Up Close and Personal
I received the following message on Facebook: “Can you recommend a good hotel in Phuket?” This is what I wrote back: “Yes, I can. Actually, I know of several nice properties. Can you tell me more in terms of your expectations and budget?”
The following message was received by email: “We’re looking for a resort on the beach, more luxurious than not. Something like SALA is out of our price range. We’re going to hop on to Phi Phi Don for 2 nights. Any suggestions for that would be great too.”
Okay, I’m not TripAdvisor, and I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the hotels in Phuket. I have, in fact, stayed fewer than 10 hotels on the Southern Thai island spread across three trips over the last four years.
But I’ll try …
As for Phi Phi Don, never heard of the place – but perhaps one of my readers has – PLEASE WRITE!
Pictured: the Sunday Buffet at Indigo Pearl Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
- I’m mentioning four resorts at different price points that I HAVE stayed at and would recommend, but for different reasons (and budgets).
- I’m mentioning one property that I did NOT stay at because I ate dinner there, and the place seemed pretty nice, but I couldn’t stay because I ran out of time (and since it’s a four star hotel it might be within your budget).
- I am NOT mentioning a couple of properties that I DID stay at because I wasn’t overly impressed. At one of them I remember biting into my lobster and encountering a mouthful a sand . . .
- I totally forgot about this other fabulous resort situated on a private island that I stayed at on my first trip to Phuket. Not to worry. It was breathtakingly expensive, and you DID say that “something like SALA” was out of your price range so I won’t bother rewriting this post to include it …
My impressions are highly personal. I’m including back links. I recommend clicking on these back links and coming to your own conclusion.
And, yes, you might want to double check my impressions with those you’ll find on TripAdvisor.
Five Star Funk
I’ve stayed here three times, and it’s one of my favourite spots – anywhere!
This resort has a distinct personality, drawing on Phuket’s tin mining past. “Industrial chic” is the best way to put it. Think of it as five star funk, with an accent on friendly. You never wake up here wondering where the heck you are.
Within the property is a collection of restaurants – from fine dining Thai to a sports bar to that steakhouse that I haven’t tried yet.
You don’t really need to leave the hotel. But walk outside the back gate, and you’ll encounter all manner of cafés, pizzerias, open air massage parlours, bars, coffee houses, a national park lining a beach that stretches for miles. Did I mention Thai restaurants with tables set in the sand?
There are multiple swimming pools. There is a beach club on the beach (located across the narrow street at the back of the property that I just mentioned).
This is where my passion for kick boxing got started. You can ride bicycles to explore the ‘hood. And the Thai cooking classes – complete with a visit to the market – are among the other many activities on offer.
If you want privacy, if you want to get away from it all, if you want to forget your cares, this award winning property is the place for you.
Spacious private villas with private terraces affording spectacular views and infinity pools big enough to actually do laps in cascade from the road down the cliff to the sea below. You get around by golf cart, which ply the beautifully landscaped steep paths.
Hang on for dear life!
There are two restaurants, and the breakfast buffet on the terrace – with that breathtaking view of the Andaman Sea – is fantastic. It was only on the last morning of my last stay that I discovered the breakfast menu (I was filling myself up at the buffet table).
The Thai noodle soup was to die for! If only I had discovered this earlier. . .
There is a fitness centre, where I took more kick boxing lessons – on both visits. The teacher here had a completely different style, and I liked them both.
And there is a shuttle bus that will take you to the Paresa Beach Club at Kamala Bay – if you can tear yourself away from this lovely property.
I can’t tell you anything about the beach club because during my two stays at the hotel, I never got around to taking the shuttle there to check it out. I was perfectly content with my kick boxing lessons, working out in the gym, doing laps in the pool, and catching some rays on the terrace..
Maybe on my next visit!
I’ve only stayed here once, and I only got to spend one night here, so I don’t have a lot to say about this place except that it is arguably the most beautiful resort I have ever stayed at.
I was so inspired by the sumptuous interior spaces that I rearranged things when I got home.
I stayed here on the last day of a two week trip on my first visit to Phuket, and as I recall, I was not only driven to the airport, I was also escorted all the way to customs, bypassing some very lengthy lines.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t accompany you any further,” I was told as I was handed my carry on luggage.
Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket
This is a destination resort. It’s a bit off the beaten track, but there are so many things to do and – with six restaurants – you don’t really need to leave the property.
For active holiday makers, there is a full schedule of activities, and most of them – unlike at some hotels – are included in the price of the room. It’s not impossible to get two activities in in the morning and two more in the afternoon.
I spent four nights here, and my two bedroom villa was one of the largest I have ever stayed in. The private swimming pool, however, was more of a cool dip. You couldn’t really swim in it.
There are also standard hotel rooms, which also have balconies with stunning ocean views.
For Families on a Budget
Mercure Patong Phuket
You’re going to have to walk to the beach, but if you’re on a budget – and if you have kids – this property is a pretty attractive option.
Especially when you consider that that walk to the beach only takes five minutes – in one direction. Walk in another direction, and you’re at the Night Bazaar and the Jungcelon Shopping Mall.
This property is for those that don’t want to get places by shuttle bus or taxi. EVERYTHING can be reached on foot (except for the airport).
All rooms (except for four rooms for families with small children) have balconies, and they’ve got built in racks to hang wet clothes on. You can buy snacks such as salads and sandwiches (as well as cakes and cookies) in the lobby – at extremely affordable prices.
But the real attraction for families with small children – there are four family friendly rooms with kids’ corners with bunk beds.
Amari Coral Beach Phuket
I didn’t get to stay here – I had a plane to catch. But I did have a very enjoyable dinner here at La Gritta, the Italian restaurant with a stunning view of the bay.
So I can’t speak of the rooms or the facilities. But the public areas, which I saw on my way to and from the restaurant – and the food – were fantastic.
This place had all the trappings of a five star resort. Actually, I thought it WAS a five star resort and only discovered its four star status when I was fact checking this post.
Would love to stay here on my next trip.
Hope this helps. And I WOULD like to hear from readers that can comment on these – and other – Phuket properties!