The Bundarika Resort is our suggestion for somewhere up-market and romantic to start or end your holiday. There are hundreds of fantastic resorts on Phuket, from which we have singled out Bundarika as (a) it is gorgeous (b) it sits on an almost deserted beach and (c) it is within the financial means of most people for a couple of nights. There are more luxurious establishments (Amanpuri springs to mind), but they are prohibitively expensive for most people. There are many resorts with as romantic an ambience as Bundarika, but they are all further south, on more crowded beaches.
Perfection doesn’t exist and everywhere has a flaw. In the case of Bundarika the problem is that the beach is no good for swimming, as it stays very shallow for a long way out. For most visitors to this romantic hideaway, however, this doesn’t constitute a problem, as they have their own private plunge pool and as they will already be getting enough exercise in their bungalows.
The shared areas of the resort are as beautifully designed as are the villas, particularly the large lily pond around which the resort is built, where the large and ornately-glazed flower pots compete for the eye’s attention with the gently wobbling lilies.
Large waterspouts provide a deep bass note, against which the higher notes of the fountains play, in an aquatic orchestra of soothing sounds.
The resort is situated on isolated Hat Layan beach, miles from anywhere. Guests looking for a hideaway will love the Bundarika, but those looking for liveliness will be disappointed.
The spa décor is exquisite, even by the standards of Thailand – orange, ochre and burgundy hint at a Moroccan influence, but the overall impression is unmistakably Thai. At THB 2,880 for an hour’s massage, approximately ten times as much as in an economy road-side massage shop, the massage and treatments here are expensive. They get good write-ups on www.tripadvisor.com, however, as does the food. Most guests dine in their villas, as the restaurant is the resort’s rather uninspiring low-point, and as most see no point in moving from their very own utopian love-nest.
The 4 year-old Bundarika resort consists of a small number of private villas, each an oasis of luxury located within a private walled garden luxuriating in mature foliage and trees which enhance the ambience without excessively enveloping the villas. Each is equipped with a plunge pool, lilly pond and outdoor dining area. The single bedrooms are splendidly sized and equipped, very elegantly furnished and decorated, and dominated by an over-sized bed. The enormous bathrooms are no less regal, boasting a tub and shower, his’n’her sinks and enough towels for even the most frequently showering honeymooners.
The view from the bed is great and will encourage couples to stay put. Most villas have their own palm trees swaying in the garden. Beyond the trees shallow estuary waters shimmer while local people wade around fishing. Beyond the fisher-folk, the deep blue of the Andaman Sea beckons, but not so urgently as to discourage a lie-in. An ideal start to the day here is a tickling match to decide who should get out of bed, open the shutters and let in the view, put the kettle on, then hop back in the sack.