It’s been a few years since we’ve visited Phuket, Thailand. It’s a place that doesn’t have the best reputation among Thai beaches. That’s why we were thrilled to find a little bit of luxury in Phuket, and in all places, on Patong Beach.
Even during our past visits to Phuket, we never visited Patong. It’s the most commercial beach area on Phuket, and has a reputation for nightlife and extracurricular activities. We always stayed in the north of Phuket, or on the east, and steered clear.
During our most recent visit, though, we ended up finding a little luxury in Phuket, set just off of the hubbub of Patong’s busy nightlife scene, at the Amari Phuket.
Arriving at the Amari Phuket
After driving through the craziness of Patong, a pre-arranged taxi dropped us off at the lobby of the hotel. I couldn’t even focus on the massive hotel entrance. Instead, my eyes just flew upwards, at the small villas that seemed precariously perched up on the hills over Phuket. I kind of hoped that was where we were staying.
Once stepping inside, though, I quickly noticed the massive, open air, lobby bar with views to the water beyond. It was like no beach hotel bar I’d seen in the recent past.
Our room was not yet ready, so we grabbed an early lunch at the Rim Talay restaurant, with beautiful views of the Andaman Sea. I was craving a burger. I always hesitate ordering burgers overseas. We’ve had some bad ones. But, I looked at my surroundings, and hoped it would at least satisfy a craving.
It did that, and more. Our server delivered a large Wagyu beef burger with a sloppy cabbage-based cole slaw, with tomatoes and cucumbers. Talk about attention to detail: the french fries came in a brown paper bag to keep them warm. It was a great start to our stay: Wagyu luxury in Phuket.
Clubhouse Luxury in Phuket
We received a text just as we finished our meal to let us know our room was ready. It was nice to not feel like we needed to stalk the lobby to see if we could get into our room. As soon as we checked in, a driver whisked us away in a golf cart, higher and higher into the hillside, until we arrived at our newly completed ocean view suite, set up on the hillside, just as I hoped.
As soon as we stepped, in I thought two things: 1) this is bigger than our apartment in Bangkok; and 2) I can’t believe we are only here for two days.
The location could not have been beat. Not only did we have a nice one room suite, with a living room and small kitchenette, but we were steps from the Amari Clubhouse. Now, I am used to hearing about executive and club level lounges at hotels in big cities, but at a beach resort, that was a surprise.
The Clubhouse included a private pool area, separate from the “public” pools down below.
They served a full breakfast each morning, with a selection of buffet items. They also offered an entire menu of a la carte items to order fresh. Similar to my burger craving the day before, I craved pancakes, something easy to find but hard to find well done. Most of the time, pancakes are really crepes. Or, they are left cold in the pastry section of a breakfast buffet. These were warm, fresh, and served with a fresh berry compote.
In the evening, the Clubhouse offered a free cocktail hour, with snacks, to watch the sunset over the island. Unfortunately, one downside of the Amari’s location at the end of Patong beach is that there is no direct sunset. Instead, it sneaks down around the trees, but still offers a lovely glow at dusk.
During the day, we descended from the Clubhouse to walk out to the Amari’s private jetty. For us, this was about as much activity as we can muster in a day at the beach. But, it was a lovely walk along the coast. At the end, we messed around with the fishes in the water!
Italian Luxury in Phuket
One of the biggest surprises from our stay at the Amari Phuket involved dining at La Gritta, the hotel’s water front Italian restaurant. Because we’ve traveled, and eaten in Italy, a lot, we are fairly particular about the Italian food we eat in Asia. My mind was put at ease, though, when we found out the chef was from Rome.
We sat down with a glass of Italian wine, and ordered our meal. Shortly after, Chef Patrizia stopped by our table to introduce herself. When we mentioned about all of our travels to Italy, and in particular to Emilia Romagna, she quickly proclaimed “Emilia Romagna has the best food.” I am sure our friends there would agree.
Despite this, Chef Patrizia insisted she make us a big cheese platter. The platter was surrounded by all sorts of freshly made spreads and marmalades.
I have to say that after the cheese and the fresh cured meats, which were such a treat, I was kind of stuffed.
Regardless, we moved onto a perfectly prepared risotto with sausage, peas, and Manchego cheese. By the time we moved onto our pasta courses, I was ready for bed, happily stuffed, and entirely surprised about finding a little Italian luxury in Phuket.
It was a great way to end our stay in Phuket. I will admit that in the two days we stayed at the Amari Phuket, we never left the property. Yeah, it would have been easy to walk down the hill and into Patong. But, I didn’t want to. I was happy enjoying the pools, food, free cocktails, and views from the resort. To me, that is luxury at the beach.
Heading to Phuket?
What to do in Phuket: Go for a Thai yoga massage!
Find more Thai food tips in our Southeast Asia food travel guide.
We were hosted by the Amari Phuket during our all too quick stay near Patong Beach, Phuket, but all opinions are my own. Rooms at the Amari Phuket start around $180 a night. One bedroom Ocean Wing suites, with kitchenettes, like ours start around $200 a night, breakfast included.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.