Review: Andara Resort, Phuket, Thailand

Once in a while, you take a holiday and the hotel or resort you stayed in was so fantastic that you do not want to leave. Andara Resort of Phuket certainly qualify as one such resort as far as I am concern.

We stayed at Andara Resort on our last holiday in Phuket, Thailand. Andara Resort is one of the latest boutique resort/hotel that are giving mass-market hotel chains a good run for their money, not only in Phuket but all round the world. Boutique or niche hotel, in case you are wondering, are usually smaller and revolve around a certain special theme be it hotel concept, architectural uniqueness, outstanding F&B concepts or simply being better, cozier, friendlier, less noisy and more comfortable than most typical large chain hotel.

The grand entrance to Andara Resort
The grand entrance to Andara Resort

The lobby to Andara Resort
The lobby to Andara Resort

Andara Resort is certainly one such boutique hotel concept. Located at Kamala beach, Western Phuket, it is away from the maddening crowd at the popular Patong beach and yet retain all the special charms of a Phuket holiday – sun, sea, beach, pool, shopping, food and massage. Andara Resort is more than just a hotel – in fact, each room is not just a room but an entire apartment – ranging from 1 room to 4 room apartments; many with their own swimming pool. You can call it a ‘condotel’ if you like; it has all the comforts of a full apartment or condominium including a full kitchen, laundry room, dining table, audio-video system, luxurious bathrooms, multiple bedrooms and even a private pool for some units.

You can ‘hide’ in your apartment throughout the entire holiday if you wish; cook, eat, watch TV and luxuriate and suntan at your own private pool. You do not have to meet another soul throughout if you do not want to as the apartment is totally self-contained; right down to ice-maker, coffee-maker, micro-wave oven, cooking stove, ironing board, sound system, ample supply of towels and multiple rooms and bathrooms.

6 luxurious apartments to each 3 level block
6 luxurious apartments to one apartment block

Spacious living hall
Spacious living hall with a sea view

Master bedroom with grand beach view
Master bedroom with grand beach view

Fully equipped kitchen
Fully equipped kitchen – coffee maker, ice maker, oven, stove

Alternatively, you can have the kids, grandparents and yourself living in one apartment or have a boisterous party of 4 to 8 adults and yet be able to retreat to your own personal bedroom at the end of the day. Cook, wash and entertain as you like or pick up the phone and get the resort to provide full housekeeping, F&B and entertainment services.

Other than the facilities provided within the apartment, the resort also has a restaurant, wine bar, health club, swimming pool and a spa (not completed when we were there). Or the resort concierge is able to arrange day trips, rent a car or even send you to the beach if you wish. We organised a day trip and a rental car with the concierge and were surprised that prices are exactly the same as we would have paid if we had approached any tour shops down the road. No ridiculous mark-up as some hotel are apt to do.

Swim at the 30m public lap pool
Swim and suntan at the 30m resort public lap pool

Or swim and suntan at your own private infinity-view pool

The resort is just a short 400 metres to the nearest beach. Take a short 10 minutes walk there by yourself or the resort can arrange to drive you there. And if you specify a time, even come and fetch you back to the resort. The Kamala beach is on a cove and hence, the waves are not rough and the sand is powdery as Phuket’s beaches are famous for. Incredibly, Andara Resort even has their own private space along the beach and as a guest, you’ll get comfortable deck chairs, towels and even flotation devices while everyone else at the beach will have to pay for their deck chairs and bring their own towels!

Along the beach is a great variety of restaurants, shops and massage palours. You can relax at the beach, wine and dine, shop and have a massage and just give a call and the resort will send a vehicle to send you right back to your apartment. Simply heavenly.

You can also easily get a taxi to explore other parts of Phuket (Patong Beach 20 mins; Phuket Town 30 mins), join the many day tours to go island hopping, elephant trekking, fishing, diving, watch Thai boxing or cabaret shows or perhaps like us, rent a car and go explore the entire Phuket island via a series of good roads.

The Andara Resort is scheduled for it’s official opening only on 12 February 2010. Hence, this is an absolutely brand new resort and you must be aware that final renovation and landscaping work is still an on-going process and may mar an otherwise perfect holiday with some noise and dirt.

Of course, the advantage of checking into a brand new resort also mean that everything still feel and smell brand new and if you’re lucky like us, the likelihood of being upgraded to a higher class suite or penthouse is very high!