table and deep, comfy leather seats. Plus, did I mention the in-house gym in which to work off the too-many-portions of mango sticky rice?
Parting is such sweet sorrow. Having experienced the grandeur of Layan Residences, the personal yacht trips, and being waited on hand and foot, I’m hard pressed to take that flight back to Singapore. But I take refuge in the fact that if I work really hard, or strike 4D, this island paradise can be mine again for as long as the bank account allows.
Visit anantara.com/en/layan-residences-phuket for more information or to reserve your stay.