If you’re going to Thailand, you’re most likely going to the beach – and where better than Phuket, the country’s largest island, home to cove after cove of tempting sands?
Thailand’s largest island, Phuket has around 30 beaches, with spa-studded hotels and luxury resorts sewn along the sands of its idyllic seascape. Views of the Andaman Sea are there for the taking, but along the way, you’ll also uncover design that delves into the island’s tin-mining past, all-villa escapes that entice you to throw away the key and family-friendly hideaways. Here are the best beachside hotels in Phuket.
Admirers of good design will love the Slate, Phuket’s finest heritage-inspired resort, created by architect and interiors pro Bill Bensley. The design is inspired by the island’s tin mining past, with mixed wood and metal surfaces, light fixtures that double as art pieces and an overall industrial look finished off with a Thai twist. Bordering Nai Yang Beach on Phuket’s serene northern shore, it offers the chance to plan romantic beach dinners, kick back in pool-studded villas or visit the Coqoon Spa for deep-tissue massages while being gently wafted by sea breezes.
If you want a resort with Lanna architectural accents, consider a stay at the luxurious Banyan Tree Phuket. The property centres around a saltwater lagoon and all of the pagoda-like villas have sleek wood floors, Thai decor and paintings, pristine landscaped gardens and private pools. There are also yoga sessions, tennis courts, Thai language classes and cooking demonstrations to keep you entertained, plus an 18-hole golf course. For a memorable experience, book the Sanya Rak dinner cruise to dine aboard a traditional Thai boat as you float on lagoon waters.
Set in the midst of Phuket’s entertainment area, opposite Patong Beach, Baan Laimai is a casual no-frills resort within walking distance of street markets, Bangla Road’s bars and convenient shopping centres, such as the Jungceylon Mall. In short, it’s great for first-time visitors to Phuket who want to explore everything. Many rooms have poolside views and some gaze across to the beach.
Situated on the laidback southern shore of Phuket, the Gallery Hotel Nai Harn has access to beaches that remain relatively untouched. The hotel sits in front of Nai Harn Lake, just a few hundred metres from Nai Harn Beach proper. You can choose from watersports such as kayaking, surfing and paragliding, ideal if you’re seeking an active holiday. To check out the local neighbourhoods, borrow a bicycle from the hotel to take a leisurely ride along the local sois (side streets) and forest trails.
Amari Phuket is an ideal resort for an activity-filled family getaway in Phuket, on the southern end of Patong beach, facing west onto the Andaman Sea. There are plenty of family-friendly suites in the Ocean Wing that feature modern Thai craft, and the hotel offers babysitting services, a kids’ club, a colourful play area and value-for-money dining – plus kids under eight eat free from the children’s menu.
This chic haven feels like a tranquil jungle retreat, even though it’s only a short drive from Phuket airport. Built on the longest – and most secluded – beach in Phuket, it has a centrepiece spa featuring waterfalls and a circular pool. The resort includes five dining spots, a main outdoor pool, fitness centre and open-air communal lounging areas, so it’s easy to forget the outside world entirely.
The Mandarava Resort and Spa encapsulates the best of both worlds: it’s a lavish resort that feels a world away from the dining and shops that are nonetheless just outside its perimeter. Once you’re done dipping your toes in the resort’s five pools, the resort provides a free shuttle service to Karon Beach – though it’s only 700m (0.5mi) away, and can be reached via a scenic walk that takes you past local restaurants and food stalls. The resort also provides a free yoga class and a napkin-folding tutorial, if you’ve always wondered how to make the perfect swan.
Hotel Clover provides a welcome dose of whimsy in the heart of Patong. The brightly coloured ocean-themed resort welcomes you with whale and dolphin sculptures and aquatic motifs throughout – all in reach of Phuket’s nightlife, and just a five-minute walk to Patong Beach. Choose from a variety of rooms: superior suites with balconies, ones with an indoor jacuzzi or two-bed connecting options for families. The hotel’s rooftop pool, lined with loungers and parasols, has views of the sea.
This adults-only resort, overlooking Phuket’s Kata Noi Beach, was designed with couples in mind. To up the ante, book the whitewashed sea view pool villa for its private pool, twin rain showers, free-standing clawfoot tubs and spacious sun-kissed terrace. Our top tip? Indulge in a couples massage, or surprise your partner with dinner à deux at the Kissing Point, a private glass platform overlooking the Andaman Sea.