Azure waters. Pristine white sands. Lush, fronded palm trees. And orange streaks across sunset skies. These are the visions of many of a traveller descending on one of Thailand’s most popular holiday destinations, Phuket. But with the last decade also seeing the party reputation of Phuket take centre stage, many are wondering whether you can still find a slice of solitude on this bustling island. The answer? A definitive yes. The place? Centara Villas. One of the best luxury villas in Phuket.
Finding a Phuket hotel – A quiet corner
As Phuket has increasingly become an international tourist hotspot, its become a little difficult to find somewhere to relax, particularly for couple travellers. You’re hard-pressed to find a high-end resort which offers up privacy but also is close enough to the bustling streets of Patong, giving you the best of both worlds.
Centara Villas, a 72-suite property provides just that. Nestled between the quieter Karon beach and party central, Patong, this 4-star hillside resort caters firmly to those looking for a relaxing holiday with an edge; exactly what we had been yearning for.
Arrival – Welcome to paradise
It’s a swift welcome at Centara, as we pull up in the midday heat. The reception area seems slightly unassuming at first, with friendly staff waiting to take your luggage and offering you a deliciously icy grape juice and cold towel. But you quickly realize why the cliffside location is so handy: the spectacular, sweeping views of the Andaman Sea.
We check in early without a fuss and clamber into the awaiting van, a modernized song thaew which it turns out we’ll climb into many times over the next few days. Because while that cliffside position is perfect for scenic vistas, it does mean a sweaty walk from the bottom of the villa complex to the top. Hence Centara’s brilliant approach: comfy white vans zipping around the steep cobbled lanes 24 hours a day and just a phone call away.
The Room – A villa with a view
We find ourselves walking down the steps to our suite for the next few days: Villa 202. The room, which measures about 46 m², is one of the Spa Suites including a very inviting jacuzzi on the front balcony; perfect to relax with a glass of champagne to watch the sun go down. There are also a handful of pool villas with private pools, all facing out to the bright blue ocean.
Well-appointed, our villa offers exactly what we need. It’s secluded – the walkway is only shared with one other villa, and it has large, wooden balcony doors that you can simply bolt for privacy. It has a huge, fluffy white bed along with roomy cupboard space and gauzy white curtains.
But it’s the bathroom that is the piece de resistance. Double vanities, the signature Centara toiletries (the scent is just heavenly) and a large central bath and shower unit which, while it seemed odd in the photos we saw before our arrival, might be one of our favourite showers ever.
Food and Drink – Sumptuous dining as the sun goes down
If there’s one thing that might deter people from booking the property, it’s the lack of restaurants in the neighbouring area. In reality it’s a very short taxi ride to restaurants in Karon or Patong and, in our opinion, you could easily eat at one of the two on-site restaurants for nearly all of your meals.
The main restaurant – The Cliff – is open for breakfast and dinner. Offering a huge buffet spread each morning, you’re not only able to tuck into delicious fare (we loved the custom egg station with its perfectly poached eggs) but see that legendary view to start your day.
Perched right at the top of the Centara Villas property, The Cliff was where we spent most of our meals. Each evening sees a drinks and canapes special, as well as a full Thai and Western menu to sample. A few favourites? Definitely the pad thai and the green curry, of course!
Situated down near the pools and the beach is the Bayview Restaurant, an al fresco type eatery where you will find the best mango smoothie in Thailand. And we’ve had a lot of mango smoothies in Thailand… This one is open for lunch and offers poolside service too.
Hotel facilities – Awarding the amenities
If you’re keen on relaxing, then you’re in luck. The Centara group of hotels is known throughout Asia for its spa facilities, and Centara Villas is no different, with the Spa Cenvaree offering everything from a simple foot massage to a couple’s spa experience.
For us, we’re water babies and the two pools didn’t disappoint, and the lower pool even has a working waterfall! We really valued the attention to detail on the two swimming pools in that the plush towels offered are extra-length and the plentiful loungers (no problems bagging a lounger here!), are like sinking into a soft cocoon. Easily the most comfortable pool loungers we’ve come across.
However, what makes Centara Villas even more special is the smart pairing with its sister hotel, Centara Grand Phuket. A quick 5 minute stroll down the coastal path and across the beach, and you’re facing another magnificent beachside resort where you can make full use of the facilities.
Centara Grand is definitely more geared to families. If the Villas is a romantic hideaway, the Grand is a bustling resort, suited to a slightly different travel style. With an absolutely enormous pool complex, you are even able to grab an inflatable tube to float around the property’s own canals or have a go down the large central water slide.
We particularly liked the fitness centre which not only had state-of-the-art cardio equipment but had everything you needed for functional training: Bulgarian power bags, TRX bands and even a large punching bag and boxing gloves.
Overall – The highs and the lows
So, overall, would we recommend this hotel? Without a moment’s hesitation. It’s a 4-star resort that packs a 5-star punch, offering you a tranquil corner to relax and recharge, but is close enough to the action to feel part of lively party haven, Phuket.
If you have mobility challenges, it might not be for you, but you could always just call up the shuttle service, for a personal hillside transfer. And, if you’re worried about the location, you could take a quick walk to Karon or hop in a taxi to get into the thick of it all.
We spent our days floating in the pools, watching epic sunsets, blowing bubbles in our balcony jacuzzi and soaking up the incredible hospitality of this dreamy sanctuary. A romantic retreat for anyone looking to devote a few days to Phuket.
Want to book a stay at Centara Villas – check here for the best room prices.
Disclosure: The Travel Scribes were invited to stay at the Centara Villas in Phuket as part of our trip to Thailand. Although we received a complimentary stay at the hotel, all views expressed in this review are our own. If you have any further questions about the property, get in touch with us here. Or if you would like some more guides on Thailand, check out all our articles here.
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