About a year ago, I was excited to settle down into our new life living in Bangkok. We had our little apartment, a group of friends, and a city full to explore. After almost 18 months, though, I needed a break from the big city. Big time. I needed rest, relaxation, quiet, and a little romance on Mai Khao Beach, Thailand.
Where is Mai Khao Beach
I love Bangkok. I really do. I like that I can travel to anywhere in the world from Bangkok airport. I love that in one day I can eat cheap Pad Thai on the street, and great Mexican that night. I love that we can shop at enormous shopping malls, and Eric can get his hair cut for about $5.
But, towards the end of our stay in Bangkok, I craved quiet. I realized, suddenly, how loud the city is. The traffic, the tuk tuks. The traffic. I felt like I could not even hear myself think.
So, we hopped a Nok Air flight to Phuket, and within 10 minutes from the airport, we were on the beach.
Mai Khao Beach is located on the northwest side of Phuket. It’s miles long, wide and clean. And, is home to a turtle hatchery. In the mornings, it’s possible to walk for almost an hour in either direction, while listening to, well, not much. Unlike other areas of Phuket, Mai Khao Beach is quiet. And, yes, romantic.
Most important, I could hear myself think.
Mai Khao Beach Romance
We were greeted at the Renaissance Phuket by a pleasant surprise: An upgrade to a private pool villa. Let the romance, and the serenity begin.
First off, the villa was larger than our apartment in Bangkok. And, it was such a treat to be able to sit by our own pool. As much as we could see that there were other villas nearby, and we knew the hotel was pretty occupied, we never heard another soul. It was like we had Mai Khao Beach all to ourselves.
And, as for that romance on Mai Khao Beach? We happened to find ourselves in Phuket during Valentine’s week. This was not planned, at all. Actually, we are not huge fans of Valentine’s Day. But, the mixologist at the lobby bar insisted we try some of their more romantic cocktails. Yes, mine was served in a giant gold pineapple glass, and topped with a rose in full bloom. Even Eric’s cocktail was romantic, also served with a red rose, and a message of love!
We also managed to score a romantic table for two, during sunset, right on Mai Khao Beach. This was a pleasant surprise. I am pretty sure that if we didn’t happen to plan our trip to Phuket during Valentine’s Day, we probably would have ended up watching Netflix in our Bangkok apartment with Indian takeaway.
Instead, we enjoyed a romantic Valentine’s Dinner on Mai Khao Beach. We watched the sun set, with our toes in the sand.
Making the Most of Mai Khao Beach
It used to be that when we traveled to a beach resort, I was super concerned about how to escape the resort. I didn’t want to be stuck inside. I wanted to be able to explore. I’ve found myself a lot less concerned about that recently. Instead, when I head to a beach resort, I just want to chill, and not think about anything at all.
And, during our week at the Renaissance Phuket I found myself chill, content, and not thinking at all. I was entirely happy with staying right there on Mai Khao Beach.
We ate most of our meals at Sand Bar, the beach bar where we were able to sip on tropical cocktails and eat with our toes in the sand. A typical day started with a fresh coconut topped with sprigs of mint. (Okay, there was also a bit of rum in here. That’s how we start the day on Mai Khao Beach.).
Lunch hit the spot with some of our favorite comfort foods. A fabulous club sandwich, with a side of, well, rum soaked tiki drinks! And, a 12 hour slow cooked BBQ pulled pork, which was so heavenly I ordered it a few times.
When not dining at Sand Bar, we enjoyed great Indian food during their tandoori night, and enjoyed a luxurious Thai dinner at Takieng.
At the end of day, we enjoyed some sundowners at the Lobby Lounge bar. I was entirely impressed by the cocktail menu. At many Thai beach resorts you see the same cocktails over and over. But, at the Renaissance Phuket, the mixologists really took it up a notch. My favorite was the Bathtub 47, with Monkey 47 gin, and egg whites, which created a little foam for a rubber duck to float in!
Generally, we finished up the evening back at Sand Bar, which got oh so romantic at night.
After a week in Mai Khao Beach, I felt so relaxed, and ready to go back to Bangkok. Well, for a short time anyway.
Rooms at the Renaissance Phuket start at $150 a night, and the private pool villa starts at $400 a night.
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 Renaissance Phuket at Mai Khao Beach, but all viewpoints are my own.
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.