Updated: Sep 20, 2019
I haven't gotten around to reviewing a hotel stay in a while, but I thought my experience with J at the Anantara Layan Phuket was just outstanding (plus today is so smoggy I refuse to go outside), so here's a quick review of our stay between 1-6 January.
We had stayed at Sri Panwa for a few days and for the New Year's Eve countdown party, which to be honest, wasn't all it was hyped to be. Sri Panwa itself, Baba Nest and the deluxe pool room we stayed in were gorgeous, but the Anantara just had that extra edge on hospitality, luxury, privacy and ethos of sustainability.
We arrived on New Year's Day, after an hour's drive from Sri Panwa's location in the southeast of the island to where Anantara is in the northwest. Location-wise, it's quite secluded like Sri Panwa and far from the city but only around a 15 minutes drive to the airport. Buggies are readily available for staff to whisk you off to where you want to go in the resort, including the gym and Thai restaurant Dee Plee. We arrived to a lovely welcome by the staff, with a thorough explanation of the grounds, and were taken to tour our private pool villa.
This was the view of our private pool deck from inside our room. Loved the lush greens all around and above the high walls so it felt like we were in our own little tropical paradise. That pink structure on the left side is the bath tub, with a range of accompanying salts courtesy of the Anantara Spa. All the room amenities were plastic-free including the shampoo, lotion, after-sun and conditioner bottles, and water bottles come in recyclable glass rather than plastic. Toothbrushes and those little trinkets on the sink also don't come wrapped in plastic. So awesome. And the plush bed is just heaven.
Anantara is also connected to a private beach, and the pool overlooks it. Since we already had a pool in our villa, we decided to get most of our sun from the beach. You can order food to the beach, rent out paddle boards and kayaks and even jet ski for 2000 baht per 30 mins. I also highly recommend ordering the green curry with jasmine rice and tom kha gai (coconut chicken soup) - it's so good. Our drink of choice for this trip was also no doubt the Long Island Iced Tea, and shout out to Prince at the Mojito Beach Bar for making our entire stay that much more exceptional.
This was the Mojito Bar. Cute, right.
I loved the breakfast at the Anantara, although I think they could have add a few more savoury Thai main options to go with rice in the buffet, like curries and soups. There's a noodle station where you can choose the type of noodle you want with fish, beef or chicken balls with toppings, as well as a western egg and bacon/sausage station where you decide how you want your eggs. Great cheese and cold cuts station, and I never once touched the cereals/dried fruit section - is that really something people have for breakfast on vacation?
Activities! Anantara Layan Phuket Resort offers a super fun private cooking class by the charismatic chef of its award-winning Thai restaurant, Dee Plee. J and I tried our hand at cooking authentic Thai dishes such as the Papaya Salad, Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup), Crab Red Curry and Mango Sticky Rice. We were (mostly) successful, and were absolutely stuffed afterwards. The class + eating took around 2 hours in total, and definitely a 2 hours well spent.
Another thing we did.... visited the Phuket Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! I found out that a lot of people are tricked into going to unofficial elephant sanctuaries which actually allow their visitors to ride the elephants for photos (totally defeating the purpose), so please make sure you're booking the right one either directly or through certified agents. We booked through the Anantara. The 4 hour experience cost us 2,500 baht per person including a round trip drive to and from the hotel (~15 minutes per way). The group around 20 people, and we all shared the attention of around 7 rescued ex-trekking elephants. One of the most incredible experiences of my life. Click here to book.
Our final activity on the last night: the famous Simon Cabaret Phuket drag show in Pattaya. The VIP ticket costs 1,000 baht per person - and I'd rec this for great seats to view the ladyboys in all their striking grandeur. The outfits, hair and makeup are just brilliant. Click here to book non-refundable tickets.
Anantara Layan Phuket Resort
Tel: +66 76 317 200
Address: 168 Moo 6, Layan Beach Soi 4 Cherngtalay, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
For Booking.com, click HERE.
For more on food and travels, follow me on Instagram @furellie.
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