Phuket is Thailand’s largest, wealthiest, most populous and most visited island.
Having gained a reputation for its hedonistic party scene, in recent years the island has spruced up its image and risen a few notches on the glamour scale.
Now, a wealth of 5-star resorts are competing to cater to the rich and famous who come to Phuket to play. It’s a place to see and be seen, to dine on the freshest seafood, to lounge on some of the most glorious beaches in the world, and to sip cocktails as the sun sets dramatically over the ceaseless azure of the Andaman Ocean.
Add to that world-class diving, verdant jungles, and some excellent high-class restaurants, spas and hotels, and Phuket starts to look like the ultimate paradise island.
With such a competitive luxury hotel scene on Phuket, determining where you wish to lay your hat can be troublesome. Read on for BusinessClass’ 10 favourite 5-star resorts in Phuket, based on guest ratings, reliable recommendations, and editorial preferences.
Set between dense exotic forests and the endless-blue of the Andaman Sea, boutique hotel Trisara is a slice of heaven on Phuket’s hushed north-western coastline.
All pool villas, suites and private residences showcase a beautifully simplistic design, rich in expensive Thai silks, sophisticated furnishings, and surreal sea-views. Each accommodation also has an infinity pool made of marble, overflowing into the ocean – perfect for cooling off on those year-round sunny days. Seafood lovers take note; Trisara Hotel is renowned for locally sourcing its ingredients, which means the finest shrimp, squid and all things fishy served straight from the sea to your plate in authentic Thai ‘Mama’ recipes.
Amatara Resort is an idyllic, wellness-focused sanctuary nestled within a quiet corner on the east of the island. Catering to families just as much as commonly as those travelling without children, this sublime resort is a rare breed, offering a composite of nourishment, indulgence and energising activity.
22 pavilions, 48 suites and 35 pool villas grant guests world-class ocean vistas and deluxe interiors that have attracted the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Elizabeth Taylor and Pierce Brosnan in recent years. Pool villas feature seductive private infinity pools, but the ultimate relaxation is to be had at the 2000sqm destination spa – easily the island’s most comprehensive – in which guests receive custom-designed detox and fitness programs, spoil themselves with a variety of wellness treatments, and bath in the world’s first Thai Hamman spa. Guests can then continue to ride the feel-good wave by dining on healthy, nutritious and delectable cuisine at one of the resort’s restaurants or lounges, or bars.
Located along one of the finest white-sand beaches on Phuket’s west coast, flanked by coconut palms and the still cobalt-blue Andaman, The Surin never fails to delight its guests, many of whom return year after year.
It’s easy to see why; the resort’s quaint, beach-side cottages are awash with understated elegance, proving contemporary luxury and comfort in equal measures – along with the mandatory postcard-perfect ocean views. True Southeast Asian hospitality is embodied and lived with full conviction at The Surin. Facilities include an extensive spa, a good restaurant, an outdoor pool, and gym. Guests can also keep active with yoga, meditation, tennis, golf, and water sports.
A paradise seeker’s dream come true, located 2 minutes’ walk from the Kamala Beach – a small yet vibrant coastal town on Phuket’s west coast – Andara Resort offers a stylish and upmarket utopia in which to unwind, indulge, and enjoy a magical sunset every day of the year. The resort is a collection of spacious and luxurious pool villas and suites, complete with the amenities and service you would expect from one of Thailand’s finest 5-star resorts.
Andara is perfect for families, couples or friends, with plenty to please all. Upgraded suites feature private pools (some on the roof), while the 3- to 6-bedroom villas have housekeepers and private chefs. Tranquil, tropical forests enclose the resort, offering privacy and seclusion when desired, whilst amenities include an outdoor pool, a gym, spa and kids’ club. To really see the island of Phuket at its glorious best, make a reservation to charter a yacht and set sail for nearby private beaches – there’s still plenty of isolated ones that the crowds overlook.
A sophisticated hidden-beach resort, Anantara Layan is located on one of Phuket’s least known beaches, enriching its abundance of charm and hospitableness. 30 rooms and suites, 47 striking pool villas, and plentiful new facilities for young and old alike – including four bars and restaurants, a pristine spa, and a watersport centre – make Anantara Layan a stand-out in a sea of 5-star resorts where the backdrop is either the picturesque Andaman, or towering, rainforest-coated mountains.
Anantara Layan is also highly-regarded for its warm, friendly staff. In fact, a congenial atmosphere pervades the entire resort, where guests and staff cheerfully interact in spirited social areas. After awaking to the sound of birds and the sun rising over thick rainforest, laze by the pool or on the beach (coconut in hand, of course), before getting your pulse racing by trying your hand at a wide selection of watersports. To wind down, explore the island’s natural and cultural wonders with a range of land and sea excursions, and, finally, take your seat to let Phuket’s reliably-stunning sunsets spellbind you.
