When most people think of Phuket, they think of the naughty clubs and giant bars near Patong Beach, or snorkelling with sea life on Phi Phi Island. But did you know Phuket also has a zen side? Read on under the cut to find out.
Just 15 minutes from the Phuket International Airport and overlooking the more tranquil Naiyang Beach is The Slate, formerly the Indigo Pearl, a decades-old holiday resort. With its recent rebrand, there's a greater emphasis on celebrating the history of this eastern corner of the island, and how it originally turned from a tin mine into the serene getaway it is today.
Stepping into The Slate, you'll notice whimsical interiors that looked to be inspired by steampunk: it's actually an homage to its history as a site for a tin mine hundreds of years ago until 1932. The property owner was inspired to create a destination that not only was fun, but also educational. With the rebrand, though the facilities of the property have remained more or less the same, the hospitality has gotten an upgrade.
We stayed at the Pearl Bed Suite, which has not just one, but two balconies overlooking greenery, and a shower and bath area almost as big as the average sitting room in Hong Kong. But what was probably the most impressive was the bed. A king-sized bed that swallows you with its soft bedding, and certainly one of the most comfortable beds I've slept in—I was tempted to buy the bed topper itself, and in fact everything in the hotel, including furniture, cutlery, decorations and their signature scent, is available for purchase in the hotel boutique Stockroom.
Another thing we’ve noticed is the hotel's dedication to its industrial theme. From little spanner cutlery and rivet coasters, to a whole bar dedicated to the mining life and its collectibles, it is an extremely unique cultural experience that’s rare to see in a resort destination.
Recreation wise, The Slate was able to cater to both the chilled and active visitors. A trip to the hotel gym will reveal the daily schedules of both complimentary and paid activities, including Thai boxing, Pilates, sunset bike or hike tours, and water activities like stand up paddle boarding. If you’re looking for a bit of culture, definitely join their temple tours, and weekend market tours as well.
We tried stand up paddle boarding for just 600THB per person for an hour of coaching, and the dedicated, warm and fun class out on the beautiful and clear Naiyang Beach that early morning made us want to SUP all summer long. Even though my companion wasn't a strong swimmer, the coach made SUP seem easy to pick up.
If you’re less into physical activities, one thing you can’t miss is the beach during sunset. Perfect for couples, but also great for family photos, the long and quiet stretch of the beach (directly accessible from the resort) was absolutely breathtaking. We decided to have dinner on the first night outside of the hotel, and Good View Nai Yang Beach Restaurant was an awesome choice for cheap but authentic Thai food with the option to dine with your toes in the sand.
The Slate’s three swimming pools, needless to say, are absolutely ideal if you’re looking to lounge by the water all day long with a cocktail or two in hand. But one thing we must mention, and you must not miss, is the dining experience at Black Ginger.
Black Ginger, the hotel’s signature dinner-only restaurant, is home to a one of a kind fine-dining experience that starts with a nothing less than a magical entrance. (We really don’t want to spoil it for you!) Refreshing cocktails in the middle of a manmade lagoon was only made better by what’s to come after—authentic Thai food with a modern spin, served in impossibly beautiful, lush surroundings that tease with an air of mystery.
Could you tell I was impressed? There are plenty of other ridiculously fun activities on the property that you can partake in: there's a spa that you can experience in a cocoon-like setting, or take time to indulge in The Slate's signature Sunday bottomless brunch if you have a chance.
It was absolutely surprising to find that this family-friendly resort just a hop away from the airport became my new favourite Phuket experience. It is far away from all other attractions, but to be honest, there isn’t really a reason to leave!
Find out more about The Slate Phuket via their website.
Written by Karen Chiang