The breakfast buffet is in the middle of the resort at open-air PAKARANG RESTAURANT on the Eastern side of the lagoon pool (which also has buffet service at night). The breakfast wait staff really impressed us. Because of her lactose intolerance and dietary needs, Sheira is like a lightening rod for good or mediocre service. From the first time she asked for soy milk they always made sure that it was on the table for her every day thereafter - pretty nifty for a 600 room hotel. It also has a completely two-tier, over the top selection of not only full European style breakfast but Asian as well. You could last all day after the feast here!
The property has eleven restaurants and bars so if you are the type to stay put in resorts you really don’t have to look any further to feast.
Eating by the ocean is one of my favourite things to do in Summer and we had lunch beachside just about every day at Le Meridien, right by the sand at the TONSON BAR. This was a big hit with the family. We had great times sharing meals while sitting under the shade of the palm trees in our swimming trunks, without ever having to break the mood and go off cruise control. To change flavour but keep the mood we fell back on our ultimate standby, Italian - we enjoyed the beachside clay oven pizzas and espressos at LA FIAMMA. You can literally wriggle your toes in the sand while reaching for your slice.
We always miss Sydney’s great Japanese food when we are in Europe but you obviously never have this problem in Asia. Resort restaurant, ARIAKE has that really fresh, high-grade sashimi sliced by trained chefs - the only way it’s worth having. For anyone interested in discovering formal Thai cuisine beyond the usual, dumbed-down Pad Thai noodles and Tom Kha Gai spicy coconut soup that has reached neighborhood takeways all over the world, there is the three-course traditional set menu at WANG WARIN.
Close friends from London were in Phuket as well. They were staying at The Chedi. They suggested we join them for dinner at the AMANPURI, which I was happy to do as it was one of the properties I was hoping to visit.
The flagship spa resort of the Aman Resorts Group is stunning - the quintessential glossy magazine cover of intimate, Asian luxury. The infinity pool, surrounded by starkly chic daybeds and coconuts trees, has outdoor pool buildings that are traditionally Thai, with gorgeous high gabled roofs and slanting eaves. The simple, exquisitely manicured gardens are divine; there is nothing crass or out of place; the scale and low-key but cosmopolitan guests remind me why I love this kind of hotel best.
Although not staying there, we were able to let the atmosphere sink in and, while chef Naoki Okumura brings together two of the world’s best cuisines. It’s expensive, but you’ll swoon over the food and location.
BANANA BEACH. For a great lunch excursion away from the crowd of tourists at Patong Beach, drive to Trisara near Nai Thon district then take a long boat for a few minutes to a lovely little unspoilt cove on Koh Hae (or ‘Coral Island’) with low, marble-like rocks jutting out at a 45 degree angle.
Don’t be put off by the rickety beach shack; this experience is all about being Robinson Crusoe and eating fresh catch then wiping the salt off on your cut off denims and going for a dip in isolation.
This beach shack on Surin Beach has a wonderful atmosphere - We ate the best whole snapper that I have ever had in my entire life.
They put the big fish under this burning rock to barbecue rather than poach it. It dries out beautifully with a nice crusty skin.
You sit under the stars, feet in the sand and the whole experience is totally surreal. We had the kids at one table, the adults at another and it was one of the most beautiful peaceful evening we had the whole holiday.
This restaurant is an institution on the island and part of a cluster of top-level dining elevated on a low cliff amongst the jungle growth on the north end of Patong beach. The Baan Rim Pa serves “royal cuisine” because the Thai dishes were originally cooked exclusively at the Royal Palace. The live jazz and cocktails add glamour and the setting and décor are as gorgeous as the amazing Thai food and views over Patong and Kalim Bays.
Open air bar, JOE’S right down on the shoreline, is a fun place for a drink afterwards or you can nibble tapas, lobster – but it’s all about the wine. Your mood really picks up with the dazzlingly fresh looking all-white wicker furniture and floors.
If you get Thai’d out then hop across to DA MAURIZIOS for Italian with an amazing, so close you can touch it, seaside setting.
This is a great chance to dine at another hip new resort that will certainly attract international design-savvy guests - the INDIGO PEARL on Nai Yang Beach.
WE love the way they have bravely and brilliantly mixed up the modern and historical. The traditional carved buildings with thatched roofs and elevated pool with water spilling over the edge are made edgy by the inky colour palette (no brights) and modern sculpture. Embellished columns in the interior add warmth and beauty to the modernist furniture.
The setting works with the glamorous menu: with dishes like soft shell crab and mango pearls in plum sauce or pumpkin curry with superb grilled lamb chops. It’s also your chance to try some Southern Thai regional dishes as well.
How can you not love this name? If you are shopping in Surin Plaza then take advantage and go to the top floor. The décor in ochres and browns is plush and modern but not too stiff.
There is a huge bar and artfully presented food for sophisticated, cashed up foreigners. The seafood is delicious and flavourful - stacked fish cakes, blue crab, ‘goong sarong’ deep-fried prawns in mango and chilli sauce and ‘Pia Neung Buay,’ steamed whole white snapper with ginger and pickled plums. And with a name like this you expect pretty decadent desserts. Thank God I run so I can justify falling off the wagon so spectacularly with their Belgian dark and white chocolate mousse.
This light, airy, double height space at the Twin Palms Hotel is contemporary, which suits this grill and bar’s fusion menu, which is all about sophisticated, global influence.
Some of the menu standouts were,…flown-in Boston lobster or lamb rack; and Angus steak from Australia. There is a light, post-modern approach which keeps you open to different flavours. A delicious Thai dish like ‘Goong ob woon sen,’ tiger prawns baked in a clay pot with glass noodles, shares space on the menu with a lobster pappardelle pasta.THE WAITERS WERE BRILLIANT !!
I also recommend that you eat in Phuket with a sense of adventure. The high-end is amply catered for, what with all the posh resorts and diplomat dollars. But Sheira, the kids and I also shared delicious, convivial meals in this hole-in-the wall type restaurant in downtown Patong with paper tablecloths and the Thai granny cooking out the back! Awesome. Just what we needed after roaming the streets for an hour.
One night we showed up alone, coming back a second time for another great meal. Six family groups from the hotel we knew came in as well with the same idea. It was like an accidentally exclusive rental of the whole joint! We ate heartily and still got change from feeding a family of five for U$20 and these were some of the best meals we had.