Have you ever seen those photos of people lounging by their infinity pool, overlooking the beaches you only see in paradise? The hotel rooms bigger than peoples own apartments (mine!). The luxury you can only dream of…
Well I dreamed it.
Then I experienced it.
If you’re looking to experience Thailand from the luxurious setting of your cushioned sun lounger overlooking the sunset on your private beach; healthy fresh food and individually tailored fitness programs; and amazing treatment from the moment you land in Thailand – then you need to book your stay at the Amatara Resort and Wellness Spa now.
This hotel is true luxury; world class even, with the added bonus of real Thai hospitality – the type that make this beautiful country known as the Land of the Smiles.I’ve stayed at some amazing places during my world travels, but this hotel has taken the solid lead. There is no doubts that it is fully deserving of its World Luxury Spa Award 2016 and the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence! They also won World Luxury Hotel Award in 2014 for best Luxury Island Resort. I’m still in shock that I even stayed here – this place is the stuff of dreams. I expect to see celebrities lounging by the pool, or stretching into svanasana at morning yoga.
As soon as you’re dropped off at the hotel, you are greeted with a crowd of smiling faces and an open view out to the ocean across the infinity swimming pool. Someone hands you a flower, and brings over a refreshing towel and some spiced ice tea while you lounge on the sofas waiting to check in. After 18 hours of travel, the last thing I wanted to do was stand and wait at check in. I’m so glad I had arrived at the Amatara resort, where check in is completed on the sofas overlooking the ocean while you acclimatize to the heat and humidity.
After you’ve checked in, you are driven to your room on the golf cart and given a tour of your room – yes, you need a tour, there is so much included in your room!
Leaving me with the complimentary Ipad and the magnetic key to my room, I was free to enjoy my room fit for a Queen.
Besides the flat screen TV, automated blinds, and in closet light that turn on when you open the door – even the air conditioning was fancy touch screen with numerous dials ones around the room so you could turn down the air-con without having to leave the bed. The bed itself could have slept four people comfortably so if you need a break from your spouse, this is the place to stay- you could sleep all night any never see them. The bed faced the flat screen TV mounted on the half partition wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom/dressing room; whilst both looked out across a ceiling to floor, room length windows to the ocean. The view when you pressed that button and the blinds slowly rose, was breathtaking – straight out of a James Bond movie. I had to pinch myself every morning!
The other highlight, which was definitely something that tempted me initially when I was looking for hotels in this area, is the free standing bathtub overlooking the bay and the large colonial style balcony that hangs within the jungle.
The room also comes equipped with a Nespresso capsule coffee machine, free green and black tea with free milk in the fridge, as well as small snacks such as dried fruit and chips which get replenished everyday. Although don’t leave them out, the ants love them too!
The little ad-ons which made the room that little bit extra special, besides the robe and sturdy flip flop slippers, was the beach bag you can take when you want to lounge on the beach or by the pool. They also know that mosquitoes are a problem, especially during monsoon season in Phuket. Therefore, they provided a mosquito kit so that you are fully prepared, and don’t need to bring anything with you. They provide a room plug in, a small bug spray to carry in your bag, jungle strength spray and an actual spray to kill bugs if you find them in your room. This didn’t happen to me luckily, I only really got bitten when I was out and about in the evenings.
They also stock up the bathroom with luxury shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion; as well as your own mini Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush! You really don’t need to bring anything except sun cream, which can be quite expensive here. You also have to be wary when buying cosmetics here (sun cream included) as they might have whitening agents in them that bleach your skin. Just like many Westerners like to have that fresh “healthy” tan, many countries in Asia think lighter skin is more beautiful.
Now I can only judge this based on breakfast, but the food at the Amatara is to die for! I am so glad I got breakfast included with my room booking, as one of the only downsides of this hotel resort is that the food is quite expensive. But you do pay for quality, and if you like to treat yourself on holiday, then this is the place to do it!
I loved waking up and knowing I was going for my morning buffet. You also got a choice off the al a carte menu, made to order fresh for you. The staff at breakfast ( and the whole hotel in general) were so attentive, especially when breakfast was very quiet, which I’m not sure I liked; it felt like I had my own staff. The waitress would take your tea and coffee order, and place your napkin across your lap whilst you decided on your choice from the al a carte menu. I felt so bad that they had tucked me in with my napkin, I didn’t want to get up to go to the buffet; I felt like a child needed to be excused from the table. It’s the little touches that made this place great.
The buffet was never overcrowded and there was always a full range of food on offer. You also had a mix of local Thai cuisine and Western food, such as croissants, muffins, and toast. There was hot food like noodles available, as well as your choice of fresh fruit, salad, homemade coconut muesli, cereals and jams. You could order a smoothie to help jetlag, or that hangover from the night before, and they also had fresh juices on offer, such as watermelon, mango, chlorella and iced green tea. My favourite was the Donut Tree and the fresh honey that ran straight off the honeycomb!
My favourite breakfast dishes were definitely the Feta scrambled eggs on sourdough bread with avocado salsa. I’m still craving this, and I’ve tried to recreate it a few times. If I was fancying something sweet I would choose the Buttermilk Pancakes with banana, roasted macadamia nuts and maple Syrup. The Wild berry waffles with preserved lemon mascarpone and wild better compote were also to die for. I needed more holiday days to eat these all over again. So if Amatara could send me the recipe for these, that would be great!
There’s a lovely balcony that wraps round the restaurant for you to enjoy breakfast overlooking the sea, but by that time of day I was already too hot to be sat outside fully clothed, and the mosquitoes were very annoying so I usually chose to stay inside in the air conditioning and close access to the food.
