The island of Phuket is home to some of the most unique, stylish and forward-thinking accommodation in Thailand, if not all of Southeast Asia. From sophisticated, urban hotels with world-class dining and drinking outlets to rustic, wellness-focused resorts, many with beachfront locations, there’s an option for just about everyone. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Phuket.
Keemala resort takes the form of a rustic, jungly patch of cottages, treehouses and pool villas set back into a tropical hillside on Phuket’s west coast. Taking inspiration from local materials, cultures and nature, the resort’s most popular rooms are the bird’s nest-inspired tree houses. To relax, head to Mala Spa for a variety of Thai-inspired treatments that emphasise local ingredients and to indulge, head to the resort’s two dining destinations that serve spa-inspired vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free options.
Although each house is inspired by a different designer, Iniala’s villas are united by bold architecture and curved lines, culminating in a diverse, unique collection of art, furniture and other elements. There’s an extensive fitness centre, complete with a Thai boxing ring, spa and facilities for kids. The hotel’s location, north of Phuket proper, technically sits over the Sarasin Bridge in the Phang Nga region, but with that tradeoff comes a quiet stretch of white sand and a conscious hotel with serious design cred at heart.
The luxury pavilions, villas and houses at Rosewood Phuket come together as something of a small village and one of the top places to stay in Phuket. All come equipped with plenty of space, handsome furnishings and private pools, located in lush gardens just a short walk from a quiet beach. There are four restaurants for mealtimes, an in-house spa for relaxing, and wellness activities, cooking classes and other active pursuits can all be arranged.
Sala Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort combines contemporary style and convenience with the island’s historical Sino-Portuguese architecture. The 79 suites and villas feature old-world Thai design touches, as well as private swimming pools. Two large communal swimming pools and beach access provide even more space to splash out, while dining outlets dish up delicious local cuisine. When it’s time to relax or focus on personal wellness, head to the in-house spa.
Como Point Yamu is evocative of a contemporary Mediterranean beachside retreat; rooms, suites and villas are decorated in minimalist whites and blues, with lots of natural light and effortless sea views. A highlight is its secluded location at the end of a remote peninsula on Phuket’s eastern shore. Dining options range from freshly caught seafood to beachside picnics and Michelin-starred meals from chef Steven Black. Excursions zip across the Anadaman Sea through the ancient limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay for kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving trips and more aquatic adventures.
The Nai Harn spills across a dramatic slope on the southern end of Phuket. As one of the best places to stay on Phuket, rooms and suites here all boast ample space and sea views, as well as quirky touches such as a ‘press for champagne’ button in all suites, a mini putting green on select balconies and a BBQ butler. There’s a distinct emphasis on wining and dining, too, with the island’s only rooftop sushi bar among the epicurean highlights.
The Slate is one of the island’s more unique places to stay, tapping into the island’s tin-mining past for its industrial-chic look. The 177 rooms and villas, designed by a father-daughter team whose ancestors worked in the tin-mining trade, are both rustic and stylish, with quirky design elements including charcoal-black bathtubs, metal lamps and slate-covered walls. With three outdoor pools, an octet of restaurants and bars, an art gallery, fitness studio, tennis courts, spa and Thai cooking courses, you’ll struggle to be bored here.
The Amatara Wellness Resort spreads out like a small village across the east coast’s remote Panwa peninsula. Accommodation takes the form of 105 handsome, spacious suites and villas, all boasting private balconies and sea views. The emphasis here is on wellness, ranging from treatments to workshops, with unique offerings such as the world’s first ‘Thai Hammam journey’, a treatment that blends Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices.
Lush, jungle-like gardens, coconut palms and a dramatic beachside location set the tone for nature-based relaxation at Amanpuri. The 80 pavilions and villas take their influences from the island’s traditional architecture, effortlessly blending into the surroundings. The wellness options here range from Thai-influenced spa treatments to Chinese medicine, and there’s also an emphasis on leisure activities like Thai boxing and watersports.
