Helen van Berkel checks into the Crest Resort and Pool Villas in Phuket, Thailand

Getting there:

It is about an hour's drive from Phuket's surprisingly enormous airport, on roads surprisingly busy for 2am on a Sunday. Pro tip: If someone's trolley is blocking your access to your baggage on the carousel, be careful how you address that person. They may be on your shuttle bus. And in your tour group.

Check-in experience: Like many in tropical Thailand, the lobby is open to the elements and whatever cool breeze it can collect. The aforementioned guest was having a problem with her booking but was gracious enough to encourage the staff to let me get to bed first.


Room: You have the choice of 144 rooms, some with views of the Andaman Sea, or cool pod-shaped pool villas that have access to their own pools. You're looking at about $450 a night.

What's in the neighbourhood? Patong Beach is at the bottom of the hill if you wish to join all the other tourists buying sarongs and caps and drink beer in the numerous bars. Or hire a car to visit Patong Old Town and check out the Big Buddha or go rafting at Komols Corner.

Food and drink: Is there anything better on this green Earth than Thai food? Crest has two restaurants and we enjoyed a dinner of what can best be described as Thai-style tapas, which gave us a generous sampling of Thai favourites. Booze doesn't play such a big part in Thai entertainment as it does in New Zealand, however, so you'll have to chase down the drinks menu.

The bed: A Super King. I rumpled only about 7/8ths of it.

The view: The Andaman Sea.

Bathroom: A blind separated the bath from the main room. And if you think a bath doesn't appeal in the humidity of Thailand think again, as a monsoon thunders outside and your feet ache after a day of exploring Wat Chalong. Bubbly bliss.
Facilities: The fitness room remained unvisited during my stay, but the pool was a lovely spot from which to watch the sunset over the Andaman.

Free Wi-Fi?: Yes.

Perfect for: There is a kids' club but Crest is so romantic, treat yourself to getaway for two — or even one.

Would I return? Yes please.

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