Cape escape

Cape escape
Photo Credit: Outlook Traveller

Discover a bluer shade of Zen at Como's Point Yamu in Phuket

Kalpana Sunder
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06 Min Read

Arriving at Point Yamu is like walking into the pages of a sleek design book. As I step into the lobby of this jaw-dropping property (the latest addition to Singaporean brand COMO’s portfolio), I am wowed by the tall columns, stacked pyramid of small tables laden with red- and orange-glazed ceramic bowls filled with bright flowers and petite ceramic dolls holding welcom­ing signs in Thai, reminiscent of a local temple. The pillars have burnt orange accents, the colour of a monk’s robe. The lofty open-sided lobby, with asymmetrical pillars plastered with mirrored glass, has the aquamarine Andaman Sea at your beck and call. Traditional longtail boats bob on the waters; huge craggy rocks dot the horizon; and clouds move across the cerulean skies. I am greeted with a silence that’s almost meditative.

Located just a 25-minute drive from the airport, Como’s Point Yamu in Phuket, Thailand still feels serenely isolated. The hotel’s simple exteriors give one no clue as to what lies within. The hotel is perched on the tip of a promontory — Cape Yamu, overlooking Phang Nga Bay, a Unesco World Heritage Site that was made famous in the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. There are 79 sleek rooms and 27 private villas — all with sea views, some with private pools.

Turin-born Paola Navone, the Italian avant garde designer, has melded Como’s signature pared-back minimalism with Mediterranean and Thai styles as well as Italian flamboyance to create a place that spells sheer magic. She mixes modern design with nature and indigenous Thai cultural elements. Her palette inspired by the colour of the ocean and the rich orange of the robes of Buddhist monks comes alive, especially at night, when the warmth of the colour and lighting design give spe­cial life to the intricate detailing.

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Shades of white and blue permeate my Bay suite, which comes with a balcony hosting a couple of sun loungers, a powder room for guests, free wi-fi, a mini bar and a Nespresso machine. The living room has white sofas with cobalt cushions, metal-cast Buddha hands in various mudras lining one wall, turquoise and red ceramic shades for table lamps, and airy cut-out room dividers. The bedroom has bright blue ceramic side tables and a large bed with Egyptian cotton sheets. The attention to detail is amazing with even blue-and-white striped pencils with the stationery! But the piece de resistance is the über luxe bathroom, which makes a bold statement by itself, with aquamarine and deep blue tiles, wooden ladders to hang towels on and a circular bath tub with a chandelier of suspended light bulbs like bubbles gone astray. There is also a rain shower and twin wash basins stocked with fragrant Como Shambhala lotions and shower gels.

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Over the next few days, I walk around the property, admiring the design sensibili­ties as my daughter soaks in the ambience. The larger than life lampshades swaying in the lobby area, inspired by local lobster traps; the giant pixel wall made of wooden blocks from Chiang Mai; corridors made of cross-hatched bamboo that looks almost like metal; and accents of red and orange everywhere that inject emphasis into these Zen surroundings. High-ceilinged hallways with polished concrete floors link the resort’s common areas, with a dramatic interplay of light and shade throughout the day. Most guests keep to themselves and we do spot a few ‘I can’t name them’ Hol­lywood celebrities reading a book in a quiet corner. There are a zillion places to lounge around the resort, from loungers, comfort­able couches, sofas scattered with blue cushions to a piece of raw wood fashioned into a gargantuan chaise longue.

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I love the designer’s passion for varied textures but it’s her quirky touch that makes me happiest — a wall covered with white china plates of various shapes and sizes at La Sirena, the Italian restaurant; her entrance columns created with broken ceramic that glitter like diamonds in the night; walls like fish scales created out of wooden discs; antique hands found at Bangkok markets used for door handles; and motifs based on Thai calligraphy deco­rating the ceilings of the tea room.

We start our days with large breakfasts at La Sirena, with its high-ceilinged wall opening into the pool terrace. The buffet has health elixirs like wheatgrass juice, quinoa porridge, egg-white omelettes and a special bread with an avocado spread.

I have dinner at the Nahmyaa restau­rant, which derives inspiration from Thai street food and Peranakan cuisine (the food of the Chinese immigrants who made Phuket their home during the tin mining era in the 19th century). The walls of the restaurant are adorned with giant goldfish frescoes and lights that look like little bubbles. The menu includes dishes such as hot and sour prawns with young coconut or steamed whole sea bass in coriander and lime sauce. I love my vegetarian meal of a red curry of young jackfruit with fried shallots, stir-fried local spinach with glass noodles and a tangy pomelo salad.

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The spirit of wellness permeates the hotel — in the yoga studio, a gym over­looking the bay and a 100m swimming pool. My massage session is at the serene Shambhala Retreat Spa with a steam room and jacuzzi and a spa menu rich with holistic, Asian-inspired therapies and treatments, floors made of river pebbles and a relaxation area with pools right on the bay. I have the specially recommended signature Como Shambhala massage with aromatic oils. My therapist begins with a gentle shaking of my hips and follows it up with firm but gentle strokes. She is most willing to work out the aches and pains that I point to. Soon, I feel like I am levitating — a woman reborn.

Though the whole vibe of the hotel is more suited for a romantic getaway, it’s also well-equipped for families. There is a ‘Play by Como’ children’s corner that keeps the young ones busy with activities ranging from gel candle making to Thai dancing and bowling with coconuts! The resort is so well appointed with creature comforts that all we want to do is spend days lazing by the pool or sipping cock­tails at the Aqua Bar, but for the more active there’s a host of things to do in the outdoors, from a trip to the gibbon sanctuary to elephant trekking. I do a tour of Phuket’s Old Town with a guide and see the town through different eyes — its Chinese influences, with old shophouses in Thalang Road and a meal at a traditional kopitiam. My wish-list is long — trip to the Phi Phi islands and then head to Phang Nga Bay for a variety of watersports and boating activities. But tomorrow is anoth­er day… Today is for lounging near the pool and reading in the tea room. A sybaritic massage later and then some Thai dinner. Just what the therapist ordered.

The information

Location Point Yamu by Como, Paklok, Talang, Phuket; 25min from the airport

Accommodation 12 Bay rooms, 15 ve­randah rooms, 2 verandah rooms with pool, 21 Bay suites, 9 Bay pool suites, 7 verandah suites, 7 verandah pool suites, 3 Phang Nga suites, 1 Phang Nga pool suite, 1 Point Yamu suite, 1 COMO suite

Tariff THB 9,000–21,000 (Bay rooms), THB 12,000–24,000 (verandah rooms), THB 13,500–25,500 (verandah rooms with pool), THB 16,500–28,500 (Bay suites), THB 19,500–31,500 (Bay pool suites), THB 21,000–33,00 (verandah suites), THB 24,000–36,000 (verandah pool suites), THB 27,000–39,000 (Phang Nga suites), THB 30,000–42,000 (Phang Nga pool suite and Point Yamu suite), THB 45,000–63,000 (COMO suite); breakfast included, taxes extra

Contact +66-(2)-6253322, comohotels.com


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