In June 2023, I checked into the Partial Ocean View Pool Villa at Rosewood Phuket. Tucked away within the secluded and picturesque Emerald Bay along Phuket’s southwestern coast, the 71-key beachfront property is a short drive away from the buzzy Patong nightlife and dining area – Phuket’s most famous attraction – and 90 minutes from Phuket International Airport. Nearby attractions include Tri Trang Beach and the Phuket Elephant On The Beach (you interact with elephants!).
Notable hotels in Phuket include InterContinental Phuket Resort, Banyan Tree Phuket, Keemala and V Villas Phuket – MGallery.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Luxurious beach residences with excellent Thai restaurant in Phuket.
The must-dos (if any): Spend time in your luxurious pavilion or suite, have dinner at Ta Khai restaurant, enjoy drinks at Mai after dark.
Designed by Melbourne-based design firm BAR Studio (behind Capella Sydney, Rosewood Phnom Penh, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono and parts of Rosewood Hong Kong and the Regent Hong Kong) in collaboration with Bangkok landscape architects PLA (recent projects include Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, Capella Bangkok, 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok and Park Hyatt Bangkok), the resort is reportedly the most expensive luxury resort to be built in Thailand, with a significant amount dedicated to ecologically-friendly and sustainable practices, from the resort’s rooftop network of photovoltaic cells (the largest solar panel system amongst hotels in Phuket) and extensive use of sustainably sourced, recycled and reclaimed materials to the resort’s rainwater harvesting and coral reef restoration efforts.
The resort’s 71 pavilions and villas are organised in themed clusters (I stayed at the “Treeline” cluster near the “Sandstone” and “Lake” sections), all connected by meandering pathways which cut through the dense jungle foliage and connect the hilly areas to the stretch of beach below. The arrival pavilion – one of the resort’s highest points – sets a suitably grand stage for your stay with its stunning views of the Andaman Sea, while the hotel’s dining concepts are all located near the beach on the resort’s lower levels.
In terms of wellness, Rosewood’s signature wellness concept Asaya offers a variety of physical treatments and therapies alongside wellness consultations and bespoke fitness classes such as Muay Thai and Yoga. Elsewhere, set within a lush landscape, the freeform swimming pool is divided into different sections, with a longer stretch for swimming laps as well as various pockets of shallow water for the little ‘uns. The tykes who prefer non-aquatic fun can amuse themselves at the Rosewood Explorers kid’s club, while adults looking for a sweatier form of entertain can visit the state-of-the-art fitness centre. Boutique space The Gallery is available for those who want some added glamour at the beach or souvenirs to remember the stay by.
PARTIAL OCEAN VIEW POOL VILLA
Boasting a private plunge pool and cabana as well as a spacious outdoor terrace with partial ocean views over the Andaman Sea, the 211sqm one-bedroom Partial Ocean View Pool Villa is quite possibly one of my favourite villas ever stayed at, playing more like an urbanite’s sophisticated residence which just happens to be near the ocean rather than something quite as pedestrian as temporary accommodation. Generous splashes of white – from marbletop tabletops and flowy sheer curtains to whitewashed objets d’art – lend a touch of classiness, while the bedroom is elegantly appointed with warm alcove lighting as well as Thai artworks and artefacts which give the space luxurious penthouse feels. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedroom overlook the villa’s sun-drenched garden courtyard as well as the outdoor terrace. I noted that my pillow cases were embroidered with my initials, a wonderful touch I also experienced during my suite stay at Rosewood Hong Kong.
The pantry offers Nespresso coffee and tea-making facilities, with tea bags from Thai brand Voyage. The minibar is stocked with bottled Negroni, Martini and Manhattan cocktails from The Everleigh Bottling Co (not unlike Rosewood Bangkok), a selection of bottled and canned drinks and beers, Chalong Bay rum, Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey as well as Taittinger champagne.
The cavernous bathroom offers more wardrobe space than you possibly need, double vanities, a shower room with a rainfall shower as well as a beautiful courtyard with a deep soaking bathtub and rain shower.
