Tina-Louise Jackson discovers Melia Phuket Mai Khao. Located in the beach town of Mai Khao the newly-opened resort is just a stone’s throw from Phuket Airport.
Tucked away in the far northeast of Phuket, the newly opened Melia Mai Khao is the second Melia property in Thailand. The resort perfectly blends Mediterranean cool with a tropical setting, set on a pristine 11 kilometre stretch of beach.
Traveller: Tina-Louise Jackson
Room: Pool Villa
Address: 233 Mai Khao, Amphur Thalang 83110, Thailand
Date: March 2022
Best for: the perfect getaway for two, away from the madding crowds, a time to relax and recharge
The Signature factor
It’s sometimes the simple pleasures that leave a lasting impression. Here, it is watching a picture-perfect Andaman sunset from a poolside cabana, cocktail in hand. One can’t help but feel well.
With the ethos of ‘Soul Matters’, a perfect mantra for our times and my own first foray out of Australia in a few years, this is relaxed luxury at its finest.
The wellness-inspired resort seamlessly blends traditional with contemporary, Mediterranean calm in a lush tropical setting. The easy-on-the-eye neutral colour palette invites you to relax and unwind while leaving Phuket’s famous bright lights far behind.
Melia Phuket Mai Khao has 100 rooms set in 2 storey cube-like clusters spanning 3 hectares, as well as 70 pool villas and 30 one-bedroom suites. Each 78 square-metre suite offers spacious indoor-outdoor living and a huge circular outdoor bath. One bedroom pool villas have both an outdoor bath and a private plunge pool while the 15 wellness villas offer a wellness arrangement including a vitamin C infused outdoor shower, along with the outdoor bath and private plunge pool.
Whilst just a short drive from the main road, there’s a definite feeling that you’re leaving modern-day Phuket behind and taking a step back in time to the Phuket of yesteryear.
I arrive at the white walls that front the Melia Mai Khao, reminiscent of an Andalusian Finca.
In the lobby, the first thing to catch my eye is the decorative metal screens, a feature that continues throughout the resort. The open-air lobby is cool and spacious and an appreciated respite from the fierce midday sun.
A closer look and a few questions later, I learn that the screens depict local turtles interwoven with a Peranakan design, a nod to the early 20th-century tin mining history of Phuket Town. The turtles come to Mai Khao Beach between November and April each year to lay their eggs
Check-in is swift and seated, and I’m soon heading through the lush palm and fragrant Jasmine-lined walkways to explore what lies within these cool white walls.
An oversized pale wood door opens into my personal oasis of calm. The Pool Villa has 85 square metres of perfectly proportioned indoor-outdoor living.
The outdoor terrace boasts a daybed in a shaded corner, a private plunge pool, outdoor bath and shower enclosed by white stucco walls. A living wall at the front of the terrace offers privacy from the walkway beyond.
Inside, the villa focuses on clean simple lines and neutral colours. A huge (and very comfortable I might add) bed dominates the room. The villa has a small fridge with complimentary glass bottled water and can be stocked with goodies of your choice. There is also a Nespresso coffee machine for that all-important morning brew to kickstart your day. There’s even a steamer in your wardrobe if you’ve arrived a little wrinkled.
Double doors lead into an amply-sized bathroom, with a double sink and door leading to the outdoor shower and the terrace beyond.
The 15 wellness suites offer all the facilities of the pool villa, with wellness extras including an open-air vitamin C shower, ultrasonic oil diffuser, Tempur-Pedic pillows, a fit ball and a yoga mat. The highlight perhaps, if you’re not relaxed enough already, is the daily 60-minute massage.
On my plate
Adjacent to the Sol Pool, Gaia Beach Club serves Mediterranean and fusion cuisine in a relaxed contemporary setting from an open kitchen.
Fresh seafood dominates the menu, along with Spanish gastronomic favourites including plates of aged jamon iberica, and delicious crema catalan. Our journey starts in the Mediterranean, with a mango gazpacho amuse bouche, followed by a seared tuna nicoise, and tangy flavourful ceviche.
My main course is grilled grouper, served with patatas machaconas – paprika-infused sweet potato mash and grilled vegetables. I return to Thailand with my favourite dessert, an ample portion of sticky rice and mango.
The servings are plentiful. You’ll not go hungry here, and, should you wish to extend your wellness experience into your dining, there’s a full wellness menu along with vegetarian and vegan options.
Buffet breakfast is served in the cool interior of the main dining restaurant, Sasa. You can choose from both Western and Thai favourites. Slow pressed juice and freshly cooked eggs can be selected from the menu. The theme of wellness continues here, with healthy options available to order.
Elyxr Cafe, situated in the lobby, offers coffee and snacks. Whilst the Pool Bar, nestled behind Sol pool, mixes cool cocktails with chilled tunes.
I wish I could take home…
The pillows…not only are they plentiful, but they’re also as fluffy and soft as clouds. And perhaps one of the pool cabanas…and the poolside playlist.
Melia’s signature Yhi Spa offers a full range of treatments in a contemporary setting. I’m booked for a one hour massage and having chosen my fragrant oil, settle into one of the five cool treatment rooms and snooze my way through a perfect massage, with just the right pressure.
My therapist notices that I’ve slightly overdone the sunbaking at the pool, and thoughtfully finishes the treatment with some cool aloe vera to soothe my parched shoulders. This extra touch makes me feel I’ve been cared for, not just provided a service
Staying in at Melia Phuket Mai Khao
When you’re this relaxed, why leave. Melia Mai Khao boasts 2 pools. Luna is the large square pool at the heart of the property that has a separate small kids’ pool. Sol overlooks the ocean and is lined with 5 shady cabanas, here, you can relax and order cocktails from the bar delivered straight to your cabana with a selection of delicious bar snacks.
There’s a small well-appointed gym to extend your wellness journey into fitness. Or work off the gastronomic excesses!
At the kids’ club, kids can play out of Thailand’s heat, whilst you relax by the pool. Then head to the spa or take a bike to explore the surrounding lanes.
The resort has arranged classes that centre around wellness. Highlights are the slow-pressed juice class, making my own fragrant body scrub at Yhi Spa and yoga on the beach.
The property sits on an 11 kilometre beach, perfect for a relaxed morning or afternoon stroll. Take a bike from reception to explore the quiet lanes then visit Baan Ar Jor, a heritage home-turned museum, restaurant and homestay. It was built in 1936 by a Chinese tin-mining businessman.
The malls, shows and attractions that Phuket is famous for are a little farther afield, around a 30-60 minute drive from the resort.
Going offshore, take a day trip to the Similan Islands. The archipelago of 9 pristine uninhabited islands has crystal clear waters and an abundance of brightly coloured fish and corals below the water.
Melia’s presence is growing in the Asia Pacific. The group has three newly opened resorts in Thailand, properties in Bali, Vietnam and Malaysia and over 350 properties globally. It would be well worth joining MeliaRewards, Melia’s loyalty program. Points can be spent on stays, the spa and restaurants, as well as with their partners, with exclusive offers available for members.
Room for improvement
Whilst overall it is hard to believe this resort has only been open for a few months, there is still a bit of growing to be done on the ‘living walls’ that shield each pool villa. For now, skinny dip at your own risk!
You can’t help but feel well after a stay here, and, whether or not you’re here for the wellness ride, you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated.
Where to find Melia Phuket Mai Khao
Situated in the far north-west of Phuket, just 15 minutes from Phuket Airport.
Find out more by visiting melia.com
Looking for more inspiring Signature Luxury Travel & Style stories? Try these…