Like most things in Thailand, accommodation can be very affordable.
But when your money goes that much further in South East Asia, why not splash out and stay somewhere a bit more luxurious, for less that what you’d pay elsewhere?
That was my thinking when I booked a week’s stay in the Amari, which made the perfect end to our two-week trip to Thailand.
Having a sea view room always comes at extra cost, but that’s not the case at the Amari because almost all of the rooms look out onto the ocean – just choose from ‘ocean-facing’ or ‘ocean view’, with the difference being either a partial or unobstructed sea view.
I booked a one bedroom ocean-facing suite in the Ocean Wing, the newer section of the hotel which is located high up on the hill. This is a beautiful, modern apartment-like suite with a separate living area, dining area and kitchenette, featuring floor to ceiling windows which provide a stunning, panoramic view across the hotel’s private beach.
The bed is a comfy king size, and even comes with a pillow menu should you want to order something more specific with housekeeping.
The en suite bathroom is adjacent to the bedroom, and comes with a shower only.
The windows next to the dining area slides open, creating the feeling of outdoor access, but considering the extra price you pay for one of these suites, it’s surprising that they don’t all come with a private balcony, which many of the lower grade rooms have. If this is important to you, I’d recommend taking a look at the Superior Ocean View which has a generous outside space, though you won’t be able to use the Clubhouse with this booking (see later).
Basic rooms start at reasonable rates, but to stay in the new Ocean Wing it is on the pricey side; our 6 night stay cost THB 62,880 (roughly £1,250) on a bed and breakfast basis.
I always price up costs with different comparison sites and travel agents, but I ended up booking this directly with the hotel, as they offered additional benefits such as airport transfers, a free massage at the hotel’s Breeze spa, 20% off food and drinks, late checkout, and most attractively, complimentary access to the Clubhouse.
Located high up on the hill, the Clubhouse is an exclusive area of the hotel only available to guests staying in the Ocean Wing. This usually comes at a cost of THB 4,800 per person (about £96), and gives you access to the sun deck, FIT centre and stunning infinity pool.
Probably the best thing about the Clubhouse is the daily happy hour, where complimentary cocktails and canapés are served from 5:30-6:30pm. Unsurprisingly, this is when it’s busiest, so you’ll need to arrive early if you want to get the best seats, and make the most of the free drinks, of course!
A buffet and a la carte breakfast is also served at the Clubhouse in the morning, with teas, coffees and light snacks (mostly biscuits you can help yourself to) available for free throughout the day.
The Amari is located on its own private beach on the very southern point of Patong. It takes about 15 mins to walk from the hotel into the heart of Patong beach, or costs THB 200 each way for a ‘party’ tuk tuk to take you from reception (make sure you haggle your price with the driver first!).
I have to be honest with you, I pretty much hated Patong – it’s crazy busy, smells bad, and is littered with tacky souvenir shops, loud bars, and as many scratchy tattoo shops as there are massage parlours. But don’t let me put you off, because if you’re looking for nightlife in Phuket, then you’ll probably have a great time – you might just be extra thankful for the peaceful retreat that the Amari offers, after a wild night out at Bangla Road.
For those like me who’d prefer to take it easy, don’t worry, you can easily enjoy a stay here without being disturbed by the hustle and bustle of Patong beach.
Whatever your stance is, the location of the Amari offers other benefits too – many of the excursions and day trips offered from Phuket come with free hotel transfers in this area, as well-being only an hour away from the airport.
It’s also worth mentioning that the hotel is built on a very steep hill, particularly if you’re staying in the new Ocean Wing. A free buggy service is available to drive you around the grounds so you don’t have to walk, but this isn’t always optional as there are certain areas you simply can’t get to on foot, depending on where your room is – we tried, and were told to wait for a buggy!
One of the other reasons I chose the Amari was the jetty at the hotel, which lets you snorkel out a short distance past the coral reefs to admire the marine life.
This was really enjoyable but slightly hazardous, as there are no lifeguards on duty or life jackets to borrow. I later found out you can rent jackets from the Dive centre, but only when I’d raised the question after going out for a swim.
I also cut my foot trying to climb onto the giant floating platform on the water, which is made of slippery solid steel, not foam!
Hazards aside, this is a great snorkelling spot with plenty of fish and coral to see, which is a plus especially if you’re not planning on doing any day trips. Just be careful out there!
Food and drink
There are three restaurants at the hotel altogether – La Gritta serving Italian food, Rim Talay by the beach offering international dishes, and a small restaurant at the Jetty.
We had lunch at the Jetty one day, which unfortunately was a bit disappointing. There’s only a small selection of panini sandwiches here which were incredibly overpriced and quite bland, so I’d recommend eating at one of the main restaurants instead.
Food at the Clubhouse was excellent however, with a great selection at breakfast and lunch. Almost all of the menu was international dishes though, which was surprising as it would have been nice to have some local food.
On our first night there was also a BBQ buffet outside Rim Talay. The atmosphere here was lovely, with tables laid out by the beach under candlelight, in celebration of Earth Day. There are special events at the hotel running throughout the year, so take a look at what’s on during your stay to enjoy these.
As Patong is so close, we ate out most nights as restaurants there were much better value for money. I’d definitely recommend doing the same, if you’re up for making the short trip.
The Amari is a beautiful hotel which offers a peaceful and relaxing escape from the madness of Patong. If you’re not on a budget, upgrade to the Ocean Wing room for Clubhouse access, and enjoy the unbeatable views from the infinity pool while sipping on endless cocktails – well, for an hour a day, at least!
You can’t go wrong with the Amari if you’re looking to stay in Patong – thanks to all the lovely staff for a wonderful stay.
Other Phuket hotels I considered:
The Surin – a luxury hotel located on a beautiful private beach where you can do water sports, but there doesn’t seem to be much around the hotel where you can go out and eat in the evening.
Anantara Layan Phuket Resort – pricier than the Amari, but more relaxing and secluded.
More ideas for your trip to Phuket: