Phuket, I’m Going


Arguments over opting for a beach resort holiday versus an energetic bout of sightseeing and cultural absorption in some amazing city have tested more than one relationship. Sure, there are places where you can get a bit of both. But, ultimately, some people really do have strong feelings about these things. So, if you’re the unlucky – sorry, loving– partner who’s going to give in to your better half’s demand for sea and sun, maybe you can win a small victory of your own by heading for the Naka Phuket.

For one thing, there’s the architecture. Less of a resort hotel and more of an exclusive village, the Naka Phuket is a cluster of 94 well-appointed villas, each with its own private pool, cascading down a steep slope towards the Andaman Sea that opened to applause in 2013. In 2014 it was awarded a Wallpaper* Design Award for Best New Hotel by a panel of glitterati such as Victoria Beckham and Spike Jonze as well as architect Thom Mayne, designer Ron Gilad, restaurateur Michael Chow and power gallerist Thadeus Ropac. So not like you can really quibble about the good taste credentials represented on the jury…

Lauded Bangkok architect Duangrit Bunnag’s design is a marvel in numerous ways. Quite aside from the stunning, pure modernist lines – acres of glass allow amazing views at their best– the sizeable villas have been designed in such a way that allows occupants optimal privacy with secluded private courtyard patios, balconies, lawns and those private swimming pools. But the Naka Phuket is not only suited to those who wish to retreat to luxurious solitude: the complex has a number of attractive communal facilities such as an Olympic-size infinity pool, a rooftop spa and, of course, a massive private beach of perfect fine sand. Offering one to three-bedroom villas means that it works well whether you fancy being reclusive lovebirds or making a party out of your holiday. Patong’s bustling nightlife is only 10km away, so it’s ideal for carousing on the town and then a back-to-ours after-party where you dance until dawn. With all that concrete, perhaps the neighbours won’t get too irritated…

If really don’t fancy going too far to forage for food, there are also three different bars and restaurants spread across the expansive grounds offering a mix of local, Western and fusion cuisines. And, obviously, they weren’t going to trip at the hurdle of dining quality.

A very contemporary take on the old-fashioned idea of a resort, with everything from water sports, hair and nail salon and gym onsite, it’s ideal if you prefer holidays that are about soaking up all the wonderful things immediately on hand. However, although Phuket has unfortunately become synonymous with tacky fly ’n flop resorts, nearby Phuket City is not without a number of interesting unique cultural aspects for those who get frustrated with all that hedonism. It’s one of Thailand’s oldest cities and known for its unique Sino-Portuguese style of architecture. With the Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese and British historically all vying for trading supremacy in the region for centuries, today it’s a great place to experience Thai contemporary culture against a backdrop of a city with a truly special vibe and aesthetic.

Then again, who says it has to be a holiday? With state-of-the-art conference suites also onsite at the Naka Phuket, perhaps the more interesting challenge is to plot just how you can get your company’s annual conference relocated there.




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