Stop press, May 2014, this resort is starting to look somewhat tired and in need of renovation, particularly the non-Baray villa units. On arrival at the Sawasdee Village you are greeted by an entranceway flanked by soaring buttresses reminiscent of an ancient Thai fort. The short paved path gives way to a lush garden of frangipanis and mature trees, interspersed with plush lounge areas and large inviting swing seats, surrounding a pool coloured deep cobalt blue.
This hotel’s architecture and decoration are Arabic-inspired, making for a fresh and visually invigorating change from the sometimes tired Thai traditional formula.
The sound of running water and the gold and deep red hues running throughout the resort are accompanied by Madelbröt-esque Moorish patterns.
The in-house Baray Spa is considered to be one of the most exotic on Phuket, combining ancient therapies from India with world famous Ayurvedic Thai massage.
Like the rest of the resort, it is exquisitely decorated.
The resort offers a separate dining room for private dinners, which is available by reservation only. Moroccan / Arabian influences abound everywhere. High ceilings and abundant decorations help this resort stand out from the pack.
In the garden we spotted what can only be described as hanging love nests – thankfully they are open on one side, so escape remains possible at all times !
The hotel has 40 tastefully appointed rooms surrounding its tropical garden, all of which have 8 foot wide emporer-sized beds. Eight of these are located next to the pool, allowing excellent access but suffering from a lack of privacy.
The corner rooms can accommodate triples and the rest are for couples.
Unfortunately the showers in these rooms may be a little low for those of us who ate our greens as children.
The image to the left shows how you get from a Baray Pool villa's private pool into one of the resort's 2 larger shared pools.
The image to the right shows how you get out from inside your villa to your private pool. Notice that the water comes all the way inside the villa.
The image to the left and the two images above show how each villa's private pool joins onto a 50 metre long shared pool. You might find it worthwhile clicking on some of these to have a closer look.
To the right there is an image of the Baray Pool villa's luxurious bedroom and bathroom, which are located upstairs, above the sizable living room.
The resort is divided into two sections. Firstly there is the section containing the Garden Deluxe rooms, as described above.
Secondly there is a section containing the luxury Baray villas. This second part of this resort can be found behind Bab Baray, (‘Bab’ is Arabic for ‘gate’) a 20ft tall black wooden gate with gold quadrangular studs.
The image on the left is of the pool shared by guests occupying the Baray Villas. It is off-limits to people who are not booked into a Baray villa.
The gorgeous little pool bar pictured below is, similarly, only available to Baray villa residents.
The “Baray Villas” have 2 floors of opulence and generalized loveliness. They offer pool access, literally from your living room. Just a step from the sofa, right inside your living room, is located an off-shoot of the main pool.
You can float across the waters on an inflatable mattress, and arrive a couple of minutes later at a pool bar opulantly decorated in Sawasdee’s signature Thailand-meets-middle-east style.
Above is an image of the in-room foot spa, click for a closer look at where her feet are.
Even the Baray villa's ceilings are fabulously decorated.
The Baray villas are located in a separate compund, off-limits to other residents. Within this secluded souk (‘square’ in Arabic) lie the 14 magnificent Baray villas. Each named after a star sign, these 2 storey palaces are screened by hanging vines which surprisingly provide the privacy that honeymooners require whilst letting in plenty of light.
The pool picturted above and below is the one shared by the Baray villa residents.
The ground floorof the Baray viilas has in-door pool access - the 50m pool actually comes into the house. Pool access is provided by a gate to the main pool, which has a swim-in bar at one end, a waterfall at the other, and which winds its way around this unique locale. At night the pool is lit by fibre-optic stars creating the effect that heaven is above, below and all around you.
The first floor contains a high-ceilinged master suite leaving nothing wanton except perhaps a little more light to shave by. All of the villas come with a free standing bath and stone wash basins, all mod cons and flat-screen TV. All villas have internet access with a wireless mouse and keyboard. As if a 24 hour butler service and breakfast in bed were not sufficient, this resort raises the luxury stakes further - at the foot of your bed your tired feet can benefit from a foot spa. Just pull back the cover and sit watching TV while your feet melt away.
The corner villas here are a little bigger and next to the pool bar but are always booked early, the central villas offer more privacy and a longer swim to the bar. The end ones are near to the waterfall and as such may be a little noisy at night; nowhere in the resort do you hear the noises of the town around you.
Stop press October 2011 - the resort are opening up a new budget wing across the road from the resort, in an entirely separate building. Guests in the new wing are not permitted to use the facilities of the main resort.
For parents who don't mind sharing a room with their child or children, these would have bean a reasonable choice, if they didn't suffer from a non-view of the adjacent building at a distance of 1 metre, which means that guests stare through their large windows – at a blank wall. Some of the smaller rooms rooms do have a street view instead of the concrete-slab-lookout.
The above rates are net per room per night and inclusive of taxes and service charge.