Checking In – First Impressions & Facts
My notes, taken in the moment, read — if first impressions are the indication of a stay, my stay at Amari Phuket is going to be great, stunning and tasteful. The stunning began with the spacious lobby with its tasteful decorative art, including the hanging rose light feature from a local artist, creating a Modern Thai ambience. Then my eye was drawn to the floor to ceiling windows beyond, through which were gorgeous water views.
The 380-room property has a great location away from the crowds, right on the waters of Patong Bay, with its own private jetty and beach, superb sea views, and a gentle sea-breeze. Everything is tastefully done, from the interiors to the landscaping, and clever positioning of rooms and buildings makes the property feel intimate, defying its room number.
What’s the room like?
I stayed in a one-bedroom suite with ocean views in the new Ocean Wing. These suites have an ambience of a modern, chic apartment, with one room featuring a fully functional kitchen, living and dining area, and the other room a bedroom and bathroom.
There are sliding glass windows in both rooms to give a sense of a terrace, but there are also rooms in this category with balconies (which were still under construction during my stay and for me that would be preferred).
There are also two-bedroom options, as above.
Guests of the Ocean Wing have access to The Clubhouse, with a hilltop location providing panoramic views of the bay. This is where I ate breakfast, which had some great points (good choice and quality), but was a bit hit and miss with the made-to-order choices that I tried. There are also complimentary cocktails and canapes for an hour timed in conjunction with the sunset — it is popular so get there at the start to secure a table that has views. There is also an infinity swimming pool, fitness room and rooftop sun-deck.
I did also see rooms in other categories and they would all provide a comfortable stay, and all offer good views.
How’s the food?
The first meal of the stay was at Rim Talay, an all day dining restaurant that does international favourites, as well as Thai cuisine – which is what we had, a highlight being a yellow duck curry, which had a good balance of flavours, and a Tom Yum soup that had a good spice kick for a hotel (they often tone down spice levels). We also had a Thai dinner, which featured an impressive BBQ seafood platter, with many items caught locally. It is in a great location by the water and the gentle lapping of the sea can be heard.
We also ate at Italian restaurant, La Gritta, independently rated as one of the Top 10 tables in Phuket – over fifty per cent of diners are non guests. It too has a fantastic location with alfresco dining close to the water. I was there as part of a press trip and dinner was decided by the chef, which was a bit unfortunate in that the a la carte menu had many, many tempting classic Italian dishes I was keen to try — but sometimes you need to go with the flow.
Of the dishes we were served the green asparagus soup with snow fish, crispy bacon and water chestnut was my favourite, but overall our menu did not allow me to have an opinion about the authenticity from an Italian cuisine perspective.
There are four bars, my pick is The Jetty, one of the most unique bars with its location on the jetty with stunning sunsets, and for evening cocktails either Samutr Bar or the chic, La Gritta Bar.
Is there a spa?
Yes, Breeze Spa, which is located on a hill top with commanding views, especially from the Deluxe option, with an alfresco treatment area for two with its own steam-room and balcony jacuzzi. There are four teak sala treatment rooms with terraces that are separated by tropical gardens, plus a steam room and jacuzzi. Guests can also have a treatment by the pool area. I did not have time during my stay to have a treatment.
Amenities/Facilities – My Top Pick
The walk from the hotel to the pier, winds around the coastline with a path surrounded by nature on all sides, it is a touch of magic. I recommend spending time here, the sea breeze will blow away any stress or mind cobwebs, as well as being a top spot for a cold drink in the sun or for watching the sunset.
The other top pick was the choice of pools, in addition to the pool at The Clubhouse, there are two others, the larger of the two attracts families, while the other offers a sense of privacy due to its more secluded location and is popular with single travellers and couples. Swimming and snorkelling from the jetty is another option.
There is also a changing selection of daily activities, that includes yoga, pilates, tai chi, basic Thai, bag painting, and more, plus a Kids Club.
Anything to do within walking distance?
Yes, plenty, as it is within walking distance of the action of Patong, the Miami of Thailand, or Phuket Town is another option. There is a complimentary shuttle bus service to a nearby shopping mall and Kata Beach. It is 40kms to the airport.
There is a lot to do in Phuket, for ideas
While it aims to be 5-star (and in many ways it is), I feel there could be more attention to detail in some of the public areas, for me attention to detail is what takes a 4-star property to a 5-star. For example, some of the deck chairs were in need of painting and new cushions, I also noticed a broken umbrella stand and chair, broken glass on the beach, and pool towels that were obviously clean but had stains from suntan lotion — perhaps all of this is already on their list.
Checking Out – Verdict
That the average stay is seven days says a lot, and I can see why, especially if staying in the Ocean Wing. My suite quickly felt like home, or the home you would want (great design, use of space, and amenities, water views, restaurants on your doorstep, swimming pools etc etc).
I think the verdict test for a hosted media trip comes down to — would I come back happy to pay — in this case, yes I would, and I could easily spend seven days here, leaving feeling recharged and probably planning a return trip. Check this video to see more.