And so …. time away from the little red dot that I can actually call a holiday. After having travelled so much for work over the past few years, I managed to get some time off for some serious R&R. My last REAL holiday was in fact 4 years ago, right here in Phuket. So when the invitation came from Cape Sienna, I literally jumped at the opportunity and packed my bags. Here’s some of what I experienced (though nothing can be more beautiful, than actually being here).
As my partner, Bobby, and I landed at Phuket’s International Airport, the skies were gloomy and grey, which made my heart sink just a little as I said to myself; “Ain’t no-one, or nothing, is gonna rain on my much-deserved parade”. True enough; Ask and You Shall Receive. As we arrived at the hotel (a quick 25 minute journey), the weather greeted us with blue skies and rays of sunlight. Ah ….. Phuket. Thank you.
Located on Kamala, and far away from the sleaze and noise of Patong, this 2-year-old establishment moves away from the traditional Thai decor and architecture, and explores the beauty of modernity in all its glory. You can be sure that the only noise and distraction you’ll get is the sound of nature; waves breaking against the rocks, birds messing around in the trees, crickets enjoying the sound of their own chirps. (Fact: It is said that the faster the chirps, the warmer the temperature). More about the hotel.
The entrance welcomes you with a grey stone facade, where the slabs are intricately stacked to give a three-dimensional visual effect that’s not only pleasing to the eye, but offers a perceptible touch as you run your fingers along its surface.
As you’re welcomed to the minimalistic decorated lobby, you’re invited to have a seat as warm and friendly staff offer a welcome drink in the form of chilled ginger-honey tea. At the same time, you’re given the choice of four aromatherapy scents, of which the one that most tickles your senses, will be placed in your villa as body care products to accompany your stay.
As we’d arrived fairly early in the morning, we decided to take full advantage of the morning sun and headed to Sienna Rocks, the resort’s newly-opened (just this past December) pool bar. It offers a spectacular view of the ocean from an infinity-edged pool, fancy cocktails and of course, sun-beds, where you can work on your tan. The only disappointment I experienced was their tacky choice of music. Makes you feel like you’re in Heartbreak Hotel with George Michael, Journey, The Eagles and the like. What would’ve have made it PERFECT would have been a selection of carefully-chosen world-music-type tunes from Cafe Del Mar, Buddha Bar and Ku De Ta (Bali). Being only 2-years-old, I’m hoping that the music will improve (this is the same throughout the other establishments, except for the lobby, which is odd) and eventually, have their own release of Cape Sienna sounds. Having said that, the ambiance, and the view, more than makes up for their aural choice. And chasing the sunsets are something you can’t afford to miss … beautiful one day, perfect the next.
Lunchtime rolled around and it was time to indulge in Thai cuisine (what else would you eat in Thailand? Italian? Japanese? Sacrilege.). Rockfish fast became a favourite of ours when we were told about it on our last trip here in 2010 (ok … so it HASN’T been 4 years since my last holiday …. but it sure feels like it). Offering a pretty view of the Andaman (and because it’s close to the shore, you get to see the fishermen at work too), this rustic haunt is popular with tourist-turned-residents and has a vast menu of local, and western, cuisine. A must-try is the Phad Thai. And that’s what we had. For BHT250 each, it was a welcome first dish for our week-long getaway. The first time we came, they were offering specials on a few dishes and the same meal cost us BHT150 each. So if you’re lucky (probably during off-peak season), you’ll get a pretty good deal. Highly recommended.
Back to the hotel. Cape Sienna offers rooms and villas to fit just about any budget you’re on (except shoe-string). From the standard rooms to 3-4 bedroom villas, the service is the same all-around. You can never really go wrong with Thai hospitality. Warm, courteous and always inviting, the staff will do just about anything you ask (except serve you food after 11pm. Room service ends then.), from getting you ice-buckets to changing your flight (of which we did BOTH). And of course, recommending the best spa treatment for your needs.
To reconnect your mind, body, soul and spirit, Cape Sienna’s Balance Spa is just what you need. It overlooks the blue ocean and tantalises your senses with natural fragrances. I opted for the Ayur-Lomi therapy while my partner, Bobby, decided on it’s signature massage, the Sienna Indulgence. Each session starts with a lovely foot bath, where your feet are immersed in scented water and cleansed gently with lime and a natural scrub and ends with a shoulder-rub and a wind-down-even-further ginger-honey tea, and fruit slices.
The Poolside Restaurant & Bar.
Put aside the fact that it has a run-of-the-mill name (could have been much better, seeing as how the other establishments have carefully thought-of names, like Plum and Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge …. I’ve a feeling the later sounds familiar though) and is typical of any hotel poolside; this restaurant and bar offers the comfort of umbrella-covered sun-chairs, a bar close-by, a restaurant you can run to (or have the waiters come to you), cushioned Thai-salas for that oh-so-glamorous pose, a jacuzzi and of course, the pool itself. It’s popular amongst the guests (more so than Sienna Rocks), I suspect, because of the food on offer. I actually like the fact that NO food is served at Sienna Rocks for the fact that it’s a little quieter, people-wise.
