Having experienced 5-star Thailand earlier in the year we were keen to get another fix of one of our favourite places in the world. Who’d have thought the next best thing would be just over a two-hour flight away from London in Benidorm, Spain?
Asia Gardens Hotel and Spa is owned by the Spanish hotel giant Barceló. This exclusive luxury 5-star Thai resort is just 30 minutes from Alicante airport and is situated on a hilltop with brilliant views out to sea and over the town of Benidorm. The resort itself has been carefully designed in accordance with many luxury resorts in Thailand, including stunning mature tropical gardens, miles of walkways and authentic Thai architecture. There’s a real serene and calm feel when meandering around the grounds of this stunning resort, just what you’d expect in Thailand. The grand hotel lobby area is also a spectacular welcome for any guest and sets an impressive tone for what’s to come!
There are over 300 guest rooms that have been decorated with Balinese-style exotic elements and they all have a premium feel, some have stunning sea views whilst others have marvelous views of the gardens, swimming pools or the natural pine forest that surrounds the hotel. As you would expect this hotel does get incredibly busy in peak seasons, but with ample space and acres of stunning gardens to explore you are provided a feeling of space, which is very pleasant indeed. There is lots to explore here and the resort is definitely geared towards families and couples alike; you have access to a kids club, 8 bars and restaurants, 5 pools (some cater for couples only – a nice touch!), there are also VIP areas and swimming pools exclusively for guests staying in suites, a convention centre, gym and an authentic Thai spa. However, if relaxing on a beach is more your thing then the golden sands await you at Benidorm beach, which is just a shuttle ride away too.
Visiting two days before Christmas Day in December meant that occupancy was low and a good time to visit if you are looking for a little down and quiet time. However Christmas Day and New Years Eve was set to be bustling, making for a fun lively experience we’re sure.
On arrival we were shown our adequately deluxe room, which contains everything you could possibly want including sound system, TV, air conditioning, spacious balcony, lounge area, king size bed and a very luxurious bathroom. Certainly no complaints here!
We were situated just a short stroll away from Palapa Mediterranean restaurant, where we took lunch and experienced a delicious selection of tapas. We sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine as well as the glorious views. Afterwards, we had a couples Thai massage in the Spa, which is situated just off the main reception. The décor remains authentic, as did our masseurs, who were Thai and Malay ladies. Our treatment lasted around 60-minutes and was, as you’d expect a Thai massage to be, relatively physical but very pleasant and left us feeling very relaxed. There is a range of treatments on offer at the Spa, including Asian massages, feet and hand massages and facials to name but a few.
Our evening meal was booked at Koh Samui restaurant, just meters from our room. Offering a range of authentic Thai cuisine the setting was traditional but the food not so. Whilst there were some lovely Thai dishes and flavours on offer, we couldn’t help but feel that they had been given a Spanish twist. To start with would highly recommend the satay dish and for our main courses we chose the lobster curry and Thai green curry – all were of a substantial size! We felt the prices were positioned at the top end but this takes into account it’s exclusive 5-star environment and it’s a luxury hotel after all. Feeling extremely full from having just starters and main courses we were just too stuffed to even indulge in any desserts.
Breakfast is served just below the main reception in the Udaipur restaurant, which has fantastic views right down to the sea. The breakfast spread is vast and very impressive with most tastes catered for. The cuisine on offer was of a high quality; we particularly loved the freshly made pancakes cooked to our liking and the selection of freshly squeezed juices (oh and the pastries!).
Overall, Asia Gardens is a little slice of Thailand just over a two-hour flight from London. It comes recommended for those looking to escape with the family without the stress of a 16-hour flight to the Far East. It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination and a 2-week break in Thailand may actually cost the same as a 1-week break all-inclusive here but still well worth a visit even if you’re looking for a quick getaway!
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