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In search of XANA’s X-Factor

Sitting in Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort’s XANA Beach Club on the fringe of Bang Tao’s sands sipping an ice cold drink and watching the westering sun paint pyrotechnic graffiti across the evening sky, (‘Helios was here’ it seemed to scrawl in pink, purple and gold and then was gone) I couldn’t help but feel a little smug.

Baz Daniel

Sunday 26 March 2017, 12:00PM

My internal monologue was banging on about having found Phuket’s perfect sun-downer spot, a quest I realised I had been on since making Phuket my home 11 years ago.

What a silly challenge to set oneself, but then semi-retirement craves distraction. My self-satisfaction was undermined however, by the nagging suspicion that I was falling into cliché here.

XANA Beach Club and this lovely corner of Bang Tao has, of course, been praised to the skies by every reviewer sent along to write an article about it, and here was I trying desperately to say something, anything, that might add a little to the storehouse of received wisdom, and failing miserably.

Why does sitting within XANA’s lovely white surrounds, overlooking this spectacular beach, and dining on a spectacular array of international dishes such as healthy fresh sashimi, sushi, shellfish, local fish and imported meat dishes, mixed salads, cheeses and naughty desserts make one feel so damned happy?

Was it perhaps finding myself surrounded by Phuket’s ‘beautiful people’ in this enclave of hip coolness, or is it cool hipness? Certainly XANA seems to be a magnet for those of a beauteous bent... and here I choose my words carefully.

I was recently enjoying iced Prosecco sun-downers with a great friend from the UK, upon his first visit to the ‘Land of Similies’. Next to us, disporting themselves upon XANA’s poolside loungers, were two rather ravishing katoeys.

I secretly wondered whether the pair of buffed Eastern European gentlemen squiring them were aware of their dates’ gender alignment, then told myself not to be so chromosomally picky.

Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, and in XANA’s case it is also in the palette, the feel of the sand-between-the-toes, the sounds of the sea and the breezes, and of the strolling saxophonist who serenades phalanxes of happy Sunday brunchers. It’s a multi-sensory assault of pleasure. Is that why this place makes you so damned happy?

Stubborn as I am, I still sought something more to explain XANA’s ability to generate a mood of sublime contentment. Naturally, I turned to our friend Mister Google, as one now does in such situations. And, BINGO! He came up with the answer straight away.

It turns out that eating outside is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also good for your well-being, especially if you are munching on such fresh, healthy comestibles as are served at XANA.

Alfresco dining is fortified with vitamin D which is wonderful for the immune system, the heart, and helps prevent bone disease.

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It’s commonly found in eggs, fish, milk, and fresh fruits and vegetables, and… drum roll please… sunlight!

The sun’s UV radiation converts a chemical in our skin into this essential vitamin, so every meal you eat outside on a sunny day magically fortifies your vitamin D.

Furthermore, research has determined that eating outdoors, and particularly in close proximity to water, enhances mood, blood flow, digestive enzymes and mental harmony.

Conversely, populations that spend more time indoors have higher rates of depression and anxiety.
Why would this be so? Evolution my Dear Watson.

Not so long ago, in evolutionary terms at least, we lived in tribes of nomadic hunter-gatherers, following food sources, both animals and vegetable, as seasons and climates dictated.

We built our temporary dwellings near these food sources and of course one constant requirement was water. Hence our deep primal physiological link to eating near to water!

Many people believe that it is primarily the choice of foods that makes the so-called Mediterranean lifestyle so healthy, but in fact it’s the unique combination of healthy foods and an outdoor lifestyle that makes dining alfresco beneficial to your health.

Without distractions like television, dining alfresco also promotes connecting with your friends and family and the natural world, as indeed does dining at XANA.

So there you have it, even more reason, as if you needed it, to get on over to XANA for a brunch, a seafood buffet with fire-turning show, or one of their regular fabulous parties and join all the other beautiful people – no matter what their chromosomal alignment!


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