One of Thailand’s most popular beach destinations, the island of Phuket is crammed full with luxury villas – some privately owned, others managed by high-end resorts.
The best of the lot have a few common denominators – private pools, ocean views, personal chefs, multiple bedrooms and, as would be expected, lofty price tags.
Luxury resort Sri Panwa’s latest villa, simply dubbed X24, is believed to be the most expensive of them all, costing $8,000-10,000 per night, depending on the season.
Here’s an indicator of the kind of clientele the resort’s management is hoping to attract – last December, prior to the villa’s official opening, Mariah Carey checked in for a stay.
The world-famous pop diva visited Sri Panwa for a holiday before her Bangkok concert, posting a photo of herself and her kids enjoying the X24 on Instagram.
If it’s good enough for Mariah…
Curious to find out exactly what it takes to meet the high standards of Ms. Carey, CNN Travel recently took a tour of this 25,000 square foot mega villa.
Firstly, the bedrooms. There are five of them, all large and offering fabulous views, some with separate living areas, direct pool access and outdoor bath tubs. Each room its own distinct design vibe, with pops of color set against light and dark color palettes being a common theme.
There’s no need to worry about your family being on top of each other. The X24’s multiple common areas – both indoor and outdoor – are filled with seating, great for those needing a bit of quiet time. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows in the indoor living areas can be opened up to let the outdoors in.
There are two main pools and a rooftop pond with its own outdoor seating area, all staggered around the multilevel property, which has its own elevator.
There’s also an entertainment room with a gaming table, theater system and a pool table, as well as a private fitness room, indoor Japanese onsen (hot spring bath) and huge kitchen/dining room, in which your hired chef can cook up gourmet meals.
But it’s the 360-degree views of the Andaman Sea that are the real star of this place. The villa sits atop a ridge, crowning the resort.
“What makes Sri Panwa’s location special is that it’s located on Cape Panwa on the southeastern edge of Phuket,” explains Vorasit Issara, Sri Panwa’s owner and manager.
“This much sought-after slice of paradise is why Sri Panwa offers unobstructed and secluded views unlike any other property nearby.”
According to staff, the X24 has already been purchased by a private owner though remains under the resort’s management. But they aren’t naming who the buyer is.
Sri Panwa is now working on a followup villa project, dubbed X25.
“One reason our villas are in demand is that we don’t approach the units as a one-size-fits-all option,” says Issara.
“The X24 villa can be rented out separately as a two-bedroom unit. Each floor has a completely private living and dining space with a private pool. We currently rent out the X24 with options for a two-bedroom or five-bedroom oasis for guests.”
Inside Sri Panwa
Sri Panwa, which has been open for about a decade, has 65 other villas, suites and penthouses in multiple sizes, all scattered through the hills of the property.
The resort has already had a good share of celebrity guests since opening, including Gordon Ramsay, Snoop Dogg and Rita Ora.
The villas are decorated in a tropical contemporary style and come with private swimming pools.
One of the best things about this place is the abundance of natural landscaping; the jungle is allowed to grow freely throughout the property, meaning you won’t find any manicured lawns or hedges here.
But travelers whose primary goal is to spend their holiday stretched out on a nice sandy beach may want to give this one a miss.
There is a private stretch of sand, where guests can sign out free kayaks, snorkel sets and paddle boards, but it’s relatively small and requires a walk down a long flight of stairs.
However, the resort has its own private speed boat, making it easy for those in need of a day trip to explore the many beaches of the uninhabited islands that dot the surrounding waters.
In terms of other activities, Sri Panwa also has a fitness center, spa and games room with pool, foosball and ping-pong tables.
The resort has seven dining/drinking options, including Thai restaurant Baba Soul Food, Japanese eatery IKI, grill specialist Baba Hot Box and Baba Chino, which serves modern Chinese cuisine.
But be warned: Guests wanting to check out the Baba Nest – one of the most popular bars on the island – would be wise to book a spot as soon as they secure their reservation.
The sunset views here are incredible and everyone knows it. During our recent three-night visit we were unable to get a table, with staff saying it was fully booked for our entire stay.
That said, as a sign of these Instagrammable times, it’s open from 4:30-5:30 p.m. – for those who want to pop by for photos.
Sri Panwa, 88 Sakdidej Rd, Phuket; +66 076 371 000