Breakfast is served at Red Sauce, the beachfront Italian restaurant which overlooks the pool. Aside from the usual buffet spread of charcuterie and pastries, the restaurant also offers an a la carte menu with Thai dishes such as dishes such as Joke (pork or chicken congee, poached egg, ginger, spring onion), Khao Tom Pla (fish boiled rice, fresh sliced ginger, crispy garlic), Ba Mee Kiew Moo Daeng (egg noodle soup, sliced pork and chicken dumpling), Bak Kut Teh (double boiled pork ribs, mushrooms, spices and herbal soup), Moo Ping (Thai marinated grilled pork skewers, sticky rice) and Xiao Boi (traditional Phuket dumplings, chilli sauce and Chinese vinegar). The egg menu comprises dishes such as Zatar Fried Egg Crostino (Greek yoghurt, mint, parsley), Shakshuka (baked eggs in tomato sauce, cumin, red pepper, onion, feta cheese, toasted pistachio, rye bread), Crab White Omelette (choron sauce), Ham & Cheese Crepe (tomato chutney, watercress, herbs oil) and the luxurious Eggs in the Shell (scrambled, crab & Oscietra Caviar, parmesan & truffle). Elsewhere, a plant-based section offers selections such as Chickpeas Omelette (mushroom duxelles, spinach, green peas) and Hummus Rye Bread (sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, paprika).
In addition, the menu has a strong wellness slant, with an extensive selection of morning boosters, smoothies and healthy juices. I was intrigued by the “Adaptogens” section, which offers a range of herbs such as Maca, Ashwagandha and Gotu Kola which you can add to any morning beverage of your choice to neutralize the effects of physical, chemical and biological stress on your body.
Designed to resemble a rustic Thai fishing village, the Michelin Guide-recommended beachfront restaurant Ta Khai showcases authentic traditional Thai cuisine in both a la carte and course menu formats. Helmed by a local chef couple affectionately named Uncle Nun and Aunty Yai, the restaurant comprises different pavilions scattered around a coastal area surrounded by trees, including a towering bodhi tree which stands guard at the entrance. Open kitchens, fish ponds, fresh seafood displayed on ice and warm orange lighting – assisted by the candles at each table – add to an intimate, cosy and atmospheric dining experience, especially if you opt for seats at one of the open-air pavilions.
We went for one of the set menus for one pax consisting of Poh Pia Sod (fresh Phuket spring rolls, prawns, jicama, bean sprouts, chili, tamarind dip), Tod Mun Goong (fried shrimp cakes, pickled vegetables, sweet plum sauce), Tom Yum Talay (spicy & sour Andaman seafood, Thai herbs, chili, lime juice), Bai Liang Phad Kai (stir-fried native melinjo leaves, eggs, garlic, dried shrimps), Moo Hong (soy braised pork, black pepper, garlic), Gaeng Pu (crab curry, betel leaves), Yum Pak Kood Goong Sod (fiddlehead ferns salad, shrimps, minced pork, crispy shallot, chili & lime dressing) and Khao Nieo Mamuang (mango sticky rice). To supplement the dinner since there were two of us, we ordered the Phad Char Squid (stir-fried, chili, garlic, hot basil, fresh young peppercorn), Grilled River Prawns, Neung Manao Seabass (lime & chili) and Tub Tim Krob (water chestnut dumpling, jackfruit, coconut syrup). It turned out to be a sensational and triumphant dinner with so much to commend – the rich oceanic profile of the Tom Yum Talay, the tenderness of the soy braised pork, the intense flavours of the crab curry, the joyous crunchiness of the water chestnut dumplings. It is easy to understand why Rosewood CEO Sonia Cheng has declared Ta Khai to be one of her favourite Thai restaurants.
The resort has two poolside dining concepts – laid-back seafood concept The Shack serves snacks, chargrilled dishes and Thai specialties (I had the luxurious Josephine Oyster No.2, the rich Tom Tum Talay and the smoky Grilled Octopus for lunch), while bar space Mai serves generally lighter cocktails in the day and adopts a more spirit-driven approach after dark – think a dedicated section of Negroni cocktails (Vintage Negroni, Sbagliato Negroni and a mezcal-based Rosita Negroni) and classic tipples (highlights include Old Fashioned, Pisco Martinez, Perfect Manhattan). With its island-idyllic wooden bead curtains and assortment of seating arrangements – from bar counters and high tables to sofa seating both indoors and poolside – Mai turned out to be quite an atmospheric space to unwind at the end of a long day of fun and sun.
The Partial Ocean View Pool Villa turned out to be one of my favourite villas ever, and dinner at Ta Khai was one of my favourite dining experiences ever. That’s two favourites within the span of one stay – not too shabby.
88/28, 88/30-33 Muen-Ngern Road, Patong
Kathu, Phuket, 83150