New Highs in Nightlife
As Phuket has grown into its skin, shaped by the rapid expansion of tourism and domestic emigration, its nightlife has slipped into a seductive niche. The island mantra has always been to go above and beyond in service and style. Kata brims with panache. Patong brings the heat. Phuket Town dials down the frenzy, delivering a touch of class. With XANA, the Pearl of the South now flaunts the kind of venue its scene had gravitated toward, but lacked all the same — one defined by chilled-out days and tasteful hot nights.
In the late 1990s, beach clubs became the next big thing, popping up in Mallorca and Miami and more, but they wouldn’t reach Phuket for another decade. In 2012, the brains behind Singapore’s Attica teamed up with Angsana in the Laguna Beach Resort complex to design XANA. It would be a new kind of club, a flagship on Bang Tao’s vast sands that would offer dining, drinking, and entertainment from morning to night. It wasn’t a sui generis project, but rather one aimed at giving tourists and locals a chic and comprehensive style of recreation.
The pink-clad XANA has pomp without a ton of pretension. The sun-hungry can recline on wicker loungers in the shallows of the 35-metre pool. VIP sun pods — cushioned beds shaded by large, branded umbrellas — provide little oases from the heat, fitting places to retreat to with drinks in hand. When night comes, the speakers pump house music and neon lights paint the pool shades of red, blue, and green, a subtle shift suggesting the variety of action to come.
Twice a week, Coco Jamboo entertains guests at sunset with his saxophone. And top local and international DJs liven up parties every Saturday. Big names, too, including Paul Oakenfold, who has played to packed audiences twice since 2013. For its third anniversary on March 7, London-based Paul Harris, who hit the decks on the club’s opening night, is returning to XANA.
Last year, mixologist Richard Gillam came to the club to craft new cocktails and train local staff. The menu now features potent signature drinks, including the King Cobra (B290), a refreshing mango cocktail with bite from chilli and kaffir lime, and the Xanajito (B290), which jazzes up the alltime favourite mojito with black currant juice. The food menu is staked on Western comforts and Thai classics. While solid, if unspectacular, the vibrant cocktails are the real star here.
When XANA opened, leading the beach club movement, Phuket was given a shot in the arm. Preconceived views of nightlife on the island, the corners to which it was once confined, were upended. The beach and nightlife proved not only capable of co-existing, but thriving as well.
10 Mu 4 Srisoonthon Rd, Thalang | 0 7632 4101 | xanabeachclub.com