• Change
MENU
Based on 10668 reviews on Trustpilot
CALL US
020·7962·9933
x
Floating in Phuket

Zen and the art of the breakfast buffet

Indian Summers star Olivia Grant heads to Thailand with pure intentions but meditation pledges are foiled by non-stop food and parties

I've always had a love affair with Thailand. After filming Channel 4's Indian Summers last year, I headed to Koh Phangan, an island off Ko Samui, for a week-long meditation and yoga course.?


My resolve to meditate every morning in London was slowly eroded by the stress of the London Underground - so I jumped at the chance of heading out to Thailand again and recapturing my zen before the start of filming series two.


Phuket is very different from Koh Phangan. It is much greener, and definitely an island with party in its bones. I was staying at the luxurious Sri Panwa resort, which comprises a series of minimalist villas, each with their own saltwater private infinity pool facing out on to the shimmering Andaman Sea.


I'm sure you can just sit and chill in the hotel's beautiful restaurants or sunbathe on your private terrace, but when attentive hotel staff member Pim dropped me off at my villa, she revealed that a famous Sri Panwa guest - DJ Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) - was performing at a nightclub called Seduction that evening. I decided zen could wait.


Seduction's roof-top nightclub


Seduction turned out to be off Bangla Road, the heart of Phuket's red-light district. Pim ushered me up an escalator to Seduction's rooftop party venue.
Norman had just started his set and was whipping up a Thai crowd. The odd British tourist was in there too, looking appropriately smug that they had stumbled into this stylish haven.?


The next morning, breakfast at Baba, Sri Panwa's poolside restaurant, was a glorious affair.


I faced my greatest challenge so far… selecting from the breakfast buffet. I did an almost ridiculous amount of hovering before settling on a selection of banana pancakes followed by a Thai fish curry. Curious but excellent is the only way I can describe this combination.?


The Baba Pool Club at Sri Panwa


I whiled away the afternoon reading by my infinity pool, slathering on the factor 50 at every opportunity.  I then headed up to Sri Panwa's Cool Spa, where you can practise yoga on a breathtaking platform called Baba Nest, which offers 360° views of Cape Panwa.?


Our Thai yoga instructor, who coincidentally had a body which looked as if it had been carved out of mahogany, performed the chaturanga at sunset with a sinuousness that reminded me of that scene featuring the yoga instructor from Couples Retreat, for anyone who knows that film.??He didn't quite slap me on the bottom and say 'Encouragement', but it was a close-run thing.?


After a fabulous dinner at Sri Panwa's beautifully appointed Thai restaurant Soul Food, where the 'squid on hot plate' sizzled satisfactorily and the green curry with prawns was to die for, I submitted to the jet-lag and crashed out on pillows on which the maids had placed a shell and an orchid.?


Returning to my quest for zen the next morning, I headed north of Phuket and took a 30-minute boat ride to a quiet island in Phang Nga Bay.


I was picked up by the staff of the Six Senses Yao Noi hotel and spa and driven to the complex by tuk-tuk.


The hotel puts a lot of emphasis on being eco-friendly. The landscaped gardens have space for some of the happiest free-range chickens I've ever seen, and a mushroom hut where the chef harvests fresh oyster mushrooms.?


Dining at the Six Senses Yao Noi


From the sunken bath in my villa there were exquisite views of the strange islets of Phang Nga Bay. ??I ate poached rock lobster in coconut milk and lemongrass, and a beef curry on jasmine rice, at Six Senses' beautiful Hilltop restaurant before heading to the beach again where the hotel was screening the Hollywood classic Breakfast At Tiffany's under the stars.?


Back at Sri Panwa and there was time to indulge in one more Asian-style breakfast curry before take-off. I may have mislaid my zen in Phuket but I sure had partied.


First published in the Mail on Sunday - August 2015

More articles below...


For more inspiration, read what travel writers have to say...

Japan's Shrines

The spiritual Kansai region of holy sites is attracting attention
00:30
The spiritual Kansai region of holy sites is attracting attention

Cambodia's temples

How Mark Palmer was allowed an audience with the hidden Buddha
00:30
How Mark Palmer was allowed an audience with the hidden Buddha

Converted to Bali

Fashion designer Julien Macdonald is stunned by the island's beauty
00:30
Fashion designer Julien Macdonald is stunned by the island's beauty

Beautiful Burma

A once closed country that is catching up with the modern world, says Tamara Cohen
00:30
A once closed country that is catching up with the modern world, says Tamara Cohen

Loving Langkawi

The Datai is heaven on Earth, says Max Hastings
00:30
The Datai is heaven on Earth, says Max Hastings

Thailand with a toddler

Julian Robinson and his wife enjoy an adventure holiday with their 20-month-old daughter
00:30
Julian Robinson and his wife enjoy an adventure holiday with their 20-month-old daughter

Perfect Phuket

Jo Gardner guides you through the many faces of Phuket
00:30
Jo Gardner guides you through the many faces of Phuket

Langkawi in luxury

Harriet Walker is delighted by the wildlife and stunning scenery
00:30
Harriet Walker is delighted by the wildlife and stunning scenery

Slick Singapore

Jeremy Clarke is amazed by the phenomenon that is Singapore
00:30
Jeremy Clarke is amazed by the phenomenon that is Singapore

Raffles Returns

Mark Porter is delighted to report the re-opening of one of the most famous hotels in the world
00:30
Mark Porter is delighted to report the re-opening of one of the most famous hotels in the world

Nature in Malaysia

Renowned British naturalist David Bellamy returns to a stunning old haunt
00:30
Renowned British naturalist David Bellamy returns to a stunning old haunt

Vibrant Vietnam

Simon Heptinstall loves the glamour, the traditional and the exotic
00:30
Simon Heptinstall loves the glamour, the traditional and the exotic

Forever Hong Kong

China may be in charge but this city shines brightly, as Max Hastings discovers
00:30
China may be in charge but this city shines brightly, as Max Hastings discovers

Beautiful Bali

This tropical island makes Alice Hart-Davis's spirits soar
00:30
This tropical island makes Alice Hart-Davis's spirits soar

Vivid Vietnam

From vibrant street markets to havens of tranquility, Harriet Mallinson loved the contrast
00:30
From vibrant street markets to havens of tranquility, Harriet Mallinson loved the contrast

A foodie love affair

Chef Raymond Blanc rekindles his devotion to the country that he says has some of the finest, and healthiest, food in the world
00:30
Chef Raymond Blanc rekindles his devotion to the country that he says has some of the finest, and healthiest, food in the world

Double-O-Heaven

In a land with a licence to enchant and to thrill, Frank Barrett finds the inspiration for both James Bond and The Night Manager
00:30
In a land with a licence to enchant and to thrill, Frank Barrett finds the inspiration for both James Bond and The Night Manager

Thailand forecast

TV weather presenter Lucy Verasamy goes island-hopping and finds the warmest of welcomes
00:30
TV weather presenter Lucy Verasamy goes island-hopping and finds the warmest of welcomes

A taste for Bangkok

More than just a stopover, as Isabelle King discovers on a culinary tour
00:30
More than just a stopover, as Isabelle King discovers on a culinary tour

The luxury side of Thailand

Ashley Pearson reports on three of the country's most hedonistic hotels
00:30
Ashley Pearson reports on three of the country's most hedonistic hotels

Pulsating Hong Kong

Twenty years on, Siobhan Warwicker discovers that life on this island remains electric
00:30
Twenty years on, Siobhan Warwicker discovers that life on this island remains electric

Not quite what you're looking for?
We can easily customise an offer to suit your exact requirements

x