Updated: December 3, 2016
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The Best Hotels on Phuket
- Six Senses Yao Noi – Best Luxury Hotel on Phuket
The views are amazing – it simply doesn’t get better than towering limestone karst formations rising from the powdery turquoise Phang Nga Bay. But the accommodation is equally world class, using materials like bamboo, thatch, and jungle-foliage to create exceedingly private, comfortable, and spacious villas that go far above and beyond most tropical island fantasies. Guests relax in the spa, by their own private pool or on the beach, or take part in any number of adventure activities from SCUBA diving to rock climbing. Hotel phone: +66 76 418 500
- Le Meridien Beach Resort – Best Hotel on Karon Beach
Modern and clean with white linens, wood floors and plenty of large windows to let in the seaside light, this resort is tucked into a private white sand cove. The massive complex is a world unto itself with 10 restaurants, two swimming pools that take up the same amount of space many places dedicate to gardens, and on-site facilities galore from tennis courts and a driving range to a children’s park, mini-golf and trampolines. Some guests never leave but the hotel offers taxi or shuttle services to the shopping and party areas of nearby Karon and Patong beaches. Hotel phone: +66 76 370 100
- The Shore at Katathani – Best Hotel on Kata Beach
Far enough away from the shopping and restaurant haven of Kata Beach to be peaceful, yet close enough to get there on foot, The Shore at Katathani gives you the best of both worlds. Warm-colored woods blended with white and cream décor make the spacious villas feel balanced and calming while views of the blue sea or lush gardens add a sense of luxurious tropical adventure. Relax in the seclusion of the villas’ privacy or socialize and use the many facilities (putting greens, another spa and even more restaurants) of the larger and less exclusive Kathatani Resort next door. Hotel phone: +66 76 330 124
- Amari Phuket – Best Hotel in Patong
This 380-room beachfront (and jungle hillside) resort features modern rooms and suites decorated in neutrals with bright accents; large (mostly seaview) windows let in lots of light. Splash around on the resort’s slim white beach or in the busy swimming pool, snorkel off the jetty or walk five minutes to the very bustling Patong beach for larger swathes of sand and a party vibe. Hotel phone: +66 76 340 106
- The Pavilions – Best Hotel for Honeymooners on Phuket
Up on a hill in Phuket’s quiet, lush jungle and blue-sea blessed northwest corner, come here for an intimate romantic escape far from the mini-skirt-clad bar scene of Phuket’s southern beaches. There’s a free shuttle bus down to nearby, mellow, golden-white Layana beach, but this resort is designed as a place you never need to leave, with each villa holding a personal plunge pool; fine dining, spa service and much more are available on-site. Villas are all you’d hope for with bathrooms rivaling the size of the bedrooms, dizzying views over jungle to turquoise waters, and elegant, light-filled modern-Sino style. Hotel phone: +66 76 317 600
- Millennium Resort Patong – Best Hotel for Shopping
Shoppers rejoice: this urban resort is located inside the large, modern JungCeylon shopping mall and is steps from Patong beach’s crazy party zone. Don’t expect sea views here – instead windows look out over busy streets and even the pool area is more concrete than garden. Rooms are modern and comfortable with a brown and bright color palette. Hotel phone: +66 76 601 999
- Centara Grand West Sands Resort – Best Family Hotel
The resort is attached to a huge water park (the largest in Thailand) with slides, water jets, and a lazy river. It’s clean, well run, and free when you stay at the hotel. Suites are huge and have a full kitchen. Downsides: food is average (walk out to the main road to find some good local restaurants) and the location is a little isolated (though a very short drive to the airport). My recommendation is to stay here for 2 nights and 1 full day at the start or finish of your trip. Kids love it. Hotel phone: +66 76 372 000
- Holiday Inn Resort – Best Value Hotel in Phuket
Family-friendly resort in the heart of Patong’s restaurant, bar, and beach scene. The hotel has a special wing for families with suites that include dedicated children’s bedroom complete with bright, cartoon-style landscapes painted on the walls, a chest full of toys and beds made to look like mini ships; the children’s bathroom even includes kid-sized bathrobes. Of course there’s also a kid’s club, featuring many activities so the grown-ups can get out to enjoy the spa, nearby shopping, and activities galore. Hotel phone: +66 76 370 200
- Mom Tri’s Villa Royale – Best Boutique Hotel
Mom Tri, one of Thailand’s better known architects, has taken his family home and turned it into Phuket’s most luxury boutique hotel. The location, straddling bustling Kata and quiet Kata Noi beaches couldn’t be better – close to shopping and restaurants or peaceful stretches of sand. The hotel restaurant, Mom Tri’s Kitchen, marries upscale international cuisine and a mile-long wine list with views over the Andaman Sea. Hotel phone: +66 76 333 569
