Well after a mostly cr*ppy 2020, and a not great 2021 so far, let's look at the Top 10 Phuket Hotels for 2021. Hopefully Phuket and world tourism in general will be re-opening for real sometime in 2021, let's hope the Covid-19 pandemic doesn't last for too much longer. But I am guessing it's going to be well into 2022 before we can use the word "normal" again. It seems a little petty to complain that Phuket tourism has suffered when so many have suffered worse, but Phuket does rely to a very large extent on tourism and I hope things can get going again soon. The Thai government "Phuket Sandbox" idea allows vaccinated tourists to visit, but it's not that easy. Not all hotels are taking Phuket Sandbox tourists - look in the hotel information in the links below for the SHA+ certification. Only these hotels can be booked during the "Sandbox" Phuket re-opening period. We all hope things get better soon all over the world and we can book any hotel we want! I would like to be able to visit Phuket again soon after 2 years back in the UK!
For sure the list is still subjective, your personal choice will depend on many factors, and you can search hotels easily on Agoda to try and find the best Phuket hotels for you. It's a big place, Phuket. Take your time when looking for hotels, check the location on a map, read reviews, figure out if you want somewhere really quiet or close to lots of restaurants and bars. The right hotel is there, but you do have to do some digging! When you feel ready to travel to Phuket - please do re-visit the Phuket Blog for lots of Phuket tips.
1. Avista Grande (Karon Beach)
Avista Grande at Karon Beach leaped into the top 10 last year and now tops the list. The full name is Avista Grande Phuket Karon MGallery by Sofitel .. bit of a mouthful. Sofitel is a chain, part of the Accor group, with MGallery being a more boutique luxury style of hotel. I worked at Karon beach at the Sunrise Divers shop and we had a fair number of happy customers staying at this hotel.
• Avista Grande - Information, Reviews & Booking
2. The Cove (Cape Panwa)
The Cove is a smaller hotel (I think it has about 15 bungalows) which has been open for a few years and seems to have suddenly got very popular! It's located in the Cape Panwa area of Phuket which has long been one of my favourite areas miles away from the big beaches, but there are quite a few restaurants and plenty of local life. It's at Ao Yon beach, right by the sand.
• The Cove - Information, Reviews & Booking
3. The Chava Resort (Surin Beach)
The Chava was number 1 in 2016, number 2 last year and now number 3 - pretty consistently one of the best hotels in Phuket! Surin Beach always has something in the top 10! The Chava Resort has 2 - 5 room apartments (an "apartment resort"), some are run directly by the hotel, while some are privately rented. Rooms are really big, great for families and groups. It's a place with sea views, slightly up in the hills, not right on the sand but just few minutes walk from Surin beach.
• Chava Resort - Information, Reviews & Booking
4. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)
BYD Lofts has been in the top 5 for 6 years. If you want a room near the heart of Patong Beach, close to the action and in the middle of the busiest beach area in Thailand, BYD Lofts offers serviced apartments with the hotel featuring a rooftop pool (and a view over the rooftops and hotels of Patong). There are 1 or 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. I rarely used to venture into Patong myself - not my style, but Patong beach is very convenient for visitors, with huge numbers of restaurants plus shops/the big Jungceylon Mall and tour agents near you. And bars and nightlife too.
• BYD Lofts - Information, Reviews & Booking
5. Navatara (Rawai Beach)
Navatara is another that remains popular - it has been at number 5 for 3 years running. Navatara opened in 2013, but with hotels opening all the time I'd not even heard of it until writing the top 10 list in 2016! Navatara has 37 rooms, built (I would say) "Thai style". Some rooms have pool access, and all rooms look pretty big. This is a smaller, Thai style resort away from the main beaches, but not too far - many people ask me to recommend a hotel like this or The Cove. Like many of the hotels on this list, it's not on the beach. Navatara is about 500m from Rawai beach and a few minutes drive from Nai Harn beach and Phromthep Cape. One of my favourite corners of Phuket.
• Navatara - Information, Reviews & Booking
6. The Surin (Pansea Beach)
The Surin (formerly called The Chedi) reopened with the new name about 10 years ago, but The Chedi had already been in Phuket for years, with it's uniquely excellent location on a semi-private beach between Surin and Bang Tao beaches in the north of Phuket. I'd like to stay here! Another resort that is a little bit remote but you can get to Surin or Bang Tao for restaurant options. Personally, I'd rent a car if I stayed here. And The Surin is not ridiculously expensive compared to the neighbour - the beach is shared with the very very fancy Amanpuri.
• The Surin - Information, Reviews & Booking
7. Marina Phuket Hotel (Patong Beach)
Quite surprised to see a hotel like Marina Phuket Hotel in the top 10 - a block by the side of one of Patong's back roads, a fair walk to the beach, not really a pretty area, but it does seem to have a lot of good reviews on TA and on Agoda (see link below). And it does have a rooftop pool and bar/restaurant. And the price is pretty good.
• Marina Phuket Hotel - Information, Reviews & Booking
8. Renaissance Phuket Resort (Mai Khao Beach)
Renaissance is one of several Marriott resorts just north of Phuket Airport at Mai Khao Beach. Renaissance has been on this blog before as part of the Best Luxury Phuket Resorts list and was in the Top 10 Hotels for 2019, 2018 and 2017. Mai Khao beach is still really quiet and unless you stick to the various Marriott hotel restaurants you'll need transport or taxis to get to other places. Rent a car, explore, drive just a few minutes from here and you're over the bridge into Phang Nga province. Ideal for relaxation and a quiet base for exploring the greater Phuket area!
• Renaissance - Information, Reviews & Booking
9. Kantary Bay (Cape Panwa)
Another hotel in the Cape Panwa area to the south of Phuket Town and a long way from the busy main west coast Phuket beaches. Kantary Bay is part of the Cape and Kantary group which have very nice hotels all over Thailand - the nearby Cape Panwa Hotel is also theirs. It's located right by the aquarium on a quiet road with a few nearby restaurants and there are often lots of local food stalls on the roadside. Nice view across the bay, but there's not much beach there. The hotel cafe is apparently very good.
• Kantary Bay - Information, Reviews & Booking
10. Chanalai Hillside Resort (Karon Beach)
And another at Karon beach! There are several Chanalai resorts in Phuket (Garden, Hillside, Romantica, Flora) and all are in Kata or Karon. Note - if you stay at one of these, be sure if you book tours that you know which Chanalai you are at (I speak from experience booking people for dive trips!) Chanalai Hillside is .. you'd never guess, on the hillside - about 5 minutes walk to Karon beach.
• Chanalai Hillside Resort - Information, Reviews & Booking
And that's the Top 10 Best Phuket hotels for 2021. Maybe. Be sure to check if you can book your favourite hotel during the Phuket Sandbox period. Have you stayed at a hotel that's not listed, but you think it should be? Go and give it a big review and get it's TA ranking up! Phuket has been on the mainstream tourism route for 30+ years now, and there is a great mix of old and new resorts (hard to keep up with openings and re-brandings!), big hotels, guesthouses, villas, apartments, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas and lots to do. There really is something in Phuket for everyone! If you can't get to Phuket in 2021, hopefully you can in 2022.