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The best new restaurants, cafes, hotels and attractions in Phuket

This year's hottest reasons to head back to the jewel of the Andaman. 

By Kankanok Wichiantanon | Aug 30, 2017

  • The best new restaurants, cafes, hotels and attractions in Phuket
    Marriott Merlin Beach

Eat

Nama at Aman

With a name meaning “raw” in Japanese, the restaurant serves an extensive list of sushi and sashimi, alongside grilled dishes. All the food is prepared by Japan-native chef Keiji Matoba, who has worked at five-star hotels like The Chedi Andermatt in the Swiss Alps. One star dish is the Kobe gyu (B2,500), a Kobe wagyu steak grilled over charcoal at your table and served with moshio mineral salt, a seaweed-infused salt that has been produced by the same method for nearly 2,500 years.
Pansea Beach, Phuket, 097-632-4333. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner (Nov 1-May 15). goo.gl/WFCxjw
 

Torry's Ice Cream

Founded by art school graduate and island-native Torry Wongwattanakit, the store sits in a gorgeous pink Sino-Portuguese building on Soi Rommanee, where it’s pulling in both locals and tourists for its scoops inspired by Phuket’s iconic desserts like o-aew (clear jelly served with red beans and ice cream, B75), a-pong (crispy coconut crepe, B75) and bi-co-moi (glutinous sticky rice topped with coconut milk, B85). There are some 50 flavors in total, including booze-spiked options like Irish coffee (whiskey) and rum raisin (dark rum). 
Rommanee Soi 16, Thalang Rd., Phuket Old Town, 076-510-888. Open Tue-Sun 11am-9:30pm. www.torrysicecream.com
 

Esenzi

The ultra-luxurious design hotel Iniala Beach House has partnered with Tim Butler of Bangkok’s Eat Me (No.23 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016, No.7 in BK's Top Tables 2016) to open this new seafood venture. The first Butler restaurant outside of Bangkok plucks flavors from all around the world. A5 marbled wagyu beef from Shiga prefecture comes served with swordfish belly in red curry, while the Dutch Harbor king crab salad features heirloom tomatoes, basil sorbet and bloody Mary.
40/14 Moo 6, Baan Natai, Kokkloi, Takua Thung, Phang Nga, 085-789-8574. Open daily Tue-Sat 6pm-11pm. www.esenzierestaurant.com
 
Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PruRestaurant/

Pru

Pru takes its name from Pru Jumpa, the area where the resort’s own organic farm is located. Here, executive chef Jim Ophorst (who recently won the national round of San Pellegrino’s Young Chefs award) works with local producers like the neighboring goat farm and even goes foraging himself to create the likes of the eggplant selection dish, made of four kinds of eggplants cooked in five different ways—think textures of cream, mash, roast, crisp and puff—served with a sauce of five types of basil and house-made bottarga (cured fish roe). The set menu costs B3,000.
Trisara, 60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Rd., Phuket, 076-310-100. Open Mon-Sat 6pm–10:30pm. www.prurestaurant.com
 

Osha

Bangkok’s Osha restaurant (originally from San Francisco) has taken hold of the dining room in Phuket Town's heritage Memory at On On Hotel to offer some creative high-end Thai dining. Amid minty and magenta decor, Osha Thai serves a list of its star dishes from Bangkok like dancing king prawns in fish sauce and tom yum goong, but you'll also find traditional Phuket dishes like moo hong (braised pork belly, B350), and nam prik goong sieb (shrimp paste with dried shrimp, B170).
19 Phang-Nga Rd., Talad Yai, Phuket, 076-634-420, Open daily 7am-11pm. www.fb.com/oshathaiatonon
 

Mali

Mali serves dishes under the tagline “traditional Phuket food.” The menu charts all the Southern hits—crabmeat curry with rice noodle, moo hong (braised pork belly, B150), nam prik goong siab (chili shrimp paste with crispy dried shrimp, B140) and kua kling (stir-fried spicy pork/beef, B160)—as well as experimenting with its own dishes like chicken curry spring rolls and pla long nam (a hotpot of deep-fried seabass or garupa with coconut curry, B420).
91/6 Chaofah Tawantok Rd., Phuket, 090-324-6351. Open daily 11am-10pm. www.fb.com/maliphuket324

Play

Chalong Bay Rum Bar

Phuket's artisanal rum distillery now has its own bar and also offers cocktail workshops. Stop by for a sip of its classic cocktails (from B300), bite-sized Mediterranean tapas and a fittingly tropical vibe. Finish off with a scoop of the delicious Chalong Bay rum and raisin ice cream (B100). Launched back in 2012, Chalong Bay Rum is produced from pure Thai sugarcane juice (not molasses, like most distilleries), crafted using traditional French distillation methods. 
Chalong Bay Distillery, 14/2 Moo 2 Soi Palai 2, Phuket, 093-575-1119, or 082-800-4701. Open Mon-Sat 11am-10pm. www.chalongbay.com
 

Cafe Del Mar

A pool sits surrounded by fancy sunbeds and a bar, while the lounge extends right to the sands at Thailand’s iteration of Ibiza's legendary beach club. Jazz and tropical house tunes set the scene during the day, with underground techno taking over later on. Drinks-wise there's a huge list of spirits, wines and classic cocktails for you to choose from. B1,000 entry entitles you to a single lounger and pool use. 
Kammala, Kathu, Phuket, 063-081-2488. Open daily 11am-2am. www.cafedelmarphuket.com

