While Phuket’s tourism is having challenges in 2019 to draw enough visitors, this island destination nevertheless has a formidable smorgasbord of attractions, including new waterparks, shopping centres dining destinations and five-star stays that is more comprehensive than ever before – especially within the high-end segment. Join in as ScandAsia leaps into Phuket’s latest luxury with a tasteful and refined selection including some the most prominent new upscale choices!
Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket
Where better to start than at this classic hotel, which showcases the best of gracious traditional Thai hospitality. The upscale, laid-back beach resort celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018, and launched its refurbished new-look guest rooms coinciding with that. Located in the heart of the integrated resort Laguna Phuket – itself full of and abundance of facilities – the Dusit Thani property showcases its unique neo-colonial architecture accented by a modern Thai style.
The signature Thai restaurant, Ruen Thai, is worth a visit while those of use spending full time in Asia can never get tired of top class Italian cuisine too! Situated in the resort’s beachside garden La Trattoria constitutes a white European style summer house with an outdoor veranda. Sitting down there for sunset and a glass of Villa Cornaro Prosecco paired with antipasto is a blissful way to kick off ‘An Italian Evening’ buffet. It is on offer every Saturday with a free flow wine package option, which included La Piuma Orvieto (part of a value-oriented collection of certified wines) and Silenzi among the choices. Continue with seafood on ice, pizza slices, and among the mains find Sea bass with herb bread crumbs in lemon sauce, Salmon filets with fresh tomato, asparagus, capers and parsley, Pepperonata, and Beef lasagna etc. Thankfully you have four hours so that there can be a break before it’s time for desserts…
Café Del Mar Phuket
Head further south along Phuket’s west coast road and you’ll arrive to Kamala Beach (a beach and valley community very popular for long stay especially among Swedes). It has just undergone a remarkable upgrade in its northernmost area, where the beach and road is separated by a section of pine trees, however now partly replaced by new hotels and luxury residences. And, stretching from the road until the beach boundary the world-renowned Café Del Mar has its Phuket venue, offering all-day lounging and dining, also extending late into the night with DJ entertainment most days of the week. Expect a big crowd at parties, and also international guest artists, during winter high season.
CDM Phuket offers a big sushi platters selection; choices of pizzas categorized as Red (Marinara, Margherita, Napoli etc.) or White (for example Salsiccia E Friarelli with Mozzarella Fior Di Latte, Italian sausage, Friarelli, parmesan, extra virgin oil or Lombardi with Mozzarella, rocket salad, parma ham and parmesan); Australian tenderloin and of course sandwiches and burgers as well as a selection of Royal Thai cuisine.
A lengthy drink list include innovative and refreshing signature cocktails such as ‘Tom Yam Beach’, ‘Pink is the Question’ and ‘Summer Breeze’, a selection of rosé and other wines and of course sparkling wine including Champagne.
Sun beds come with a minimum spend on food and drinks. If you speak Finnish several in the management do so too!
Next up, we highlight two new five-star hotels in Patong (the beach resort that has turned into a smaller city) and which have something truly inspiring in common in
that their overall concept, design and architecture are nods to Phuket’s history – past and present.
Mövenpick Myth Hotel Patong Phuket
One must give praise to the owners of what has been accomplished here – a hotel which is a cultural destination in its own right! In the evening, built as a historic Phuket mansion, the lobby building fronting the street stands proudly illuminated like a Phuket Old Town classic building. And behind it three inter-connected whitewashed buildings with the same architecture, including arcs and balconies reveal themselves in equal glory.
Inside the amazingly designed oval lobby–also in keeping with the style known as ‘Sino-Portuguese’–stands a big life-size statue of Phuket explorer Fernao Mendes Pinto, who arrived to Siam in year 1545. Because the hotel is dedicated to the island’s rich history as a tin mining and trading province, which led to a unique local mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures.
For food as heritage try the mouth-watering Sino-Portuguese petiscos – perfect also to enjoy with drinks in the bar serving a discerning selection of cocktails, with generous happy hours between 7 – 11 pm!
The rooms and suites are beautifully designed, in celebration of former King Rama V’s legacy and the Sino-Portuguese history; including framed doors, wall panels and vintage-style mirrors.
The whole inner courtyard is a formidable blue-tiled swimming pool including a swim-up Azure Pool Bar and with direct pool access from the ground floor rooms.
There is also a spa offering treatments based on Chinese healing methodologies, in rooms where the glass windows are made of the kind colourful mosaic the region’s heritage is known for.
Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong
A short walk and we come to the next hotel. This one is definitely cooler than Patong itself, and is equally completely inspired by the surroundings, as the concept of the upscale Hotel Indigo brand means that no two hotels are identical, but instead focuses on embracing the unique character of the neighbourhood. In Patong this is defined to be tropical forest, nightlife and fishing village (still today sea gypsies on the island work as fishermen).
This hotel is a great example of how nods to local history and the use of creative designers who interpret the connections with the local setting and themes can result in something fabulous!
The design achievement in this hotel’s every feature and space is truly amazing, and to mention one element that appears and reflects Phuket’s history as a trading post, back then known to the western world as ‘Junk Ceylon’s, is the junk sail ships. It is pictured and interpreted in the room’s design including amazing silk-screen printing on glass walls and as bed headboard. And there are brown wood features with black bolts. In the corridors Muay Thai kick boxers are depicted as mural paintings and the floor includes Peranakan tiles here and there.
As for tech, the rooms are also equipped with a superb sound system including sub woofer, and with excellent sound-proofing so you can play loud! The Oasis Pool room category is especially recommended as it comes with direct access to a lap pool with garden shared by 9 rooms only.
The main restaurant, Butcher’s Garden, is also heavily influence by yesteryear’s ships. Don’t miss the opportunity to select your own wine and meat when dining there! The Crabcake burger including a glass of wine was a bargain. There are also plenty of signature dishes and local specialties to enjoy.
The coverage ends with a true escape that is not only hidden away from Patong but also from the world, and yet also accessible for dining for outside guests actually – for those who can find it that its… the entrance to this ultra-luxury resort (the brand’s first in Southeast Asia upon opening) is discreet to say the least, with no property visible from the road. Few actually know of the entire vast headland that stretches out just south of Patong beach. Out there is where Rosewood Phuket blends in with the natural surroundings and has 600 meters of one of the last remaining secluded beaches on the island practically to itself!
Rosewood truly embraces the surroundings with its ‘A Sense of Place’ philosophy. As described the resort truly offers a “contemporary, environmentally sensitive architectural style” (from the lobby, for instance, one can only see lush greenery and the Andaman Sea) and the pool pavilions and villas are all immersed within a vast verdant landscape along Emerald Bay.
The restaurant Ta Khai that sits beachside at one end and that is designed as a rustic Thai village has a separate road entrance as well, where a married chef couple cooks authentic southern Thai cuisine in the form of simple and traditional dishes.
Also a Sunday Brunch eatery, Italian bistro Red Sauce offers an outdoor terrace overlooking the pool and the sea. Tantalizing dishes using imported delicacies and locally sourced, naturally grown ingredients form the menu, including, for instance, antipasti such as Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, taggiasca olives and pesto alla genovese and Veal Milanese or Grilled lamb chops as mains.
Prior to or post dinner world-class cocktails, including an absorbing selection of gin brands and never-tried-before concoctions, is a must experience in the open-air Mai lounge or on lounge beds poolside. The perfect ending to this absolutely splendid Phuket selection you now have served on a plate!