Marina Phuket Resort: Where the jungle meets the sea
Marina Resort Phuket is hidden away on a palm-shrouded peninsula in Phuket but just a short stroll from the urban buzz of lively Karon. We take a closer look at this secret jungle hideaway and find out why it’s the perfect place for a great-value beach escape in Thailand.
As you wander through the grounds of Marina Resort Phuket, you could almost imagine you were on a remote jungle island. Elevated walkways wind through a leafy canopy dotted with tropical flowers and flitting butterflies, leading to a sun-dappled pool oasis that’s framed by a thicket of trees and features a beautiful waterfall. But pull back the curtain of palms, and you’ll find this tranquil hideaway is just steps from the shops, bars and restaurants of Phuket’s second-largest resort. Nestled on a former coconut plantation and perched between Karon and Kata beaches, Marina Resort Phuket undoubtedly has one of the best locations in Phuket, which is why we’ve snapped it up and made it exclusive to Kuoni in the UK.
You can spend zen-like days relaxing around the lagoon pool listening to the rhythmic hum of chirping cicadas, occasionally lifting your head from your book for a refreshing dip or paddle over to the swim-up bar for a fruity cocktail. Strolling through the leafy walkways is quite an adventure in itself. The dense jungle canopy provides shelter for unique species of birds, scurrying lizards and vibrant flora such as orchids and red ginger flowers – if you’re a keen botanist you can borrow a guide from reception and have a go at identifying your exotic finds. After a day exploring bustling markets and gold-topped temples in Phuket, you could treat yourself to a muscle-melting treatment on the al-fresco pavilion by the pool – we highly recommend the aloe vera massage.
There are lots of things to do on your doorstep, beyond the tranquillity of this hidden retreat. Your Kuoni representative can arrange exciting trips such as a speedboat adventure to the breathtakingly beautiful Phi Phi islands or a twilight trip to Phang Nga Bay (home to the infamous James Bond Island featured in The Man with the Golden Gun). Amble down to Karon beach and snorkel among brightly coloured fish or go souvenir-hunting in one of the nearby markets. If you’re travelling with children (or perhaps even if you’re not), a visit to the resort’s Dinosaur themed mini-golf course, complete with lava caves, waterfalls and a fierce-looking Tyrannosaurus Rex, will while away a couple of hours. After nightfall, meander over to the night market to munch on delicious street food such as bowls of Pad Thai, green papaya salad and curries laced with blushingly hot chillies, followed by ‘Mai Tai’ cocktails in one of the ambient streetside bars. If you’re brave enough to embrace Thailand’s more raucous nightlife, the epicentre of Phuket’s party scene, Patong, is just a short cab ride away.
Although there are plenty of eateries nearby, you don’t have to leave the resort’s sanctuary should you not wish to. There’s a trio of restaurants serving a flavourful mix of tasty Asian and European cuisine on-site. Breakfast is included in your stay, so you can wake to an extensive spread including freshly cooked omelettes and tropical fruits in Home Kitchen, and the newly opened Red chopsticks buffet restaurant has authentic Asian dishes and quirky décor. Our favourite dining venue is On the Rock, if not for the views alone. Follow the sound of the surf up a lantern-lit walkway and you’ll find a cosy cave perched on the cliff-edge with a Flinstone-eqsue bar on one side and sweeping ocean views on the other. The food is exquisite, showcasing a menu of seafood dishes such as Tod Mun Koong (tasty shrimp cakes, served with plum sauce) and Yum Som Oh (a spicy and sour salad with prawns and roasted coconut). Mingle a while after dinner with a digestif and you’ll discover this is one of the best spots to watch the sunset.
The secluded rooms and villas are hidden in the greenery and feel a world away from the busy hotel complexes in other parts of Phuket. Leave behind the balmy temperatures of the tropics and enter a cool haven, designed in classic Thai style with dark teak furnishings flecked with gold-leaf and high beamed ceilings. Relax on your veranda with an icy Singha beer and soak up the sounds of the jungle or opt for an Ocean View Room to bag a view of the sparkling Andaman Sea. For the ultimate romantic hideaway there are standalone Grand Villas which are blissfully private and feature an Instagram-worthy Jacuzzi tub; just add rose petals, bubbles and a bottle of wine for two.
Marina Phuket Resort is one of our favourite hotels in Thailand, but don’t just take our word for it –the resort has earned a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award for 2020. We’re proud to say that we are the only UK tour operator who can take you there, so if you’d like to plan a Thailand escape at this rainforest hideaway, talk to one of our Personal Travel Experts today.