Honeymoon resort review: Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand

Forget the backpacker cliches: Hannah Davies discovers the chic (and oh-so-romantic) side of Thailand
Luxury Pool Villa, Sri Panwa
Luxury Pool Villa, Sri Panwa

Here's the thing: seasoned Y&YW travel journalists aren't supposed to go all giddy when they arrive to review a resort. Only the best will do for our couples, so in our quest to find the ultimate honeymoon hotspots, we're meant to remain unimpressed, detached and clear-eyed. And yet there's something about Phuket resort Sri Panwa that stirs my heart from the moment I arrive.

"Is this really all... for me?" I find myself stuttering when a friendly concierge escorts me to my pool villa. 

"Yes, madam," she replies.

"And, er this?" I say, pointing at the gigantic Jacuzzi bath.

"Yes, madam."

"And what's that?" I ask, pointing at something glittering outside the villa.

"That's your private infinity pool," she says.

At this point, my eyes actually start to well with tears. Must get a grip.

View from the villa's private infinity pool
View from the villa's private infinity pool

I wake the next morning to a glorious sweep of turquoise sea and sky, and leap out from under the silky-soft sheets to explore my villa more thoroughly. The style is sleek and chic, but at the same time warm and welcoming - think Anna Wintour crossed with your best mate. 

There are all the contemporary comforts I could want, from the Bose sound system to the Nespresso machine. I love the outdoor rain shower and sun terrace, and having a separate living room is a real treat. But the best bit? It has to be that infinity pool. I do several long, lazy laps of the villa before breakfast.

My first day is dedicated to relaxation, starting with an aromatherapy massage that renders me almost unconscious with bliss. Afterwards, I somehow stagger to a midday cookery class. With the sea spread at our feet, my fellow classmates and I stir, simmer and sizzle a selection of mouth-watering Thai dishes, all under the guidance of a delightful team of chefs.

The food at Sri Panwa is among the best I've had. There are several restaurants, including Baba Soul Food for Thai classics and Baba Poolclub for international dishes - think hearty pasta and tasty meat. I love the fact that you sit on rocking chairs, perfectly reflecting the laid-back vibe.

Baba Nest is the rooftop bar, with stunning views - it's the ideal spot for a sunset cocktail.

I could happily spend every day frolicking in my infinity pool and stuffing myself in the restaurants. However, as this is my first time in Thailand, I set out to explore.

Phuket is the country's largest island, lined with postcard-perfect beaches. Don't miss Phang Nga bay, a stretch of paradise with stunning limestone formations sweeping up out of emerald water. However, my first stop is Phuket Old Town, with its blend of historic architecture, temples and contemporary boutiques. It's small - you won't need more than a couple of hours to explore - but there are people-watching opportunities aplenty in the pavement cafes. A shop owner recommends the weekend market on Chao Fa West Road, which is apparently a must for street food and souvenirs.

Lunchtime sees me wandering through Rawai Beach seafood market. On one side there are stalls selling fish of all shapes and sizes; on the other are several restaurants. All you do is select your seafood, take it over to your chosen eatery, and enjoy ice-cold Phuket beer as you wait for it to be cooked and served.

I leave Sri Panwa feeling utterly chilled and restored. I'll definitely be back.

sripanwa.com

Hannah flew with EVA Air. EVA Air flies daily from London Heathrow to Taipei, via Bangkok, with a choice of three cabin classes: Royal Laurel Class (Business Class), award-winning Elite Class (Premium Economy) and Economy Class, evaair.com

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