This tropical oasis has been getting it right for the past three decades
This year the Le Meridien Phuket will be turning 30, but the resort still looks brand spanking new. The bright green roof tiles on the main buildings still gleam in the sun, the two oversized swimming pools—the larger of the two measuring 60 x 90 metres—are kept immaculately clean, and the grand, elevated open-air lobby shows no signs of wear and tear. In short, this grande dame of Phuket’s luxury resorts is ageing quite gracefully.
The property, which has always been a Le Meridien, chose for itself one of the most beautiful beachfront locations on the island—a very private stretch of white sand known as Karon Noi (but more commonly referred to as “Relax Beach”). And for hotel guests the great thing about this very relaxing, crescent shaped bay is that the rocky outcroppings at either end prevent anyone not staying at the hotel from accessing the beach. In other words, you don’t have to deal with touts, hawkers, jet-ski jerks, or nimble-fingered petty thieves. And just like the grounds of the resort, the soft white sand here is kept spic and span, which is something of a rarity for Thailand’s beaches these days.
The resort itself occupies a huge area of land, and in total there are 470 rooms and suites to choose from. For a luxurious vantage point looking straight out to the beach, choose one of the 38 sq.m Deluxe Ocean View Rooms, which offer guests amenities that include a plush king sized bed, rainfall showerhead, LCD flatscreen TV, fridge, mini-bar, room safe, iron and ironing board, complimentary Wi-Fi, and (most importantly) a spacious balcony with a spectacular view.
The resort is like a self-contained world, a feeling that’s enhanced by a strip of shops that occupy much of the ground floor of the main building. It’s like you never have to leave the resort because everything is here—state-of-the-art gym, luxury spa, tailor, jeweller, souvenir shops, and even a small medical clinic. Meanwhile, daily organized activities range from archery and beach volleyball to tennis, golf and squash, and there are 10 F&B outlets on-site, so guests can try out a new place at almost every meal.
One of the most intriguing of the dining spots here is Ariake Japanese Restaurant, one of the few authentic Japanese fine dining restaurants on the whole island. The compact interior is home to a sit-down sushi bar, an 8-seat Teppanyaki grill station, and Tatami rooms for private dining. Grabbing a seat at the Teppanyaki grill ensures an entertaining evening as the skilled chef frantically slices and dices, expertly wielding his knives and tongs like a top-flight Ninja. But taste doesn’t take a back seat to showmanship, and the grilled to perfection menu offerings are as delicious as they are inventive. Ask for the elaborately prepared rice oak, flame-roasted sesame tuna, or the melt-in-your-mouth Waygu beef with special mustard sauce (just to name a few).
By Bruce Scott
Le Meridien Phuket
29 Soi Karon Nui | Tel: 07 637 0100 | www.lemeridienphuketbeachresort.com