The Poolside Restaurant & Bar offers the same spectacular view of the Andaman that’s available throughout the hotel. Especially from the sunbeds, and the jacuzzi, from which you can also catch the gorgeous sunsets.
It had been a long first day, and since we had already ventured out of the hotel once, we decided to eat in. Monday nights are Mediterranean Nights, where a full-spread of the various cuisine from various cultures can be enjoyed at just BHT590. It’s a good deal if that’s what your palette desires for the evening. But as I mentioned before, Thai cuisine is ONE of the main reasons I keep coming back, and so …. Thai food is what it was going to be. We ordered a sampling-type three-in-one curry dish; prawns in yellow curry, beef in red curry and chicken in green curry and another dish of steamed fish with chillies, scallions and onions. We aren’t huge eaters and so, that was way more than enough.
Breakfast is also served by the pool in the mornings (your standard time of 6 till 1030am). Besides the usual egg station, cold cuts, breads and meats, traditional Thai dishes are also available in the form of rice and noodle dishes. The coffee is fantastic and doesn’t taste instant or watered-down and the star of the mornings, for me, was the frozen yogurt in little cups that had a cornflakes-and-raisin surprise at the bottom. But now I’ve gone and spoilt the surprise for you. 🙂
This place is one of the most surprisingly appealing restaurants on the island. A tad hard to find if your driver is not familiar with the street. Off the main road, the little uphill Soi looks like it leads you to nowhere interesting and has quite a dodgy feel if you’ve never taken the journey. But once you find it and step inside, a gorgeous traditionally-modern interior greets you like the Land of Smiles. Built amongst a setting of tall trees and lush greenery, Lim’s is beautifully decorated with colourful modern art and it’s cuisine is much like that too; modern, traditional and bursting with flavour all at once.
The owner of the establishment is an accomplished Thai artist. Khun Kop’s abstract art is seen throughout and it’s this, that makes the ambiance eclectic. I always opt for al fresco dining as the foliage and vegetation that surround the area makes for a rather cozy feel, with sufficient lighting and a large mirror on the far wall, that immediately magnifies the space.
It’s co-owner is Zurich-born Daniel Bosshard, who knows the Phuket nightlife like the back of his hand. And it’s this passion and knowledge that sees international DJs showcasing their talent during high-season (October till April).
Most of the food here is exquisite. But a must-try and highly recommended (by me) dish is the massaman. An amazing gorgeous thick coconut curry with potatoes, cashew nuts and hints of tamarind, bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom.
Being city-people, taking a taxi or car anywhere on the island was just something that seemed too much of an effort. So we decided to look for something near-by for dinner and asked the doorman of the hotel, “What’s to the left?” (Rockfish and everything else was is to the right). “White Orchid!”, he replied. Well … here’s something we hadn’t heard of!! Time to find out more …..
This little gem-of-a-place has been around for a decade. It literally is a little shack. But it’s quaint and you are on an island. Having just about survived the Tsunami (as did so many others), it’s popularity and service hasn’t waned.
Offering traditional Thai food, as well as Western cuisine, you can order just about anything you like (if it’s not on the menu), and they will try their best to cater to your fussy taste-buds.
There are only 6 or 7 table under the thatched roof, with a few more littered along the beach. Now here is why you would want to go to White Orchid, and why you SHOULD: Sunsets!!!
White Orchid claims it’s the best spot on the island to catch an awesome sunset. The above picture speaks a thousand words. So if you want to be part of the thousands that have witnessed one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful moments, make a reservation EARLY. White Orchid will even send you a pick-up if you’re living in the Kamala and Surin vicinities.
And so ….. my trip to Phuket was an absolutely amazing experience. One that I would do over and over again, without hesitation. It’s an island I’ll never tire off, and I hope it never tires of me. And with that; I shall leave you with some amazing sunset pictures that I took on my last night there. And with much reluctance … I say, “See you again soon, beautiful Phuket. And Sawasdee Ka!”
Love, light and all things beautiful,
P/S: I forgot to add this …..
So if you’re still in two minds about where to go off for that romantic “quickie”, look no further than Cape Sienna. As you can see from the picture above, they’ve received all sorts of awards. But more importanly, FIRST place for MOST romantic hotel in Asia. Not bad at all. And it’s quite evident (especially at breakfast), that couples make up a majority of the guests. And if you can make out who’s with who, just keep a lookout for the his-and-hers outfits (I kid you NOT. At one breakfast, at least FIVE couples walked in wearing matching t-shirts/shorts/slippers). Tacky if you ask me … then agin, who am I to say what tickles one’s fancy? And if you’re worried about screaming children, don’t. Cape Sienna is an almost-all adult hotel. They only recently allowed guests from above 12 years of age. So there’ll be no crying babies, no whiny toddlers, and no kiddies running up and down the corridors … ensuring for a peaceful holiday where the only sounds to “bug” you, will be the sounds of nature. xoxo