Natural beaches and jungles, spectacular scenery and azure blue sea awaits you at Asia’s most popular beach destination.
From backpacks to barefoot luxury
We take a look at Phuket's leading resorts as the island commands attention once again.
Initially on the map for its tin-mining, Phuket has developed into beach holiday nirvana for families and couples alike. In the first six months of the year, Thailand's busiest and largest island has seen a 27% increase in international tourist visitors compared to the same period in 2012. And it is the luxury end of the market that is thriving. Over the last 25 years, the island has evolved from a backpackers' haven into a high-end paradisiacal playground for the jet set. Now home to many luxury offerings, one of the most difficult decisions is choosing where to stay.
Aman's flagship property, Amanpuri, was responsible for the arrival of high style when it opened in 1988 and still warrants its leading status within the pantheon of luxury Asian retreats. With a name meaning 'peaceful place' and a location amidst a beautiful coconut plantation on Pansea Beach, this property excels in relaxation and discreet luxury away from the madding crowd. Each pavilion and villa blends seamlessly into the landscape; personal service, fine cuisine and recreational facilities are exceptional.
Anthony Lark, the gentleman responsible for making the Amanpuri name synonymous with ultra-luxury retreats, refined and honed his experience to create Trisara, almost a decade later. Set over a private bay along the less developed north-west coast, this resort raised the benchmark for super secluded sophistication. The accommodation is the highlight here. A beautiful collection of one to five bedroom Pool Villas, Suites and Residences boast some of the most breathtaking views and come complete with generously sized infinity pools that seemingly pour onto treetops. You might not want to leave your villa, but then you don't need to; indulge in the resort's speciality of in-villa barbecue dining or opt for a spa treatment upon the deck.
Another contender for finest resort is Banyan Tree Phuket, within the integrated resort of Laguna Phuket. In the mid-nineties, the founders of Banyan Tree created the first 'all pool villa resort' in the world and were also the pioneers of Asia's tropical garden spa concept. It is, therefore, little surprise that this property undoubtedly has the best range of pool villas in Thailand. Guests have the best of both worlds; revel in privacy or take advantage of all the leisure options available, such as the scenic 18-hole golf course.
Those looking for private living at its most opulent will have their every wish fulfilled at Double Pool Villas by Banyan Tree Phuket. Separate to the main resort, this is boutique villa living par excellence. Often described as the pearl of the Andaman, this idyllic enclave rests by the sun-kissed sands of Bang Tao Beach. The villas themselves are spacious and utterly state of the art. Boasting the ubiquitous 'double pools', your bedroom feels like it is floating on its own private island surrounded by a wading pool; the second is a 15 metre infinity pool with built in Jacuzzi. To top it all off, your personal villa host tends to your every need from arranging a private in-villa dinner to a spa treatment by the world renowned Banyan Tree Spa therapists.
Getting there: Emirates fly from Dubai to Phuket twice daily, placing the island just one stop from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow. Why not combine relaxation on the beach with a few nights in the glitz and glamour of Dubai.