Aussies just can’t get enough of Phuket. For years, the largest of Thailand’s islands has been reigning as the travellers go-to, but given its tropical climate, bounty of bliss-inducing beaches, world class diving and postcard-perfect jungle and giant limestone cliffs, it’s easy to see why.
And when it comes to accommodation on the island, there are hotels and then there are HOTELS - jaw-dropping, luxury resorts that put the ‘swank’ into swanky. When money is no object, make like a millionaire and check into one of these bank-busting properties for a stay that you’ll remember for years to come.
Phuket's Amatara resort pairs wellness with amazing views across the Andaman Sea
Far away in a secluded spot on the south of Phuket away from the hordes of tourists and the noisy island bar scene sits Amatara. Overlooking a secluded bay lapped by the azure Andaman Sea, this sprawling luxury resort might appear on the surface to resemble any other 5-star Asian hotel - with its beautiful villas and lily-filled pond after lily-filled pond - however, unlike other properties, at Amatara wellbeing is at its core.
Phuket's Amatara resort houses a huge 2,000 square-metre destination spa
Housing Phuket’s most comprehensive wellness centre - including a 2,000 square-metre destination spa - guests can detox and banish any overindulgence via a range of all-inclusive wellness retreats. Special menus, wellbeing consultations, juice cleanses and fitness activities (think TRX, cycling, Muay Thai and Pilates) will have you looking shipshape in no time. Providing reason enough to check in alone, the spa’s comprehensive treatment menu includes facials, scrubs and soothing massages, plus a signature three-hour long Thai Hamman ritual. You’ll emerge squeaky clean and serene.
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A suite at Andara Resort Villas in Phuket comes with private outdoor pool and shower
With a position on a coastal stretch known locally as ‘Millionaires’ Mile’ you can expect great things and Andara doesn’t disappoint.
The huge infinity pool at Phuket's Andara Resort Villas
Comprising 63 suites and villas - most of which have private pools - inside of which there’s every comfort a wannabe lord or lady could want: indoor and outdoor showers, Bose sound systems, personalised minibar stocked with favourite snacks and a mammoth bathtub with room for two. You can easily spend the duration of your trip holed up in the private villa, but if you do manage to leave (hint: you should!) there’s a private beach, tennis courts, full-service spa and huge infinity pool, alongside over-the-top extras such as private chefs and access to the in-house yacht.
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Phuket's luxurious Six Senses Yao Noi resort boasts jaw-dropping views over Phang Nga Bay
Private butlers, a world class spa and one of the most impressive infinity pools in existence - Six Senses Yao Noi ticks serious boxes. Perched on a cliffside, surrounded by lush jungle and boasting jaw-dropping views over Phang Nga Bay - complete with its limestone pinnacles and white beaches - this stunning remote island is an easy (private) speedboat ride away from Phuket. Here, barefoot luxury is the order of the day. 56 plush eco-friendly villas are tucked away in the rainforest or set along the shore each coming with a private pool and large sundeck.
The plush eco-friendly villas at Phuket's luxurious Six Senses Yao Noi resort
On the water you can kayak, sail or SUP and go beneath its surface for some of the best diving and snorkelling and Asia. Back on land, indulge in the signature three-and-a-half-hour Yao Noi Ritual spa treatment and dine at one of the four eateries on the island that range from Thai to International, all of which use organic, seasonal produce grown on site. Post-dinner, load up at the complimentary all-day ice cream parlour and nab a bean bag at the beach open air cinema to watch a movie as the sun dips below the horizon and the water laps at the shore.
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The birds nest-like accommodation at Phuket's Keemala resort near Patong beach
Though only a short drive from uber-touristy Patong beach, Keemala is serenity personified.
Set in the rolling green hills overlooking Kamala beach, there’s plenty to keep cashed up guests entertained here: a lagoon-like pool, sensational spa and complimentary yoga and Muay Thai classes, but the standout feature is the series of treehouse birds nest-like accommodation that dangle between the trees.
Keemala Resort's standout feature is its treehouse accommodation
The resort’s fantastical aesthetic can be seen in its spa too, where fairytale waterfalls and streams trickle past yoga pavilions and a tranquil meditation cave. Eight treatment pods offer traditional Thai therapies, including more unusual remedies such as energy re-balancing and restorative raindrop and sound treatments. Guaranteed to make you ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh.’