It’s 3pm on a Saturday. The air is buzzing, perhaps from the house music resounding from the pool. Fresh off a stay at the tranquil Sri Panwa, we’re at our calmest state, thanks to luxurious nights in isolated villas, sunrise yoga sessions and private pool dips.
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Stepping out of the reception area, we’re immediately greeted by the sight of neon flamingoes and bean bags floating on a key-shaped swimming pool. At its center sits a mirrored swim-up bar resembling a disco ball. Beautifully bronzed models are seated around it, cocktails in hand. “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” someone says with a chuckle. As if on cue, frosty lime margaritas are placed in our hands.
This is Baba Beach Club Phuket: The social, sister property of six-star Sri Panwa.
Located 20 minutes north of Phuket International Airport on Natai Beach, the club is the brainchild of young Thai hotelier Vorasit Wan Issara. A DJ himself, Wan attracts a glamorous crowd to his resort — he counts A-list DJs and Hollywood celebrities amongst his friends. Sulie Sritutti, Sri Panwa’s business development and entertainment executive, confirms that Baba Beach Club is the place to hobnob with the crème de la crème of the millennial generation. Past clientele include some of the world’s biggest influencers and bloggers, including Aimee Song of Song of Style and Rocky Barnes, and even Lindsay Lohan.
But lest you dismiss Baba Beach Club as a place for hedonists, Sulie explains its entertainment focus best: “It’s not just about music and partying. It’s about promoting the underground scene and supporting local artists,” she says.
The club ropes in local Thai DJs in its regular roster of intimate parties, and has them open for international DJs. Living up to its name as a music lover’s hotel, it’s powered by a Funktion One sound system — the same one used at international mega festivals. The hotel also has an impressively curated Soundcloud account;with the help of visiting DJs, Wan and his music director regularly upload techno, house and disco mixes. These are played everywhere from the customised iPods found in rooms (using state-of-the-art Bose sound systems, no less) and even in the hotel’s private cars.
In catering to its savvy millennial crowd, Baba Beach Club boasts high-tech amenities. Each room has a sophisticated self-opening toilet with a customisable cleansing system. Over in the bedroom, all the latest streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify — are available at the touch of your fingertips.
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Our stay for the weekend is the two-storey Gabana Villa. While it faces the swimming pool, it’s a welcome respite if you tire of the buzzy scene outside. The first floor boasts a large-sized living room and a kitchen surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows; the second features a walk-in closet as well as a spacious bathroom and bedroom.
Admittedly, the communal-style layout of the club and energetic atmosphere is a slight shock to the system after our stay at Sri Panwa. But despite our earlier misgivings, we quickly realise that the two resorts aren’t so different. Serenity is still within easy reach, with an idyllic, private beach just steps away. The sound system is so thoughtfully calibrated that lounge music from the pool streams in gently through our windows. Shut your windows and even the lightest of sleepers can afford a restful nap.
Managed by the same team from Sri Panwa, service at Baba Beach Club is as seamless. Take a dip in the pool and return to your sun lounger to find your clothes promptly hung, your belongings safely stored and an ice bucket with mineral water waiting. Like Sri Panwa, the club offers a butler service. Call at dinner for a little pre-bedtime luxury — our butler prepared us a warm bubble bath accompanied by a chill lounge playlist softly playing from the speakers.
To hit the sweet spot between energy and isolation, we’d recommend reversing our itinerary: Check into the club for a party weekend first, then detox at Sri Panwa. Or keep the vacation vibes going by making the club your permanent holiday spot with a residential villa. The two-bedroom property sits across the club on a palm-fringed landscape, overlooking a jungle and a water garden. The palatial five-bedroom, on the other hand, delivers the ultimate luxury experience with its amenities, such as a private beachfront courtyard and sundeck terrace, and full-service staff.