The Andaman Seaside Resort lies on the popular Bangtao Beach, one of Phuket’s best places to stay. This beach seemingly has the best of both worlds, with half of the stretch of sand dominated by local fishermen and the other by luxury resorts. The resort is relatively close to the airport (about a 25-minute drive) and can be found on the west side of the island. Those who cannot handle Thailand’s heat may opt for one of the 16 poolside villas, while guests with kids in tow may choose one of the 16 family rooms. The hotel also offers a number of excursions, from a tour of the stunning James Bond Island to a day trip to the famous Koh Phi Phi islands.
Tri Trang Beach is home to some of the most pristine stretches of sand on Phuket, and it’s also where one of the island’s most luxurious hotels is located. Crest Resort and Pool Villas may be the most exquisite resort on this list: each room is decked out in modern decor and enjoys a backdrop of the Andaman Sea and lush, mountainous terrain. There are six different types of room, ranging in style, size and price. Many of the rooms have direct access to their very own private pool and some are also equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing full enjoyment of the sunrise and sunset.
While Patong has a reputation as a tourist-filled beach and nightlife area, La Flora Resort Patong leaves all this behind and provides an unlikely island oasis. The resort itself is luxurious, with a large beachfront, outdoor lounging area and many pool villas. There’s also a spa offering traditional Thai massages and a fitness centre for active travellers, as well as two stunning pools overlooking the Andaman Sea. Visitors won’t feel the need to venture far from the resort, as it has everything you could need for a comfortable and luxurious stay.
Chanalai Romantica Resort is located on the mile-long Kata Beach, which is one of the top places to snorkel and lounge. The beach is a favourite among locals and it has yet to be overtaken by tourists, making it a relaxing destination. The Chanalai Group has a number of different resorts in Phuket, and the Chanalai Romantica Resort is one of the most coveted. It is a perfect choice for couples, catering in particular to newlyweds. From the sprawling pool surrounded by ample lounge chairs to rooms so close to the water that guests can jump in straight from their balconies, there is seemingly nothing this hotel doesn’t have.
Panoramic views of the Andaman Sea and some 16ha (40 acres) of luxurious and scenic grounds are just two highlights of the Trisara resort. The 39 villas and suites take their inspiration from traditional Thai architecture, with dark wood, vaulted ceilings and stunning sea views. Guests can also take advantage of the resort’s private beach, offering complete seclusion and luxury and attracting some VIP guests. No detail was overlooked in making sure this resort blends flawlessly with the surrounding foliage. The nearby jungle is manicured, but much of the surroundings have been allowed to remain in a more natural state for guests to enjoy.
The Millennium Resort Patong Phuket is the largest resorts on our list, with 418 guest rooms in total, and tops many lists of Phuket’s best places to stay. It is close enough to Patong Beach to enjoy the sand, but far enough away to avoid other tourists. Comprised of two extensive wings, the rooms in the first (Beachside) face the Andaman Sea, while the Lakeside rooms are equipped with lush bedding and vibrant decor. The resort is actually located on the grounds of a 200,000sqm shopping centre, so more than 200 shops are easily accessible to guests. The five-star hotel also comes with a variety of suites and rooms, two outdoor pools and many dining options.
What this hotel lacks in beachfront allure it certainly makes up for with its many amenities. The Royal Phuket City Hotel is in the quaint Phuket Town, an often overlooked area. Despite its relative distance from the beach, there is plenty to see and do in the charming town and the Royal Phuket City Hotel is the perfect base for exploring it. There are 251 guest rooms, three restaurants, a full-service spa, expansive swimming pool, health club, rooftop terrace and coffee shop. The pool and lounging area is enhanced with foliage and sits just high enough up to give loungers a nice view of both the city and the surrounding hilly terrain.
Looking for more stays for your trip to Phuket? Whatever your budget, we have you covered with our guides to the best wallet-friendly hotels and top luxury resorts on Thailand’s biggest island – all bookable with Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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This is an updated version of an article originally by Kelly Iverson.
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