Impiana Phuket Cabana Resort and Spa is one of the leaders in the Phuket hospitality league.
Impiana was one of the first high-level hotels on the island yet you’d never guess it as the resort has a ‘just built’ freshness to it. Everything – from the large lobby to the 76 guest units to the flagship Sala Bua restaurant – is well maintained and squeaky clean.
The only resort in Patong actually on the beach, Impiana has had a running start on its competitors right from the word go.
Impiana’s impressive lobby is indicative of what is to be found in this resort. Reception is placed at the lobby’s east end, by the cobblestone car park.
The west end features a comfortable and breezy lounge area with sofas and reading material and a view out to Patong Beach and the Andaman Sea.
There is also a small library and a free Internet room with a large multilingual selection of tour literature.
The resort’s pool has an ‘on the beach’ feel to it yet is completely private, giving guests the option of getting sand between their toes on the actual beach just a few metres away or staying in private resort mode. In fact, most people do both as Patong Beach itself is an amusing place to be at any time of day.
Jet-skis scud across the water while speedboats pull parasailing tourists overhead – this is fun in the sun and Impiana is right in the middle of it. There is a children’s section of the pool and the ‘adult’ part is never deeper than 1.40m.
Surrounded by wooden sun loungers and a non-slip wooden deck, the resort’s pool is a wonderful all-day-round location in which to take it easy.
In the Heart of the Matter
On the resort’s east side just outside the lobby, Taweewongse Rd. can get very busy with a constant flow of one-way northbound traffic, strolling tourists and shoppers and the obligatory rows of tailor shops and clothes stalls yet, once inside the lobby, guests can relax in the calm and serene atmosphere.
In other words, you’re in the heart of the beach and commercial action and yet peacefully ensconced away from it.
Rooms and Features
The ‘Cabana’ moniker comes from the resort’s room arrangements – all of the 76 rooms are at ground level, lending a luxury cabin-like feel. The resort has six different types of rooms, ranging from the opulent poolside 73sqm Impiana Suite to the 28sqm Superior Room.
We stayed in a Superior Deluxe arrangement – a two-room, two-bathroom affair that can be used as separate rooms as well. The Superior Deluxe in its two-room version features a bedroom with a living room but the living room had been temporarily converted into a bedroom for our little boy – something that made him beam with contentment as he flipped on the Cartoon Channel on the 46” flatscreen TV.
The rooms at Impiana are air conditioned as well as having ornate ceiling fans. Both of our rooms featured a clever electric control panel to work the many lighting and ventilation choices, thus changing the mood of without actually having to get up and search for switches. The living room also had a beautiful wooden writing desk while the king-size bed in the bedroom was complemented by beautiful woodwork at its head.
The only difference between the two bathrooms was that one had an open-sided shower while the other had a step-in bathtub – both with a ‘rainforest’ shower. The toilet itself featured western-style swinging salon doors – an unusual feature, and both bathrooms provided acres of wardrobe space with personal digital strong boxes along with bathrobes, slippers, full-length, sink and shaving mirrors, hygiene accessories, mountains of bath and beach towels and a set of weighing scales.
One extremely attractive feature was the faux-marble off-white floors – actually polished and coated concrete, but convincing nevertheless. It is this pleasing balance of the traditional with high-tech that sets this resort apart. The leitmotif running through the rooms and eateries as well as the spa and lobby is the classic Thai ‘bua’ – lotus flower. You will find lotuses throughout the resort, discreetly placed in jars, vases and even glasses and this is a beautiful touch. Both of our rooms had a fully stocked minibar/fridge and tea and coffee-making facilities.
Restaurants, a Champion Chef and Music
Impiana has four food outlets, each with its own distinctive character: Three Spices, featuring Australasian cuisine and a direct view on Taweewongse Rd.; La Salsa, an air-conditioned cocktail, Tapas and cigar bar; Beach Bar, an excellent location for a light lunch and/or sundowners, and Sala Bua, for many the last word in dining in this area.
Sala Bua is the stomping ground of award-winning Filipino chef Ronnie Macuja – a chef whose innovative cuisine has earned him accolades upon well-deserved accolades in the culinary press. If you enjoy unusual, surprising and perfectly accomplished food in an impeccably well-appointed restaurant then look no further than Sala Bua.
Each outlet except Beach Bar features excellent live music. Sala Bua is also the venue for the breakfast buffet and breakfast time is the only time that there are a substantial amount of people in the same room at this resort.
You can choose to eat in the opulent surroundings of the restaurant or sit outside near the beach and admire the view of Patong Bay. On a sunny morning it’s hard to think of a more pleasant breakfast location in Patong.
Impiana’s spa, the Swasana, is located beachside next to the Sala Bua. Open from 00:09 to 20:00, the spa features outdoors Thai traditional massage, herbal steam room and five treatment rooms with a generous massage, wrap, scrub and reflexology menu. Guests are required to reserve in advance and to arrive 15 minutes before their treatment time.
Impiana Cabana has its feet firmly on the ground when it comes to guest satisfaction. The resort’s staff, wait staff, musicians and chefs are all of the highest quality. Staying there was an uplifting and edifying experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to go again.
by Sam Wilkinson - Photos by Stephan Audiger
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