Now for something totally different… Indigo Pearl is a hidden, independent oasis of a luxury hotel situated just 5 minutes from Phuket Airport. If you appreciate contemporary spaces and art then this could very well be paradise for you. The Harvard-educated architect and landscape designer Bill Bensley, is behind this dream masterpiece, the concept very much reflecting Phuket’s historical and prosperous tin mining industry.
This hotel has won prestigious awards and it’s easy to see why once you find yourself absorbed into its own cool, understated vibe. Remember the series ‘Lost’? Well possibly the best way to describe the impressive architecture would be to liken it to the ‘Darma Initiative’ buildings, a kind of concrete industrial metropolis right in the heart of a tropical paradise – with the core concept being industrial by nature, the resort won’t fail to impress – we have never witnessed anything like it, and we loved it. Everywhere you look you are reminded of the hotels concept, but where you really appreciate the design aspects is in the detail… for example, the toilet roll holders are giant bolts, the cutlery mimic spanners, the room doors are sheet iron, the buildings are cladded with coarse grey concrete, the breakfast area resembles a factory floor, etc. In fact, the entire hotel is a museum of contemporary and abstract art. The hotel simply oozes industrial chic!
Looking around at the clientele, it’s a mixed bag but perhaps favouring a younger, more studious and clearly creative audience, however don’t let this put you off if you don’t feel you fall into this category. Go to Indigo Pearl for something a little different, as it’s an independent hotel it offers bags of character and charm that some resorts just cannot provide and you do get a real sense of that the moment you arrive. Admire the sheer quantity of cast iron on show and the local craftsmanship at work. Debate the design pieces, art, sculptures and architecture, and appreciate the creativity at work here, something you’ll not find anywhere else.
Surprisingly this resort was much bigger than expected and overall guests can make use of six unique restaurants (a mixture of fine dining, a la carte and casual eateries), two bars (we loved the snooker bar!), adequate gym, library, Coqoon Spa and direct beach access to Nai Yang Beach. Families are very welcome here and with a very good kids club on site you can get some respite if you desire, although sadly under 4’s aren’t catered for. There are three pools, one for kids and families and the other two for 14+ year olds and 16+ year olds, so peace is always available if you desire it.
Nai Yang Beach
Along this quiet beach stretch you will come across a quaint choice of local restaurants and bars, massage beauty salons and tourist shops. However if you want to dine in style within the hotel then why not sample their signature restaurant, Black Ginger, serving fine dining a la carte Thai cuisine. What really stands out is the traditional palace-like structure and it’s elegant ambience, reaching this restaurant via a pulley raft is also a truly novel touch. At night this restaurant is lit up and looks absolutely stunning and incredibly enticing. Start with the Bua Thod (tender shrimps and local cha-plu leaves submerged in turmeric batter) and the Sua Long Hai (premium U.S. rib eye steak Thai salad with an invigorating spicy shallot-chilli-lime sauce), both will line you up perfectly for the mains. The curries are something of a house specialty, so we opted for the Gaeng Leung Pla Sai Chone (Southern style fish curry) and Gaeng Musamun Nua (beef roasted peanut and potato curry with premium U.S. sirloin). If you have room for dessert then the Bual Loy Ma Praw Orn is a chef delicacy and worth trying – it is essentially flour dumplings served in a warm coconut milk sauce, which is a pleasant local dish.
If indulging in a spot of pampering is more your scene then you’ll definitely be suitably impressed with the hotel’s designer Coqoon Spa. It’s eight luxurious treatment rooms can be found tucked away in a luscious rainforest environment, however the spa’s most special cutting edge feature is the tree house Coqoon room (I’ve never seen anything like it) – enter it up a flight of stairs and away from it all, feel enveloped in complete comfort and warmth, there is no doubt you’ll feel completely at one after your treatment. I chose the 60 minute Coqoon Rebirth Massage and I can’t possibly tell you how relaxing this treatment made me feel. I do however owe a lot to my masseuse, Sarah – her experience and knowledge made my experience in the spa just perfect! She easily personalised this massage by instinctively knowing which areas of my body required the most attention and used different massage techniques to get the best results for me.
To sum up, Indigo Pearl is a creative oasis that is a welcome break from the ‘norm’. It’s also vast but that makes a discovery walk even more exciting, as there is so much to see. Ask if you can take a guided tour around the property and appreciate the levels of stylish individuality on offer.
Indigo Pearl | Nai Yang Beach and National Park | Phuket 83110 | Thailand
Tel +66 (0) 76 327 006, (0) 76 327 015 | Fax +66 (0) 76 327 338-9
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