Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Hotel Insider: Twinpalms MontAzure, Phuket

The beauty of this location, on the west coast of the island, is that there is so much to see within walking distance

The Twinpalms MontAzure in Phuket feels more like a couple’s retreat than a family destination. Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure
The Twinpalms MontAzure in Phuket feels more like a couple’s retreat than a family destination. Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure

The welcome

After a 45-minute drive from Phuket International Airport to the hotel, I am greeted with lemongrass-scented cold towels, jasmine wrist garlands and cooling welcome drinks. With its subtle, contemporary facade, a blend of smooth wood and stone, the property is a world away from the teak, palm-fringed design typical of traditional Thailand. The architecture is characterised by sharp lines and edges, even down to the geometric waterways lining the landscaping, offering a modern take on Asian Art Deco.

The neighbourhood

The beauty of this location, on the west coast of the island, is that there is so much to see within walking distance. Two buildings away from the hotel is the world-famous Cafe del Mar and after many years of enjoying the music produced by the record label that shares its name, I finally got to experience it at the cafe itself, without even having to take a taxi home. A short walk away is a bundle of little shops, massage spots and food stands, offering everything from local handicrafts to fresh coconuts, all set against the dramatic tropical backdrop of Kamala Bay. It is only a 15-minute drive to Patong or Boat Street market in the other direction, and half an hour to the island’s national park and Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Twinpalms Mont­Azure offers shuttles between its seven dining destinations and Catch Beach Club, meaning you never have to set foot in a tuk-tuk – although this is worth doing at least once.

The room

With accommodation designed to double as residences, the hotel’s sea-view rooms are spacious. Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure
With accommodation designed to double as residences, the hotel’s sea-view rooms are spacious. Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure

I stayed in a one-bedroom sea-view suite. As accommodation is designed to double as residences, the layout is spacious. The open-plan kitchen / living area is large, while there is also a generous balcony with sofas from which you can enjoy the ocean breeze.

The service

Considering the hotel had only been open for a month when I visited in July, staff were well trained and confident. I felt as though I was the only guest there.

The scene

The property has a calm, grown-up vibe (there is even a library), which makes it feel more like a couple’s retreat than a family destination. There is plenty of attention to detail, even down to the four pillow choices in the room. With two swimming pools – a lap pool and an infinity pool overlooking the beach and its beach lounge, HQ, a short walk away, there is no shortage of places to while away the hours. Beyond the resort, Phuket has much to offer, from boat tours to ­snorkelling, hiking trails and street markets.

The food

The property has a total of seven offsite and onsite dining venues. Courtesy Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure
The property has a total of seven offsite and onsite dining venues. Courtesy Courtesy Twinpalms MontAzure

The hotel has seven venues on and off-site, but beach restaurant Shimmer has become a firm favourite on the island for its Saturday brunch. A range of seafood, modern Thai goodies such as pomelo salad and home-made coconut ice cream, as well as live performances from DJs and a vibrant crowd, have made it quite the destination at weekends. It is also the setting of an a la carte breakfast with a delicious selection of dishes, from Asian (including traditional congee with prawns) to western (such as pancakes with banana and maple syrup, or rosemary and potato frittata). I had tofu and avocado scramble on toast with Thai fruits.

Loved

Barefoot morning runs on the beach. I also enjoyed the fact the hotel is doing its part to eliminate single-use plastics, offering refillable glass water bottles in the room and wooden straws.

Hated

The one thing I usually hate about hotels is vast, impersonal dining halls at breakfast, with scrum-like buffets and huge amounts of food waste, as well as tightly packed pools and beaches – but this was the exact opposite. I hated nothing and this feeds into everything I wish more hotels would be.

The verdict

With a great gym, amazing food outlets and an incredible beach, as well as its convenient location, there is so much to like. It has all the luxury of a hotel, but with a more intimate, homely feel.

The bottom line

Suites start from Dh769 per night.

Updated: September 10, 2019 06:43 PM

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