Phuket is a big Island. Its about 50km long by 20km wide and, while there are no really bad areas to stay, visitors can find when they arrive that they've booked a hotel a long way from the things that interest them most.
The best location to stay in depends on individual taste. Some people like to be right next to the hub of the nightlife and shopping while others prefer more peaceful surroundings well away from the crowds.
The following is a quick guide to the available location choices including possible advantages and disadvantages which may help you choose the area that suits you best.
In each region we list some hotels that have been carefully hand-picked based on recent customer ratings but you can follow this link if you prefer to see a list of all Phuket hotels.
The main centre for nightlife and tourist shopping on Phuket is the town of Patong and, not surprisingly, its also where the majority of hotels are located.
However, as Patong is a fair size in itself and local transport fees are highly inflated for tourists it would pay to know where in Patong your hotel is situated relative to where you intend spending most of your time. For this reason we've split our first two location descriptions into "inner" and "outer" Patong.
The heart of Patong's nightlife, Bangla Road, is central to the main shopping area and also leads right down to the edge of the island's busiest beach. If you plan on spending a lot of your time in this area then there are many hotels within walking distance. The easy access will save you precious holiday time but perhaps even more important is that you can avoid paying the ever-increasing taxi and tuk tuk charges which over time can add up to quite a sum. The down side can be the traffic and party noise if you stay too close but there are still plenty of quiet places if you don't mind walking just a little further.
Hotels Near Bangla Road with Good Guest Reviews
R Mar Resort and Spa - A medium-priced hotel very handy to the beach and Bangla Road nightlife. The R Mar gets a lot of excellent reviews and is well priced considering the accommodation standard and prime location. Safari Beach Hotel - A small, very reasonably priced hotel directly opposite Patong Beach and just 2 minutes walk from the beach-end of Bangla Road. Nightlife noise is not normally a problem for most as the rooms are quite well sound dampened but it could bother some people especially in a few of the cheaper rooms. However, if you want to be next to beach and nightlife you could not find a better location. Well-rated by guests. The Kee Resort & Spa - A very popular hotel that is close to the beach and only a few minutes walk to the centre of the nightlife in Bangla Road yet far enough away to escape most of the noise. Gets usually glowing reviews from guests. Millennium Resort - A modern resort in a superb location adjacent to the many shops and restaurants of the Jungceylon complex and only 5 minutes walk from Bangla Road's nightlife. Luxurious accommodation at good rates that gets consistently positive reviews from guests.
The majority of Patong hotels are outside the small city centre area. There are so many that its difficult to generalise but possible advantages are less noise and more luxurious surroundings as many of the up-market resorts are in this category.
Some of these hotels are actually located near Patong beach but just not near the nightlife section and require either a long walk or a short taxi ride should you decide to have a night on the town or to go shopping. Quite a few, however, run free city shuttles but it would pay to check their frequency before booking if you plan on using them regularly.
Hotels Outside Patong City Centre with Good Guest Reviews
The Nap Patong Hotel - comfortable and very popular, this hotel is within walking distance of the nightlife centre but still far away enough to escape the noise. Guest ratings are extremely good ! Holiday Inn Resort - Part of the Intercontinental Hotels group and meets the expected high standards. High class accommodation in an excellent location near the beach and nightlife. Avantika Boutique Hotel - South end of Patong Beach. Small up-market hotel with good customer ratings. Quiet and a short taxi ride or long but pleasant walk along the beach road to Bangla. Amari Phuket - Very highly rated by guests. Luxury accommodation with exceptional pool and private beach just a short trip from the nightlife.
Small townships within 30 minutes drive from Patong
KARON BEACH RD
Patong is undoubtedly the hub of tourism on Koh Phuket but its a busy and noisy place which does not suit everyone's tastes. For people who prefer a quieter environment but would still like the option of visiting Patong occasionally the towns of Karon and Kata may be the right choice. Both have more beautiful and less crowded beaches than Patong as well as their own small areas of shopping, restaurants and bars.
Tip: the Karon Cafe serves some of the best steaks on the island.
Hotels Highly Rated by Guests in Karon:
Karon Sea Sands Resort - Just around the corner from the centre of Karon shopping and main nightlife as well as being right opposite the beach. Beyond Resort Karon - Quality resort in a terrific location right on Karon Beach! Food commended highly as is the accommodation. Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort - A very big hotel located next to the beach. The hotel encourages family groups and offers special services for children plus the massive landscaped grounds have plenty of areas for them to play in.
Hotels Highly-Rated by Guests in Kata:
Kata Palm Resort - Mid price range hotel in an attractive and convenient location. High standard accommodation at a reasonable price. Malisa Villa Suites Hotel - Upmarket but quite well priced for villas that have their own private pools. A quiet location but still close to the beach and shops. Sawasdee Village Hotel - An attractive hotel with modern Thai decor and architecture highly rated by customers.
