Luxury doesn’t have to mean emptying your wallet. That’s certainly what The Luxe Nomad believes. Started initially as an Asian-based, flash sales website, the site has now expanded to include European and African luxury resorts – often available at heavy discounts at up to 70% off. Resorts on The Luxe Nomad are vetted, primarily boutique hotels ranging from mid-range luxury to extravagant living. For a trip to Phuket, we tried out one of the featured properties – Cape Sienna Hotel Phuket & Villas.
Located in mid-western Phuket by Kamala Bay, the resort is approximately an hour’s scenic drive, snaking along the coastline, from the airport. With Phuket Town and other highlights such as Karon and Patong not too far away, Cape Sienna is ideally located to visit plenty of Phuket’s major attractions, including Krabi, Phang Nga Bay and the nearby islands of Koh Phi Phi.
The entrance to Cape Sienna is somewhat underwhelming with a large arched wall looming over the driveway, and steps on the side leading to a lift. If the entrance to Cape Sienna is underwhelming, the reception is simply stunning. The lift doors slide open to reveal an unobstructed panorama of endless sea straight ahead, sandwiched by hills and beaches on either side.
With 146 rooms, Cape Sienna is a mid-sized boutique resort. Our room – a Sea View Jacuzzi Deluxe – is situated in the corner of the wings. The strictly rectangular rooms are chic, modern and minimalist in design, with sharp objects and corners separating the sections of the rooms. At approximately 600 sq ft, the room is sizeable and comfortable. Much like the reception and lobby, the rooms make great use of space to maximise the view, with a floor-to-ceiling window at the end of the long corridor leading to a balcony.
The metaphorical-icing on the cake is the L-shaped balcony, shaped so as to allow for a large private Jacuzzi to be tucked into the corner. With its outdoor setting, the scene is set for a relaxing and romantic Jacuzzi bath while enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sound of the waves crashing in.
Dining choices at Cape Sienna are numerous, which is unique for a boutique resort of its moderate size. The Poolside Bar & Restaurant probably attracts the most patrons, doubling as the breakfast lounge in the mornings, as well as a casual option for lunch or tea. Situated by the pool, as the name suggests, the restaurant offers a variety of Western and Thai cuisine, with indoor and outdoor seating. Ironically, we find the Western dishes to be more appealing, with the results in the Thai food varying wildly in taste and quality. For authentic Thai food, we would certainly suggest scouring the city.
Plum, located on the top floor of the main wing, is the resort’s sophisticated dining restaurant. Guests are greeted and seated, then presented with an iPad tablet to choose dishes from. Serving Mediterranean cuisine, Plum has garnered plenty of attention in Phuket, with visitors from around the city making reservations at the restaurant to enjoy a taste of fine dining, and it’s obvious why – food at Plum is exceptional, with the highlights being the starter of “salmon tartare” which is well presented and mixes the crisp texture of the prawn cracker with the soft nature of the salmon well, while the pan-seared “foie gras” is one of the most succulent we’ve had the pleasure to taste.
With sand, sea and sun a near ever-present in Phuket, Cape Sienna offers a multitude of options for relaxing. Beyond the privacy of your own balcony or Jacuzzi, there is Sienna Rocks – a man-made sand-club just above the sea and across the road from the resort, replete with food and drink, oh, and of course, a mini-pool. The main swimming pool is on the same floor as the lobby and Poolside Bar & Restaurant, with sweeping views over the bay. The spa also offers a relaxing getaway, again, making use of the resort’s position to allow plenty of natural light to fill the spa.
If nature is more your thing, try out either of the beaches that enclose the bay – Kamala, a famous, long expanse of sandy curved coast with picturesque waves is just north-east of the resort, about a 15-minute walk away, but is also more crowded. For more privacy, a slightly smaller beach, visible from the rooms, is south-west and only a 5-minute walk away.
While the views are undoubtedly stunning from the resort, it’s not all flawless luxury. Sadly, the resort’s service standards leave much to be desired – service can be very lax, with only a handful of staff extremely attentive to a guest’s desires. However, after a long day spent around Phuket in the sun, Cape Sienna is a welcoming home to return to.