After three days in Phuket we drove to our next home: The Surin Hotel, an exclusive, secluded beach retreat on the west coast. We stayed in a hillside cottage nestled amongst coconut palms overlooking a private stretch of Pansea Beach, where you're only seconds away from pristine white sand, crashing waves and dipping your toes into the turquoise Andaman Sea.
Each of the 34 square metre hillside cottages is linked to the main building, pool and restaurants by steep staircases and jungle walkways. Paris-based American architect Ed Tuttle designed the 103 cottages and suites and the hotel has the chic, contemporary interiors you'd expect from a member of Design Hotels: minimalist rooms featuring clean white walls, a king-size bed and sofa, grey granite floors, neutral fabrics, sliding wooden doors leading to a large bathroom with walk-in rain shower and his-and-hers bathroom sinks, shuttered windows, thatched roofs and a private outdoor terrace with beach and garden views.
The friendly staff welcomed us with jasmine flower bracelets and cups of sweet tea as we checked in to our beautiful little villa before I jumped on a golf buggy - they're such fun - to zip up to the spa for a traditional deep tissue Thai massage. Ouch. But good ouch, I certainly slept well.
We had a quick dip in the black anthracite-tiled pool before going back to the room to get ready for sundowners and dinner. At night we watched the sunset and scuttling hermit crabs at happy hour at the beach-side bar before going for sushi in the main restaurant.
The food here is great. For breakfast, there's a massive selection with everything to choose from in the Sunset Café, which is filled with sea breeze as it's open to the elements, overlooking the hexagonal pool.
On the second afternoon a ferocious storm came in with dark skies, torrential rain and crazy winds as we visited just as the seasons were starting to turn at the end of May. We tried bodyboarding but the waves were pretty damn high (I lost my goggles and swallowed a pint of sea water) so happily settled for sunbathing on the loungers, where attentive waiters came with trays of pineapple skewers and drinks menus.
The hotel has won TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence award five years in a row - if you're looking for an award-winning, idyllic, luxurious beachside haven and a pristine white sand beach surrounded by tropical palm trees, The Surin could be the one for you.
The Surin, Pansea Beach, 118 Moo 3, Choengtalay, Talang, Phuket 83110, Thailand