The instant you enter At Panta’s grounds the tranquility is almost tangible. By the lobby entrance stands an old rickshaw as if to say, ‘Take it easy; you won’t be needing a car for as long as you’re here.’ This resort is almost exclusively designed in the ‘Lanna’ style of fifteenth-century Northwestern Thailand and the accent is on teakwood floors, furniture and walls.
The loudest thing you will hear at At Panta is the sound of water flowing over the statue of a Buddhist mythical Kinaree bird at the resort’s gate and if that isn’t tranquility I don’t know what is.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Lobby and Reception
The first thing guests see when entering the lobby is a large carved stone detail depicting various Thai flowers. Under this stands an antique ornate Burmese bell. In the air-conditioned reception, with its polished black and white marble floors, serenity reigns; the background music is western but the atmosphere and décor definitely Southeast Asian.
Behind the check-in desk is a sensational golden Buddha, carved out of a single block of wood and illuminated to make the most of its beauty. Next to the teakwood chairs and table are copies of Thailand Tatler and other hi-so publications and this lends a luxurious touch to the area, as do the silk-clad and elegant girls at reception.
To get to our poolside Thai villa we pass through the lush grounds. The villa, like the whole resort, is predominantly teakwood and entering the well-appointed room is like taking a huge step back into the past, albeit a past with electricity.
The king-size bed has tables on each side with elegant lamps; there are double sliding glass-paned doors that open onto a wooden-boarded terrace facing the swimming pool, with two teakwood chairs and a small table. A 21” TV is perched on a darkwood cabinet containing the fridge and mini bar.
Near the bathroom is a writing desk, lit by a single lamp, with a medium-sized mirror above it. Pastel cotton window shades and large floor-to-ceiling curtains keep things private and above the bed’s headboard is a traditional Thai batik design. The wardrobe contains a safety box and two sets of white bath robes and slippers. All this is underlined by a stained and polished wooden floor. Very chic.
As for the bathroom, the walls are a discreet yellow, offset by a black marble worktop with a protruding white sink. Above this is a mirror which is lit on both sides. The bath features a rain-showerhead and a full length shower curtain.
At Panta also features a block of 28 deluxe resort rooms, nine traditional Thai villas in groups of three, 12 one-bedroom suites and 12 two-bedroom suites. The suites are across a driveway, away from the pool and restaurant.
The resort has a freeform swimming pool with a plant-filled island in its centre. The large pool is surrounded by sun loungers and pastel parasols weighted down by stone elephant statuettes. It’s as classic as a swimming pool can be and with its royal blue tiling, fits in well with the overall concept of At Panta.
The pool area is hemmed in by hedges and bird of paradise plants and features a pool bar with four immoveable stone stools and three ‘wet’ ones in the pool. This is a particularly shady and green spot and the wooden deck boards are a nice touch, along with the neat shrubbery. To one side is a smaller pool into which four stone elephants shoot water from their trunks, giving a free water massage to swimmers. There is also a Jacuzzi section.
Along with the Lanna design of the resort, the greenery and water arrangements are extremely attractive.
Groundsmen work hard at keeping the place in shape and free of pests. This is one resort where I can honestly say that I didn’t so much as see a mosquito and it is all the more remarkable, given that a canal system runs around and through the place, plus the amount of on-site shrubbery.
The suites have views out over neighbouring buffalo fields and the central driveway features many different types of plants and trees – all of which are labeled.
At Panta is not a beachside resort. Situated near Thalang, the island’s ancient capital, its immediate surroundings are rice paddies and buffalo fields but if you wish to visit the seaside there are five free shuttle buses a day going to Bang Tao Beach.
There are also bicycles for rent and a modest fitness centre that is open from 7:00 to 22:00. A small internet hub doubles as a library and games room and guests can take Thai cooking classes as well as fruit-carving lessons along with Batik painting and Thai hand garland-making classes.
The Dalah Spa comprises a steam and sauna room, a beauty centre, two private massage rooms, a whirlpool and a Jacuzzi for four. The spa is situated near to reception and is ably managed.
Open from 6:30am to 23:00pm, the Leelawadee restaurant is on several different levels and features from lakeside to dining room to higher-up, bar-side dining.
The Thai food here is excellent in presentation and execution and western dining is also competently handled. A modest but functional wine list is available to complement your meal and live traditional Thai music is performed six nights a week.Villa dining is also possible.
Breakfast can be a la carte or from a four-section buffet that serves eggs as you want them and has a salad bar, bacon, ham and sausages along with cereal, whole-wheat and white bread and croissants with three different types of juices.
‘Getting away from it all’ may well be the unspoken by-phrase at this resort. It is calmness personified and is so far removed from the frenetic Patong experience that it doesn’t even bear comparison.
The troika of themes: traditional Thai architecture, green and lush surroundings, and constant running water intermesh successfully to create an oasis of serenity.
Service is pleasant and more than willing and while At Panta may lack the flash of five-star resorts, it more than makes up for it in its simplicity of purpose: to be a peaceful haven for its guests.