Thailand’s largest island, Phuket has been a prosperous region since the nineteenth century, when Chinese merchants got in on its tin-mining and sea-borne trade, before turning to the rubber industry. It remains the wealthiest province in Thailand, with the highest per-capita income, but mints the money these days in tourism, with an influx of visitors that top 5 million.
The busiest and most popular of all Phuket’s beaches, Patong immediately feels overdeveloped and hard to recommend. A congestion of high-rise hotels, tour agents and souvenir shops disfigures the beachfront road, tireless and tiresome touts are everywhere, and hostess bars and strip joints dominate the seedy nightlife.
Fret not! If you’re keen to holiday in Patong and want to keep an arms length from the chaos, Amari Phuket has everything you need. The friendly Thai hotel occupies its own secluded beachfront on a headland at the southernmost end of the bay. The contrasting calm and lushness of the resort becomes apparent as guests make their way along the driveway, passing trees standing tall along the hillside all the way to the open-air lobby. The dramatic chandelier handcrafted from locally sourced rattan is inspired by birds’ nest, paying homage to the fact that Phuket island is a prime stopover point for migratory birds.
For an elevated perspective, book yourself into the resorts new all-suite Ocean Wing, a cluster of villas which sit perched over the beach. Comprising 183 units, divided into one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with extra space, including kitchens and dining areas, the Ocean Wing at Amari Phuket is one of the most luxurious accommodation options in Patong. Amari Phuket’s spacious Ocean Wing suites feature comfy King, rain shower and private balcony where you can enjoy jaw-dropping views of the ocean below.
The Ocean Wing is also home to the hotel’s exclusive Clubhouse, where guests can enjoy awe-inspiring 270-degree views of Patong Bay. Designed to offer enhanced privacy and enjoyment, the Clubhouse features an infinity pool, sun deck, and its own fitness centre. Feeling peckish? The Clubhouse Lounge serves brunch each morning, complimentary tea/coffee and snacks throughout the day and at sunset complimentary cocktails and pre-dinner canapés are served to sun-kissed tan fans.
Enjoy a stroll through the palm tree adorned resort and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun. Red umbrellas offer shade around two cool pools while those keen to splash in the sea can find easy access to a private beach.
After a 5 minute walk through verdant jungle you’ll reach the end of the resort’s property, marked by a pretty pier where guests can slurp on a cold beer while enjoying a unique view of three beaches: Patong, Kalim and Tri Trang. Finding Nemo fans take a plunge at the end of the jetty, strap on a snorkel mask and explore a colourful coral reef which plays home to a diverse underwater world.
Amari Phuket’s Breeze Spa is ideal for a day of uninterrupted relaxation. Guests can choose from a range of treatments which are conducted in open-air pagodas or “salas” dotted across the hillside. Highlights from the spa menu include traditional Thai massage and aromatherapy oil massages, body polishes and wraps, facials, water treatments and classic beauty therapies. There are also a number of packages which combine treatments for a full day of head-to-toe relaxation. The Deluxe Sala is perfect for a couple looking to share in the R&R romance, featuring an outdoor shower, wet area, sun terrace, steam room and outdoor Jacuzzi.
The spa’s signature 150 minute treatment is the Phuket Coco Mojito Package, perfect for sun-drenched skin which requires a bit of nourishing. The ritual starts with a mask treatment infused with coconut and mint and finishes with a facial treatment to counteract the drying effects of the tropical climate and promote skin recovery.
With comfortable daybed seating, breathtaking panoramic views of the bay and an extensive list of beers and cocktails, Samutr Bar is the perfect spot to sip and swirl. Located just a stones throw from the hotel’s lobby, Samutr’s mixologists shake, muddle and blend local Thai flavours into thirst quenching tipples. Highlights include creamy coconut and rum muddled Pina Colada, lemongrass scented mojito and passionfruit topped margarita.
Amari Phuket’s most popular restaurant is Rim Talay, a casual yet elegant space which sits perched over Patong Bay. The place gets packed in the morning during the daily brunch buffet rush but my favourite moment to enjoy a meal here is in the late afternoon. Grab a spot in the shade after tanning your morning away and run your finger through the restaurant’s classic Thai entrees. Highlights include crunchy spring rolls, prawn topped Pad Thai, juicy Papaya Salad and slurp meets spicy Khao Soi.
For couples looking to enjoy a romantic meal under the twinkle of stars and full moon Amari Phuket’s La Gritta is the best bet. Chef Patrizia Battolu serves up authentic Italian dishes on an al fresco patio which sits perched over the beach. Enjoy the sound of crashing waves while sipping fine wine and nibbling through a parade of plates featuring classic Caprese and creamy Spaghetti Carbonara.
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