The Surin, Phuket
Hotel Grade: Deluxe
Formerly known as The Chedi, the Surin is nestled in peaceful seclusion on one of Phuket’s best palm fringed beaches and shows that even on such a developed island you can still find the natural beauty that made Phuket so famous. An away-from-it-all beach retreat from which you can still enjoy all Phuket’s varied attractions - the best of both worlds.
The hotel’s spa offers relaxing and rejuvenating treatments whilst enjoying sweeping views of the Andaman Sea. As you imagine the whole hotel is focused around the beach and most evenings start with a drink at the aptly named Sunset Bar. Dining centres around the Lomtalay Thai Restaurant located on the upper floor looking out to sea and the Beach Restaurant that serves the best seafood right on the beach. The hotel also boasts a dramatic black tiled swimming pool with associated children’s pool, 2 tennis courts, windsurfs and catamarans. Just off the coast you’ll find a reef for snorkelling and the dive centre can take you out to the best sites. Complimentary shuttles run to/from Patong and Phuket Town.
The 108 thatched cottages sit under a shelter of coconut palms in landscaped gardens that gently descend to meet the white sand beach and are connected by elevated walkways. All are further enhanced with private verandahs, secluded sun decks, and handcrafted teak floors. Each cottage is ensuite with mini bar, air-conditioning, satellite TV, safe and coffee and tea making facilities.
Tubkaak Resort, Krabi
Hotel Grade: First Class Boutique
The award-winning Tubkaak Resort shows what can be achieved when a boutique hotel gets it right. Located on a stunning beach it successfully creates the often elusive fusion of style with friendliness that ensures those lucky enough to stay here, know they are in special place, but also feel very much at home. It can’t get much better than relaxing in a hammock looking out over a white sand beach to a dramatic bay littered with limestone islands, cool drink in hand. The ideal destination for those who want to do little more than enjoy what Thailand is famous for: world class hideaway beach resorts.
The Arundina Restaurant specialises in southern Thai cuisine and makes full use of the hotel’s stunning position, surrounded by water lily strewn ponds and looking out over the beach to the Hong Islands. Those looking for an even more intimate setting can dine by candlelight on the beach itself. The spa is surrounded by natural forest and features an outdoor massage area, refreshing hot and cold plunge pools, as well as sauna and steam rooms. Other facilities include a freeform swimming pool, library and gymnasium. The hotel also offers yoga, cooking classes, mountain bikes, fishing, sea kayaking, snorkelling and diving.
From its inception, the resort’s ethos has been the preservation of the natural environment and the rooms reap the reward, built amongst the lush tropical gardens. The 42 rooms are split amongst 2 storey villas and are air-conditioned with satellite TV, CD / DVD player, tea / coffee making facilities, minibar, safe and WiFi. The bathrooms are a real feature, open to the sky, complete with sunken bath!
Ramada, Khao Lak
Hotel Grade: First Class
The Ramada, Khao Lak is just an hour up the coast from Phuket and is ideal for anyone looking for a variety of experiences from a beachside base, as you can spend a couple of days enjoying the lakes, mountains and elephants of Khao Sok National Park and also snorkel or dive off the world class reefs around the Surin and Similan Islands. Backed by the lush mountainous interior and on one of the best stretches of beach, the Ramada’s laid back informal friendly air instantly makes you feel at home and perhaps reluctant to get out and explore. Evenings can be spent enjoying the hotel’s excellent hospitality or a walk down the beach soon reveals a multitude of choices from which to watch the sun set on another great day. The Ramada is perfect for anyone who may choose to do nothing, but likes other options available.
The resort has a choice of restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, traditional Thai and international cuisine. There is also an attractive modern bar on the edge of the beach, a wonderful setting for sundowner drinks. Other facilities include a large beachside swimming pool with separate children's pool and a Spa that offers a range of massages and traditional Thai therapies.
The 84 rooms are contemporary in style within low-rise buildings and the majority offer superb sea views. All are ensuite with air conditioning, satellite LCD TV, tea /coffee making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi access, safe and mini bar. The Ocean Front Villas are right on the beach with uninterrupted views of the sea and are a great upgrade option.
Sarojin, Khao Lak
Hotel Grade: Deluxe
“Space”, “intimacy”, “luxury” and “privacy” are words that can be overused in hotel reviews, but at the multi award winning Sarojin hotel they’ve got the balance just right for anyone looking for a romantic hideaway holiday destination. There are more suitable hotels for families (no under 12’s allowed), but few better for couples. Beautifully designed around a giant Ficus tree, with grassy paths and walkways criss-crossing the lush gardens past serene lotus ponds, down to the beautiful sand beach, they may have to tear you away when it’s time to leave.
The Sarojin has two restaurants, a bar and many private dining options. Ficus offers an atmospheric Mediterranean dining experience beneath the spread of the ancient tree. Down at the beach, The Edge makes the most of the superb sea views, serving delicious Thai and seafood specialities al fresco. The secluded Pathways Spa offers a range of treatments and massages and also has a shaded Tai Chi and Yoga deck. There is also a large infinity pool, fitness centre and library. Catamarans, kayaks and windsurfers are available for hire, along with mountain bikes. The dive centre can accommodate novice and expert alike on trips to scuba or snorkel the reefs around the Similan or Surin Islands. The boat is also on hand to rent for a cruise to Phang Nga Bay.
The 56 rooms are hidden away across a small stream and through a private garden terrace. Each is stylish, spacious and well equipped with sun terrace, air-conditioning, king-size beds, CD, flat screen TV, DVD, safe, complimentary Wi-Fi, deli-bar and tea / coffee making facilities. Pool rooms are slightly larger and also feature a plunge pool.
Six Senses Hideaway, Yao Noi
Hotel Grade: Super Deluxe
At most beach resorts you have the simple view of the sea, but at the Six Senses you can gaze out at the iconic limestone karst islands that make up Phang Nga Bay. This sets the scene for any stay at this luxurious retreat, which is designed with a flair that makes the most of this natural beauty, using local materials to create a true hideaway. Easily reached by speed boat from Phuket, this is a place that makes you feel special from the moment you arrive.
The Six Senses Spa is built to imitate a Thai long house and offers traditional Thai spa treatments. There is also a gym, tennis court and library for movies, books and music. Activities include cooking courses, scuba diving, visits to other islands and Phang Nga Bay, complimentary mountains bikes to explore Yao Noi and even wine tasting. Dining options abound with several restaurants and bars and a well-stocked wine cellar. The Dining Room offers fine Italian dining and features a glass floor with a creek flowing beneath. The Living Room presents a marriage of world cuisine, with an emphasis on Thai; while the Chef’s Table offers a very personal dining experience.
The resort is made up of 54 generously proportioned luxurious private villas (garden or sea view), each boasting its own infinity pool and sundeck from which to admire the stunning views. Each villa is very well equipped with bathroom with open-air shower, sitting room, fridge, sun loungers, outside dining area, private bar, safe, espresso machine, tea & coffee making facilities, satellite TV, DVD player and Bose hi-fi system with docking station for your Ipod. For larger groups and families there is also the 2 bedroomed Retreat and 3 bedroom Hilltop Reserve, with a private gym and rooms for staff.