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Rooms with a view

The Regent Phuket Cape Panwa offers elegant luxury in the quiet of a secluded bay

Tucked away beyond the Phuket Town and sheltered by a backdrop of mountains, Panwa Cape was once a deep-sea port serving merchant ships and, more recently, the occasional cruise liner. The arrival of luxury resorts over the last five years has brought a sea change to this side of the island with the new facilities drawing weekenders and foreign tourists alike.

One of the more recent arrivals is the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, a luxury resort perched on higher ground and offering an epic view of endless blue sea and azure sky. The open spacious lobby, with its high ceiling, is designed to satiate the senses and in the time it takes to sip a freshly squeezed tropical fruit juice while checking in, any traces of jet lag simply slip away.

A marvel of Sino-Portuguese architecture with red terracotta roof tiles, whitewashed walls, gables and finest woodwork, the Regent is spread out over the mountain slope offering guests a choice of Pool Villas, Suites and Pavilions. The green of the tropical garden and the blue of sea and sky are best matched with the rich gold of a chilled chardonnay as you relax on your private sundeck.

My home for two nights at Regent Phuket Cape Panwa is Room 43 - an Ocean View Pool Villa. As the friendly butler shows me around, I think of my girlfriend, wishing she were here too because this villa is far too grand to enjoy alone. With 150 square metres to spare, the designer made sure guests would want for nothing, giving them a private outdoor pool and sundeck overlooking the ocean as well as a king-sized bed and working desk for those who just can't leave the office at home. The mini bar is well stocked with plenty of soft drink, beers and a bottle of Shiraz while the adjoining counter comes complete with water heater, a selection of teas and coffee and jar of cookie. The bedroom also has glass walls through which to take in the ocean view, and sliding glass doors that open on to a balcony.

A spacious bathroom is located at the end of the hallway and fitted with a two-person tub and shower with rain showerhead. The bathtub is very inviting with its covering of rose petals and the scented candles make it perfect for a romantic soak. You can even leave the old-fashioned door panel open as you soak allowing for a dramatic view of the sunset. Bath gel, body lotion and toiletries are from L'Occitane.

The Ocean View Pool Villa is definitely is the best of its kind. But you don't have to stay in such luxury to enjoy a holiday at the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa.

The marketing department says its best-selling room is the Suite with ocean view balcony. I personally prefer the Pavilion type to even the Ocean View Pool Villa. Small and surrounded by Bird of Paradise plants - the Pavilion is cool and cosy with a shady balcony that's perfect for reading.

Food is available at The Grill and The Restaurant and it is to the latter that I head for a lunch of Thai food and Asian fusion. The deep-fried shrimp cake is fantastic, but the "seafood tom-yam" and pork wonton are a bit dull. The Grill, an award-wining restaurant, is noted for western cuisine - especially seafood and meat cuts - and I thoroughly enjoy the Red Snapper fillet I order for dinner.

Pool Villa guests can have breakfast and afternoon tea at the Regent Club - a special lounge set beside a pool overlooking the Andaman Sea. This is fine if you want a quiet and private breakfast but I prefer the bustle of The Restaurant, finding that the clink of knives and forks enhance my appetite.

With just 105 guestrooms, the Regent Phuket Resort is quiet and the only noise comes from kids splashing in the pool. The Children's Club makes it perfect for a family holiday and, with private pool villas and a luxury spa, it will also appeal to young couples and honeymooners alike.

The downside is probably the beach, which is frankly nothing to write home about and might disappoint western tourists hoping to stretch out on the sand. But then you don't come to this side of the island for beach combing but for the breathtaking view.

And here, Regent Phuket Cape Panwa promises never to let you down.

At a glance

High points: A timeless beauty with plenty of luxurious notes.

Low points: The resort is far from other tourist attractions and the nightlife scene.

Pay for it: Check the website for the best deals and promotions.

Find it: 84 Moo 8 Sakdidej Road, Tambon Vichit, Cape Panwa, Phuket, Thailand.

Call it: (+66 76) 200 800 and (+66 76) 318 888.

Browse it: www.RegentHotels.com/phuket.


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