According to Frommer's, the beaches of the southern Thai island of Phuket are "some of the best in Thailand." As a consequence, beaches like Patong are marred by unsightly concrete hotels catering to package tour groups from Europe. However, Phuket has other beaches where the hotels are more attractive, so many that in Phuket has a beach-side lodging option for every aesthetic and budget.
Phuket is large island with a wide selection of beaches, and as a given beach might have a considerable impact on a traveler's hotel experience, close attention should be paid to which Phuket beach a hotel is on. Patong is the place to avoid, unless one wants to be surrounded by ugly concrete hotel blocks and continuously harassed by scam artists and prostitutes. Nai Yang and Surin offer the least developed, most natural-looking beach settings, while Karon, Kata and Nai Harn are somewhere in between.
In on the Beach
In on the Beach is an example of a middle to upscale hotel on what Frommer's describes as a very middle to upscale Karon Beach. The hotel offers 30 rooms and suites in a two-story building centered on a swimming pool courtyard and set right on Karon Beach. Guest rooms are appointed in the fashion and enjoy the amenities typical of a mid-range American chain hotel. The location, sandwiched between Karon Lagoon and the north end of the beach, is a mixed blessing because while it isolates the hotel from the hustle and bustle of Karon's main strip of restaurants, bars and tourist shops, it also places most of those establishments about a 15-minute walk away.
Indigo Pearl Resort
Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, the Indigo Pearl has returned from the 2004 tsunami better than ever. Located in Nai Yang Beach and on the edge of a national park, the resurrected resort is the work of noted Bangkok-based landscape architect Bill Bensley, and has an "Exceptional" rating from Frommer's and won the 2007 "Conde Naste Traveller" Best New Resort award. Accommodations come in the form of suites, villas and pavilions, all furnished in Euro-modern style.
Katathani Beach Resort
The Katathani Hotel, with its quiet, luxurious lodgings, was described by Frommer's as "the best option on the cul-de-sac of lovely Kata Noi Beach." The resort offers more than 500 guest rooms, suites and villas spread about a sprawling compound of palm trees, manicured lawns and outdoor swimming pools, and enjoys direct access to a wide expanse of sandy beach. Accommodations are spacious, appointed in an Asian-inspired contemporary style, and usually enjoy large balconies.
- barque Ã phuket image by Thierry GUIMBERT from Fotolia.com