Banyan Tree, Phuket

LOCATION: Banyan Tree Phuket sits within the Laguna Phuket complex on the west of the island, 20 minutes drive from the airport.

LOCATION: Banyan Tree Phuket sits within the Laguna Phuket complex on the west of the island, 20 minutes drive from the airport. A former tin mining site, the lagoon had been written off as a tourist destination before a huge restoration project created the lush, exotic hideaway that exists there today.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It’s big, it’s verdant, it’s lovely. From the moment you’re welcomed you feel like you’ve made the right decision, and this feeling is reinforced when you enter your villa.

THE FACTS: Banyan Tree Phuket has recently been split into three defined areas – in addition to the main resort, now separate are the Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary and the Doublepool Villas. All together the three resorts comprise 173 villas, six restaurants, a beautifully-designed pool and an 18-hole championship golf course.The villas in the Spa Sanctuary are private and peaceful; each has its own pool and outside Jacuzzi, plus an area for your private massages. The Phuket resort is home to the Banyan Tree’s Thai spa academy, where therapists are trained up before being sent to the chain’s hotels around the world, so the quality of the staff’s work there is excellent.The Doublepool Villas are simply huge, and each features a long infinity pool that extends out towards the tranquil lagoon. The ‘Doublepool’ part comes as a fantastic surprise – whereas in the Spa Sanctuary villas your bedroom is surrounded by a beautiful lily pond, in the Doublepool Villas the pond is transformed into a separate pool area, where it’s possible to enjoy breakfast at a small in-pool dining table. There is a gorgeous 8km beach right next to the resort, where Banyan Tree is currently putting the finishing touches to a new beach club. Highlights dining-wise are the Watercourt, an open-air restaurant overlooking the lagoon and surrounded by water, and Saffron, Banyan Tree’s signature Thai restaurant.

A GOOD BASE FOR: There’s plenty to keep you occupied on site, but if the tranquil atmosphere has you slipping into a coma you can awaken your senses with a trip to Patong Beach, Phuket’s main tourist town, which is famous for its nightlife and local market. Other activities the hotel can arrange for you include kayaking and trekking – either on foot or on elephant.

WOW: It doesn’t get much more relaxing and indulgent than a 90 minute massage in the Sala (outdoor open pavilion), that overlooks your private pool. If you want real ‘wow’ factor though, chill out in the infinity pool of a Doublepool Villa at sunset, look out over the lagoon.

HOW MUCH: Prices for a Deluxe Villa at Banyan Tree Phuket start from approximately £320 per villa per night including breakfast. A Spa Pool Villa at Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary starts from approximately £630 per villa per night including breakfast, while prices for the DoublePool Villas start from around £800 per villa per night including breakfast.