Opened almost two decades ago, this luxurious resort in Phuket, Thailand hardly feels more than a year old, thanks to continuous preening for perfection
Trisara occupies a massive area, stretching from a segment of the beach in north-western Phuket and up the slopes of tropical hills.
Its design is clever – the resort is built around a cove, granting guests undisturbed access to a secluded beach; the large main pool lies mere steps from the fine, sandy beach, so sun seekers have the best of both worlds; the rest of the resort facilities, from restaurants and spa to villas and residences rise up the hillsides, bestowing guests with memorable views of the Andaman Sea, forest and sky.
Trisara, which means a garden in the third heaven, is positioned and designed for rest and relaxation in seclusion, even though it sits just 15 to 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport by car.
Trisara offers 39 villas, all with their own pool. Among these, the Ocean View Pool Junior Suite is the lead-in category, followed by Ocean View Pool Villa, Signature Pool Suites, and two-bedroom Ocean View Pool Villas. The latter is the top category, with only two keys available.
These villas are all generous in size, but should vacationers require even more space, Trisara’s 22 Residential Villas come in handy. These tropical mansions come with complimentary private chef and butler, and welcome hires for private parties too.
I spent two nights in an Ocean View Pool Villa. I arrived through a rustic, carved wooden door flanked by flowering bushes, and went down a clean, tiled walkway – flanked by plants too – to the front of my villa where a spacious sun deck, glistening pool, and picture-postcard views of nature’s soothing sights signalled the start of precious me-time.
Peeling myself away from this vista, I headed indoors to discover a cavernous space imbued with Thai design elements and filled with fine furniture and plentiful fragrant flowers. The bathroom was especially extravagant; running the full length of the villa, it had a long, plush settee on one side and an oversized bath on the other. There were double vanities, two large wardrobes, and both indoor and outdoor showers.
Trisara houses a dining gem – the one Michelin-starred Pru restaurant, which also earned a Michelin Green Star this year. Unfortunately, it was not available during my stay. In fact, it is preparing for a relocation to another part of the resort and will resume service on November 1. With Pru’s move, the Seafood at Trisara restaurant will occupy this space to serve up Thai home favourites.
As for me, I had most of my meals at Waew, which has since been renamed Cielo.
The restaurant evokes Mediterranean vibes through its décor. Here, a semi-buffet breakfast is served in the morning while Mediterranean classics are served the rest of the day.
In fine weather, guests can also choose to enjoy a private barbecue on their pool deck or the beach, or have a special dining experience curated in some of the resort’s creative spaces.
There is also the option of hopping into a car and driving 20 minutes out to Jampa, a farm-to-table restaurant that also belongs to resort owner, Montara Hospitality Group. Jampa gained a Michelin Green Star earlier this year for its zero-waste, plant-based food. Chef Rick Dingen presents a menu that draws on the best harvest of the season from Pru Jampa organic farm just next door as well as from a hand-picked list of responsible local farmers and producers.
I had the eight-course Experience Menu for dinner. Dishes were creatively and beautifully presented, and surprised the palette with unexpected ingredients and flavours. For instance, a palm-sized Mexican sunflower was deep-fried and served with a creamy dip; this pretty red and golden appetiser was presented on a wizened, moss-covered log that would be right at home at the Shire.
The next dish reminded me of granny’s pin cushion, and its prettiness led me to expect only sweetness. A thin slice of watermelon, topped with dainty, white Dahlia flowers, rested on a mound of creamed avocado. Aged mackerel shavings brought umami to the dish. The flavours were an amazing blend of sweet, smoky, and savoury.
More surprises came – ribbons of beetroot are barbecued and infused with smoky fragrance, and drenched in fish bone and black garlic sauce; soft flesh of eggplant roasted then shaped into a young eggplant finger and coated with dukkah spice, plus a dollop of blue cheese and water chestnut on the side and a drizzle of ebony sauce made from eggplant skin.
It was hard to name favourites from this dining experience, as every dish was special and amazing in its own way.
I highly recommend pairing dinner at Jampa with a guided walk through Pru Jampa farm, where you can learn about Montara’s long-established commitment to sustainable operations. This farm supplies herbs, vegetables, fruits and eggs to Trisara’s kitchens too.
Trisara guests can enjoy daily complimentary wellness activities in the morning and afternoon, and the line-up changes every one to two months. Should it rain, alternative programmes will be offered.
Also available are water sports during fine weather; private cooking workshops; luxury motor yachts for charter to nearby islands and bays; and Trisara Hosted Experiences around Old Phuket Town, which can be combined with a photography accompaniment provided by in-house DDEN photo studio.
Children are well looked after, with a range of free and supplementary daily activities that take them outdoors for educational experiences, such as flora treks. The kids’ clubhouse provides indoor respite from the heat or rain, and here the little ones can busy themselves with arts and crafts, books, games, and even pick a meal from the kid-friendly menu.
Close to the main reception stands a well-equipped gym on elevated grounds, giving guests lovely views of the resort and the Andaman Sea while they perform their daily cardio workouts. Next to this is Jara Spa, a comfortable and elegant space where a range of facial and body treatments are delivered. I found the Thermal Therapy, which works the use of hot stones into deep strokes across the back and limbs, especially satisfying after exercise.
While guests have access to their own in-villa pool, they can also choose to take a dip in the main pool which comes with plentiful private daybeds and loungers, plus convenient access to an all-day menu for lazy meals in between water play.
Upon check-in, the resort’s concierge service will establish a chat line with the guest via WhatsApp, and through this channel guests can request for buggy rides to get around the sprawling resort as well as get assistance with booking activities and services in and around the resort.
Although Trisara welcomed its first guests in 2004, it feels new and fresh with the benefit of a well-oiled hospitality system. I found out that the owners commit to refurbishment works every year. This year, Cielo benefitted from a beautiful overhaul while works are ongoing for the upper lobby. Villas and residences will be refreshed next.
As the sort of traveller who prefers extended hours in isolation while on a solo break, the Ocean View Pool Villa is perfect. It has almost everything I could desire – a good-sized pool to do laps, loungers under the sun and also in the shade, and is sufficiently removed from the activity hub of the resort, yet not too distanced for a stroll to ‘civilisation’.
I also love that the paths that wind through Trisara are lined by a variety of plants, making the resort grounds a pretty and therapeutic place to stroll through.