Aleenta Phuket

near Phuket, Phang Nga, Thailand Book from

Reviewed by Joel Quenby
Pure luxury hideaway on an unspoilt white-sand beach near Phuket, with a choice of suites and villas
Two years after successfully opening the boutique resort of Aleenta Hua Hin on Thailand's east coast, US-educated Anchalika Kijkanakorn created a stunning sister hideaway on the tranquil west coast. Situated on a pristine 10km beach a short dash from Phuket, it lies on a peaceful and refreshingly undeveloped stretch of coastline and is designed with the signature 'Outside Living In' philosophy.

Sunlight and soft breezes stream through glass-fronted rooms and private pool-decks, with sea views to help you unwind. Pampering is de rigueur - expect sumptuous Thai and fusion cuisine, highly personalised service, great attention to detail and extensive spa treatments based on the 4 elements of moon, sun, earth and sea, including yoga retreats and supervised detox sessions. Once re-energised, you can charter a yacht, play golf or dive the world-class Similan Islands. This is much more than sun, sea and sand: it bills itself as 'a sanctuary of mind and body', within easy reach of Phuket's international airport.

Highs

  • This is the place for those in search of sheer spoiling relaxation and luxury; space and privacy come as standard in your villa or suite
  • It's on a stunning, unspoilt and isolated beach
  • The food is innovative and beautifully presented
  • There are high standards of workmanship and architecture throughout, paired with up-to-the-minute amenities including iPods and docks
  • The staff are wonderfully dedicated

Lows

  • Such high standards of comfort and care aren't cheap. Plus, the resort's car service is pricey if you make lots of excursions; adventurous types may want to hire a car
  • It's located away from Phuket town, so no nightlife, restaurants or bars on your doorstep
  • ‘Unspoilt beach’ also means no roving drinks vendors, impromptu massage stations or lifeguards
  • The staff’s English can be variable, although the manager is providing English lessons
  • Only some of the rooms can accommodate children under 12
  • Since our visit, there have been significant changes, including the addition of the Grand Deluxe Pool Villas and Aleenta Suites

Best time to go

The west coast of Thailand enjoys its peak season between November and February, when the weather is relatively cool (30C!) and there is little rain. From March it warms up (typically around 35C) and before the monsoon season hits from May to October. The Andaman seas can get very rough and you can expect some strong but short downpours (especially in May, June and September).

Our top tips

An indulgent week is ideal here; any longer and the sheer seclusion may make you restless for the outside world.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Honeymoon
Spa
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 113
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Kids welcome (some rooms over 12s only)
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

All of the suites and villas are within steps of the beach and their doors and full-height windows slide open to allow sea breezes (and yourselves) to waft freely through. The contemporary design is generous in space, privacy and attention to detail - although mind the slippery floors.

Cheapest of the suites are the 8 Ocean-View Lofts, so-called because of their double-height ceilings. They have integrated living areas and direct access to a shared infinity pool (book these if you like swimming pool laps as the others have smaller pools). We loved the 4 Pool Suites, set right on the sea with private plunge pools and large beachfront verandas, while the 3 Pool Villas are the most spacious option for couples, with separate living areas and private pools.

Families can choose between a 1- or 2-Bedroom Pool Residence, with a private pool and full sea views or, for larger groups, the 3-Bedroom Beachfront Villas, with a third bedroom and direct beach access - individual Beachfront Suites are also available. If you fall in love with your villa (and have THB22 million to spare) you are welcome to buy it: Anchalika aims to sell half of them as luxury holiday homes. And if you're worried about tsunamis, rest assured that there is a 2-metre high sea-wall (which mercifully protected the site from 2004's tsunami).

For the best in beach living, the newer beachfront additions, Grand Villa Air, Grand Villa Noi and Grand Villa Natai, have superb views of the Andaman Sea and large private pools (though they don’t accept guests under 12 years). Each private house has 3-5 ensuite bedrooms, a spacious living area with high ceilings, a modern kitchen, a state-of-the-art home entertainment system and a personal butler service.

All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, bespoke toiletries with natural essential oils and 450-count bedlinen of soft Egyptian cotton, made especially for Aleenta. Bear in mind that the Beachfront Suites and Villas are not the most private, being glass-fronted and not screened from the beach, though you can, of course, lower the blinds.

