Thailand’s largest island is a favourite amongst backpackers and luxury travellers alike, thanks to its abundance of gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters. But as much as the glittering Andaman Sea beckons, the thought of jostling with the tourist masses surely does not. Here are four resorts where you’ll be able to slip away from the crowds and enjoy true serenity.
1. Anantara Koh Yao Yai Resort & Villas
A new family-friendly resort opens on tranquil Koh Yao Yai
One of the most striking new openings on Phuket is not on the main island itself, but its eastern neighbour Koh Yao Yai, a relatively untouched isle in Phang Nga Bay. Here you’ll find remote beaches and idyllic villages seemingly unencumbered by the rush of modern life – and better yet, a dedicated crew that’s happy to arrange a private picnic or tour for you.
This indulgent stay a 45-minute speedboat ride from Phuket’s Laem Sai Pier is ideal for couples and families alike, given its extensive facilities and plethora of kid-friendly activities. Drop the tykes off at the Kids Club and enjoy some precious personal time with your partner in your roomy, light-filled villa.
Every single one of the Anantara Koh Yao Yai’s 148 spacious suites and pool villas boasts modern, sleek interiors and sweeping sea views; you’ll be spoilt for choice here. If you’re in the mood to splash out, book their Sea View Pool Penthouse for double-storey residential-style quarters of palatial proportions – the private infinity pool on the second floor makes for a lovely night-time hangout, while the dedicated butler service ensures that your every need is attended to.
While there: Book a private longtail boat tour of the nearby islands to get up close and personal with the region’s majestic karst formations – it’s the only way to do it right. Or hop into an adorable vintage sidecar and survey this laid-back island at a chipper pace.
2. The Slate
An eclectic boutique stay close to the airport
Live your steampunk fantasies at this industrial chic boutique hotel, located just minutes from Phuket International Airport by car. Cut from the cloth of Phuket’s tin mining history, The Slate is a whimsical wonderland concocted by world-renowned luxury hotel designer, Bill Bensley.
The resort’s labyrinthine grounds make it feel far more private than its 177 rooms might have you think, while the resort’s canny separation of its adults-only pool from the more family-friendly options enables guests to avoid the crowds if they wish.
Add a mystical dining experience at Black Ginger and the cavernous booth seats at Rivet – both of which serve stellar grub – and you have yourself a slew of precious, one-of-a-kind memories to take home.
While there: For the ultimate retreat into privacy, book a treatment at the resort’s Coqoon Spa, and request to have it at The Nest if it’s available – this massive fantastical woven structure adds a touch of whimsy to the entire pampering experience.
3. Noku Phuket
A perfect blend of seclusion and accessibility in south Phuket
Unlike your usual beach-side Phuket property, this boutique resort sits on the hilltop in the south of Phuket Island, 20 minutes’ drive from Phuket Town. Noku Phuket’s 91 ample villas and lofts offer a sense of comfort and understated elegance with their soft, earthy tones woven with wooden and rattan textures.
The Hill Villas are a favourite for their views of Chalong Bay, but you’ll want to book a Tree Villa if you’re seeking utmost privacy – both come with private pools, but the latter ensconces you within lush greenery.
While away your days at the picturesque pool deck and its airy terrace bar, or explore its recently opened spa, which comes with an infrared red room and a steam sauna. Whatever you choose, the serenity of this hilltop perch makes it easy to forget that the rest of the world exists.
The resort has just one restaurant, EMBRACE, but its strong selection of Thai classics more than satisfies, with well-executed staples such as Thai-style omelette with crab meat and Panang curry, a type of creamy mild curry with a touch of sweetness from peanuts.
While there: No one will fault you if you decide to spend your entire vacation luxuriating in the hotel, but should adventure beckon, book a complimentary shuttle service to the nearby beaches, malls or Old Phuket Town. The staff can also help arrange a visit to Chalong Bay Distillery for an afternoon of mixology fun.
The gold standard for luxe villa comfort on Phuket’s northwestern cape
Think Phuket luxury villa and Trisara is one of the first names that come to mind – and for good reason. Opened since 2004, this multi-award winning, all-villa resort continues to set the benchmark with its meticulously maintained facilities, impeccable service and sumptuous culinary offerings.
Your retreat from the world can begin even before your arrival at the resort – take the staff up on their offer to fast-track you through airport immigration, where the waiting time and crowds can get gnarly especially during peak season.
At the villa, set the little sandstone sculpture that housekeeping endearingly calls the Angel of Privacy by your villa gate. Your enjoyment is guaranteed discretion thanks to the abundant landscaping all around the premises, so be free to enjoy a skinny dip in that generous private pool with an undisturbed view of the Andaman Sea, or the outdoor shower – yes, there’s one.
When all that is done, return to civilisation for creature comforts at Trisara’s strong dining concepts, Seafood at Trisara and the newly opened, Mediterranean-inspired Cielo, or let the skilful therapists at Jara Spa soothe away your worldly cares.
While there: When the weather allows, leave off the AC, and opt for screen doors that keep the bugs out while letting in the soothing sound of waves.
For more information on Singapore Airlines flights to Phuket, visit the official website.