Thailand – PHUKET

Best for: Living large

Glitzy Phuket offers every Western convenience you can think of, and probably several you can’t. Celebrity-chef restaurants? Check. Six-star resorts with private butlers? Check. World-class plastic surgery? No problem. If you’re the highest of high-maintenance, Phuket is the island for you.

Phuket is the biggest, busiest island in Thailand, and although it has been infiltrated by package holidays and cheap sleaze in a few places (avoid Bangla Road in Patong), it also has cosmopolitan diversions in the form of designer boutiques and world-class restaurants – one of the best of which is Acqua.

Phuket still has some of the most glorious beaches in the islands. Many have been taken over by uber-groomed international resorts and laid with stylish sunloungers and deluxe beach bars; but if you’re seeking somewhere more laid-back, head to stunning little Kata Noi.

There is no shortage of luxury resorts on Phuket; the only question is, which one to choose? Two of our all-time favourite, Gold Listed hotels are on Phuket: eco-friendly, all-villa Six Senses Yao Noi Beyond Phuket, and the first-ever Banyan Tree resort to open, Banyan Tree Phuket, with its flagship destination spa.