A swanky and serene resort that knows how to have fun, Sri Panwa sits atop Cape Panwa on the south-eastern tip of Phuket – an untouched, idyllic part of the island. Gaze out over 40 acres of lush jungle from one of 52 spacious stand-alone villas, saunter down to the private white-sand beach, or lounge around one of three sun-drenched pools while sipping on a cocktail – this is what guests staying at Phuket’s hippest luxury resort fill their day with.
Sri Panwa is popular with a vogue, jet-setting crowd – including the likes of Rihanna and Snoop Dog – who regard the resort for its incredible fusion dining as much as for its unapologetic luxury and second-to-none amenities. Of the resort’s six restaurants and bars (all of which are world-class), Baba Nest is without a doubt one of the most glamorous bars in Asia. Appearing to float above the mountains and surrounded by an edgeless pool, Baba Nest serves a modern Mexican menu to one of the most unreal backgrounds you’re ever likely to see – doubly so at sunset. It’s well worth a visit on its own.
Kata Rocks is a piece of Mediterranean luxury in southeast Asia, carved out of the jagged rocks above Kata Beach on Phuket’s west coast. Featuring a seductive style, sumptuously large villas and an ultra-modern spa, the superyacht-inspired Kata Rocks is one of the finest contemporary resorts on the island. It incorporates 34 super-swanky Sky Villas which vary in size from 1- to 4- bedrooms – all offering breath-taking sea views from their spectacular cliff-side location.
The Sky Villas really impress with their tasteful and modern design, along with all the latest mod-cons and technology, including a fully equipped high tech kitchen, remote controlled lights and curtains, and state-of-the-art entertainment appliances. But the true pearl of the resort is the sensational spa – one of the most original and enticing in Phuket, if not the world – where favourite treatments include ‘Chakra Wellbeing in Chromotheraphy Chamber’, chakra healing massage, and a full range of scrubs and rubs.
The Naka Island Resort is actually located on Naka Yai, an island just off the east coast of Phuket full of natural beauty thanks to its isolated position between the mainland and Phuket. The only resort on the the island, The Naka Island Resort commands a peaceful setting among coconut palms and overlooking the irresistible Phang Nga Bay.
After a thrilling 15-minute speedboat ride from Ao Por Grand Marina to the high-style resort, expect to be taken aback by the resort’s 67 plush private villas – each with its own with courtyards that boast plunge pools and huge outdoor tubs – which are nestled within unadulterated nature. The gorgeous Naka Spa is simply amazing – try out the ice room on a particularly warm day – as is the resort’s private beach, two-tiered infinity pool, and three restaurants. There’s not much else on the island (apart from a small Muslim fishing village and an abundance of natural beauty), but that’s all well and good because The Naka Island Resort has you covered. A high-end haven for a truly calming tropical escape.
Since opening in 2015, the all-pool villa resort of Keemala has been providing discerning customers with a uniquely Thai, holistic experience. Stunning accommodations include the lovingly quirky Bird’s Nest Villas, inspired by the Rung-Nok Clan of artists, musicians, astrologers, philosophers and poets. They house an expansive four-post bed from where you can gaze out longingly over your private pool and alfresco bath tub deep into the enchanting jungle that surrounds your tucked-away position in the lush hills.
The eco-friendly resort has an emphasis on wellness, with its serene Mala spa offering a number of holistic programs, healing rituals and traditional treatments. A number of healthful retreats are also offered, including yoga, pilates, meditation, and Thai boxing. Keemala finds the perfect balance and is obviously well aware of the benefits of good wine for the mind, body and soul; a compelling mix of international wines, including organically produced labels from within Thailand and classic vintages from around the world, are the ideal complement to the resort’s fine cuisine.
A dream-worthy resort located on the Island of Yao Noi, midway between Phuket and Krabi, amongst the picturesque limestone pinnacles of Phang Nga, Six Senses Yao Noi is luxuriously rustic retreat in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring locations. 56 thatched, tree house-like villas cascade across the jungled hillside, offering plentiful privacy, their own pools, and a cosy and stylish design. Procure a villa with a sea-view to vamp up the wonderment.
Personal butlers are on hand to organise everything for you, from spa treatments and reservations to luxury yacht charters and excursions. An impressive dining room serves fresh and seasonal dishes, both Tai and international, with much of the ingredients coming from the resort’s own organic gardens. Other facilities include the holistic Six Senses Spa, a relaxed beach-side eatery, a library, a pool with stunning views, wine cellar, gym and a tennis court.