Point Yamu (www.comohotels.com; from £245) on Phuket is special; and by “special” I mean not perfect or to all tastes. I would not send someone there who has never done the Phuket resort thing, for instance (the more traditional, eminently elegant Trisara would get that honour); and there are service kinks that need working out, the abundant staff smiles notwithstanding. But I can’t recall the last time a hotel’s design was so winning it brought a smile to my face. Chapeau to Paola Navone, who has utterly nailed her first hotel project: the suites are awash in dreamy sea greens and pale blues, with tropical woods, soft linen and gleaming ceramic mixing to genius textural effect. The 100m pool takes the infinity-view paradigm to new heights, while the Como Shambhala Retreat is a stunning top-floor eyrie with a faultless masseur. But I loved La Sirena, the all-day, open-air restaurant, most: with its turquoise tile-encrusted pizza oven, coloured glassware (also by Navone) and CinemaScope views over the cerulean sea, it hits a totally unique Capri-in-Asia note. Not for everyone, as I said, but I’m already clearing the calendar to book back in.
For a Thai resort that combines European design, splendid Basque cuisine and philanthropic intent, see Iniala Beach House on the west coast.