A different perspective on Phuket: The Amari Phuket, Ocean Wing [REVIEW]


The ‘party party’ image that Phuket has become famous for is justified. If you are looking for a strip of bars, restaurants, spliced with Irish pubs and ‘ping pong’ shows, then you won’t be disappointed. But, while that has it’s rightful place, there is another, much cooler and calmer side to Phuket, which can offer an idyllic and luxurious holiday, for families, couples or groups of friends. You just have to look uphill, to the Amari Phuket. [Pictured above: The hotel’s reception bar – totally tropical]

The Amari Phuket is set on one end of the main town’s beach, cut into the hillside. It has changed and grown hugely in recent years, changing it’s image from a regular beachside hotel to a glittering jewel on the famed Thai island. There are many parts to the hotel, now. Beachside apartments, near the spa building, recently renovated rooms overlooking the main two pools, and an altogether different style of accommodation – grand suites in the newly built Ocean Wing that sit on stilts winding their way up the steep hill, which culminates in an awe-inducing Club House.


The infinity pool at the Amari Phuket Club House


Hotel: Amari Phuket
Location: Patong Beach
Address: Patong Beach, Phuket 83150
Phone: +66 (0) 7634 0106-14
Nearest airport: Phuket 40km away
Rates: Visit the Amari website for the latest offers
Website: Amari Phuket
Pool? Yes, three, inlcuding the infinity pool at the Club House for the Ocean Suites
Wi-Fi? Yes, in room and in communal areas
Perfect for: The Club House and Ocean Wing is ideal for couples looking to get away from it all in the lap of luxury. The other suites and apartments across the hotel are perfect for families.
FashCatherine credentials: The hotel has 380 guestrooms and suites, but the new luxury Ocean Wing with Club House that houses the infinity pool is the absolute bees knees – you must stay here. At Amari Phuket, there is also the bonus of a secluded hotel-guest only beach, Breeze Spa, a private Jetty and the delicious La Gritta Italian restaurant.

The Club House is solely for guests of the new Ocean Wing, and has an exclusive, yet approachable feel – if your name’s on the list, that is. The view from the decking and infinity pool here is, without a doubt, the stuff of postcards from Thailand. From here, you can see the whole crescent of the bay, long tail boats bobbing in the sea waves and an endless amount of blue sky. There are around eight rows of sunbirds, heading back from the poolside. There is sun bed service – cocktails and Wagyu beef burger, anyone? And the level of service is exemplary, even by Amari standards. Cold flannelettes, chilled fruit kebabs and lemon tinged iced water are brought round by the friendly staff, who keep the Thai’s reputation for being a smiley bunch firmly in tact.


Happy hour at the Amari Phuket Club House makes me happy…

Inside the Club House, there is a bar and eating area, with a table laden terrace, where you can enjoy soft drinks and complementary biscuits all day. At 530pm every day, the Amari Phuket Club House really comes into it’s own, and happy hour begins! Here, this means complementary cocktails and other alcoholic drinks (read: Prosecco), a tiered plated tower of locally inspired canapés, and a front row seat to watch one of the best sunsets in the world. Every day.


Loving the view from the Club House infinity pool


Ocean Wing suite living room and kitchen


Ocean Wing suite bedroom

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The view over to the Club House, from our Ocean Wing Suite


You might find that days while away, as you won’t find a comfier sun bed or a finer view, anywhere nearby. But while it will always remain in my top five places to have a luxurious nap, it is worth taking a stroll around the ret of the resort. I say ‘stroll’, I definitely mean call one of the on hand golf buggies to take you to ground level, at least. They will take you wherever you need to go – spa, restaurant, happy hour, just call or ask the concierge.

The reception area is utterly gorgeous, (that’s the one in the image at the start of this review) and houses one of the most beautiful, and most underused, bars I have ever seen. The magnificent floor to ceiling glass window behind it looks out onto Phuket bay, and is framed by willowy palm trees. For some reason, this was always empty – top tip: visit this bar!


From the reception bar, you can wander down to one of the other pools, (above), which is a little shaded, has a sea view, and is flanked by the hotel’s Italian restaurant, La Gritta.

Walk a little further to the next restaurant, Rim Talay, which specialises in Thai food, and overlooks the other pool and beach. This is the biggest pool, with lots of sun beds and cabana beds. It all looked very appealing, but somehow, once you’ve been around the Club House pool, you can’t help but feeling a little spoiled. We found ourselves wanting to get back to our little haven, pronto…


The Amari Phuket’s private beach

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The private jetty

It is worth taking a walk along the beach, which was always empty when we happened upon it. We walked along a tree lined pathway to reach the hotel’s long jetty, that is dotted with sun beds and umbrellas. There isn’t any buggy service to get here, and it’s a bit of a walk along a windy path, but if you are fit and able, then it’s worth it. It feels totally decadent to while away a peaceful afternoon spent on a private jetty! The sun beats down but the breeze and umbrellas provide respite. There is an ever attentive member of staff, who can serve you snacks, ice cream and drinks.

At the end of the jetty, there are some steps to make it easy for you to climb in and swim with the millions of fish that swarm there. We didn’t last long though… I am a fair weather sea-swimmer, i.e. I like it when I can see the bottom, and I freaked out when the numbers of fish made me feel like I was in a bowl of live sushi. Much more pleasant to be lazing away on a lounger, I’d say.




Patong Beach – The nightlife might be crazy, but the beach is always this inviting

The proximity to Phuket’s Patong Beach makes it easy to dip in and out of, as you fancy. Many a guidebook would politely describe it as having a ‘buzzing party scene’. In Thailand, this is code for ‘bars with cocktail buckets, among night markets, street food stalls, late night tourist desks selling boat tours, and even the odd Irish pub and rammed Subway.’ Go even further back into the beach town, and you can find bars with ladyboys and ping pong shows. The thing is, in among all this are some really great restaurants, and we had a fantastic night out at the Irish pub listening to a Thai band singing everything from David Bowie songs to Coyote Ugly (yep, I got up on that stage and sang that with them).

Part of Thailand’s attraction to young backpackers is the availability of cheap alcohol in tropical surroundings. To be staying in the town would not be my choice, but to stay on the edge and visit for a night is actually, brilliant. The beach itself is wonderful. Backpackers tend to gather at one end, and the rest of the crescent shaped bay is empty golden sands waiting for you to play on.


Patong beach seafront


The sun sets over Patong Beach – view from Amari Phuket

The Amari Phuket is a luxurious base from which to explore not only Patong Beach for a day or two, but also the nearby, quieter, picturesque beaches like Kata, which the hotel offers a shuttle service to. In the grand scheme of things, Patong Beach is still a beauty, and although it has a ‘party party’ reputation, it’s just not in the same ‘tacky’ way as it’s European party counterparts. It is still picture postcard perfect – away from the ping pong bars, that is!

You can also book day trips to places like the Similian Islands (still around three hours away, but look worth it), and James Bond Island kayaking tours. We chose to go to Phi Phi on a day trip from Koh Lanta, as it is a little closer. But also, truth be told, we preferred to spend another day around the infinity pool, than racing around. Choosing relaxing at a hotel over sightseeing? For me, (as anyone who knows me will tell you), this is definitely a good sign.


Making friends over Thai food and wine at the Rim Talay restaurant

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The stay reviewed in this article, in January 2016, was supported by Amari, Phuket.

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