Its intimacy, design and vibe are what make the Manathai Resort Phuket my favourite of all holiday accommodations. As a product contractor in travel, I have seen and stayed in a myriad of properties but this particular boutique space, central to Surin Beach, really appeals to my senses.
Separating from our frenzied scooter hive on highway 4025 and throttling back onto the less hurried sois (streets and alleys) of Hat Surin, we immediately felt the strain melt off our wind-swept faces. This nook in the West of Phuket is a delight. It is north of damaged Patong, central enough to access both the south and north of the island easily and Surin is considered by locals and expats alike, to be a chic weekend getaway.
There are no blazing neon signs advertising the resort. Instead, puttering along Srisunthorn road, you are met with beautiful green tiled A-frame roofs, white washed walls, trickling waters and an open plan road-front restaurant fringed with white patio umbrellas. Security waved us in and having killed the waspish drone of our scooter we were welcomed inside with lemongrass drinks and cool moving air from silent fans.
The open plan reception-cum-lounge-cum-bar is really the crux of why this place is so attractive to me. The mood here is laid back, staff come and go and never fail to greet or smile in passing, the constant warm breeze lulls you into relaxation and it’s where my partner and I tended to spend most evenings.
We, of course, explored the local scene but found ourselves returning early each night to relax on large couches, amid brightly coloured cushions with drinks, books and the days’ photos until we felt the need to drift off to bed.
The room was huge, with high ceilings and shelving holding beautiful ceramics, platters, stone and wood carvings, tiles and all sorts of traditional Thai earthen wares. Huge, low-hung, pod-like lighting warmly reaches all corners and the smell of lemongrass incense and the wafting aromas of freshly cut lotus flowers polished off the setting.
Our days spent exploring Phuket Island by motorbike was a hot and sticky affair. So, returning to ultramarine blue pool waters was just bliss. Gliding up and down, eyeing out chirruping frogs in the pool’s pond edges and relishing the sound of tricking waters from enormous mossy-skinned pots just felt so luxurious and private. The place was ‘ours’ and we never felt impinged upon by other holiday makers. In fact, at any one time we spotted perhaps a couple here and there but we were never in anyone else’s company.
Summing up my surroundings:
Antique furniture, dark woods, pebble pathways, white walls, wrought iron designer lights, fresh lotus flowers, comfort and class, natural light abound, frangipanis, earthy colours and the staff.
Manager Khun Daniel and his staff were (and still are) a super crowd with attention to detail and personalised touches being their unique selling point. They are what made our stay wonderful and should we make it back to Thailand again, Manathai Resort is where we will call home.