Heav­enly hide­away on the seashore

Ab­so­lute pri­vacy and per­fect re­lax­ation at Phuket’s Tris­ara re­sort

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia - SIAN POW­ELL

IN­STEADOF con­vers­ing se­ri­ously with Asian for­eign min­is­ters (in­clud­ing the tricky men from North Korea and Burma), the US Sec­re­tary of State should have seized the chance for an en­tirely pri­vate swim.

Din­ing in the small but ex­quis­ite Tris­ara — in San­skrit, ‘ ‘ the third gar­den in heaven’’ — in Phuket, Thai­land, Hil­lary Clin­ton was fo­cused on di­plo­macy. But the An­daman Sea was lap­ping the shore just me­tres away and the evening air was trop­i­cally warm.

If Madam Sec­re­tary had a few spare min­utes, she could have shucked her cares along with her clothes and en­joyed an evening dip in one of the se­cluded in­fin­ity pools at­tached to a lux­ury villa.

But it was mid- 2009, in­ter­na­tional af­fairs were press­ing, and there was lit­tle time to get se­ri­ous about pri­vate swim­ming, sun­bathing, mas­sage ther­apy or ocean gaz­ing.

Tris­ara, a de­light­ful hide­away re­sort on Phuket’s north­west coast, of­fers 39 pool vil­las and suites and, should you be feel­ing par­tic­u­larly ex­pan­sive, pri­vately owned mul­ti­plebed­room res­i­dences.

The sleekly ap­pointed vil­las are on three ter­raced lev­els of a steep hill, fac­ing the sea and the sun­set.

Pri­vacy is at a premium. I know there are guests in the next villa, but only be­cause I hear, just the once, a muted splash and some laugh­ter. But the tall, dense and leafy plant­ings are such ef­fec­tive screens that even on tip­toe, cran­ing around cor­ners, I catch no glimpse of any­one else — just the peaks of a few red-tiled roofs down the hill.

Each pool has a teak deck with sun loungers fac­ing a huge sea view, a sweep of blue stretch­ing across the hori­zon. A he­do­nist could swim gen­tly in their own 10m pool, loll on a lounger and then head in­doors to a mas­sive bed­room and, from there, take a few steps to a long bath­room, with a huge tub for wal­low­ing.

For those more in­clined to­wards com­pany, there is a long main pool down near the pri­vate beach. And for the less aquat­i­cally minded, there’s the Tris­ara Spa perched high on the hill (lie on a mas­sage bed, turn your head, and there’s the ocean), yoga and Thai cook­ing classes, tennis, boat trips and, not least, idle con­tem­pla­tion of gen­tle waves on a sandy beach.

Sian Pow­ell was a guest of Tris­ara.

Trop­i­cal splen­dour at a Tris­ara pool villa, above; the re­sort, which of­fers var­i­ous lev­els of lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tion, nes­tles in a pri­vate bay, right

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