Holiday daydreaming – road trip vs Bali

As a holiday daydreamer, I find it unsetting that I cannot get over excited about holiday travel in my own country.

Don’t get me wrong, while I LOVE Australia, and am happy to be living back at home, the choice of boutique accommodation is well….uninspiring. I would like to book a little road trip, driving from Sydney to somewhere north but there are only a handful of properties which are enticing me to part with my hard earned cash. Yes, now I understand why so many Australians are fans of Bali – for the price of a hotel room in a 3 star hotel in a random coastal town I could have my own private villa and lap pool. And breakfast. Most likely brought to me in my pool villa. Le sigh….

The current properties that are on my short-list look great – but just not sure it is enough to sidetrack me from a cheap Bali getaway.

Byron at Byron Resort & Spa – for a bit of relaxing pool action
http://www.thebyronatbyron.com.au

Atlantis – for the impeccable furnishings and Danish feel
atlanticbyronbay.com.au

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March 2011 – SALA Phuket Resort and Spa, Thailand

The final stop on the ‘Spa tour of 2011’ and this one was worth the wait. Located on Mai Khao Beach in Phuket, Sala is located a short 20 minute drive from the airport. From the moment of arrival, the already relaxing pace of Thailand island life seemed to take it down a notch. Garden paths and lagoons welcome you into the hotel, where the staff offer the obligatory ice tea and cold towel while arranging your room. I really enjoy this style of check in.

As we were on our honeymoon and not afraid to milk it for all it was worth, we had hinted for an upgrade or any additional extras. Bumping us up from our budget buster room that we had already booked, we were given the Pool Villa Suite. It was 214 sqm of glorious space, the majority of it being outdoor. The Pool Villa was a private oasis with your own lap pool, and deck chairs, perfect for catching the endless sunshine. The outdoor bathroom was equipped with a stone stand alone bath, outdoor rain shower and vanity, with privacy around the toilet area (phew). An outdoor lounge meant that dinners were held under the stars, a perfect way to end the day. Of course the tall man and I continued our pattern of over ordering, as the room service menu was an interesting mix of local Thai and euro favourites.

Maximising the weather and outdoor space, the only enclosed area was the bedroom, however they had giant French doors that open all the way up, so it still gave a feeling of openness and fluidity if that is what you desire. I desired no mosquito bites and an air-conditioned room, so we kept the windows shut the majority of the time. The open kitchenette blended seamlessly into the wardrobe area along the back wall, using as little space as possible for boring stuff, and more space for lazing about on the day bed or main bed. A king sized bed with crisp white sheets and heavenly soft pillows guaranteed a perfect nights sleep. The nightly turndown service featured an activity update on what was on offer tomorrow, as well as the weather (still 32 degrees).

While we wanted to maintain our privacy and thought we would spend the majority of our time holed up in our perfect villa, however Sala is so perfect that you want to explore the whole property.

The hotel restaurant serves breakfast daily and has a small but considered selection of buffet style food, with the rest made to order. We ate everything, and somehow rolled our way over to the pool area every day for a little mid morning nap. With not one, but two large outdoor pools along the beachfront, you can spend the whole day moving between swims and naps. Once settled, it is beer-o-clock and the wonderful staff make sure you are not without a cool drink throughout the day.  Come sunset it is cocktail hour in the bar area, where giant cushioned couches are set up to maximise the golden sunshine. Tapas style treats accompany the wide selection of cocktails, and it seems we can eat any amount of scallops dressed Thai style.

Thinking we could not be any happier or any more relaxed, we found ourselves at the Sala spa, indulging in their signature Thai style massage. The spa facilities are world class, a tropical oasis built for pure relaxation. Pulled and stretched like a noodle, we floated our way back to our room to have a well-deserved nap. Because resort life is just so tough.

Things I love about SALA Phuket Resort and Spa

–        Daily weather report as part of the turndown service. We loved it even more so as the weather was 32 every day of our holiday. Bliss.

–        Movie night under the stars with an outdoor cinema, complete with a popcorn machine.

–        A firm dedication to colour theme, the restaurant is in sync with the hotel room décor, with touches of purple and lilac across the hotel on all glassware, plates, napkins etc.

–        Bicycles can be borrowed to explore the local area.

Things I dislike about SALA Phuket Resort and Spa

– I really had to think about this……nothing. There is nothing I dislike about Sala.

SALA Phuket Resort and Spa

333 Moo 3 Mai Khao Beach, Thalang District
Phuket, Thailand 83110

www.salaresorts.com/phuket