Phuket’s is well known for white sandy beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and breathtaking sunsets, appealing to the rumpled backpacker and the package holidaymaker alike. But what if you want the experience of your own luxury residence in Phuket, with a host of amenities and activities on your doorstep? Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas may well be the place for you…
Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas is a mere 15 minutes from the international airport that serves Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi. You barely have time to admire the open roads (so different from bustling Bangkok), the distant, cloud-stippled peaks and the open skies before you are delivered at the open reception area of the Avani+. This is a serene and spacious zone for welcoming guests, but make the most of it, because you won’t need to see it again until you check out; the reception team are but a phone call away at all times and whether you need more detergent for the washing machine (yes, washing machine!), a bucket of ice or a golf buggy to ferry you to dinner, you will get a polite and speedy response.
The suite we stayed in, a two bedroom pool villa, was one of those holiday accommodations, where you might be tempted to barricade the door shut upon entering and never ever leave… The open plan lounge and kitchen has incredible high ceilings in the shape of a traditional Thai house, a fully equipped galley kitchen with dining island, LED TVs and the unheard of luxury of washing machine and dryer, perfect for keeping your swimmers fresh or bringing those palazzo pants back from the brink once you’ve worn them on a sweaty adventure into Phuket town… The master bedroom has a king bed, while the second has a twin set up, but the inhabitant of the master may not ever wish to leave their bathroom, having, as they do, a large oval bathtub, glossy black tiles and a door to an outdoor shower area as well. Décor is modern and unobtrusive, with a few distinctly Thai touches and patterns without feeling like your hotel is a museum.
The showstopper, however, is the outsider space, where you have your own private pool in a walled garden, loungers, small lawn area and a covered daybed with tiled roof, known in Thailand as a sala. The pool has a very shallow area where young children might paddle and a deliciously deep end, which you can literally leap directly into from the master bedroom. There is, if you want, a big public pool and swim up bar, but if you are after the absolute epitome of relaxation on holiday, can you get any closer than slipping into your own private swimming pool at any time of the day or night?
Of course, with a room like this, it is incredibly convenient to avoid dining out altogether (shock horror!) and the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas is perfectly situated to enable this. As well as an extensive in-room dining menu that serves frankly the best pizza in Thailand amongst more traditional fare, over the road is a little cluster of eateries and boutiques known as Turtle Village, where you can buy some basic groceries. Once you have tasted the high life in your own pool though, it would be rude not to dress up a little (this is Phuket, not Bangkok – your flowy skirts and shirts will be fine) and sample one of the casual concessions at the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas or cross the road to the (big) sister resort of the Anantara, where there are a host more restaurants and where Avani+ guests can access spa treatments. The restaurants at Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas include Talad, for the delicious breakfast with buffet and to-order items (Thai omelette, spicy, if you dare), and Chop Chop, their Asian beer garden.
With spa treatments booked, we made the longer-than-expected wander over to the Anantara and took in the difference between the two resorts, namely that the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas has a kind of streamlined contemporary feel about it, while the Anantara has embraced the jungle. Before the massage, there was a lavender salt foot scrub as part of the usual foot-cleansing ritual and the option to choose from several different spa music tracks, which was a nice touch (unbeknownst to each other, we both opted for ‘Eastern Harmony’ – a blend of traditional instruments sounding ‘dreamlike and exotic’). Taken to treatment rooms by masseuses Faii and Oil respectively, Charlotte and I donned the required pyjama suits and were stretched, kneaded and manipulated into what Charlotte later referred to as ‘human pretzels’. Thai massages vary significantly in quality, but this one was exceptionally good, entirely therapeutic and relaxing with no oil. Charlotte and I both went in with specific areas that we wanted our massage to focus on and came out feeling loose, light and relaxed.
Eating at the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas was the perfect end to the day. With the beach a mere stones throw away (accessible through the Anantara, where Avani+ guests can use the beachfront loungers and pools – sadly on our visit it was too rough to swim in the sea!), we were in the mood for a mountain of fresh seafood. On our way to dinner, we couldn’t resist a stop on the bright orange beanbags and deckchairs of the gin van and Aperol cart. This gives a lovely informal atmosphere to your luxury holiday, allowing you to fully relax. I enjoyed a spritz or two while Charlotte tasted a few delicious G&Ts, concluding that her favourite was a spicy number with Sencha gin.
Dinner itself was at Claws and Co where I insisted upon ordering the fat and juicy salt and chili breaded shrimp, knowing that Lady C couldn’t partake but I could have a bite of her calamari with spicy sauce. The seafood in both dishes was brightly fresh, cooked to perfection. We moved on to a whole Phuket lobster with an incredible garlic sauce, our only criticism that we could have eaten more! Without considering how gluttonous this article would ultimately make us look, we also ordered a platter of vodka battered soft shell crab which was (fortunately) only one crab apiece and (unusually) fried in a thick chip shop batter rather than the usual light tempura. That feast behind us, we opted to skip dessert and, like the respectable women we are, let our food go down over a few games of cards in the sala before swimming off the rest in our private pool under the moon. Heaven.
If Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas had some of these two bed pool villas for sale, I would be lining up to buy one. The seclusion, in the midst of all the facilities, is the perfect combination for a tropical getaway. Phuket is easily reachable for a bit of extra culture (don’t miss the museums or the Sunday walking street bazaar), while the hotel can also suggest opportunities for nature, diving and island-hopping expeditions. If you are looking for a luxury holiday that has it all, plus more, Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas should be top of your list!
Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas
887 Moo 3, Tumbon
Mai Khao, Thalang District