Twinpalms Phuket

Cherng Talay, Phuket, Thailand Book from

Reviewed by Viv Monahan
Chilled spa hotel with contemporary tropical styling - a short hop by designer flip-flop from happening Surin Beach
Since it opened in 2005, this Swedish-owned resort has been heralded as the hip place to stay: a monochromatic design revolution with clean lines and isosceles roofs. The open, airy lobby, with its high-flown ceilings and glossy floors, sets the style and marks the transition from town to tranquillity. Shady, stream-lined walkways lead to the restaurant, pool bar, library, spa and fitness room, while the navy swimming pool and ‘lagoons’ glisten between emerald and white gardens. Newer, extravagantly equipped residences set back from the immaculately kept gardens offer an alternative to the original (still stylish) rooms and suites housed in the wooden-shuttered buildings around the pool.

Surin Beach has become decidedly upmarket in recent years, emerging as the top choice when it comes to public beaches on Phuket. Here resides Twinpalms’ outpost: Catch Beach Club with its restaurant and sundeck. People-watch from handmade mats and huge comfy pillow during the day, or sip pre-dinner cocktails on the deck by the light of purple neon and a witchy pit fire. It’s so flattering to the new season’s colours.

Highs

  • Stunning pool with flickering shade from the towering palms
  • Pampering massages will immediately revive you after a long-haul and get you in holiday mood
  • Ex-pats and a smart clientele create a vibe that’s both elite and buzzy
  • Five minutes’ walk from hip Surin Beach with its fresh fish restaurants, tailors, bars and massage salas
  • Great choice of accommodation: stylish rooms, suites, duplexes and penthouse all offer something special, whether an atrium shower-room or a rooftop pool

Lows

  • Staff are lovely but aren’t equipped to deal with anything out of the ordinary
  • The competitive sport of chair-bagging is rife at the pool - when we stayed, by 10am they’d all been ‘claimed’ by absentee breakfasters (although staff do unreserve chairs if kept empty too long)
  • Top-whack extras soon add up - for example the shuttle-bus service into Patong
  • Some of the most luxurious residences have the least inspiring views
  • Vegetarians might need to go off-menu at the restaurant after a day or so and the beach barbecues simply won’t appeal

Best time to go

From December to April is when Phuket’s weather is cooler, drier and at its most lovely (but it’s also when prices are higher). Outside high season and its cusps, a fair few beach cafes close down, so your options will be more limited.

Our top tips

We stayed for 6 nights (a record for us with our itchy feet!) and were sorry to leave: this is a great location for sunning, exploring, shopping and unwinding.

Great for...

Beach
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Spa Hotel
  • 97
  • Restaurant and bars (open daily)
  • Children accepted by prior arrangement
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Beach clubs
  • Watersports
Room: Grand Deluxe Palm

Rooms

All of the rooms and suites have a contemporary tropical feel with parquet floors, bespoke furnishings in tones of cream, cappuccino and chocolate, and vivid original art - commissioned from local artists - adorns the walls. Big bouncy kingsize beds with fat pillows folded like Pitons have cockpit controls for everything that can be turned on or off electronically.

Indulgent bathrooms are kitted out with His and Hers sinks, luxurious toiletries in generous jars, and loads of sumptuous towels. Delightful in-room extras include a cafetiere for fresh espresso, beach sandals (which everyone falls back on in the tropical rain), chocolates and fruit. But best of all are the shady terraces that overlook the sparkling pool. There’s room for 2 to sprawl and snooze on the sofas, a fan to keep you cool and soft lighting so you can sit out with your Travel Scrabble and a glass of Montrachet long after the moon’s in the sky.

Grand Deluxe Rooms have shuttered terraces for added privacy and Jacuzzi baths as well as rain showers. The Suites are even more luxurious with spacious terraces and smart sitting rooms, and also benefit from butler service.

The real luxury, however, is to be found in the celebrity price-tagged newer residences. These are the 1- and 2-Bedroom Duplex Pool Suites, and the Penthouses. These are set back from the main hotel area, and are, strictly speaking, the kind of place you want to live in. Forever. Designs vary but expect egg-shaped granite baths, double-height sitting rooms, and some even have wine cellars, cigar humidors and a courtyard, garden or rooftop plunge pool! The views, however, can be disappointing with some windows facing walls or an unloved patch of ground next door. If looking out matters more than what’s inside, specify when booking.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast at the Oriental Spoon Grill & Bar is a western-style buffet - patisserie, fruit, Bircher muesli, fresh juices and cold cuts - with hot food cooked to order by a brigade of pleasantly chatty chefs. If you’re there on a Sunday, save yourself for the incredibly popular brunch, which features a huge range of fresh seafood. Join Phuket’s ex-pat business community and regular visitors to graze on smoked salmon, roasts, cheeses and seafood. Finish off with berries, chocolate fondue and crème brulee.

