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Heat with a Cool Heart

What To Know If You Go

Bangkok
The Oriental, with its unsurpassed service and river views, remains the hotel of choice, though business travelers may be somewhat inconvenienced by its location. Alternatives closer to commerce include new Hyatt and Marriott hotels, which both feature luxurious surroundings and fully equipped business centers.
The Sukhothai, done in minimalist Thai-modern decor (long on gleaming, dark stone), provides a stylish and tranquil haven within the city. Its restaurant, a freestanding island in the midst of a reflecting pool, is worth a visit by nonguests. Good inexpensive restaurants abound in Bangkok; any list is arbitrary. But travelers should know about a favorite of natives and visitors alike, the sprawling Seafood Market and Restaurant Co., Ltd., where you select your own dinner ingredients from a virtual supermarket of fresh fish and vegetables and wait (an astonishingly short time) for them to be transformed into a Thai feast.

Phuket
The Blue Canyon Country Club itself has comfortable, reasonably priced lodgings in the clubhouse, but few foreign travelers, having made it all the way to Phuket, will want to forgo a beachfront resort. In the Laguna Phuket complex, only about twenty minutes from Blue Canyon, five resort hotels offer a variety of accommodations. For most golfers, the best choice would be the Banyan Tree, with its own course (open to guests at all Laguna hotels) as well as superb spa facilities and a first-class dining room for "international cuisine." Guests stay in spacious Thai-style villas, with private outdoor bathing and sunning spaces. Families who are traveling with children, however, may prefer Laguna Beach Club, which has a vast pool (including a nicely concealed water slide), an easily accessible beach and abundant water toys and activities. For the unbudgeted, the Amanpuri resort is in a class by itself and ranks with the great seaside resorts of the world. It's not particularly handy to the good golf courses, but guests interested in its ultimate comforts may not care. The resort maintains a membership at Blue Canyon, and the Wilson company supplies several sets of new golf clubs every year, so guests needn't bring their own. Creditable Thai food can be found virtually anywhere you stay on the island, but the more adventuresome seek out Ka jok See, in gritty Phuket Town, where the flavors are subtler than is common in most hotel fare.

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