Trisara has become a landmark since it opened in November 2004 and I would call it a hidden treasure after my most enjoyable stay there in April 2016.
Phuket Island’s most exclusive, intimate resort is just 15 minutes over a private bay from Phuket’s International Airport on the quiet, relatively undeveloped north-western coastline. The short drive is a beautiful introduction to the ‘real’ Phuket, winding through small villages, jungle and beaches before I arrive at the resort’s discreet entrance, hidden by towering ancient hardwoods.
Trisara’s owners are also the managers and the driving force behind all design decisions, passionate about service, food and attention to detail, something too often overlooked in today’s world.
The gently sloping contours of the site have been developed to allow all villas at Trisara to embrace wide ocean views, sunsets and the cooling sea breeze. As I walk down a few steps to my pool villa’s entrance escorted by a staff member facilitating the check-in inside the villa, I discover the green abundant nature and the blue ocean in front of me from a higher elevation which gives me the sensation of being on top of the world.
The resort’s 48 pool suites and villas, and residential villas sit within 40 acres of gardens, rising gently from the 2000 metres of ocean frontage. Impressive how all accommodations offer a sense of total privacy, surrounded and hidden by lush tropical gardens. The privately owned two- to six-bedroom residences are available for rental with private staff and kitchens, which is ideal for families who want to enjoy a private vacation with all advantages of being nestled in a luxury resort where service is impeccable.
My one-bedroom Pool Villa (one of 22 individual villas) offers me 240 square-metres of space, including the private 10-metre infinity pool, teak sundecks, outdoor shower and 96 square-metre bedroom. Imagine the little detail: my two sun loungers are placed inside the water (only their feet), so I can lie with the cool water just under me and breath-taking views from east to west.
12 Ocean View Pool Rooms are set higher above the ocean view pool villas, all enjoying expansive sea views as well. These pool rooms are 117 square-metres, including the 50 square-metre air-conditioned bedroom, outdoor deck and the four-metre infinity plunge pool. Each Pool Room has a private entrance walkway and shares one common wall with the adjoining Pool Room. If you are travelling with a friend, the two Pool Rooms together can be rented as a two-bedroom unit and the partition separating the two pool decks can be removed. What a clever solution, offering both the luxury of the 50 square-metre bedroom.
But that is not all Trisara has to offer. Three Ocean View Pool Suites sit even higher above the bay and you can feast upon the wonderful open sea views from above. These 230 square-metre suites offer the private bedroom with en-suite and outdoor shower, and a separate living room that can be closed off with sliding doors, with its own bathroom. A nine-metre infinity pool and open decks make this suite perfect for someone looking for an extra spacious villa.
If you want to be closer to the water, there are two two-bedroom Oceanfront Pool Villas perched directly above the bay, naturally with incredible views and privacy. The central living area leads out to the pool decks and 10-metre private pool. These are Trisara’s most private villas and have the most open sea views. Perfect for small families!
The eight Trisara Signature Villas, equipped with a full kitchen and the services of a dedicated cook and housekeeper are ideal if you are looking for something larger with a certain homely feeling. On either side of a central living and dining pavilion sits the two main bedrooms, which also have access to the private 18-metre infinity pool and decks outside and are, needless to mention, surrounded by lush tropical gardens open over the pool to a sea view.
Yoga, gym and spa
As I wander one morning down from my villa to the breakfast on the large terrace close to the beachfront, I discover the private beachfront yoga sala along the garden pathway from the end of the main pool. What an amazing place to meditate and indulge in the yoga poses with a private instructor.
After breakfast I have my spa treatment scheduled. Breakfast is a large but exquisite buffet of fresh items (my favourite is always the fresh coconut, which gives you all the nutrients you need) and you can enjoy it either indoors or outdoors, again overlooking the ocean, this time much closer.