As the food and drink is quite expensive in the hotel, I always ventured out of the hotel about a 5/10 minute walk along the esplanade to the local restaurants and shops. You can also hire scooters cheaply from next door to Kantary Cafe to explore restaurants a little further afield, although there is enough in walking distance. If you do decided to head out a little further, you must try the Treetop Cafe, opposite the Radisson Blu hotel. They had so much more choice here for vegetarians, and I’m sad I only found this on my last night. Their spring rolls with plum sauce are perfect, and I finally found Tofu Massaman Curry I’d been looking for all week. We often went to Kantary Cafe for lunch – pizza were as cheap as £4, and you have to try their coconut ice cream! My evening meals consisted mainly of stir fry vegetables and rice, or stir fried Morning Glory
There’s a lovely balcony that wraps around the restaurant for you to enjoy breakfast overlooking the sea, but by that time of day I was already too hot to be sat outside; so I usually chose to stay inside in the air conditioning and close access to the food.
As the food and drink is quite expensive in the hotel, I always ventured out of the hotel about a 5/10 minute walk along the esplanade to the local restaurants and shops. You can also hire scooters cheaply from next door to Kantary Cafe to explore restaurants a little further afield, although there is enough in walking distance. If you do decide to head out a little further, you must try the Treetop Cafe, opposite the Radisson Blu hotel. They had so much more choice here for vegetarians, and I’m sad I only found this on my last night. Their spring rolls with plum sauce are perfect, and I finally found Tofu Massaman Curry I’d been looking for all week. We often went to Kantary Cafe for lunch – pizzas were as cheap as £4, and you have to try their coconut ice cream! My evening meals consisted mainly of stir fry vegetables and rice, or stir fried Morning Glory.
If you are looking for a cheap Thai massage, these can be found at many local shops and spas around the area. But if you want the true Thai luxury experience, Amatara is the place. People come from far and wide to try the Hammam Journey – the world’s first Thai Hammam. The Wellness facilities and experiences at this hotel are second to none and I really wish I had more time and money to experience the other things they had on offer.
I opted to book myself in for the Signature Amatara massage. Before heading to the room, they ask what strength of massage you want, I went for medium as I was flying home that evening. They also let you test out the different scents and essentials oils for you to choose from such as peppermint for rejuvenation and jojoba for relaxation. I chose the Amatara Signature scent; I trusted their expertise and wanted to try their full tailored experience unique to this spa.
The lady who treated me to my massage was amazing, leading me to my own changing room with robe and underwear before washing my feet in warm water with petals. The massage lasted an hour, the whole time I was hoping it wouldn’t end. It’s the most relaxed I have ever felt (I think I even fell asleep at one point!) After your massage, you get dressed and head out to the lobby where you are greeted with warm herbal tea to dehydrate and a dried fruit snack that she showed me how to hold and eat from the leaves.
Hands down, this is my favourite experience in Thailand, and couldn’t recommend it more highly. Even if you don’t stay at this hotel, it is worth traveling too just to experience the spa; and it really is a full experience.
- They provide complimentary transport to the mall and another nearby beach which has beach activities like jet skiing etc. This area is much more touristy though, and you can get paddle boards from the hotel to take out on the calm water from your private beach.
- There is a mini part/pharmacy just at the end of the hotel drive, and other shops in walking distance.
- Health and fitness facilities at the hotel were outstanding, meaning you didn’t have to ruin your fitness goals while you take that luxury trip. Free morning and afternoon yoga, air conditioned gym overlooking the cape, a whole Retreat dining area with private pool which sold purely healthy dinners and snacks, tailored fitness programs including Pilates, sports massages and much more. You can come home healthier than when you left!
- This was a true relaxation retreat, and I miss looking out over the infinity pool at Koh Phi Phi Island on the horizon.
- Very steep hills around the resort. To get down to the beach (or more noticeably, back up) there are many stairs and steep hill walks. This definitely increased my fitness, but you tire instantly in the heat and its not great for any guests with mobility issues or disability (the hotel, however, will help with this by driving you in a golf cart).
- The private beach is very shallow so you have to head quite far out to swim properly. I enjoyed this though as you could walk out straight to the reef with the tropical fish, and snorkel in shallow water.
- Food is expensive in the hotel. However, I think if the hotel had more reasonable prices for food, I would still want to eat at the local restaurants to get a true feel for the place. You experience the atmosphere of Cape Panwa and support the local businesses.
- Although I see this as a positive aspect of the hotel, other people might view the hotels proximity to busy areas (or lack of) as a downfall. I love that I was in a more local area, with local restaurants and away for the tacky tourist hussle and bussle. Pure relaxation comes away from the crowds! You are a 30 minute taxi to the town, but I found this flew by when you’re looking at the new things through the window.
- The mosquitoes were quite annoying in wet season, but the hotel did their best to help with this.
Hotel Rating: 9.5/10
Its not easy to find somewhere perfect, but this place is pretty close.
During my stay I even said that I wouldn’t be able to beat this place for my honeymoon as it really doesn’t get more luxurious than this. That was until I saw the pool villas with their own infinity pools overlooking the bay. I’ll just to have to upgrade at the Amatara.
I loved my stay on Phuket Island and highly recommend Thailand. I cant wait to go back and visit again one day. To check out more photos of my adventures in Thailand, head on over to my Phuket Photo Diary post. Have you been to Thailand and have any recommendations for my future adventures there? Let me know, I’m just waiting to explore new places.
Until Next Time