In the evening, the restaurant morphs into a sophisticated, back-lit eatery serving imported seafood (such as Sydney rock oysters) alongside indigenous black and blue crab, tiger prawns and white snapper. You’ll also find some beef and chicken dishes on the Asian-inspired menu. If you need to rest your taste buds, resort to familiar pasta and pizza options.

The pool bar is open throughout the day and features a menu of international and Thai lunches and light snacks which are served up by super-friendly staff. If you're into your wine then you're in luck, as the Wine Room has over 200 labels and 3,000 bottles available to sample, and it won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Meanwhile, down on Surin, Catch Beach Club is open for drinks, lunch, dinner and twice-weekly beach barbecues. It's so hip it slithers. Wear high heels, no matter how impractical. There’s also a chilled out wooden shack, otherwise known as the Bongo Rum Bar which, as the name would suggest, serves a range of rums. If you’d rather unwind somewhere a little livelier, head to Bimi Beach Club, Phuket’s only all day beach club (open 10am-7pm) to sip cocktails.

Outside the hotel, particularly in high season, you’ll find plenty of cheap fish restaurants on the beach. We liked Taste and Twin Brothers), or for a phenomenal Thai meal, try Silk, a restaurant in a shopping mall (honestly) just round the corner from Twinpalms. Even vegetarians will be spoilt for choice.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Catch Beach Club
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander down to casuarina-fringed Surin beach, with its beach masseuses, bars, cafes and sunbeds: it’s great for swimming in high season (December to March), paddling in low season, and exploring rock pools at any time. Check out Pia Beach at the left end, too - it has great cafes
  • Relax in the Sun Spa Esthederm and achieve a deep sense of wellbeing with organic treatments including Oriental foot rituals, body wraps, massages and facials. There's also a comprehensive fitness schedule of jogging, yoga, weights, aerobics and Thai boxing workouts
  • Watch a nightly sunset that’ll blow your socks off
  • Take a day trip to Ko Racha Yai on Twinpalms’ speedboat, Catch One, with lunch at The Racha
  • Twinpalms also has a 76' motor yacht available for day or longer charter cruises; explore National Parks such as Phi Phi Le with its limestone karsts, or snorkel around beautiful islands
  • Your Guest Relations Officer can arrange activities and excursions including deep sea fishing, golf, horse riding and any number of watersports (kayaking, waterskiing, surfing and diving). Catch Beach Club can arrange non-motorised watersports
  • Try your hand at batik painting, basic Thai or lotus flower folding lessons; cooking classes are available on request - learn how to create 3 signature Thai dishes
  • Get married in the hotel or in a flower-decked arbour on the beach
  • Chill by the pool on a semi-submerged lounger - staff provide fruit kebabs to save you from dehydration
  • Cruise at your own pace through local villages in a hired Toyota Yaris (great value when compared to taxi fares)
  • Browse the Soul of Asia gallery (10 minutes away on the Cherng Talay road) for stunning sculptures, 20th-century European masters (Chagall, Picasso) and post-Mao Asian art
  • Take an early morning trip to Phuket’s Butterfly Garden, just north of Phuket Town
  • Light spirit lanterns and watch them float like ghosts across the bay
  • For spicier nights out, book seats at the Simon Cabaret for a not entirely tasteless lip-synching extravaganza by Phuket’s ladyboys

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are accepted by special arrangement (cots are available, and babysitting can be organised). But, because of the lagoons, high stairwells and generally grown-up atmosphere, we’d say Twinpalms isn’t the right place for families with young children.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can fit children under 12 in the existing bed for free, as well as being able to accommodate a baby cot. If you are a larger family, we'd opt for the 2-Bedroom Duplex as it has 2 double bedrooms as well as more space and privacy.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request.

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

Children's meals:

Children under 4 are not charged for meals, children under 12 receive a 50% discount on all food and beverages, kids over 12 are charged as adults.

Kid Friendly: Penthouse

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Twinpalms Phuket