Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2013
Update 2019 - new Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2020 list!
This Top 10 / Best Phuket Hotels list based on TripAdvisor rankings as they were in March 2013. For each hotel there are links for checking online rates and availability - I suggest using Agoda.com if you want to book a hotel in Phuket. There are also review links - also mostly from Agoda where possible - only people who have booked the hotels through Agoda can make a review (I've left some reviews myself), and if you check the reviews, they tend to be very honest reviews, with plus points and minus points - combine Agoda reviews with the TripAdvisor reviews for an even wider range of people's views.
1. The Baray Villa by Sawasdee Village (Kata Beach)
The Baray Villa - just 14 luxury villas, which are run by the Sawasdee Village Resort, and yet separate from the resort. Villas are 2 floor with huge rooms, jacuzzi, direct pool access, set in tropical gardens, with a spa available. Reviews make the villas sound fantastic! It was also number 1 in 2012. Yes, please!
• The Baray Villa - Reviews and Booking
2. Rising Sun Residence (Chalong)
Not a beach hotel at all, Rising Sun Residence has 12 villas in the hills in the Chalong area near Chalong Temple. There are seven three-bedroom villas, four of these have a private pool and jacuzzi, kitchen and large living room. The five one-bedroom villas are built around a large pool with sun deck and jacuzzi. Long way from the beach, so would suit people who want to explore Phuket and "come home" in the evening. Jamie's Phuket kind of people!
• Rising Sun Residence - Reviews and Booking
3. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)
Up from 7th place last year, BYD Lofts is not really a hotel, it offers serviced apartments, with a viewtastic rooftop pool, near the center of Patong Beach. There are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. A good place to stay if you like to be near the center of all the action (that's Patong) but need a quiet place to retire to. I know I knock Patong, but for sure it's convenient to have a lot of restaurants, shops and tour counters near you.
• BYD Lofts - Reviews and Booking
4. Trisara Resort Villas
Trisara was 9th last year, and I gotta say it might be my choice. Trisara offers private pool villas on a private beach just north of Layan beach in the north of Phuket. Trisara is a "secluded, luxury, amazing views, forget-your-worries" style hotels. Only 39 villas, lots of space, no crowds. Villas from 2 - 6 bedrooms, so can be ideal for families or big groups, or weddings. Or just for a relaxing trip for a couple. And yes, it's miles from any busy areas, so don't complain that you have to get taxis everywhere :)
• Trisara - Reviews and Booking
5. The Shore at Katathani (Kata Noi Beach)
Katathani has been around for years, but The Shore is their newer luxury "pool villa" development, opened in 2010. And it sure looks good! Pool villas, some with seaview (note: reviews mention that the view does vary from villa to villa), all with private pools. As I said, this "private villa" thing seems to be the trend in the last few years. A great hotel for couples. I see lots of honeymoon reviews.
• The Shore at Katathani - Reviews and Booking
6. Pen Villa (Surin Beach)
And the totally new entry ... Pen Villa. I had to check on this one. A smaller hotel at Surin beach, and I'd really not heard of it before writing this . Must have opened in the last couple of years, and looks like the kind of personal place which requests guests that they make reviews on TripAdvisor. Every year there are a couple of places that make me say "Where?". Power of the internet. I'm sure it is very nice though!
• Pen Villa - Reviews and Booking
7. Renaissance Resort and Spa (Mai Khao Beach)
Mai Khao Beach is still one of Phuket's quiet secrets. It's about 10km long with only about 7 resorts plus a couple of small bungalow operations. Renaissance is one of the best in the area, close to the airport (don't worry, you can't hear it) and right on the beach which is never, ever crowded. There's a variety of rooms - simple "deluxe" rooms up to pool villas with seaview. Mai Khao Beach is way up in the north of Phuket, it's over 40km from here to Patong, Karon and Kata. If you want solitude, it's ideal and why would you visit the main beaches anyway? I love the location of the Renaissance!
• Renaissance Resort - Reviews and Booking
8. Kantary Bay Hotel (Cape Panwa)
The Cape Panwa area is south of Phuket Town, well away from the main Phuket beaches, and it's an area that we really like. Kantary Bay Hotel is right by the Phuket Aquarium. The hotel has studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom suites. All suites have a living room and kitchenette. Seeing a trend here? Old style hotels are out ... it's nice to have something more like an apartment so you can be a bit more independent. Explore Phuket .. explore with the help of this blog :)
• Kantary Bay Hotel - Reviews and Booking
9. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)
The Pacific Club Resort seems to often rank highly when I make top 10 lists, despite (again) not being by the beach. It missed the list last year, but it's back! Pacific Club is about 10 minutes walk down to the sands of Karon Beach. The hotel is situated in the hills above Karon, with seaviews and green views. There are standard rooms and also 1 and 2 bedroom suites. The restaurant is said to be good and I must try it one day! (I've been saying that for years).
• Pacific Club Resort - Reviews and Booking
10. Mom Tri's Villa Royale (Kata Noi Beach)
Mom Tri's Boathouse hotel was one of Phuket's first five star boutique hotels with a famous restaurant. The Villa Royale was built later on land which used to be the location of his home, on the headland overlooking Kata Noi beach (just south of Kata beach). Steps from the hotel takes you down to the beach. Great views from the rooms and from the restaurant too. It's got a touch of class, and is often fully booked even in low season!
• Villa Royale - Reviews and Booking
• More about Mom Tri's Villa Royale on Jamie's Phuket
Is that really the top 10? Well, it's based on the TripAdvisor list, I had to base it on something! Maybe you stayed at a hotel that's not listed, but should be? Do add a comment below! Phuket has a very confusing mix of old and new resorts, big hotels and small guesthouses, villas for rent, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas... There's something here for everyone, but sometimes. There is a trend in recent years for new luxury resorts and for sea view (not on the beach) villas. Land prices and rent are very high these days in Phuket, so it's hard to think about opening a small hotel or guesthouse. I'd say Phuket is slowly heading upmarket. Older tourist areas like Soi Bangla in Patong are being redeveloped. Out with the bars, in with aircon shopping centers and new stylish resorts. And dotted around the coast, many new 4 - 5 star resorts have opened in the last few years. If you have a favourite hotel, let me know :)
Since doing the 2012 list, it was suggested that I add some more specific hotel information, so I have written a few new blog posts were added about different kinds of Phuket hotels ...
• Best Phuket Family Hotels
• Best Phuket Luxury Hotels
• Best Phuket Lower Budget Hotels
For Phuket hotel reservations, I recommend you check Agoda.com - it's what I use myself. On the subject of reviews, by all means read them, but do think also about actual hotel features - location, size, room type, price (!), suitability for kids etc.. one person's heaven may be another person's holiday nightmare! Some like it quiet and secluded, others want action. Some want great views from a hillside, some want beachfront.... Phuket has it all!