Point of view

Point of view
Point Yamu Pool

THESE days, it seems like luxury resorts are split into two categories: the uber-hip designer stay complete with a signature soundtrack that pulsates through the entire hotel, or the super-minimalist, steel-and-concrete property - which makes the average vacationer feel about as comfortable as Mark Zuckerberg in the front row of a Maison Martin Margiela fashion show.

Then there's Point Yamu. Luxurious without being intimidating; stylish without being pretentious. Now that's a tough balance to achieve, even for a property by Christina Ong's Como Hotels and Resorts.

Located at the tip of Cape Yamu on Phuket in Thailand, the hotel is nestled on a secluded east coast peninsula and overlooks the Andaman Sea and the dramatic limestone caves of Phang Nga Bay.

And Italian designer Paola Navone maximises the location's paradisiacal surroundings to dazzling effect. The intimate property boasts 360-degree views over the water, a feature achieved by Ms Navone's design philosophy of bringing the sea to the inhabitant.

The architecture graduate who has made waves in the fields of art direction and, most notably, furniture design in her 40-year career was inspired by her own Greek summer home.

Adopting a palette of turquoises, blues and whites, punctuated by bright splashes of orange reminiscent of the robes of Buddhist monks - a nod to the resort's homeland - Ms Navone creates a seamless flow from room to the natural surrounds.

Unlike other chic hotels, one never feels the need to be in strappy heels or a sports jacket even for dinner at this laidback spot.

This relaxed ambience is in part due to Ms Navone's eclectic, homely (if you're a domestic goddess with a masters in interior aesthetics, that is) decor.

Think deliberately lived-in details like unvarnished hardwood floors, Ms Navone's signature slouchy, linen-wrapped Ghost sofas, and a wall covered with rustic, traditional wood roof tiles to resemble the scales of a fish.

So intent on creating a homespun vibe is the designer that she had a local artisan rip out a wall because the tiles were too perfect - instead insisting that the craftsman use the rougher blocks that he had previously discarded.

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