Phuket Property Watch: Rocking or rolling this season?

PHUKET: Whenever anyone mentions ‘The Rock’ I am always inclined to think of that other island just off the dock by the bay – Alcatraz.

Certainly there is little resemblance between that former maximum security prison island and our own destination resort of Phuket.

Getting off this rock is invariably easier than swimming in shark infested waters, though the proliferation of jet skies might pose an even greater hazard to your health.

It’s high octane peak season and in the nightclub named desire, those behind the ropes just can’t wait to get inside that party that never stops.

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Of course others look for a more sedate way of “getting their rocks off”, or perhaps in more polite language, “rolling off into another temporary place”.

Be it a day, a multiple of daze or even a week, the options remain tantalizing.

Nearest and dearest to our heart is the capital city of Bangkok, and cool weather is one of the seasonal treats there at this time of year.

Travel fares online offer some remarkable deals be it THAI, AirAsia, Nok Air or Bangkok Air. For those who value working on a budget, look for the best offers on restricted tickets which just means your stay is cast in stone.

A few weeks ago I checked into the chic new Aloft hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Part of Starwood’s trendy W boutique umbrella, the product is a fresh look at pinstriped accommodation.

With opening rates just over 2,000 baht, and an address just across the street from the Bed Supperclub, what more could you want? It’s a wired wonderland, and next door the recently opened Catalana tapas bar and restaurant offers mean cuisine.

I had time to catch the new, much anticipated Zuma at the St. Regis. This Japanese inspired eatery has caused a sensation at other international locations and has now set up shop at a very upmarket address.

If you don’t fancy a meal, go to the outdoor lounge which is already gaining a reputation for people-watching and a quick chill out.

Another stop could be the new Hotel Muse on Soi Langsuan. Combining a total immersion design theme that harks back to the golden age of travel, both the hotel and restaurants are well worth a look. High marks go to Medici Kitchen and Bar on the downstairs level for something very extraordinary.

Leaving Thailand remains another option if you are keen to battle the lines at Phuket’s immigration counters. One of the region’s most affordable flights is the AirAsia direct flight to Bali. In my experience, and depending on the booking period, the total cost of a return ticket ranges from 7,000-9,000 baht.

Get one of those hot seats and then pre-book a chicken and rice meal. Perhaps the only negative is the early departure time from Phuket, although you do get into the ‘Island of the Gods’ before noon. Returning is a mid day flight, and the daily service is a plus.

Perhaps you want to trade one island paradise for another? Come on in – Koh Samui. You can fly, drive or even cycle.

New branded offerings include the Conrad and Le Meriden, while the InterContinental opens in February.

On top of the island’s detox and yoga centers is Kamalaya. This award winner in holistic retreats has gained a worldwide following and certainly ranks as one of the country’s top offerings. After all the excesses of Christmas and those following on Near Year’s Eve, perhaps a refresher course may be just what you need.

I hate to stop here, there’s so much to do and so little time. You might think that getting off the rock for the holidays might be stuck in the “all-too-hard” basket, but never ignore the obvious.

Getting away from Phuket often just makes you love coming back – all the more.

Compass opens 2 new Phuket hotels

Compass Hospitality Group are set to open two hotels in Patong by the end of January.

The three star, 249-room Citin Plaza will debut in the next two weeks, while the 77-key four star Citrus Heights rolls out next month.

Claude Baltes who has worked extensively in Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand is heading up both properties as General Manager.

Compass now operates 31 hotels in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore under the Citrus, Citin and Ananda Spa brands.

Both Patong hotels are developeed by Thai entrepreneur Wittaya Thaweewongsap. He is curently pursing a substantial hotel portfolio on the island which includes the Centra Ashlee and two new Starwood managed properties in the Fisherman Harbour project under the Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton brands.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and can be contacted through

— Bill Barnett

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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