While the crowds may flock to Patong and the old town, the northwestern coast of Phuket Island is a much more relaxed and relaxing place with Sirinat National Park and miles of long, empty golden beaches. The surroundings are absolutely lush, wide swathes of green that become tangles of jungle that spill over the roads, vines that wind their way past telegraph poles and the air alive with the chirping of birds.
Why stay here?
The owners of the Slate made their fortunes from Phuket’s tin mining industry and the hotel is a playful homage to that — it’s a fusion of mining paraphernalia with a steampunk aesthetic that offers industrial chic. This theme carries over to cutlery, which is custom made with wrenches, sockets and bolts making an appearance.
The hotel is minutes from Phuket airport, although you’d never guess – no deafening low-flying planes. It is a real pleasure to have such a short journey from the airport before cooling off in the pool, especially if you are traveling with young people; Many activities are offered to them once there, and one of The Slate’s three swimming pools is also dedicated to them.
It’s a grand hotel with paths winding through it, twisting and turning with Black Ginger, the hotel’s restaurant, at its heart. Despite this size, it feels intimate and village-like and buggies are always ready to take you.
Sitting right on the casuarina-fringed Nai Yang Beach, a lovely curved stretch of sand filled with a few bars and vendors dotted around, there’s plenty to feel alive without being busy; the swimming is fantastic and suitable for children.
This being the tropics, there are plenty of wildlife. Our favourite, the monitor lizard, frequents the lot and the one next to our villa was a very slow moving heavyweight about five feet from nose to tail. Regardless of their size, these docile giants pose no threat and make for a great vacation time.
Rooms and suites
Like the rest of the hotel, rooms and suites were designed by American architect Bill Bensley and continue to draw on the Na-Ranong family’s tin mining history with stylish furnishings industrial – hardwood chairs, for example, held together by heavy nuts. and bolts.
While even the cheapest rooms are spacious, the villas are where they are – ultra-luxury and incredibly generous, they are spread over two “cabins” each with their own bathrooms and featuring a good-sized swimming pool. size and a private garden and your own butler. Our room had a huge jacuzzi in one corner while the second “cabin” had its own spa, sauna and steam room. Marshall Bluetooth amps are a great touch for a little singing in the tub.
The outdoor waterfall showers have a truly magnificent flow – a real treat for an early morning wake up call. Why don’t we have any at home?
Eat and drink
The Slate’s main restaurant is the Black Ginger which is Michelin Guide advised. Wonderfully atmospheric, it’s made up of several outdoor spaces and an air-conditioned indoor spot and is accessible across a lagoon via a hand-pulled raft filled with flaming torches. It’s a small, 90s-style nightclub that’s quite dark in style (they bring you lights to see the menu), but we roll with it because it’s playful and the Thai food prepared by chef Piak is delicious and features some of his interpretation of Phuket. favourites.
Tin Mine is the hotel’s main restaurant and where they serve a brilliant range of breakfast treats – fabulous fresh fruit, pastries and a delicious selection of Thai dishes from stir fries to noodle soup.
For a bit of something local, head to the beach where there are a bunch of food stalls and a few brick-and-mortar establishments (more sand and wood). Here you can sip cold beers or fun cocktails while looking out over the sand and the sea. The sunsets are fabulous and you will also enjoy stunning skies.
What to do
Depending on the time of year you visit, diving may or may not be on the cards. If it’s a hobbyist, then the Andaman Sea is a fantastic place for it. For the more committed, take a two-day trip to the Similan Islands for some of the best diving in the world.
The hotel’s Coqoon Spa offers fantastic treatments, including the classic stretch-and-bend-and-crunch-and-release Thai massage. Plenty of fitness activities are available — paddleboarding, biking, yoga, Muay Thai, two tennis courts, a full gym, and even archery lessons, if desired. There are also plenty of activities to keep the kids busy.
Rooms at The Slate start from £120 per night; theslatephuket.com