If an unspoiled paradise is what you’re after. Phuket is most certainly not it. This south-west coast island of Thailand is constantly evolving, and yet swathes of tourists including ourselves can’t help but to flock there at every chance possible. It’s a given considering its short hour and a half flight away from Kuala Lumpur.
What’s not to love? Phuket is home to some of the globe’s most picturesque beaches and islands boasting clear aquamarine waters. Don’t even get us started on the mouth-watering food, cheap booze, vast mountains, as well as the effervescent nightlife of Patong, the island’s most popular beach resort town, though perhaps for the wrong reasons.
The heart of it all is at Patong’s Bangla Road. Drink, dance and party zealously, but not without bearing in mind its bad rap for being notoriously raunchy and risqué. If it isn’t the sweaty backpackers in muscle tees infringing your personal space, it is the nightclub promoters shoving brochures for the infamous ping pong shows in your face.
It goes without saying that we were in pursuit of a fresh travel experience of Phuket after having been there multiple times, adamant on uncovering more hidden charms or what is left of them, dislodged from the rowdy streets, neon lights and tacky souvenir stores. That’s when we chanced upon Baba Beach Club.
This upscale beach club property is enticing from the get-go. Promising an alternate party experience as a music lovers hotel and unrivalled oceanside landscapes sans the cares of the outside world, it afforded the best of both worlds – An idyllic escape with maximum privacy as well as a full measure of fun for the restless reveller also in dire need of respite.
Managed by Thailand’s prestigious Sri panwa, Baba Beach Club sits along the unspoiled and endless coast of Natai Beach within the Phang-Nga province at the north of Phuket. It was one hell of an exorbitant taxi ride to get to our temporary home despite it being only 26 minutes away and we still fail to let slip till this day.
The dampening blow aside, our spirits were lifted as soon as the cab pulled up at the unassuming hotel front. With only a traditional Chinese wooden signboard with the hotel name engraved in fuchsia and a moon gate leading up to the lobby, there was really no telling what was hidden behind those walls.
It was love at first sight upon setting eyes on Baba Beach Club’s distinct Chino Portuguese meets Shanghai Tang inspired architecture and interior. Akin to stepping into a 14th-century imperial palace with a playful yet modern update, the ultra stylish beach club hotel showcases beguiling oriental touches in sheer decadence and opulence.
Another moon gate down the hallway of the lobby revealed the hotel’s magnificent nucleus in its entirety. The inviting blue and black-striped swimming pool is fringed with parasols and sun beds, all whilst being fronted with a palm-shrouded beach and flanked with the property’s three F&B spots, eight Gabana villas and 16 suites.
The palatial Gabana Villa we were booked into is an oasis fit for a queen. The 145 sqm two-storey, double entryway duplex opens up to a patio with direct access to the swimming pool and extends ample sunlight radiating into the villa through sizeable floor-to-ceiling windows. It is as cosy as it is rejuvenating to the soul.
A spacious living area with a mammoth L-shaped sofa bed adorned with plush pillows, dining table and kitchenette with a microwave, Nespresso machine as well as complimentary drinks, snacks and fruits fill the ground floor. The Marshall Bluetooth speaker helps set the mood while soaking up the sun from the patio or when dining.
Upstairs, a serene bedroom with a feathery bed awaits alongside a walk-in closet and bathroom with a bathtub as well as a nifty smart toilet. A music lovers hotel wouldn’t be one without a state-of-the-art entertainment and our villa’s came in the form of a Bose home audio system with an accompanying iPod complete with curated playlists.
We made full use of the top tech during our stay and had the volume cranked up nearly all day without anyone kicking up a fuss. Luckily, this music-centric property warrants such behaviour as guests are preempted about music and well, noise. Admittedly, it isn’t the most family-friendly, but that more so equates to a free pass to let loose.
Each suite and villa is also assigned a butler reachable by a press of a button on the in-villa phone. On top of managing our stay and minding random demands, we befriended ours and even cheekily slipped in a request for him to set up our bubble bath. This top-notch service easily made our stay notably outstanding.
Staying true to its music-minded spirit, Baba Beach Club often hosts a roster of exciting open-air pool parties featuring guest DJs. There wasn’t one when we stayed, but party we did.. By crashing a stranger’s birthday soirée at the Baba Iki restaurant whereby lots of dancing and screaming lyrics at the top of our lungs took place.
As for sustenance, there are three options within the hotel’s vicinity – Baba Beach Bar for cocktails by the poolside, Baba Beach Restaurant serving Thai, Chinese, Italian, other international offerings as well as the daily a la carte breakfast for guests, and Baba Iki, a Japanese restaurant helmed by a highly-trained sushi, yakitori and teppanyaki chefs.
The two restaurants essentially share a similar menu, so we reckon it doesn’t matter where you choose to dine. Gluttony got the better of us while placing the order for our a la carte breakfast and the result was an entire table’s worth of Thai and Western delights including French toast, Thai noodles with tender pork ribs, green curry and pancakes, amongst others.
Although the sea was far too choppy, we lounged by pool, tried our hand at ping pong adjacent to the fitness centre and explored the area on bicycles, courtesy of the hotel. We chatted up the local fishermen at the Natai Pier, peered into their styrofoam boxes filled with their catch of the day and bought dinner from a nearby restaurant along the way back.
Shuttle buses to and fro a nearby village and a pick-up point closer to the airport are available on weekends, and the last resort would be the atrocious taxis. Nonetheless, our rewarding experience at this coastal getaway supersedes its accessibility and if you thought fusing together dynamic energy with a lavish yet secluded enclave was not possible, you thought wrong.
Should you want to make Baba Beach Club a permanent hideaway, the fully furnished 230 sqm 2-Bedroom Pool Villas and 1,100 sqm 5-Bedroom Beachfront Villas are offered for purchase by the public. It includes access to all facilities and services, aside from management, housekeeping and rentals headed by Sri panwa for a maximised yield.
88 Moo 5, Tambon Khok Kloi,
Natai Beach, Takua Thung District,
Phang Nga, 82140, Thailand.