Phuket — Dream Beach Destination
After leaving the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, our first stop was the popular beachside island of Phuket. Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is the rainforest-covered home to many of Thailand’s high-end seaside resorts. Our first stop was the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa.
The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa was the perfect way to start off our honeymoon in Phuket. Every aspect of our stay felt like it was designed to help us unplug and relax, from the location — on a pristine stretch of Phuket’s longest beach (Mai Khao) — to the grounds, which were lush and well-groomed. When the digs are this luxurious, it was hard to want to do anything but relax in the sun, and even though we’d planned a couple outings, we cancelled them in favor of staying on the beautiful property.
As for our room, we got to stay in a palatial villa with our own private pool — and were even welcomed with complimentary champagne and mojito bar.
The decor had a modern, cabana feel that leant itself perfectly to the expansive beachside location. The gigantic bathtub and outdoor shower in particular were a nice touch for a honeymooning couple.
Mai Khao, the beach hugging the resort on the Andaman Sea, was definitely the least populated of any that we visited. You could often walk for ten minutes without seeing anyone else, making it feel particularly remote and private — the perfect welcome for a week of relaxation.
The fitness center, open 24 hours a day, was one of the best we’ve ever seen in a hotel, and a great way to feel refreshed before heading out to the beach. Another must is a visit to the gorgeous Quan Spa. A couple’s Thai massage was a supremely relaxing way to unwind together.
After leaving the quiet spa culture of the Renaissance, we were ready for a change of pace a little closer to the heart of Phuket. We checked into The SIS Kata, a trendy hotel right off of the popular Kata beach.
The beautiful rooftop pool in particular made for good people watching, with lots of tanned and fit guests sipping on cocktails and enjoying the 180-degree views of the Andaman Sea.
Even the dining areas — the breakfast buffet is steps from the pool — make you feel like you’ve stepped into a magazine editorial.
Staying at the SIS Kata also put us closer to the biggest nightlife scene in Phuket — the flashy (if somewhat touristy) Patong. While a little reminiscent of a beachside Las Vegas, it’s also the home to the only dedicated gay district on the island, Boyztown. Inhabiting a wide city block, Boyztown is packed with fun gay bars and cabarets with some campy (and at times R-rated) entertainment.
Our final stop in Phuket was the glamorous beach resort, The Nai Harn.
Nestled into a cliffside overlooking perhaps the best beach in Phuket, the white contemporary structure houses white terrace rooms, all bursting with fuchsia pops of bougainvillea. The Nai Harn exudes old-school elegance — former guests include Prince Albert of Monaco and Roger Moore — but with a chic and trendy vibe. The seaview rooms are large and modern, each with a terrace and king-sized daybed where we could eat fresh fruit and sip champagne while looking out at the incredible cove below.
As beautiful as the beach was, we spent most of the time relaxing by the heated pool and sipping delicious drinks. (Our recommendation: a fresh coconut with a shot of the local Chalong Bay Rum).
Snorkeling and paddle boarding equipment was free for hotel guests and we took advantage of both, paddling out to the stunning Yanui Beach and the prime snorkeling location across the bay, Ao Sane Beach. We were shocked by the wide variety and bounty of colorful fish — just watch out for sharp coral!
With the Nai Harn as our final stop, it made it particularly hard to leave Phuket as we could have easily spent the entire week at the resort and never tire of its delicious food and prime hospitality. It’s a place we will absolutely return to on our next visit — and encourage gay travelers to do so as well.