The gym is located below the spa, so I decide to pay it a visit before my treatment. It offers a full selection of weights, cardio machines and exercise equipment and a dedicated personal trainer assists with exercise programmes designed to suit your needs.
Muay Thai (Thai boxing) is a traditional martial art practice that is also known as kickboxing and provides an excellent entire body workout. Experienced staff are on hand to train you in the various techniques, so I take this into consideration, but before getting strong, I prefer the strong hands of my massage therapist.
Knowing that another exciting and different form of exercise is TRX suspension training, a new fitness training system using ropes and cables, which allows the user to work out against their own body weight, I understand that this peaceful place offers lots of action too, should you long for it!
The six spa suites are an oasis of calm, all located in one villa. Treatments can also be enjoyed in the privacy of your villa or suite, or even by your pool, which makes the experience entirely unique, and it’s so convenient, that should you need to flop into bed to further your relaxation, it’s right there!
The main bar is a great place to relax, watching a stunning sunset; you can’t get enough of it. Vincent, the assistant director of marketing, invites me to experience some of the great gourmet tapas and amazing cocktails on my first evening and I feel this is the best way to start my holiday.
But you can also choose to be spoiled in the evening as a personal chef prepares a private barbeque on your pool deck for your family at sunset or simply head out to the Deck and enjoy authentic Thai dishes and international cuisine under the palm trees.
Trisara’s seafood restaurant is inspired by the iconic seafood restaurants found on the French Riviera and Capri, with the freshest products from the Andaman and the Mediterranean seas. The seafood is responsibly caught from sustainable sources and I enjoy the table set up to overlook the beach.
Taking a closer look towards the beach, I can’t believe my eyes: hundreds if not thousands of little crabs making their way to the water and leaving their claw marks in the sand like an artwork! As I come closer, they all stop (time enough to see they are hermit crabs) and crawl back into the houses they carry on their backs, waiting for the intruder to pass by. Amazing creatures and I feel once more replenished by nature, the feeling I miss when living in a city. I bet you do too!
So how will you spend your days? Stroll down to the beach and lie back on a sundeck chair or loveseat next to the 47-metre salt-chlorinated pool or opt for your feet in the sand on a lounger prepared by the attentive staff. For lunch you can even grab some snacks and salad out on the main beach bar and have them right there under your umbrella.
Or venturing out! The island’s most significant rainforest and waterfall is a great place to visit, just 30 minutes away at Khao Phra Teaw National Park, where you can also ride a friendly elephant through the forest.
Between December and April, water sports fans can rent Trisara 1, a 9-metre cruiser. Fast, comfortable and a lot of fun, it can be used as a water taxi to explore the beaches of the west coast or to take snorkelling trips to a nearby island. The comfortable, fast sports cruiser Ashoka 1 is available by the hour or for half or full day charters.
Phang Nga Bay is truly spectacular and calm on most days. A private half or full day cruise to what is known as James Bond Island and other islands nearby is the perfect trip out.
Trisara has recently built its own reverse osmosis water plant. Clean water is filtered through the reverse osmosis membrane and exposed to UV lights. The water is then re-mineralised and bottled in sterilised glass bottles, sealed in an airtight ceramic stopper and clipped in place with a metal clasp.
The efforts the resort has gone to in promoting sustainability are wonderful. From separating and recycling waste water to irrigate the gardens, to collecting rain water on all roofs (again used on the gardens), Trisara has left no stone unturned. They changed 45,000 halogen lights to 3-watt LED bulbs in 2012, installed energy saving sensors and timers on doors and use no chlorine in any of the pools.
It’s not just their green credentials that are impeccable. Trisara has thought of everything, from the Angel of Privacy in your room to place outside if you do not wish to be disturbed, to the homemade chocolate truffles and cookies offered with their compliments and replenished on a daily basis.
A place you could easily call your ideal home and some do, so why not you?
I discovered a different side to Phuket, and witnessed a resort that is taking sustainability in hospitality to the next level offering the highest standards of luxury.