16 January 2015



Just a year old, Point Yamu, COMO Hotels and Resorts’s property in Phuket, delivers its promise of utmost seclusion in style but is this a vision of beach living for everyone? By Daniel Goh
Phuket isn’t off the beaten track for anyone – arguably very few places are now, and especially not Thailand, one of the most touristed destinations in the world – so it’s a challenge for any property seeking to distinguish itself in a location dense with hotels of all sorts. And yet Point Yamu succeeds in being memorable – perhaps this is where the Como style comes in.
Located on the eastern side of Phuket on the tip of Cape Yamu, the resort is miles away from anything, tourist or local, and is approached by driving up a gentle uphill meander through a rubber plantation. If you’re seeking a Victorian rest cure, this gated seclusion is ideal: ensconced in oversized daybeds indoors and out, comfortably propped up in nests of pillows, the serene panoramic views across the bay are a sight to soothe frayed city nerves. Unobstructed, they impose themselves on your psyche, stilling your inner chatter with the UNESCO-protected wonders of the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay, stretching into hundreds of islands on the Homeric sea, with the stately grace of a Noh screen that changes through the day in slow motion from slate-grey (early morning), to peach melba (dusk), and Tiffany blue (noon). You forget to wear your watch, and the hours melt into the ozone.
To enter this magical seascape takes something of an expedition. The calm Andaman Sea beckons, but Point Yamu has no direct beach access. Guests take the daily shuttle to the jetty, then a scheduled boat transports you to the beach of Rang Yai Island (a 15 minute transfer). Beach enthusiasts may find this inconvenient, but the schedule actually adds to the calm, imposing form on an otherwise lolling, shapeless day. Similarly a timetable of complimentary activities on a printed card marks the hours – Pilates at 11 am; Old Phuket Town tour at 3 pm; Flower arrangement 4 pm; Bike tour 5 pm. Just studying the timetable feels reassuring, like you’re on rehab or in a posh nursing home. You must take a day tour of the bay, known parochially as James Bond Island (the setting for Man With The Golden Gun), a magnet for divers, snorkelers and kayakers. Tear a rent through the gelatine skin of the sea in a longtail boat with the hotel’s guide Roman, who has been sailing these waters for 20 years, and who knows every ancient cave glittering with minerals, every deserted cove of wild monkeys, every tide, every fable, every pristine beach of every uninhabited island, as well as you know every nook of Orchard Road. His skin is the wet teak of the boat, impervious to sun.
Service staff can make or break a hotel, and at Point Yamu, the service made the experience perfect. Efficient and warm without being mechanically so, nor betraying their training, and without being anything other than Thai charm itself, patient, humourous, discreet, each attendant is Thailand’s USP. From housekeeping to front desk to the ladies serving meals, to the auntie who made ice-cream in an uproar of tinkling bells and clouds of dry ice, to the lakorn-lovely nong (braces, perfect British-accented English) who came to the room to try to fit the TV with cables so that we could watch a DVD, and failed – every one of them made the stay a joy.
The rooms have no DVD players, and the point is probably that those are outdated. Point Yamu is resolutely modern in look and feel. The interiors are contemporary without being minimalist, cheerfully coloured and have some Thai accents.

The result is light-filled spaces punctuated by splashes of aquamarines and oranges. All rooms have spectacular ocean views. Each room maximizes space, and the executive suite is larger than most four-room flats, with a generous verandah. Shorn of all gimmicks, real luxury was brought to the fore in quality fittings, firm beds dressed in the fine Egyptian cotton, a bowl of edible fruit, the bathrooms are clad in jade-coloured tiles and furnished with COMO Shambala toiletries.

Every self-respecting resort must have its spa and the pompously-named COMO Shambhala Retreat takes itself seriously and offers yoga, Pilates and treatments over two stories with a modern European feel. I didn’t try any of the treatments but must say the therapists look almost medical in their purpose so I should say you’d be in good hands (literally).
When you’re marooned in a resort and eat all three meals in - food becomes all-important. At Point Yamu, it’s elegant that there are just the two restaurants here (plus a pool bar that disconcertingly played strenuous dance music at tea – surely jazz or Noh is more suitable) serving excellent food. Located alongside the 100m infinity pool and open on all sides, La Sirena is the checkerboard dining hall where you go to for breakfast, Italian cooking and locally caught seafood. Just across the way, Nahmyaa serves really delicious, finely balanced southern Thai. The calorie-counting health junkie will appreciate the COMO Shambhala menu which is available throughout, designed for those who want their raw foods, living enzymes, unprocessed fibre and morals.
So there you have it: If your idea of escape is a cozy version of house-arrest set in stunning views, Point Yamu is the place for you.

Point Yamu by COMO, Moo 7, Thep Kasattri, Thalang District, Phuket, Thailand. Phone:+66 76 360 100

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