The five-star guide to Phuket
With its turquoise waters, white-sand beaches and Thai culture, there’s little wonder why Phuket has long been a favourite for well-heeled travellers. Add an extra touch of luxury to your next trip to the Pearl of the Andaman with our ultimate guide for discerning travellers.
Less than 90 minutes’ flight from Bangkok, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island caters for every luxury traveller, whether you’re seeking beach bliss along the coast, a gourmet odyssey radiating out from the culturally rich capital or jungle adventures in the lush interior. We share where to stay, where to eat and what to do for the ultimate five-star experience of this beloved holiday island.
Where to stay
Whether you’re looking for the utmost in privacy or a sprawling base for a multigenerational getaway, a villa rental is the ultimate way to experience Phuket in style. Each property within The Luxury Signature’s exclusive portfolio features the expertise of a concierge, dedicated in-villa staff and private chefs, not to mention beautiful tropical surrounds and views. Ask the concierge team to arrange your island adventures and those hard-to-secure reservations. As for the hotel-style amenities? You don’t have to share the infinity pool with anyone else.
Villa Amarapura is one of our favourites, a standout seven-bedroom home above the sea in Cape Yamu, boasting gabled ceilings and two private infinity pools, plus a putting green and golf simulation technology.
Thai art and woodwork adorns four-bedroom Villa Padma, also located in Cape Yamu. Although there’s only one infinity pool, it features submerged beds for the pinnacle of relaxation.
In Laemson Estate on Kamala’s famed Millionaire’s Mile, Villa Analaya is a jungle retreat of six bedrooms. A palm-fringed path leads down from the pool to the beach, your private gateway to kayaking, and young guests will love the trampoline, while parents can salute the sun on the private yoga platform.
This is just a sample of the luxury villa rentals available from The Luxury Signature on the island. Visit the website to see the full selection of Phuket properties. Each one has been assessed and personally experienced by The Luxury Signature team, guaranteeing an exceptional holiday for you and your guests.
What to do
Phuket’s sunshine and relaxed pace certainly calls for lounging beside your private infinity pool, but if you’d really like to enjoy this island setting, head out on the water. Go traditional with a long-tail boat trip to the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay (including ‘James Bond Island’), or up the luxury quotient with a superyacht charter. Tailor the experience with a bespoke itinerary, ranging from sunset cruises to island-hopping adventures. If it’s Phuket’s underwater wonders you’d like to discover, opt for a snorkelling and/or scuba diving expedition; Aussie Divers Phuket has private speedboat charters departing from Chalong Pier in the island’s southeast.
Those who would rather see Phuket’s turquoise waters from above can take to the sky with a helicopter tour over the coastline, Phang Nga Bay or even as far as the Phi Phi Islands and Krabi. Skydance has a selection of private sightseeing tours, whether you want to enjoy the view, land on more far-flung islands or just transfer to your accommodation in style.
If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, take a trip to the bohemian surprise that is Phuket Art Village in Rawai. Here, painters, musicians, actors and even puppeteers have formed a community where they can live and work in southern Phuket. Meet the artists and browse through masses of works at their homes and studios.
When it comes to rejuvenation, visitors to Phuket are spoilt for spa sanctuaries. Along Mai Khao Beach in the island’s north, JW Marriott Phuket’s Mandara Spa is a haven of 32 treatment rooms spread over 1,590 square metres. Book the signature Ritual of Javanese Lulur for a floral, milk-infused treatment once experienced by Javanese royalty. Within the Laguna Phuket complex, Banyan Tree Spa adds ancient expertise to its ‘Sense of Place’ rituals, Chevit (‘life’) and Cheva (‘living’). Experiencing Banyan Tree’s signature rain shower Tropical Rainmist treatment is also a must. In the south, Kata Rocks is a white-on-white modern sanctuary with an equally chic and sleek spa. Your visit begins with an assessment and consultation for a personalised wellness journey. Day visitors can take advantage of the Infinite Luxury Experience, which combines access to the resort’s facilities with a THB3,500 voucher per person, redeemable on food, beverage and spa treatments.
Where to eat
Gourmet delights on Phuket range from Thai street food to modern Italian cuisine, served with flair at Alessandro Frau’s futuristic, monochromatic Acqua Restaurant.
Blue Elephant serves Royal Thai cuisine in an elegant Sino-Portuguese-style mansion just outside Phuket City, the former governor’s residence dating back 105 years. This is also the place to get hands-on with a cooking class, teaching you to master a selection of traditional dishes.
At the other end of the scale, take a walking tour to soak up the street food specialties of southern Thailand. As a former trading port, Phuket’s Old Town is a delectable melting pot of flavours from Burma, Malaysia and China, alongside Thai favourites, known as Peranakan or Baba culture. Private Phuket Food Tours run during the day, as well as in the evening to delve into the late-night dining scene.
Kan Eang@Pier is relaxed Phuket dining at its finest. Fresh seafood – whether served as Thai specialties, sashimi or Western dishes – is the heart of the menu here, devoured beside Chalong Pier in an informal setting. If you’re looking for a private, open-air dining experience beside the Andaman Sea, Kata Rocks resort offers bespoke Dining on the Rocks the last word in secluded, candlelit romance.
Take a journey to a bygone era at The Siam Supper Club, a bar and grill at Laguna Phuket that takes more than a little inspiration from the US West Coast, with the ambience of a jazz lounge. Steak, seafood and pasta all feature on the menu, and it’s said the cheesecake is the best you’ll find on the island.
Looking for a spot to enjoy the sunset? Baba Nest at Sri panwa resort features giant floor cushions, surrounded by reflecting pools and 360-degree views of Phuket’s southeastern peninsula. As a non-hotel guest, you’ll need to book well ahead to savour its tapas menu and extensive cocktail list.
With so much to do, it’s little wonder Phuket remains one of Southeast Asia’s favourite destinations for a luxury island escape.
This content was produced in partnership with The Luxury Signature. For more information on exceptional villa and chalet rentals in Thailand, Bali and Niseko, visit the official site.