A Peaceful Area and Home to Phuket's Laguna Resorts
A leisurely 30 minute drive to the north of Patong along the scenic coast road lies secluded Bangtao Bay, home to a host of mainly luxury hotels that offer completely self-contained tropical holidays with guests' every need being catered for within the hotel grounds.
Prominent among these are the Laguna resorts which are built on a 1000 acre area connected by a network of lakes and includes the prestigious Banyan Tree and Angsana establishments. It is also the location of the Laguna Phuket Golf Club allowing guests easy access to their top class course.
Ouside of the Laguna complex there is also a good choice of accommodation including some major resorts at the south end of the beach.
Bangtao Hotels with Good Guest Reviews
Banyan Tree Resort - One of the most luxurious resorts on the island with private pools, on-site golf course, restaurants and bars. Dusit Thani Laguna Hotel - Another self-contained luxury resort in the same vein as the Banyan Tree though not quite as exclusive or expensive but still well rated by visitors. Allamanda Laguna Hotel - Like the Dusit and Banyan, this hotel is one of the Phuket laguna hotels but is aimed at people with a tighter budget. It offers large rooms or suites with kitchenettes and rates well with family groups.
About 20 minutes drive northwards from Patong through some of the island's nicest scenery is another of Phuket’s larger beach resorts, Kamala. A little less dedicated to tourism than the similar-sized towns of Karon and Kata means lower numbers of people giving it a generally more laid-back feel.
While maybe a little too quiet for some people, it may suit others looking to escape the more crowded towns while still having access to a good number of shops and restaurants. There are some quality resorts in the area many of them being particularly family friendly.
Nightlife is not a strong point but there are quite a few quiet bars and restaurants near the beach and along the main road in which to enjoy the evenings. The huge Fantasea theme park show is also located in Kamala.
Kamala Hotels with Good Guest Reviews
Ayara Kamala Resort - High class resort located on a hill allowing stunning views of Kamala Bay and a great place to watch the often spectacular sunsets. Highly praised by guests ! Kamala Beach Resort - Very reasonably priced for a hotel right on the beach and with two nice swimming pools. Great location and gets good ratings fom visitors. Manathai Resort - Not strictly speaking in Kamala but slightly to the north in Surin, home to some of the island's best known up-market resorts. Attractive decor, a lovely private beach and a nice setting have drawn very good comments and ratings from guests.
South Phuket - departure point for longtail island trips
RAWAI BEACH RD
Near the southern tip of Phuket is the pleasant little tourist village of Rawai. It has a very peaceful atmosphere compared to Patong but still posesses a few restaurants and bars with seaside dining on freshly caught seafood being a specialty.
Rawai beach is not one of Phuket's best being unsuitable for swimming but just a 10 minute trip over the hill and you'll find the superb Nai Harn Beach. Nai Harn also has a small number of shops, bars and restaurants.
A point of interest for some may be that Rawai is the main departure point for island trips by the traditional Thai longtail boats.
Highly Rated Hotels at Rawai and Nai Harn Beach
The Nai Harn - Formerly known as The Royal Phuket Yacht Club, The Nai Harn gets mostly excellent customer reviews. Quiet, attractive location with superb ocean views overlooking Nai Harn Beach. The Vijitt Resort - Secluded and peaceful. A very nice location with good swimming pool only a few minutes away from the restaurants and bars in Rawai. Private pool villas are available. Naiya Buree Resort - Very nice lower priced hotel with good atmosphere and amenities handy to both Rawai and Nai Harn beach. Well rated and good value for money.
Phuket has hotels and resorts scattered all over the island many of which have chosen more secluded locations that allow features such as spectacular views or exclusive access to one of the smaller beaches. Some of Phuket's best such as The Surin fall into this category.
Its a matter of taste, of course, but one place that may cause disappointment for some if they choose to stay there is Phuket Town. While it is an interesting city with a rich history and some points of interest, its primarily a business district and not particularly attractive by Phuket's standards so other locations would probably be better suited to most people.
Some of Phuket's Best Hotels in Quieter Locations
The Slate (formerly Indigo Pearl Hotel) - Located at Nai Yang Beach in the northern part of Phuket not far from the airport. Quirky design inspired by Phukets tin-mining history. Most guests absolutely love this hotel but its not for everyone so be sure to read All the customer reviews. The Surin Phuket Hotel(formerly The Chedi Hotel) - Luxury cottages overlooking a great little beach to which guests have near exclusive access. Extremely well rated by guests as a superb resort to get away from it all and chill out. Centara Villas Phuket - Very nice and reasonably priced hotel in an attractive green setting overlooking Karon Beach.