Welcome to Aleenta Phuket where in just a few steps, I’ve stumbled out of bed, fallen into our private plunge pool, clambered up and down a series of stepped pathways before I’ve hit the beach and sprawled under an umbrella. Not a bad way to start any day!
Arriving at Phuket International Airport, we’d walked outside to a clamoring, placard-waving throng. Looking around, we wondered whether our arrival had coincided with some major celeb but no, it’s just locals repping resorts, touting taxis and tour companies. Rather than escaping frenetic Bangkok, we seemed to have brought it with us!
A short drive north off Phuket island soon restores our faith that pockets of paradise can still be found on this increasingly urbanised holiday island
Sited on the sunset side of the Andaman Sea, discreet low-slung white villas and suites range along pristine Natai beach creating bold, linear lines. A couple of families and a few couples occupy well-spaced sun lounges. Some come to play, most to turn off and tune out although tablets and smart phones have become hard wired beach accessories.
From loving glances being exchanged, there’s little doubt that this is heaven for honeymooners and a shoe-in for those about to pop the Big Question.
“Many couples donate to our conservation efforts to help preserve leatherback turtles, a species that’s been on the critically endangered list in Thailand since 1996. Our beach is still the most pristine habitat to release them into and this is a guilt-free gift that’s proving popular,” GM Gouriou tells me.
One large specimen is about to be released and we join guests to watch him swim to freedom. He doesn’t seem keen and requires some coaching to swim over small breakers. We watch as he parallels the resort, head popping up to get his bearings and the next moment, he’s surfing back into shore. Eventually, a staffer gently places the turtle in a kayak and paddles him out to sea where he’s encouraged to explore the big wide world.
Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa takes full advantage of one of Thailand’s most tranquil beaches, the architecture for the 30 suites and villas epitomising indoor/outdoor living. Little wonder the turtle found it difficult to tear himself away!
Aleenta Phuket, Phang Nga, Khok Kloi www.aleenta.com/phuket
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