Phuket makes for an ideal weekend destination

Phuket makes for an ideal weekend destination

Weekend Gem.

“Ease into the pose,” your yoga instructor says gently as you struggle to maintain a bakasana. Your coping mechanism is to laugh – you’re already sweating a few asanas into your hour-long session in a tranquil yoga shala a few meters away from your villa, both located well within the vast and beautiful Trisara estate. Holding this pose is no mean feat. Your instructor gives you some pointers and, suddenly, you’re not slipping. You are focusing on you. You tilt your body forward, hands on the mat and assume a crane position, maintaining it like a pro. As with everything about this trip, you are easing.

A while later, you’re riding pillion on a moped with no helmet, throwing caution to the wind as you and your companion explore the periphery of north-western Phuket, drinking excellent mojitos from tiny pop-up bars seating 10 and buying butterfly pea flowers to make blue rice with. But you don’t stay out too long. Easing into things means indulging in everything the resort has to offer.

Trisara’s main pool.

A weekend escapade to Trisara is ridiculously simple to pull off. Phuket is just an hour and a half ’s flight away and, once at the airport, a chauffer is waiting to greet you. Others have chosen to first stay in Langkawi and then take the ferry across in their Ferraris, driving up to the private resort by themselves. Either way, the resort’s accessibility makes it the destination of choice for those on a quick getaway.

Everyone is here for one thing – privacy. The resort’s privileged location on a secluded cove tucked away among tropical hills provides a quiet, elegant stay, eschewing the island’s reputation as a place for 24-hour party people. One- or two-bedroom villas and junior suites replete with all the creature comforts, each with its own ocean view and private pool. Larger residences come with private chefs and housekeeping for those who can’t travel without their squad. Each villa is accorded the kind of privacy you seek, emphasised by the presence of an outdoor shower. Once inside, you are surrounded by foliage, with a faint memory that there are neighbouring villas. You have the option of sequestering yourself from the world and not emerging until it’s time to leave, or at least until dinner.

Emerge for dinner you must, at least once, at Trisara’s PRU. Newly minted with the island’s first Michelin star, the restaurant has dedicated itself to the finer points of farm-to-table dining, starting from the inception of its own farm manned by staff and located not too far away from the luxury resort. In fact, the restaurant’s ardent use of the island’s own produce even has its yogurt and milk sourced from a small dairy farm nearby.

Dutch chef de cuisine, Jim Ophorst, has single-handedly raised the bar when it comes to the island’s ‘international’ cuisine, levelling up above the rest with a deft hand in the creation of dishes like local mangrove black crab paired with pickled radish and served with a swirl of its own and surprisingly, lobster bisque-like reduction. Just as tantalising are carrots from the farm. The humble root vegetable, usually relegated to a supporting role, is given full star treatment, cooked in the soil in which it is planted and accompanied by a sauce of fermented carrot juice and cured egg yolk. Meanwhile, aged duck, slow-cooked over an open wood fire, is presented as a main and given a tart zing from the pickled Thai cherries.

PRU’s ingredients are sourced from its own farm and around Phuket Island.

The rest of the time is entirely yours to fill. The resort’s knack for anticipating its guests already sees it being the pioneering resort to have a professional photo and video studio, DDEN. Its team (including a makeup artist) is ready to capture your special moment among the verdant backdrop of lush greenery, secret coves and romantic dinners. Your photographer follows you around, dedicating himself to every photographic whim with nary a selfie taken (selfies? So 2018), presenting you with a link or a bound photo book of your best sides. Make it as epic as you like – the studio comes with a full-fledged drone, ready to capture the resort’s beautiful vistas.

Between strolls on the resort’s own stretch of beach, languid swims in the private pool and lazy sways on hammocks hung casually around the resort, some time is also spent rejuvenating at Trisara’s Jara Spa, located under the shelter of a century-old Ficus tree. Perhaps inspired by the tree’s longevity, the spa’s treatments are rooted (pun intended) in ancient Thai wisdom, drawing from five pillars of the tree’s wellness (root, trunk, branch, blossom and spirituality), with only the best 100 per cent organic elixirs used. Two tailored wellness programmes take you through all five pillars, lasting up to six hours and spread at leisure throughout your stay. Meanwhile, feel the last of your week’s stresses disappear with a signature Royal six hands massage – featuring three therapists lending their expert touch, while herbal compresses and nourishing oils relax and indulge the senses.

The island’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, PRU.

Before you know it, you are back at the yoga shala again, the yoga instructor waiting with a smile. Sure, you could have chosen a one-on-one Muay Thai session with an expert Thai trainer, gone on a kayaking expedition to a nearby island, had a traditional Thai cooking class at [email protected] or enjoyed a Sunday jazz brunch with a live trio playing, but it’s back to the shala you go. It was there you learnt about easing yourself in. You’re back there to commit it to memory.

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