Thailand is a beautiful and magical land of charm and grace. It’s fringed by some of the best beaches in the world and is famed for its vibrant food, culture and charm. Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is a gentle introduction to this marvellous country.
Outrigger is a chain of high-end hotels dotted across the globe and at the very best locations. One can enjoy their hospitality in Hawaii, Guam, Mauritius, the Maldives and Samui in Thailand. The Phuket branch is the first one I have visited, and it is outstanding.
The public spaces reflect traditional Thai design with teak wood aplenty, high ceilings in the reception area, tranquil ponds with swimming carp, cosy seating and gracious service. This is far from a cookie-cutter hotel. The architecture of the main building makes a strong and beautiful statement of Thai aesthetic style and attention to detail. The lamps are themed around the local fishing industry. There are panelled walls lined with black and white pictures of another era. The traditionally dressed staff are as professional and polished as one would find in the best hotels anywhere in the world. It seems that one is never far from a friendly smile; perhaps that is the point of difference, and it’s a welcome one.
Linen is crisp and bright; bath towels are fluffy and often artfully folded into an animal form. The bath is deep and Roman, big enough to hold at least a couple of centurions. I loved the huge alcove daybed which beckoned to this weary traveller. The size of a double bed, this vantage point looking over the lagoon does double duty for families with children sharing the same room. It becomes a comfy bed for a couple of small sleepers exhausted after a full day of activities.
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is set right by the beach, as the name suggests, and in the high-season that strand is a magnet for sun-worshippers and sports-lovers. The large and serpentine pool is fringed with umbrellas and loungers. Its shape naturally provides space for those who want to swim their morning laps, as well as for kids who need to splash about. The pool area is popular with folks who are more interested in a good book than watersports. There are pool games for little ones but the more adventurous will happily spend their days rushing down the 55-metre waterslide. I am sure adults are allowed a go, but they will have to take their turn!
The youngest guests between 4 and 12 years old have an area especially for them. There are able staff on hand to amuse toddlers and young children with toys and books. There are gadgets and games, painting, stories and making new friends – enough to fill the whole day.
The celebrated Tennis Centre offers customized lessons for all ages and levels, with professional coaching. There is golf available nearby and that is said to be some of the best to be had in Thailand. Amongst many other sporty opportunities there are biking excursions, and for those who can’t tear themselves away from the beach there is volleyball and soccer. The well-equipped gym will appeal to those who want to work out. One could build up quite an appetite after all that exercise.
Take a boat across the lagoon
But many holiday-makers want to learn more about Thai culture, and Outrigger arranges some of the best off-site tours around. Do book to take a Thai cooking class: this could provide the most tasteful of all Thai souvenirs. The small local town is within walking distance, and a wealth of shops, smart cafés and galleries line the main street. One can take a boat across the lagoon to Canal Village, where a selection of designer gift shops will appeal to those looking for the perfect, elegant keepsake from a stay in Thailand. Phuket Town has a night market to thrill lovers of authentic street food; and the chance to visit a Buddhist temple shouldn’t be missed.
The food at Outrigger Phuket is excellent. The day could start with The Locavore restaurant and its array of breakfast treats and dishes. This could well be one of the best morning spreads in Thailand. There are the usual European/American suspects but also Asian dishes to try, and all presented as a feast for the eye as well as the palate. There is a Mediterranean restaurant called Metzo’s, as well as the Voyager 47 Club which offers afternoon tea, evening nibbles and cocktails. It’s well worth a visit. One can even snack while enjoying the pool. Edgewater has a menu of familiar European foods to delight the kids. Pizza and burgers and other casual dining fare feature alongside Thai dishes.
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is a luxurious spot for relaxing, working out or exploring the area. One can chill in sublime solitude or participate in group activities. Every guest will find their perfect vacation, with either a tennis racket or a best-seller to fill their days in Phuket – and there will never be enough of those. Outrigger displays the most enjoyable combination of service, space, adventure, calm, contemporary technology and old-fashioned care. A remarkable package.
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
Laguna Phuket 323 Moo 2
Cherngtalay, Thalang, Bangtao Bay,
Phone: +66 (0) 76-360-600
F: +66 (0) 76-360-670