Do

Peranakan Phuket Museum

Dedicated to Baba-Nyonya heritage, Peranakan Phuket Museum mirrors the look of Phuket Town’s Sino-Portuguese shop-houses in a series of kitsch but fun exhibits. There’s even a photo studio where you can dress up in Baba-Nyonya costume and have your picture taken against a faux crumbly wall. The on-site Yaya Kitchen offers local dishes, while Pinana cafe serves scones, brownies and tea. Entrance is B300.
Thepkasattri Rd., Muang Thalang, Phuket, 076-313-556. Open daily 9am-6pm. www.phuketperanakanmuseum.com
 
Credit: trisara.com/gallery

Jara Spa

Jara’s six villa-like spa rooms offer four different signature mixed oils and what they dub a “Thai thermal massage” (B6,500/90 minutes), which features a clay pot filled with heated Himalayan salt and incorporates elements of meditation. The five-hour Jara Local (B15,500/person) treatment includes a herbal scrub and wrap, thermal massage, stretching and walking meditation by Buddhist monks. We recommend requesting a sea-view spa room.
60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Rd., Phuket, 076-310-100. Open daily 10am-9pm. www.trisara.com/en/jara-spa 

Stay

Marriott Merlin Beach

The resort is huge—414 rooms huge—and with the beaches around Phuket becoming increasingly busy, here you've got your own private beach that's only accessible by hotel guests. Newbies to scuba diving can even take a three-hour introductory course without having to leave the resort. They also offer three massive swimming pools, a modest spa, muay Thai, kayaking and paddle boarding. Rates start from B3,600.
99 Muen-Ngoen Rd., Tri-Trang Beach, Patong, Phuket, 076-335-300.  goo.gl/vjeMqn
 
Credit: www.facebook.com/MAIHOUSEPatongHill

Mai House

Patong’s newest boutique hotel looks to Phuket Town’s Sino-Portuguese culture to create somewhere elegant and different. Mai House Patong Hill is an alluring blend of turquoise walls, opium den-style daybeds and dangling steel lanterns. The Grand Deluxe Rooms feature bathtubs in the bedroom, or go one step further for the Grand Deluxe Jacuzzi room, which has its own outdoor Jacuzzi hidden behind a veil of tropical foliage overlooking Patong Beach. Rates start from B4,750.
5/5 Phrabarami Rd., Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 076-637-770. www.maihouse.com/patonghill 
 
Credit: https://www.facebook.com/thesiskata/

The SIS Kata

This swanky stay comes at a refreshingly low price point. The name means "Stay In Style" and the resort's 124 guest rooms and two suites come in a nautical white and blue color scheme with contemporary chevron patterns throughout. You'll find six restaurants and bars on-site that serve up local dishes with international twists and take advantage of the Kata sunset over the Andaman Sea. Rates start from B2,399.
255 Kok Tanode Rd., Karon, Muang, Phuket, 076-609-555. www.thesiskata.com 
 

Avista Hideaway

The southern end of Patong Beach is currently one of the hottest places to stay on the island. This resort boasts clean lines with a luxurious tropical edge, its 150 guestrooms coming with rich local woods and natural stones. Three saltwater swimming pools are split over different levels, while food and drink ranges from Sizzle steakhouse and Vista all-day dining to the Rendez-Vue Rooftop cocktail and tapas bar. Rates start from B6,600.
39/9 Muen Ngern Rd., Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 076-681-681. www.avista-hideaway-phuket-patong.com
 
 

Akyra Beach Club Phuket

Just a 20-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, the Andaman-facing hotel goes with a deep blue theme for its 42 rooms and 17 villas, the highlight of which is the 125-sq-meter beachfront two-bedroom villa. The decor features Sino-Portuguese patterned flourishes on everything from the floor tiles to the cushions, matched with dark wooden furniture. Rates start from B2,500.
32/7 Moo 5, Kokkloi, Takua Thung, Phang Nga, 076-592-500. www.theakyra.com/phuket
 

2Rooms Boutique House

Designed and owned by Phuket's Dhamarchitects, the two rooms are situated on the second floor of a 100-year-old twin shop-house on Soi Rommanee that was formerly an old-school coffee shop. These days, it stands out not only for its bright pink facade, but also its relatively shallow nature compared to other shop-houses in the area. The large, suite-like rooms consist of dark blue walls, a king bed and breezy balcony. Downstairs you’ll find popular dessert cafe Torry’s Ice cream (see page 6). Rates start from B3,000.
Soi Rommanee, Thalang Rd., Phuket, 076-354-335. www.fb.com/2roomsboutiquehouse
 
Credit: www.facebook.com/maitonislandphuket

Maiton Private Island

You can now stay on the Andaman Sea's largest private island, Koh Mai Ton, which sits about 9km from Phuket. Maiton Private Island operates more like a family-run Airbnb than a resort. Activities on the island include outdoor massages with a view, and diving at the underwater reef. You can also kayak, snorkel and take a boat around the island for a dolphin-sighting trip. Rates start from B2,900.
100 Moo 7, Wichi, Muang, Phuket, 085-835-3456.  www.maitonprivateisland.com 

 

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