For full details of which room accept under 12s, see our Kids page.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Aleenta specialises in Thai cuisine and fusion dishes created with the freshest ingredients from land and sea; the dinner menu features daily seasonal specials. You can choose between the main restaurant, 33Mu5, which serves well-priced and daily changing 3-course menus. Or, alternatively, opt for the more intimate Chef's Table on the rooftop terrace (or occasionally at tables right on the sand). Either way, expect lots of seafood (prawn, squid, whole grilled snapper) accompanied by a variety of noodles, rices and spices - though perhaps a little more muted than "true" Thai curries in deference to western palates. There is also The Edge restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, which offers an à la carte menu of Thai and Western food, as well as featuring interactive cooking stations.

If you have any special requests, they are gladly accommodated. On certain nights, you can join a beach BBQ beneath the stars or test your palette matching Thai food with wines from the well-stocked cellar. Private dining in your villa is easily arranged; spa cooking for the health-conscious likewise.

A beautifully presented gourmet breakfast is served until a jetlag-friendly 10.30am in 33Mu5. Expect a pyramid of pastries, sculpted fruit, pancake wedges, cheeses and meat, with the option of Thai broths and noodles for those who like to go local (we did, and can recommend it). Service is unstintingly gracious.

Check out the beach bar, where the barmen mix up excellent cocktails and the beer is ice cold. There are also cooking classes which are an intimate and personalised experience.

The nearest other restaurants are about 60km away in Phuket town; the staff will happily advise you as to the best to choose from and book taxis for you.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Private dining available
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Try some of the health treatments in the spa. Massages use 100% natural oils, yoga and detox are expertly supervised, and you can greet the sunrise with Tai Chi on the beach. As well as individual treatments, there is a range of packages designed around the elements of moon, sun, sea and earth which combine facials, steam baths, wraps, scrubs and massages
  • Swim in your private pool, or plunge into the large communal infinity pool which overlook the ocean
  • There are cooking classes for couples, with a private tour guide or chef to take you round the local markets and then teach you how to concoct classic Thai dishes, followed by dinner on the rooftop, and a copy of your own recipe booklet
  • Artists and writers should enquire about the regular retreats and workshops held at the resort
  • If you can force yourself away, Phangna Bay offers spectacular limestone formations and mirror-like seas; the trip to "James Bond" island has to be done once, though be prepared for company
  • Yachts and motor boats can be booked for island hopping, deep-sea fishing and diving expeditions; the breathtaking Similan Islands are an hour away by speed boat
  • You're only a few miles from the Blue Canyon golf course
  • The hotel rents out bicycles for a more leisurely exploration of the locale
  • As part of its 'Guilt-Free Luxury Mission', Aleenta sponsors the Marine Turtle Foundation and organises visits to its breeding centres in nearby Haad Thaymung National Park. The programme has hatched an annual fundraising Gala dinner, plus a special ‘Pampered Turtle Lovers’ package in support of the endangered species

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and there's a (complimentary) gadget-free kids club open to all up to 10 years of age (Aleenta Phuket is the only boutique resort in Thailand with full service children's facilities). Those aged under 6 stay free, extra beds and cots are available on request. Children are welcomed with a goody bag full of colouring books, painting sets and a guide to the activities offered during their stay. There's even complimentary babysitting if you've booked a spa treatment, and there's a Children's Concierge to assist at all times from arranging surf lessons or trips to the local market.

Note that no children under 12 are permitted in the lofts, pool suites, pool villas and grand villas in the main complex.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Families are welcome in the 1-Bedroom Pool Residence, the 2-Bedroom Pool Residence, the Beachfront Suites and the 3-Bedroom Beachfront Villa. The Pool Residences have the most space and their own private pool, some have gardens

Babysitting:

Available by arrangement, as is a professional nanny service

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Creche/Kid's Club:

The Explorers Club provides activities centred around gadget-free learning and development for up to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, for children 18 months - 10 years of age, and is supervised by certified school teachers and activity staff. Daily activities include chocolate-making, Muay Thai (kickboxing) classes, batik painting book camp, painting, games, scavenger hunts, yoga, watersports and educational classes at the turtle sanctuary - each class is about 45 minutes long. Age-appropriate Learn 'n' Discover packages are available too

Kids Activities on site:

  • Kids pool
  • Play area
  • Children's spa menu, massage classes
  • Cooking classes

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Turtle and Marine Sanctuary in Phuket - kids can help release rare leatherback turtles into the sea through Aleenta's Pure Blue Foundation, which rescue young turtles to save them from fishing and predation, and then they are released into the ocean when developed enough to survive by themselves (8-10months of age)

Families Should Know:

The sea in front of Aleenta is very safe to swim in but note there is no lifeguard on duty; safety flags are displayed on the beach daily

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes (Phuket)
  • Hospital: 40 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
10/
Overall

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