Cover Room with a sea view (Photo: InterContinental Phuket)

When travel restrictions have lifted, escape to this slice of paradise situated along Kamala Beach in the west coast of Phuket

InterContinental Phuket Resort, which is set to reopen on July 15 after closing its doors in March when Thailand went into partial lockdown due to the pandemic, is a sprawling property with a design based on the concept of “heaven on earth” inspired by the ancient Thai text, Traibhumikatha. Extending from the beach to the hillside, Bangkok-based Habita Architects had its work cut out as the resort is built from the ground up on two separate plots of land divided in between by a major road.

If not for an old underground tunnel, which was built as a tsunami escape route, connecting the two plots, the resort would have been weirdly disjointed.

This 'separation', however, turns out to be a good thing as the resort gets to offer guests the best of both worlds. You have a choice of a beachside stay with its own restaurant, bar and pool, or the serenity of a villa under the protective shade of a lush hill.

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The 221-room resort comes with all the luxurious amenities one has come to expect from this renowned international hospitality brand, including a kids’ club and a spa. The latter incorporates the traditional Thai Khit pillow to enhance the benefits of a Thai massage.

The spa is not the only place to get seriously pampered at this resort. Here are the top things to do to ensure you have a memorable holiday.

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Sunbathe by the pool

There is no lack of options when it comes to pool time; after all, there are five pools to choose from. A private pool by the Club Lounge is ideal for some couple time or a quiet read; right below it is the beach-facing freeform pool, the perfect vantage from which to watch the goings-on on the sandy Kamala stretch.

Over at the hillside, a rooftop infinity pool above the main lobby overlooks the entire resort. And there are two beautifully landscaped pools below, surrounded by guest rooms and villas, which means you only have to step out of the door to enjoy a slice of tropical paradise.

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Take a walk through the tunnel

Although a buggy is available to ferry you to either sides of the resort via the tunnel, we suggest walking to enjoy the murals adorning the tunnel walls. They are the work of Dr Khan Payungphan, a Fine Arts professor at Phuket Rajabhat University, and they depict life in charming Old Phuket Town, a former tin mining town known for its delicious local food (from bak kut teh to coconut ice cream) and colourful Sino-Portuguese-style old shophouses.

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Eat Pad Thai at Pinto

All-day dining restaurant Pinto serves a lavish breakfast buffet but the highlight has to be its Pad Thai, serves with juicy prawns and just the right amount of heat. Don’t just take our word for it; owner and executive director of Proud Real Estate, Khun Pasu Liptapanlop even proclaimed it to be his favourite food in the resort. “Thai people don’t normally put this dish high on their favourite lists, but I have to say that the Pad Thai here is really very good,” he enthused.

Afternoon tea at Sawan

There’s no better place to enjoy locally grown coffee and tea than at Sawan, whose name means “heaven” in Thai. Which is appropriate since it is located within the resort’s piece de resistance, the majestic white-and-silver Heavenly Pavilion with its stunning multi-tiered roof.

As you enter Sawan's interior, be sure to look up at the ceiling to marvel at the intricately crafted Monta flower chandelier.

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Thai fine dining at Jaras

Led by Chef Chatchawan Varahajeerakul, Jaras prides itself on Thai cuisine made from fresh ingredients sourced from Thai producers. For instance, the pork is from an organic pig farm in Chiang Mai, the lobster from a farmer in Phuket while the herbs and vegetables are taken from the resort's own garden. Even the wine list features Thai wine from Khao Yai region.

If you can’t decide what to order, go for the set menus where each dish is thoughtfully paired with a wine. Be sure to accompany your meal with a bowl of Thai rice; Jaras' scrumptious selection includes Sangyod, butterfly pea and turmeric rice.

Watch sunset at Kamala Beach

This pristine public beach is a far cry from the headache-inducing crowded scene at the more popular Patong Beach. The sand is soft and the sea is calm enough for a leisurely swim. During happy hours, grab a beer and find a good spot to watch the sun slowly setting in the horizon –  the scenery is quite magical as day greets night.

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Intercontinental Phuket Resort will welcome guests again on July 15, 2020.