After a bumpy decade marred by the openings of beer bars and mediocre resorts, the southern Thai island of Phuket is regaining its sexy image. Heralding the new era is Trisara (66-76/310-100; www.trisara.com; doubles from $875), an ultra-private retreat conceived by Anthony Lark, the Australian general manager who helped launch Phuket's legendary Amanpuri. The sugary white swath of beach—with 40 acres of jungle behind it and its own bay in front—now houses 24 tropically modern villas. Outdoor showers have terra-cotta Buddhist reliefs, furniture is handcrafted from local teakwood, and luminescent Jim Thompson silks contrast with red travertine floors. Masseuses who staff the six spa suites were handpicked from across the kingdom. And, reaching into a past from long before the package tourists came to town, the restaurant serves dishes such as cumin-crusted lamb with masala sauce, paying homage to the island's place on the ancient spice route.
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