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HOT SPOT: PHUKET


PHUKET REMAINS A CHART–TOPPING BEACH HOLIDAY FAVOURITE


P THAILAND 20 HOTELS NEW OPENINGS


GET INVOLVED • Twin Phuket with luxury


accommodation on the islands of Phi Phi Don, Ko Lanta, Ko Racha or Ko Yao Noi


• Watch yacht racing in December’s


King’s Cup Regatta or charter your own crewed or un-crewed, with Sunsail


• Combine Phuket with nearby Krabi to ring the changes on a fortnight’s break


• Consider an interesting Dubai-Phuket twin-centre by flying Emirates


• Catch the various wince-inducing fire-walking and piercing rituals of September/October’s Vegetarian Festival


dusitD2 The 390-room dusitD2 Phuket Resort in Thailand, one block from Patong Beach, aims to become a destination in its own right, including ‘an array of iconic lifestyle and entertainment outlets’ one of which is a Hard Rock Café. The hotel is scheduled for an April 2014 rebranding date and is also developing a rooftop bar and a spa with nine treatment rooms. dusit.com


Point Yamu by COMO This luxury resort opened last year overlooking Phang Nga Bay, with 79 rooms and suites and 27 private villas. Contemporary interiors are by Italian designer Paola Navone, and a ‘wellness retreat’ feature. comohotels.com/pointyamu


Seaview Resort & Spa Khao Lak’s Nang Thong Beach has gained this Centara-managed resort with four pools. Boats to the Similan and Surin islands, two golf


courses and a national park are nearby. Rooms can accommodate two adults and two children. centarahotelsresorts.com


Avista Hideaway Resort There’s a 24-hour butler service, an Ayurvedic spa and barbecue terrace at this 150-room property that overlooks Tri Trang and Patong beaches.


avistahotelsandresorts.com


Holiday Inn On Mai Khao beach, 15 minutes from the airport, the hotel has a kids’ club, teen zone, playground, children’s pool, and free dinners for under-12s. ihg.com/holidayinnresorts


Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort Part of the Laguna resort complex, (pictured top), it includes a dedicated club floor for private breakfasts, drinks, snacks and themed cocktails. outriggerthailand.com


TAKE TO THE wATERS Dive from October to April for the best conditions and check the seasons for leopard sharks, manta rays and whalesharks


huket is Thailand’s biggest island and is linked to the mainland by a causeway. It faces the warm Andaman Sea and boasts enviable beaches and facilities. The resort will comfort Asia first-timers with familiar international hotels and western restaurants. And with the new Thomson Dreamliner flights, British visitors can now fly direct from London Gatwick. Most hotel development is clustered around the


Southwest beaches, particularly Patong, Karon and Kata. The Northwest (handy for the airport) and East have a quieter, less westernised, feel. Patong, Phuket’s famous nightlife area, sees some stag party-style excesses around Bangla Road but has plenty more mainstream bars, restaurants and clubs, as well as a night market. Families appreciate Phuket’s hotel kids’ clubs and child- friendly attractions like the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and FantaSea cultural park which features a circus-style show with massed elephants.


Phuket’s also great for active tourists, with plentiful day-trips to snorkel or kayak around the limestone karsts of gorgeous Phang Nga Bay. It’s also a great dive base with world-class sites the Similan and Surin Islands, Burma Banks and the Merui Archipelago within reach. Even handier for divers is up-and-coming Khao Lak to Phuket’s north, which has quality hotels and a quieter ambience.


Phuket


combines well with... Phi Phi islands,


Khao Lak and Krabi


PHUKET


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