Point Yamu is located on a peninsula on Phuket’s east coast, a 25-minute drive from the international airport. The distinctive limestone outcroppings of Phang Nga Bay that include hundreds of islands – most of them forested, uninhabited and ringed by coral reefs (and are UNESCO-protected), envelope the resort in their natural splendour.
Point Yamu by COMO features 79 guest rooms and suites, including 26 private pool villas. The resort sits ensconced in the landscape, with panoramic views of the bay unfolding from each of the guest accommodations.
Point Yamu has been designed by Paola Navone, a world class interior and furniture designer based in Milan, with a client roster including Armani, Knoll International, Alessi, Driade and Molteni. The resort reflects her modern design aesthetic combined with traditional Thai and local techniques.
Over the course of two years (which included multiple research trips to Thailand to gather inspiration), Navone transformed the existing structure that was built by architect Jean-Michel Gathy into a unique poetic landmark that marries style, comfort and luxury.
Speaking about this project, Navone says, “I share with COMO the idea that luxury today can be an appreciation of simplicity and respect of traditions in a contemporary and unaggressive environment. At Point Yamu there is so much of what I love doing in my work – mixing things that come from different centuries and continents, promoting craftsmanship using everyday things in a non-conventional way, and a fascination for imperfect shapes.”
Located on an outcrop overlooking the Andaman Sea, views of the dramatic limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay have been maximised from every nook and cranny. The lobby, restaurants and bar have all been designed as open spaces to capitalise on this jaw dropping panorama.
An absence of windows brings the outside environment into the main building, blurring the lines between natural and manmade. The most dramatic spectacle though is from the pool area, where the undulating 100m infinity pool allows for a 180 degree view of the lolling azure seascape.
The rooms and suites, dotted with furnishings in turquoise and orange, breathe in the scents and colours of the surroundings and seem to pop against the all-white interiors – that include white stone walls, white chairs and cushions, white bamboo sheets and counter surfaces spread with white matt tiles! Teak wood sourced from northern Thailand has also been used in the bed frames and chairs.
The bathrooms are like aquariums of calm cobalt blue with liquescent glazed mosaic tiles. This palette also threads through to the 27 (one, two and three bedroom) pool villas specially designed for both couples and families.
The majority of furnishings have been made using traditional techniques by Thai artisans, whose hands and inspirations have also contributed to the numerous textures found throughout the resort. The best example of this is the hotel’s lobby, where the walls are dressed in an incredible mosaic of wood pieces.
The ceiling lamps are fashioned like hand-woven lobster traps, while the pillars are made from hand-cut mosaic tiles. There is also an installation, a modern centrepiece inspired by Buddhist temples, made of low rise Thai tables and traditional handcrafted items from Phuket and nearby Burma. Clay and aluminium bowls, bamboo vases and a temple bell bedeck this space. The lobby lounge area includes oversized chairs and cushions, all designed by Paola Navone for Gervasoni.
Other design elements that embrace traditional Thai building techniques encompass the wooden ‘fish scale’ wall (inspired from a traditional roof) in the Thai restaurant, Nahmyaa. A large pair of mosaic goldfish dominates one wall, perfectly complementing the bright orange tones of the chairs.
The goldfish theme has been emphasised throughout Nahmyaa’s design, with pendant lamps hanging from the ceiling that have been shaped like fish bowls. The gold leaf walls in the inner dining section create a beautiful contrast to the dark brown of the wooden fish scale design.
Navone has used a lot of ceramic work throughout the resort, a skill nurtured in Northern Thailand. From the ceramic topped poolside tables in navy blue, turquoise and white, to the handmade dinnerware (greyish blue in Nahmyaa and white with black patterns in La Sirena) – they have all been produced according to her designs in Chiang Mai. She has also used ceramic blocks in rooms and suites to mirror the sculptured shapes used in typical Sino-Portuguese buildings found around Phuket.
“Thailand is a weaving country, baskets are all over. You can find them in the streets, in the markets,” says Navone, who chose to use rattan umbrellas dangling above the tables at La Sirena. Rattan has also been wrapped around the walls and buffet counter in this Italian restaurant, echoing Navone’s Mediterranean history.
La Sirena is a melting pot of European concepts, with the blues and whites of the sofas, chairs and tables reminiscent of the Greek islands. Plates that have been imported from Germany, hang from the wall like intricate paintings of a Pinacoteca or gallery.
The outdoor terrace is modelled after a pergola overlooking the Amalfi Coast, while the pizza oven is a pinnacle shaped Mediterranean lighthouse wrapped with turquoise mosaic tiles. The dining sofas are pure white paired with turquoise armchairs, while other seating has been made from woven plastic rattan or wood in white or navy blue.
The private dining room is uniquely striking, with a huge entrance orange door setting the tone. The handle is particularly striking, using a large Buddha hand in a ‘Vitarka Mudra’ gesture. The all-white room is dominated by a long white 20-seater marble table and three huge white glass chandeliers.
The white marble floor, white chairs and hand-cut painted mosaic wall tiles, all seem to sparkle and come to life in the soft candle light. This collaboration is the perfect balance of COMO’s signature clean lines and pared back contemporary style amalgamated with Navone’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials.
The result is a dazzling palette of bright aquamarines and burnt oranges, infused with Thai artisanal techniques that are made to mirror Thailand’s Buddhist culture and the colourful influence of Phuket’s Peranakan philosophy. But the scene that stays imprinted in your mind long after you’re home is the spectacular rolling expanse of the Andaman Sea caressed by the flawless sunset beyond.
Text By Natalie Pedder-Bajaj
Photographs courtesy Point Yamu by COMO