Hands up, who really knows what The Hamptons are?
Sure, you’ve likely heard about them a thousand times through shows like Revenge, Girls, Sex and the City and pretty much every New York-based comedy/drama revolving around a bunch of privileged self-indulgent twonks. But what’s the big deal? In short, they’re situated just a couple of hours’ drive from Manhattan central, and offer sprawling sandy white beaches and luxury in abundance.
But with New York luxury comes hefty price tags and an army of aforementioned Kardashian-clones.
Which is why we were mightily intrigued by the allure of Thailand’s Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa, affectionately nicknamed as ‘The Hamptons of Phuket’. Situated just 20 minutes north of Phuket airport, on the sunset side of the Andaman Sea and with the 20km Natai Beach on its doorstep, it’s a resort tailored towards relaxed luxury and – at a fraction of the Hamptons cost, and with better weather – and fewer douchey locals – to boot.
While many travellers would have come across the Akaryn hotel group’s diverse array of boutique luxury stays all across Thailand – with the recently launched uber-modern/urban akyra Chiang Mai complex complimenting its accessible akyra Koh Samui resort – it’s the Aleenta residences that stand as the luxurious jewel in the portfolio crown.
Mere seconds after checking in, and it’s easy to see why. Views of the ocean come as standard from almost every inch of the resort, while the ooooh-inducingly built rooms – centred around a concept of ‘all suites, all private’ offer ingeniously crafted relaxi-wins. Our Ocean View Loft was stylish chic incarnate, with a 77 square metre open plan living space accentuated by a mezzanine-style bedroom that backs onto an enormous, communal infinity pool, and views straight out across the sea.
Much like the real Hamptons, pampering is high up on the Aleenta menu, thanks to the conveniently located Ayurah Wellness Centre (location – two minute walk from our room). Cue a Wellness Assessment (in short, mild flabbiness cured by near-mandatory full body massage), and an introduction to the centre’s ‘Four Pillars Philosophy’ which crafts treatments specific to your body, and has been used on such celebrity luminaries as Kate Moss, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow (but don’t let that put you off).
Throw in the choice between two mouth-watering restaurants, and a healthy array of on and off-site activities – we heartily suggest a visit to the Turtle Sanctuary, as well as Cave Canoeing in Khai Nai Island – affectionately known as James Bond Island after iconic parts of The Man With The Golden Gun were shot there – and there’s more than enough to keep you occupied.
But the real Hamptons taste test comes in the communal approach to lazing around, and this is where Aleenta excels, with the recent unveiling of 34 brand new, lavish and uber-spacious Deluxe Pool Villas (private pool or outside jacuzzi as standard), and the choice between three Grand Villas – enormous residences (up to five bed) on the beach front, replete with private beach sections, infinity pools, a private chef and 24 hour on-call butler, as well as a chauffeur to drive you to and from the surrounding region.
Five star luxury in disarmingly cosy, familial surroundings, stellar service, masseuses on tap and eternally warm weather… Who needs the Hamptons when you have the Hamptons of Phuket?
GT Travel stayed at… Aleenta Resort & Spa Phang Nga. Destinology offer a seven night stay in a Grand Deluxe Pool Villa from £1,469 per person, based on two sharing and including flights from Gatwick. Book 40 days before for a 20% reduction.