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Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 6:31:07 AM
by gayathri nair
Paradise by the sea: A spectacular vista of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa, showing the Ocean Beach Club.
SHARING my pool deck chair with a peacock was definitely one of the highlights for me at The Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa. This gorgeous bird was spotted strutting around The Ocean Beach Club’s poolside, like it owned the place. Rumour has it that wild birds stay for free at the hotel.
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that made this one of the best holidays for me. Despite the long and bumpy cab ride from the airport to the resort, it felt like walking into paradise once my feet landed on the grounds of this majestic hotel.
The 28-year-old establishment sprawls across 30ha of land and is located next to Karon beach. It is set in lush, tropical gardens surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and golden beaches. Checking in was swift and easy. At this point, I was pretty excited to see my room.
As I walked into the King Deluxe Plus sea-view room, I ran towards the balcony, squealing with delight. The sound of ocean waves lapping against the sand, and the sight of the sun shining through and the beautiful blue skies were simply breathtaking. Now, this is what I call a great getaway!
Take your pick of the 665 rooms spread out over three wings, depending on your needs and budget.
Getting back to the chic-looking Ocean Beach Club – this restaurant overlooks Karon beach and the azure Andaman Sea, and is the most popular restaurant in the resort. This is where I had dinner and lunch. Their great selection of upscale Western meals along with a wide choice of barbequed seafood, poultry and other meats, will leave anyone completely satisfied. The amazing thing about this place is how easily it transforms from a classy lunch setting during the day into a disco-club with dancing laser beams and upbeat music at night. It easily draws in the younger crowd and is open till midnight.
The beach is less than a minute’s walk from here. And, on the way to the beach, one will pass by several shops outside the hotel grounds. Most of the shops sell the same items, but at different prices. According to the locals, when out shopping at Phuket, always bargain.
However, if you want to venture out of the hotel, most tourist spots are just a stone’s throw away. A 15-minute drive will bring you to the infamous Patong beach, and a little further is the Old Phuket Town and Chalong Temple.
A trip to Thailand is not complete without going for at least one massage. There are several parlours around town that offer massages at low prices. Speaking of massages, the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa isn’t called a spa for no reason. And, for a spa-virgin, there were plenty of jaw-dropping moments when I walked into its 15 Villa Spa. I sat through a two-and-a-half-hour treatment that included a body scrub, facial and soft body massage. This package was called the “Ying and Yang”.
I really wished they had ended with the massage, as sitting through over an hour of facial treatment was excruciating, mostly because I don’t have the patience for it. Although, I have to admit, I came out glowing! The dark under-eye circles and eye bags disappeared.
While there were no problems at all throughout my hotel stay, I did suffer from an overload of good food. The hotel has a bar and five restaurants; and each restaurant has a special setting. My favourite dish was the yellow noodles cooked in rich red Thai curry, at the Thai Thai restaurant. This restaurant only opens for dinner, so if you’re looking for that authentic Thai zing, this is the place to go to.
For your must-have cup of java, there’s Cafe Cino which also serves hearty salads, warm pies and other mouth-watering desserts like homemade ice cream, cookies and chocolates.
The breakfast buffet at the Sails restaurant was also quite a sumptuous treat. There was an amazing array of Asian and Western delights. It could easily keep you going right up to teatime, at least.
The highlight of my gastronomic adventure was lunch at the Italian restaurant, Buon Appetito. The pan-roasted codfish on braised Cannellini beans were brought up to my room all the way on the 10th floor. The dish came with an assortment of breads and a hearty bowl of cauliflower soup along with a chocolate mousse for dessert.
Of course, to burn off all this goodness, there is a well-equipped gym at the resort. Then again, I was on holiday and simply pretended the gym did not exist!
But, I did play a game of tennis with one of the staff members, and was surprised to find that it was a service the hotel provides.
So, if you’ve been abandoned by your family or friends who would rather laze by the pool and soak up the sun, just book a game with one of their friendly staff members.
You’ll also find other fun amenities throughout the resort, such as their swimming pools: five outdoor and one whirlwind pool; a day-care centre called The Kidz Paradise Club; a golf course; and a games area that houses a squash court, and ping pong and pool tables.
While there are plenty of activities within the hotel to keep you occupied, there are also attractions such as an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ride or elephant-tracking adventures that can be booked via the hotel’s reception. Of course, if you’re like me and simply want to relax, then just lounge around and take in the serenity of the resort.
What I miss most about my trip is the hotel’s high-speed Internet connection. Sending e-mails and using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) applications was such a breeze at the resort!
* Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa
333 Patak Road, Karon Beach, Mang, Phuket, 83100, Thailand
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