Anonymously reviewed by André Chiang (Globe-trotting food guru, Par André) for Mr and Mrs Smith
Driving along the highway, my mind is trying to reconfigure memories like a jigsaw puzzle. It has been eight long years since my last visit to Phuket. The things I remember? A narrow road, a long, deserted coastline with dark rubber-tree forests set back from the beach. A sea the color of emeralds. The hot and sour flavors of kang som, a local version of bouillabaisse. I have to confess that I was afraid all this may have changed in the intervening time.
Already, as Mrs Smith and I cruise toward our destination — it has been almost a decade since I was last in this part of Thailand, but it’s also five years since we married, so this is like a second honeymoon — there is cause for concern. The highway has grown more lanes with more cars travelling along them and far fewer trees at its edge. Sadly, it seems, the enemies of nature and solitude have already taken their toll.
Off the main road, though, there are hopeful signs. Beautiful Nai Thorn beach is quiet and gentle waves roll in from the ultra-green sea to the sand. Past the beach, I direct the car up a steep, narrow road where we find the gates of Trisara. At reception, we’re welcomed by a sea breeze and a 180-degree view of the ocean. Really, it wouldn’t take much more than this to make me happy. However, Elle, one of the managers, has prepared chilled jasmine-scented towels and two glasses of cold honey-ginger tea — she explains it’s good for settling stomachs after the long, winding drive. Then, she places a gorgeous garland of flowers around a delighted Mrs Smith’s wrist. I get the feeling that at Trisara there will be impressive attention to detail and warm hospitality.
For the next two nights, our home will be a spacious Ocean View Pool Villa. It’s very contemporary Thai, with teak floors and an enormous king-size bed dominating the bedroom. The bathroom makes my jaw drop — his and hers vanities, a bath big enough for the both of us, and a rain shower (there’s another sexy one outside, as well). But my favorite feature is the private infinity pool overlooking the ocean. During our stay here, I can see myself and Mrs Smith languidly floating between long stretches of reclining on the poolside sun-loungers.
While Mrs Smith makes herself a cup of tea and satisfies her sweet tooth with some crunchy cookies and homemade dark chocolate truffles, Elle shows me all the villa’s facilities. I flick through the channels on the flat-screen TV and pop my iPod in the dock. This is some place.
Keen to start exploring, we call the concierge to send a buggy and take us to Trisara’s private beach. As if by magic, two beach boys are already arranging sun-loungers and covering them with white beach towels when we arrive. By this time, it’s approaching 6 p.m. and the sun is about to set. It couldn’t be more romantic. We walk hand in hand along the sand to the jetty, and it’s as if we’ve turned back the clock to when we first met. (Photo courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith)
The following afternoon, after a lazy morning in the villa — French toast with red berries and eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, and hash browns served promptly at 8 a.m., followed by plenty of lolling by the pool — we decide to go snorkeling in the resort’s private bay (no jet skis, thank goodness). By the floating jetty we feed what seems like thousands of friendly fish in a Technicolor underwater world.