BACKSTORY: Adrian Zecha, an Indonesian hotelier, had been scouting for a site to build a holiday home in 1988 when he stumbled across an idyllic coconut plantation overlooking the Andaman Sea. Fortunately for the rest of us, he decided not to be selfish.
CLAIM TO FAME: This resort is fit for a king. Literally. When the Thai royal family are in the mood for some R&R on the tropical island of Phuket, they stay here.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: The early morning yoga sessions are about as Zen as it gets, thanks in large part to their setting: a teakwood sala high on a hillside. With incense in the air and the jungle stirring below, it’s a spot that’s hard to leave, even for those whose physiques aren’t exactly downward-facing dog–friendly.
DESIGN NOTES: Many hotels mimic Asian-inspired luxe; few do it so well. Architect Ed Tuttle has taken inspiration from Ayutthaya, the old Siamese capital, to imagine a calming, jasmine-scented retreat of oriental ponds, elaborately carved roofs and ornate pagodas that feels both opulent and discreet.
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Every one of the 40 pavilions that sit in the hills around the plantation is a mini private refuge, and each has a sun terrace and an interior decked out in Thai silks and orchids. But Pavillion 103, looking out across Pansea Beach on Phuket’s west coast, tops the list.
AMAZING AMENITIES: How many hotels have their own fleet of yachts? Amanpuri has an impressive selection of vessels ranging from 20 to 110 feet, each with a crew ready to take guests diving or on any excursion they please.