Saturday 24 April 2010

Lost in a Phuket foundry

Imagine Steptoe and Son went on a tropical holiday. That’s the feeling you get when you step into the lobby of the Indigo Pearl. It’s a like a scrap metal collector's garage, only more artfully arranged.

And there's a good reason for it. Tin mining was long the life-blood of Phuket, and the proprietor, Khun Wichit, is part of a rather illustrious tin mining family. So you get iron statues swirling here, Meccano-set taps there, spanner shaped cutlery, tissues boxes with inset bolts and screws, waitresses wearing blacksmith aprons, and just about everywhere, else brass rivets and beaten metal surfaces.

It's a post-industrial playground paradise.
And what a playground, with three swimming pools, really flash gym, all situated on Nai Yarn beach (a 13km stretch just a handy distance south of Phuket airport). The feeling is somehow of a smaller, cozier resort, probably because of the design theme and attention to detail in pulling that theme all the way through -- my goodness, what's that? Oh, just another quirky metal wall hanging -- but it is actually a very large resort.

Rooms range from Kelly Quarters, think rustically stylish mining cabins, deluxr rooms with bathtubs on the balcony, all the way through Plantation Villas and Pool villas with their own thatched salas, to the Pearl Shells which are richly furbished suites with butlers on tap. All secreted amid an absolute jungle of tropical foliage. Amazing as well as a-maze-ing ... it took me several attempts to find the lobby on my second day. (The smarter guests simply buzz reception for a buggy to collect them.)

If I don't make it out of this jungle, please tell Khun Wichit he and his team nailed it. This is a real gem.

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