Hotel review

Hotel Review: Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, Thailand

A cinema-style resort set around a tranquil lagoon with blazing torch-lined bridges leading to restaurants, villas and the sea, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas is a fun and funky spot perfect for families but also quiet enough for couples. couples who want some seclusion.

The grounds are teeming with wildlife (a rather grumpy duck followed us for a bit) with red eagles flying overhead and cute little hoopoes foraging for treats.

The west side of the hotel adjoins the beautiful Mai Khao Beach, a huge stretch of sand perfect for leisurely walks. Depending on the time of year and the weather, the sea can get quite wild, but there are signs to let you know it’s safe to swim.

Rooms and suites

Anantara Mai Khao has 83 villas nestled around a tranquil lagoon; all come with good-sized pools, shallow at one end to suit children. The sides are stepped to provide below-surface seating for those sweltering Thai days so you can sit back and relax in the water with your vacation reading.

Entry-level villas have high ceilings and are huge, but Sala Villas are the pick of the crop, with salas (Thai open pavilions) that overlook the lagoon. Teak and white linen are the mainstays inside with bright blues and oranges providing a few splashes of color. We’re especially big fans of the incense in the bedroom (hidden under the minibar) – light one and bring those soothing scents inside.

Restaurant SeaFireSalt

Eat and drink

SeaFireSalt is the hotel’s beach-themed restaurant that, by the pool, has a swim-up bar for bathers. It’s family-friendly and lively with music that creates a friendly atmosphere in the evening. Primarily a steakhouse, lunch offers a range of burgers, the ubiquitous (and deservedly) club sandwich, pizza and pasta while things get fancier in the evening with upscale offerings like scallops with corn and chorizo ​​fritters, caper crumbs and pumpkin. The stars of the show are the sizzling platters, a luxurious fusion of surf and turf – steaks, chops, crawfish, tiger prawns, crab, scallops, mussels and a whole host of savory dips.

For top-notch Thai cuisine, La Sala Restaurant is where you want to go. Located in the middle of the hotel park and backing onto the lagoon, the dishes are as refined as they are tasty. There are a bunch of Thai favorites on the menu as well as regional treats like Moo Hong, a simmered pork curry, flavored with whole black peppercorns and cinnamon. There are also some nice chef’s twists, like Massaman Nuea made with sous vide beef short ribs and crispy tempura flowers.

Tiffin By La Sala

You can also order from its Tiffin By La Sala menu at the same location, which is rather new. The in-house Indian chef, Bharat Singh, offers a heap of jaw-dropping dishes prepared with great flair – from “Spicy Chickpea Breaded Fish Sticks”, Yoghurt-Marinated Salmon Cooked in the Tandoor with Sauce coconut and cumin rice; the must-have is the signature black dhal, a deep, earthy and ultra-rich dish best served with buttery garlic naan bread, straight out of the oven. The restaurant was recently recognized by the Michelin Guide.

If you want to hone your own cooking skills, you can sign up for a one-on-one cooking class at the Spice Spoon Cooking School. You’ll cook your own three-course lunch for great value.

Tree House is Phuket’s upscale Omakase home; Built around an old banyan tree, this Japanese counter-restaurant serves excellent sashimi, nigiri and grilled dishes, as well as a carefully chosen range of sakes and some killer cocktails. The best seats in the house are around the central kitchen where you get stunning views to watch the chefs work their magic.

Mai Khao beach

What to do

North Phuket is home to two national parks. Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is a worthy day trip with magnificent waterfalls with serene pools to cool off in. It is also home to the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, a rescue center for gibbons recovered from poachers. There are mangroves (Anantara runs tours) and sea turtle nesting sites (the hotel donates $1 per night per room to the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation).

The beach is perfect for swimming, weather permitting, and there are so many that you will easily find a quiet spot. There are food vendors and “massage” calls may lure you in for a foot massage in the shade with the breeze flowing and the sounds of the sea helping you sleep. Some intrepid people have surfed these areas, but there are better breaks further south.

The hotel has plenty of bicycles to explore the terrain or to make longer trips. There are Muay Thai (kick-boxing) lessons, golf trips, and a lovely spa with a signature hot oil treatment that fuses Thai and Swedish massage styles with indoor and outdoor baths and showers. There are also plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, so you’ll have some rest and relaxation.

A particular advantage if you are traveling with children is the easy access to this part of the island from the airport, which makes access easy, but rest assured, although you can see planes taking off in the distance, but you won’t. hear something.

Villas at Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas start from THB16,024 (around £370) per night for a pool villa with breakfast and tax; anantara.com

The pool at Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas


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