I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Phuket with hubby – it’s our only holiday this year without the little one. The last time we were there was nearly six years ago, when we had our minimoon after our wedding in Malaysia. We can’t seem to remember much of Phuket, but I’m sure that it hasn’t changed that much – beaches, great massages, seedy Bangla Road, etc.
The highlight of this trip was our stay in The Nai Harn, a secluded resort by one of the nicest beaches in Phuket. The hotel is the successor to Phuket’s first five star hotel and was re-opened last year after months of renovation. It is probably one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve stayed in and immediately brings to mind the white and blue colours of Santorini. The best thing about the hotel is the view – pretty much everywhere would give you panoramic views of the sea. We stayed in the Grand Ocean View Room, which is very large and includes a big balcony overlooking the sea and across to the beach. Upon our arrival, they had provided us with a complimentary bottle of red wine and a bowl of fruits, which is a nice touch.
We spent time on the beach, which is WAY better than Patong Beach. It is only a couple of minutes of downhill walk from the hotel. It wasn’t crowded; the sand was soft with hardly any seashells or pebbles; the water was clear blue; and upon a closer look, you can see many little crabs hiding in the sand. Even though it was rainy season, we still managed to spend quite a few hours by the pool. The pool was not big at all, but adequate if you just want a dip. Again, relaxing on the lounge chair while looking out at the sea was exactly what we were looking for on this holiday.
The food in the hotel was also pretty good, with two restaurants that had quite different atmospheres. The Cosmos restaurant was where we had the buffet breakfast and is big and felt more commercialized. The buffet breakfast was very good, especially the western food and the freshly baked breads and pastries. We had dinner in Rock Salt, which is right by the beach and feels cozy and romantic. The service was much better than Cosmos and the seafood linguine was the best pasta I’ve had outside of Italy.
Unfortunately, there were some imperfections. For example, the staff who helped us with check in came across as rather snooty. We requested for late check out and were told that we had to pay for a full nights’ stay. When we said that we didn’t want to do that since we won’t be staying the night, she then said that late check out wasn’t an option given that they’re fully booked. When we asked a different staff later in the day, she offered us an alternative by saying that we can continue to use the facilities after we check out and they’ll make a room available for us to shower and freshen up. Service during lunch at Cosmos restaurant was also very slow. I tried the spa but unfortunately, they kept getting mixed up as to what services were included in each treatment.
All in all, I would still recommend a stay at The Nai Harn, if only for the gorgeous views. We paid less than US$200 per night including buffet breakfast, so it’s a luxurious stay that won’t break the bank.