While the crowds might flock to Patong and the Old Town, the north-western coast of Phuket island is a much more chilled, relaxing spot with Sirinat National Park and miles of long, golden empty beaches. The environs are absolutely lush, wide brushstrokes of green that become tangles of jungle which spill out onto the roads, vines snaking up telegraph poles and the air alive with the sound of birds.
Why stay here?
The Slate’s owners made their fortune from Phuket’s tin-mining industry and the hotel is a playful homage to this – it’s a fusion of mining paraphernalia with a steampunk aesthetic that delivers industrial chic. This theme lives all the way through to the cutlery, custom-made with spanners, sockets and bolts all making an appearance.
The hotel sits moments away from Phuket Airport, though you’d never guess – no deafening low flying aircraft overhead. It’s a distinct pleasure to have such a short trip from the airport before you’re cooling off in the pool, especially if you are travelling with young ones; there are plenty of activities for them to take part in once you arrive too, and one of The Slate’s three pools is also dedicated to them.
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It’s a sizeable hotel with paths that snake through it, twisting and turning with Black Ginger, the hotel’s restaurant, at its core. Despite this size, it feels intimate and village-like and buggies are ever at-the-ready to whisk you about.
Sitting right on casuarina-fringed Nai Yang beach, a lovely curving stretch of sand replete with a few bars and vendors dotted along, there’s enough to make it feel alive without being busy; the swimming is fantastic and child-friendly.
This being the tropics, there’s plenty of wildlife about. Our favourite, the monitor lizard, frequents the grounds and one next to our villa was a seriously sluggish heavyweight at around five foot from nose to tail. Regardless of size, these docile giants pose no threat and make for a great holiday snap.
Rooms and suites
Like the rest of the hotel, the rooms and suites were designed by American architect Bill Bensley and continue to leverage the Na-Ranong family’s tin-mining history featuring industrial-vibe furniture – hardwood chairs, for example, held together with heavyweight nuts and bolts.
While even the least expensive rooms are spacious, the villas are where it’s at – ultra-luxe and incredibly generous, they’re split across two “huts” each with their own bathrooms and featuring a good sized pool and private garden and your very own butler. Our bedroom had a huge Jacuzzi in one corner while the second “hut” had its own spa, sauna and steam room. Bluetooth Marshall amps are a great touch for a bit of a singsong in the tub.
Outdoor waterfall showers have a seriously gorgeous flow – a real treat of a wake-me-up in the morning. Why don’t we have one at home?
Eating and drinking
The Slate’s main restaurant is Black Ginger which is Michelin Guide recommended. Wonderfully atmospheric, it’s made up of several outdoor spaces and an indoor spot with air-con and is accessed across a lagoon via a hand-pulled raft replete with flaming torches. It’s a little 90s nightclub in styling and pretty dark (they bring you lights to view the menu), but we’re rolling with it because it’s playful and the Thai food cooked by Chef Piak is delicious and features a swathe of her take on Phuket’s favourites.
Tin Mine is the core restaurant for the hotel and where they serve up a brilliant array of breakfast treats – fab fresh fruit, pastries and a delicious selection of Thai dishes from stir-fries to noodle soup.
For a bit of something local, head down to the beach where there are a bunch of food stalls and a few brick-and-mortar establishments (more sand and wood). Here you can sip cold beers or silly cocktails while staring out over the sand and sea. Sunsets are fab and you’re in for some stunning skies, too.
What to do
Depending on the time of year you visit, diving may or may not be on the cards. If it’s a goer, then the Andaman Sea is a fantastic spot for it. For those more committed, take a two-day trip out to the Similan Islands for some of the world’s best diving.
The hotel’s Coqoon Spa has some fantastic treatments including the classic stretch-and-bend-and-crunch-and-release Thai massage. There are a bunch of fitness activities available – paddle-boarding, cycling, yoga, Muay Thai, two tennis courts, a full gym and even archery classes, should you fancy. There are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy, too.
Rooms at The Slate start from £120 per night; theslatephuket.com
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