Travellers seeking out the traditional Thai holiday experience needn’t look further than Anantara Phuket Villas, a luxury Phuket resort with the ubiquitous thatch-roofed villas and sprawling lily pond that stretches from the lobby right to the hotel restaurant.
That sense of exotica is noticeably absent in its new sister property across the road – Anatara Vacation Club – with its contemporary villas and apartment block that project a more cosmopolitan, family-oriented image compared to its more genteel older sibling. The difference, explains general manager Lyndon Ellis of the Bangkok-based hotel group, is that each property caters to a different demographic. “Europeans come into Thailand and they love the Thai houses and architecture, but when Asians come here, they want more contemporary facilities,” says Mr Ellis
Making it a point to create a family-friendly space with their villas and apartments, Anantara Vacation Club ensures that each villa and apartment suites come with living and dining rooms, washers and an equipped kitchen, full with crockery and cookware, so it feels a lot more like a home than a hotel stay.
Even their in-house activities are rather, shall we say, domestic. For instance, there are Thai cooking lessons over at the hotel restaurant, Chaam, and a Kids’ Club that will keep children well entertained through the day.
For the less domestic-inclined, there’s plenty to do outside the vacation club, such as a boat ride out to the famous James Bond Island, which was featured in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun; a bicycle tour through a coconut and rubber plantation; or a jaunt across the road to Turtle Village, a small shopping centre with a handful of eateries, souvenir shops and luxury brand outlets.