Phuket is the largest and most popular of Thailand‘s islands. To those in search of tranquility, it may seem strange to visit such a busy, populated island, but hear us out. Phuket, you see, with its plethora of hotels (estimates are upwards of 400) and restaurants ranging from shacks to five-star sea-view locales, has something for everyone. Those who know the score check in to the best hotels the island has to offer – be it Andara, with its immense private villas and personal chef, Amanpuri, with its secluded, ultra-private beach, Six Senses Yao Noi, with its rustic, organic luxury, Trisara, with its action-packed kids’ club, or the Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay, with its captivating views of the Andaman sea. The trick is, of course, to find the one that’s best for you. In this blog post, we’ve stood Phuket’s top six luxury hotels up against one another, and compared them, so that you can discover which hotel best suits your personal needs.
Frequented by the glitterati from every corner of the world, Amanpuri is Amanresorts’ flagship property. Like a good wine, it has improved with age (it was built in 1987), with a jaw-dropping array of luxe facilities and pavilions and villas graced with opulent, Thai-influenced touches. The secluded private beach is exclusively for hotel guests, and though it may not be the biggest on the island, it is ample enough to comfortably accommodate all guests needing some beach time. What’s more,the pool villas are the best Phuket has to offer. The regular rooms tend to lack both full ocean views and private pools, which we really miss when staying at such a luxury resort, so we recommend our clients to upgrade to a slightly higher category to get the most out of this fantastic resort.
Nestled into its own private jungle haven, Trisara is all villas and private residences, offering some of Phuket’s most luxurious abodes. Though it may seem contradictory at first, this place is both romantic and family-friendly, and as you sit down to a private lunch with the kids having a blast enjoying one of the resort’s many activities, you’ll soon see why. Its secluded position on a quiet peninsula gives it an “away-from-it-all” feel, especially as you dip your feet in your own private pool (every room has one). Those traveling with family will love the kids’ club – one of the best in Phuket – allowing the little ones to have tons of fun while you enjoy some “us time”. The entry-level rooms are a little small, and though they do have their own pool, it’s worth stepping up to the next price bracket for a more spacious sanctuary.
Point Yamu by COMO
This designer hotel, perched high on the cliffs of Phuket’s up-market Cape Yamu, is the new kid on the block in Phuket’s luxury hotel scene. Still in soft-launch phase, the hotel expects to fully open in December 2014, with 79 rooms and suites standing alongside their 27 ultra-luxe private villas. What we love about this hotel is the surprising little extra touches – including an afternoon ice cream stand, boat trips to a nearby island, and eye-catching designs in places you’d least expect them. The panoramic view of Phang Nga bay doesn’t hurt either. Looking at the hotel from the outside, it looks a little spartan, but the chic interior design completely makes up for it. And though there isn’t much of a beach to speak of (it’s quite muddy), the expansive pool with the best view in the house is the ultimate spot to while away an afternoon.
Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay
OK, so this one isn’t technically on Phuket island, but it’s in the area (Krabi, about a three-hour drive away), and it’s too good to leave off this list. The Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay is located in a secluded area, with fantastic views of the limestone karsts for which the Andaman coast is famous. The resort’s beautiful private beach may be slightly muddy at low-tide, but at high-tide, it’s absolutely idyllic. Though the resort may feel a million miles away from anything else, guests can enjoy a plethora of activities just minutes away. You may not even want to leave your room though, with the massive 13-foot beds beckoning you.
Six Senses Yao Noi
The ultimate in rustic luxury, Six Senses Yao Noi will make you feel good about your choice to stay there. From the uber-friendly staff, to the organic gardens, to the ecolodge-chic villas that have been the temporary homes to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and more, this resort is the humble-yet-stunning gem in Phuket’s crown. The view is everything. Each villa boasts an epic view of Phang Nga bay pretty much guaranteed to inspire goosebumps. Private pools come standard, and the TVs rise out of the cabinets like something from a James Bond movie. The “Robinson Crusoe” feel may not suit all tastes, but we love the eco-chic concept, where high-end doesn’t have to mean high-impact on the surrounding environment.
Located on Phuket’s busy Kamala beach, Andara is perched high up on a hill, providing its guests with commanding ocean views (this high location also means it’s a bit of a trek to the beach, though there are buggies on hand to whisk you there in just 5 minutes). Though it was built in 2008, it is a well-maintained property, and well-deserving of its five-star status. The Andara is ideal for large groups, with colossal villas boasting three to six rooms each. Even better, each villa comes with its own personal butler and chef, so you won’t have to lift a finger. Kamala beach may be quite busy, but this also means there is a plethora of action just steps from the hotel, should you feel like leaving – though we don’t think you will.