Although Phuket stands among Thailand’s most popular beach destinations, it has not completely succumbed to over-development. Although some beaches are marred by what Frommer’s described as “unsightly concrete bunkers patronized by budget tour groups,” others are only modestly dotted with hotels that offer a very different sort of vacation on the beach. Phuket remains the sort of place where travelers find a hotel to suit any kind of taste or budget.
Phuket is the name of both a town and an island, with the latter being about 30 miles long, 13 miles wide and roughly the same size as Singapore. There at least eleven major beaches on the western and southern coasts of Phuket Island, so a visitor’s choice of beach hotel can have a profound impact on their experience on Phuket. Patong Beach is among the most popular, with plenty of restaurants and bars, and a regular public bus connecting it to Phuket Town. However, it is also over-developed and crowded. Nai Yang Beach, on the other hand, is in a remote spot on the edge of a national park.
Holiday Inn Resort
For those looking for a reliable mid-range brand name on Patong Beach, this outpost of the Holiday Inn offers that, but with a twist. Fodor’s described this resort as a “stylish, modern hotel exudes the kind of sophistication that most people would never imagine possible from a Holiday Inn,” while Frommer’s gave it a “Highly Recommended” rating. Families in particular might appreciate that the hotel has two separate activity centers for kids, and Patong Beach is located just past the main swimming pool and across the coast road.
In On the Beach
Located on the north end of Karon Beach, this mid-range hotel has the beach as its literal backyard. The result is that most of the rooms have sea views, as does the courtyard swimming pool. However, the location is something of a double-edged sword. Being on the north end of Karon Beach makes it a quieter, more peaceful spot, but at the same time it is somewhat isolated from the restaurants, shops and bars in the town of Karon.
Indigo Pearl Resort
Nai Yang Beach’s Indigo Pearl Resort was among Frommer’s top-ranked hotels in Phuket. Although the Indigo Pearl is one of the oldest resorts in Phuket, the original resort was destroyed by the 2004 tsunami. The resurrected resort was designed by noted architect Bill Bensley, and its sense of style earned it a nod as a “Best New Resort” from Conde Nast in 2007. Rooms range from standard hotel-style doubles to villas and suites, with the former priced for mid-range budgets.