Where to Stay in Phuket: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
Phuket is Thailand's largest island - about the size of Singapore - and is connected to the mainland by two bridges. Most of the tourist development is concentrated around named beaches on the island's west coast, like Patong, Kata, Bang Tao, and Surin, all of which offer similar attractions: sunbathing, snorkeling and diving day trips, jet-skiing, shopping, and dining. Patong Beach is the buzzy heart of the island's beach scene, but it can be too noisy for some. Bangla Road, which is just a few steps from the beach, is packed full of dining and entertainment venues, along with throngs of wandering tourists and expats year-round, and the beach itself can get very crowded.
If you'd rather stay somewhere that still has a vibe but is mellower, try the beaches to the north and south of Patong. Heading north, you'll find Kamala, Surin, and Bang Tao (in that order). Bang Tao is Phuket's second longest beach and home to the Laguna Complex, where a number of luxury properties share activity and restaurant amenities.
Where to Stay for Luxury
On Kamala Beach, which is a 15-minute drive north of Patong, Andara Resort and Villas is on a hill overlooking the Andaman Sea. It offers beautiful one to four-bedroom suites, some of which have private plunge pools, as well as three to six-bedroom villas that come with private chefs. Note, the property is not located directly on the beach, although it is just a few minutes' walk away, and a complimentary shuttle runs as well. Other amenities include a kids' club, spa offering Thai massage, and cooking classes.
A more affordable luxury option, The Chava Resort, is just a three-minute walk from serene Surin Beach and beautifully designed with a modern, upscale vibe. It is also a great family option, offering extra spacious apartments with full kitchens, as well as private plunge pools.
For a secluded, luxurious sleep, check out COMO Point Yamu. It's a self-contained resort in a dramatic location at the tip of Cape Yamu on Phuket's east coast (the sunrises here are amazing) and makes an excellent choice for those looking to relax in one spot. The decor is contemporary Thai luxury, and the swimming pool here is quite stunning. There are also two restaurants and an on-site spa. But note, the property has no direct beach access. To reach the sand, you'll need to jump on the hotel's private boat and sail across to their beach club, 40 minutes away. The club is lovely, on a secluded beach, and features an open-air beach restaurant, water sports, a saltwater swimming pool, and even Wi-Fi.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
Just a short walk from Surin Beach, Pen Villa Hotel is located about 20 minutes by road from Patong's bustle and is excellent value for money. Rooms are clean, bright, and spacious, and the swimming pool is an extra bonus. The hotel is run by a couple, Peter and Winnie, who are known for their warm hospitality and wonderful cooking.
In the Laguna Complex, about 30 minutes' drive north of Patong Beach, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is a great-value choice if you're looking for variety without having to go far. Staying here gives access to more than 30 restaurants in the surrounding resort complex, along with water sports, day spas, and an 18-hole golf course. The resort is right on the beach, and rooms are spacious and comfortable.
If you want to stay within walking distance of lively Patong Beach and Bangla Road, then check out BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel and Serviced Apartments. It has a fun, contemporary vibe, with modern art on white walls in the rooms and a rooftop pool for post-beach lounging. There are also suites that are perfect for families.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Most of the budget accommodation in Phuket is found near Patong Beach. One option is Summer Breeze Inn Hotel, which is just a few steps from the buzz of Bangla Road, and walking distance to the beach. It offers basic but clean rooms and a restaurant on the first floor.
Featuring big, clean rooms, Patong Mansion Hotel is another popular budget choice that is about a 10-minute walk from the bustle of Patong Beach. The property serves a good buffet breakfast included in the rates, and laundry service is offered. The friendly staff can also help with arranging day trip activities and bike hire.
Just a five-minute walk from Patong Beach and Bangla Road, the Patong Princess Hotel comes with a lovely rooftop pool. The air-conditioned rooms are spacious, tidy, and well-maintained. The staff is also friendly. There is no restaurant on-site, but the location is so central, you have plenty of dining choices a few minutes' walk away.
Where to Stay for Romance
For romantic luxury that's well worth the splurge, check out Trisara. Located about 45 minutes' drive north of Patong Beach, it steals hearts with temple-style villas on a gorgeous, very private stretch of white-sand-meets-turquoise-water beach, complete with swaying palms. The food is excellent, as is the service. The spa here offers Asia's only six-hand massage.
On lush, hilly grounds at the edge of Patong Beach, the Amari Phuket offers more affordable romantic luxury. The property is large, but the rooms and suites are modern, with large windows and furnished balconies, many featuring direct Andaman Sea views. Golf buggies are available to transport you around the steep hills.
In a more remote location, at the northern tip of Phuket, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa is another romantic pick. Located right on Mai Khao Beach and only 10-minutes' drive from Phuket International Airport, this luxury property offers comfortable, modern rooms and suites, as well as villas with private pools that are perfect for honeymooners. There are three on-site restaurants and a spa with some unique treatment options.