- Andaman Seaview Hotel – Best Moderate Hotel
A good-value resort with a modern-tinged colonial feel, breezy coridoors connecting the 161 guest rooms over four floors. Designer maritime-inspired colors like dusty blue, mint green, and aqua set off wooden four-poster beds and antique-looking ceiling fans. The resort encircles a large pool with plenty of lounging space and busy Karon Beach is a five-minute walk away. It’s a good choice for families and couples not needing too much peace and quiet. Hotel phone: +66 76 398 111
- Sarojin – Best Hotel in Khao Lak
Peace and quiet are what you’ll find at this adults-only, Zen haven that takes in beach, mangroves, and coconut plantations. Khao Lak is not in Phuket but is only an hour north of the Phuket International Airport (Karon, Kata, and Patong beaches are about an hour south of the airport so not a big difference) and is much less touristy than the Phuket beaches. Accommodation at Sarojin is in one or two-bedroom “residences,” that include a spacious sitting area, gorgeous naturalistic bathrooms with round bathtubs and private gardens. The pricier options have their own small swimming pools. The spa is surrounded by nature (you may see buffalo meandering through the coconut palms) and is considered one of the best on this coast while the two hotel restaurants – one serving Thai food by a lotus pond and the other offering Mediterranean fare on the resort’s white sand beach – are also divine. Hotel phone: +66 76 427 900
The Best Beaches on Phuket
Many beaches are beautiful but are not good swimming beaches (e.g. Rawai beach). And the monsoon season (June to October) can change even the most tranquil of beaches into a rough, windswept, and uninviting terrain.
- Patong – Located on the white-sanded western coast, Patong is the most famous and most commercial resort. With a broad 3km (2 miles) stretch of sandy beach there is plenty of opportunity for natural shade from trees as well as having parasol-protected sunbeds sited along the entire length. Its sheltered location makes it ideal for all water sports and swimming and so it is popular with families and package holidaymakers. As with all the beaches on the western side, there can be a strong undertow and any red warning flags should be heeded. Patong is also home to tourist shops, an enormous shopping mall, cinemas and a bowling alley. A plethora of day trips and activities can be found, from taking a banana boat ride, snorkelling to renting a jet ski. It can be difficult to escape away from the notorious adult themed night-life with neon lit clubs and bars advertising stripper or transvestite shows. You can find scantily clad transvestites posing for photographs with tourists in many of the side streets in Patong.
- Freedom – If you are staying in Patong and want to get away from the hustle and bustle then Freedom Beach is a good choice. Even if you did feel like trekking through the kilometre of thick jungle to get there you would not be allowed, as the land surrounding this beach is all privately owned. The only way to access Freedom Beach is by a ten minute boat ride – most leave from from Patong beach. Freedom, undoubtedly, has the best snorkelling on the island and swimming areas are clearly marked and separated from the area where longtail boats arrive and depart. There are also beach volleyball nets and small restaurants along the south end of the beach but with no jet skis or banana boats to disturb the peace, probably the best thing to do is to find a lounger, sit back and relax.
- Karon – Far less lively and busy than Patong, Karon beach is yet another long expanse of sand, which at its northern end is likened to powder snow. There is little natural shade but there are plenty of sun beds and parasols available. Hotels and restaurants are located on the opposite side of a busy adjacent road; however there are plenty of small stalls selling drinks and snacks. The road is shielded from most of the beach by a bank of sand but it can still be easily heard. All the usual water sports activities are available with some reasonable snorkelling at the southern end. Surfboards are always available although Karon is not renowned for its breakers. It does though have the reputation of being the most dangerous beach.
If you feel the need to get away from sand, Karon Park is an area a short walk away which provides jogging and cycling paths as well as a large lake with pedalos. For children and ‘young at heart’ adults, Dino Park offers a chance to play crazy golf in a prehistoric atmosphere. Away from the beach, the side streets are home to a small artisan community where you can see painters and craftsmen at work. Karon can be located 5 km south of Patong on the coastal road between Kata and Patong beaches. There are regular bus and songthaew services from Phuket town.
