Through round moon gates and a distant hum of Bossa Nova music, arriving at Baba Beach Club felt like setting foot in that stylish-yet-homey beach house your fancy friend invited you to over the summer break. There are flamingo pool floats, fairy lights on trees, and chill tunes playing in the background.
Except, of course, even your fancy friend’s house probably doesn’t welcome you in with refreshing mint towels and an iced butterfly pea cooler. Here at Baba – as it’s affectionately referred to here – you get all the comfort and privacy of a family beach house, but with a little extra dazzle.
Feeling quite peckish after our flight, we sat down for our first lunch at the Baba Beach Restaurant and dived into their Thai menu. We were immediately served impressively sized coconuts, but even they couldn’t take our eyes off of the impossibly chic swimming pool right in front of the restaurant. (Not to mention we were already secretly looking forward to floating around on those gigantic unicorn and swan floats.) As soon as the food starting tumbling onto the table, our appetites were ramped up. There’s kind of an unspoken understanding that a chic and somewhat Western-leaning place tends to sacrifice quality Thai flavours for stylishness. At Baba, that’s so not the case.
With mouth-watering presentation, our Thai feast consisted of crab omelettes, crispy duck salad, deep fried prawns in tamarind sauce, and lots much more. Everything was eye-openingly delicious, down to even the seafood dipping sauce (of which we requested more and more).
It’s clear that food is a real focus and passion at Baba Beach Club. Even the simplest things – such as the rice – were cooked to perfection.
After a palette-cleansing platter of beautifully cut tropical fruits, we headed to our private villas. The first thing to notice was the uplifting scent of the rooms, which was immediately energising and cooling. (The friendly porter later told us that the sweet and minty incense was from ORGANIKA). Looking around at the large comfy sofa, the Marshall speakers, the kitchen island complete with high stools, it really did feel like we were staying at a friend’s swanky beach house.
Upstairs, the bedroom was high-ceilinged and as calming as a spa. Next to the TV, an iPod touch was playing jazzy tunes and taking us into full holiday mode.
With only 16 exclusive villas, Baba Beach Club is relatively small, secluded, and doesn’t take too long to explore. However, the beachfront is a real special treat and demands hours of lounging. Between the villas and the beach is an almost fairytale-like tropical forest of palm trees. You could wander amongst the naturally-grown trees taking photos (amazingly, every angle is Instagrammable), or find a sun lounger and bean bag to sink into with a good book. For the ultimate snap, make your way to the hidden swing hanging between two palm trees just as the sun begins to dip. You’ll thank us later.
As for the beach itself, it’s something quite magical. The 42-rai stretch of private, unspoilt sand is matched with a beautiful sea that is, somehow, all yours. There was not another soul in sight when we went for a dip, but as the evening got closer and the fairy lights in the palm trees started to come on, a few people headed out to catch the sunset.
As the skies turned orange, Baba Daquiris and Mango Cachacas began being served from the swanky Baba Beach Bar. Their sweet, tangy, bubbly cocktails made perfect sundowners and brought out a chirpy and vibrant ambience for the evening. If the private beach looked good in the daytime, it was an otherworldly marvel in the sunset. Put on your best beach dress because this is the best place to capture a blood-orange sky and glistening waves without anyone else in the background. Total indulgence for the eyes.
Dinner was another sensational affair. Scrumptious pasta dishes came in the form of squid ink with seafood, mushroom risotto, and our favourite – the intriguing ‘Pasta From Hell’. The latter was an unexpectedly spicy spaghetti dish, involving over 14 kinds of chillies and spices. Strong in flavour, it may be better off as a sharing dish, but this fantastic twist on Italian-Thai fusion is an absolute must-try.
Compared to their other fantastic meals, Baba’s breakfast was somewhat underplayed. Options were limited, but there was a refreshing informality to the breakfast here. As if at home, we could dip in and out of the pool during breakfast if we wanted (or breakfast in the pool, anyone?). Our advice? Skip the buffet (the selection isn’t spectacular) and order from the a la carte instead. With delicious dishes like the Southern speciality, Kanom Jeen, you won’t really need the buffet anyway.
After more hours lounging by the pool and packing up we had our final meal at Baba Iki, a penthouse Japanese restaurant overlooking the pool and the ocean. The sushi was super fresh and served beautifully on iced platters in stylish designs. We also tried the teppanyaki – grilled beef and salmon steaks – served with fried rice. Notably, these had almost none of the oiliness you often get with Japanese grills, just the perfect amount of juiciness.
Everything was then cleaned off with a special caramel ice cream topped with Chao Guay. Fresh, exciting, and not too heavy, the meal was a fabulous vacation send-off.
Baba Beach Club is glamorous without being snooty, stylish but still playful, and luxurious yet friendly. Best for the loungers and beach bums among us, this small private resort isn’t where to go for serious activities or sightseeing. Truthfully, your trip to Baba Beach Club requires only a book and a swimsuit – the rest is either provided or unnecessary. Foodies can hardly find a better place to enjoy dining in Phuket, and music lovers will find themselves a real paradise here. Although some of the staff still needed some getting used to the new resort, they were all smiley, approachable, and genuinely wanted to ensure you had the best time. And we really did.