The best luxury hotels in Phuket


Upscale Thai hotels don’t get much better or more authentic than Trisara, which opened 20 years ago and really set the bar for luxury in Phuket. The hotel is home to the only Michelin-starred restaurant on the island, which was recently relocated to a grander space next door. At Pru, guests flock from all over the island for fine-dining with flashes of formality – though you can see the chef has a sense of humour and doesn’t take himself or his cooking too seriously (note to other Michelin maestros). Steps lead up to the grand new building, where you’re ushered into a reception room for a glass of Thai sparkling wine and some fancy snacks. When it’s time to move to the main restaurant, you’ll be seated either up at the counter to watch the chefs at work as the sun sets behind them or at a regular table. In between each course, various people (and occasionally Chef Jimmy Ophorst himself) appear for an interactive lesson where you’re encouraged to touch, smell and taste the ingredients, with bonus points if you can guess what certain things and flavours are. It’s an unforgettable experience and certainly a worthy pilgrimage for all self-respecting foodies.

Though Pru is undoubtedly the highlight of Trisara’s food and drink offering, the gourmet retreat is also home to Cielo, where Mediterranean cooking techniques are combined with Thai ingredients – expect to dine on supersize roast prawns, snapper ceviche, and fennel, pine nut and pomegranate salads; and an authentic Thai restaurant, with a focus on seafood and the cuisine of southern Thailand. Then there’s Jampa at Tri Vananda, the hotel’s sister property, where gourmands can go on a tour of the farm before a delicious lunch, where vegetables are placed centre-stage in the plant-heavy, mostly fire-cooked tasting menu and mocktails are served using herbs and flowers grown in the garden.

The spacious villas have pitched ceilings, glossy teak accents and a full-size private pool, many with a view of the Andaman Sea, which is especially handy at sunset. The estate is also home to several privately owned residences, with as many as eight bedrooms. Don’t miss a trip to the spa, for an ayurvedic ‘pinda’ massage, which uses heated, herb-filled pouches and traditional Thai limb-pulling techniques.

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