- Kata – The attractive twin beaches of Kata Yai (Big Kata) and Kata Noi (Little Kata) are situated to the south of Karon Beach. Protected by rocky promontories, swimming and snorkeling is relatively safe here and strong swimmers often head out to Boo Island to the coral reefs. Reputably this is also the best scuba diving area on the island. Set away from the road, both beaches are very peaceful. Kata Yai can feel a little overlooked by two major resorts but the beaches are not private and the sun loungers are available for all to use. It can be difficult to see how to get onto the beach at Kata Noi but access is down to the right and just beyond the Thani wing of the beautiful Katathani Hotel. Buses and songthaews terminate on the headland between the two beaches where, if you don’t feel like the 10-minute walk into either resort, tuk-tuks will happily transport you to your destination. You won’t find a busy nightlife or extensive shopping here but If you are missing the hustle and bustle of Patong or Karon, both are within easy reach, less than 8 km away. Three Beaches Hill (sometimes called Kata or Karon viewpoint) is often busy as it is on many tour itineraries. Located a little south of Kata Noi, it affords an impressive eight-kilometer vista (4.5 miles) of the three south west coast beaches.
- Maio Khao – On the northwest coast, 39 km from Patong, this 11km beach is set within the Sirinat National Park. The sand here is fairly coarse, but you can walk along it for hours and not see another soul. There are no beach activities on offer here but swimming is allowed. However it is wise to be careful as there is a sharp drop in the ocean floor close to the shore and you can easily get out of your depth. If your idea of fun is plane spotting then this is a good place to be as the proximity of Phuket airport makes it feel as if their landing on the beach is an imminent possibility. Between November and February, turtles arrive to lay their eggs in the warm sands. Numbers have been dwindling over recent years and care has to be taken during this time not to disturb any such activity. The northern side of the beach can be reached from Thepkrassatri Road, just before the Sarasin Bridge. The southern end is best reached from Nai Yang and through the national park (fee payable).
- Nai Thon – Nai Thon Beach has some of the squeakiest sand on Phuket. It is within the Sirinat National Park and has thus far escaped over-development. The gently sloped beach is ideal for swimming and casuarina trees abound for shelter from the sun. The beach itself is not developed but there are a few restaurants and shops just across the street. There are no organized beach activities and no equipment for hire, but people snorkel and dive among the coral at the both ends of the beach (long tail boats with take you farther offshore for even better snorkeling). Nai Thon is 28 km from Patong, on the road that connects Bang Tao beach and Nai Yan Beach. There is only one road that runs directly along this part of the coast so it is fairly easy to find.
- Surin – This 1km stretch of beach is famous for its crystal clear water, which makes it a wonderful place to swim. It’s a shame that the snorkeling here is not great although that does not stop people from having a go. With all the major water sports on offer it’s surprising that this beach is as quiet as it is. It feels like it has embraced all that is good about Patong and left behind the bits that are less pleasing. The views are fantastic with plenty of local restaurants. Surin Beach is situated south of Bang Tao and north of Kamala Beach – 14 km from Patong – and is well signposted.
- Laem Singh – Laem Singh, 7 km north of Patong, on the Patong Surim Road is not easily found. The beach is accessed down a steep, stepped path, fairly comfortable to go down but excruciatingly difficult to climb back up. However it is worth all the effort for this beach is absolutely stunning and one of Phuket’s best for swimming. Many seem to agree as, once a secret cove, it is now one of the best used beaches in the area. Foot massagers ply the beach, jet skis resound along with all the usual paraphernalia associated with a busy beach. When the sun is not shining it returns to it’s natural quiet beauty. Once a month an early evening disco is held, best suited to those who are not looking for peace and tranquility. The restaurants are a little more expensive here but understandable when you consider that their supplies also have to be brought from the hillside above. Parking at the top of the paths is available but scarce so an early arrival at this beach is recommended. 1km to the south is Hat Kamala which is more developed.
- Nai Harn – On the southernmost tip of Phuket, the waters around Nai Harn are usually calm and crystal clear, except in monsoon season when the waves become huge and thus a haven for surfers. The Samnak Song Buddhist Monastery owns most of its central and southern area and has left it pleasantly underdeveloped. Upscale beachfront and family-friendly resorts dot the area. Nai Harn is divided into three segments, the beach and park, a small village with a few shops, and Nai Harn town. Bike hire and other services can be found in the town and as it is about a twenty-minute walk to and from the beach, many people take that option. Nai Harn is 20km (12.5miles) south of Patong.
Phuket Hotels with Private Pools
Hotels with Private Swimming Pools and Plunge Pools in Phuket
- The Shore At Katathani – Kata Beach
- The View Phuket – Kata Beach
- Metadee Resort & Villas – Kata Beach
- Centara Villas Phuket – Karon Beach
- The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa – Phuket Town
- Banyan Tree Phuket – Bang Tao Beach
- Anantara Phuket Villas – Mao Khao
- Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa – Mai Khao
- SALA Phuket Resort & Spa – Mai Khao
- The Naka Phuket – Kamala Beach
- Sri Panwa Phuket – Panwa Beach
- The Slate – Nai Yang Beach