Goodbye hiatus! I’ve been on the move constantly the past few weeks–from Vancouver to Beijing to Shanghai to Hong Kong and I’ve finally had time to take a quick break in Phuket! I wanted a resort where I could unwind and disconnect from civilization, where I can relax and rejuvenate in a peaceful, beautiful environment and Naka Island gave me just that.
The Naka Island resort, situated on Naka Island (which means ” magical dragon”) east of Phuket, is a five star resort under the Starwood Luxury collection brand (previously part of Six Senses family of resorts). The “luxury collection” experience starts at the airport when you are greeted by a friendly hotel representative who escorts you to your car. After a 30 min drive, you hop on a speedboat at Ao Po Marine which takes you on a brisk 10minute ride to the Naka Island Pier. You are then greeted by your concierge (his name was ‘Max’ in our case) who takes you directly to your villa where the check-in process is efficient and friendly.
Having lived in a city all my life, I long for a view of the sea and the sound of the waves whenever I stay at a beach resort so I decided to stay in a Seaview Pool Villa (Villa 58). The beautiful nature-like feel of the main bedroom room is reminiscent of other “Six Senses” resorts I’ve previously stayed in. The toilet and showers are “outdoors”, situated in the back of the main bedroom accessible through a few steps (probably not suitable for young children or seniors). We had a beautiful 180-degree view of the Andaman Sea from the bedroom and our private dip pool outside which made the villa perfect for us.
The Naka Island while beautiful is a perhaps a bit dated. It is a good place mind you to catch up on your reading or put pen to paper should you be so inclined. It has an intimate village-like resort consisting over 50 individual pool villas, 1 large infinity pool, 2 restaurants (say ‘hi’ to Aud at the main Tonsoi restaurant and Daniel the sommelier), 1 bar, 1 full spa, as well as a full fitness center with updated Technogym equipment. Each guest is provided with a bike (they put the ‘rust’ in rustic mind you) so you can freely roam the resort (alternatively you could always call the golf carts to whisk you around) or take a bike ride around the entire island. When dining, be sure to have a scoop of the freshly made coconut ice cream each and every day.
Best part of the resort is the number of free activities offered on a daily basis! There are thai boxing classes, nature walks, standup padding and even curry classes (to put on the pounds you just lost)! You can also take personal training, windsurfing and sailing classes for a small fee.
We spent a cool afternoon on a bike ride to the local fisherman’s village on mountain bikes generously provided by the hotel. This gave us the opportunity to take a look at the village life of locals on the island and witness the pristine public beach on the other side of the hotel (which is nicer than the beach at the hotel).
We also explored the island and the Andaman Sea by kayaking around the island (for free!) with the limestone cliffs of Phang-Nga Bay in the backdrop. This scenic trip took a not-so-relaxing hour and forty minutes to complete, give yourself two hours though. We were even presented with a certificate signed by the manager upon check out!!
Once you’ve participated in some of the activities, seek some relaxation and pampering at Spa Naka which has a comprehensive spa menu.
What I loved
Quietness, peacefulness of the island and waking up to the beautiful view of the Andaman Sea every morning
Numerous free activities offered on a daily basis by the resort.
Special Starwood Privilege Guest privileges! I am a loyal gold SPG member.
(Very important!) Despite being a fairly remote island, the internet connection is surprisingly reliable and sufficiently fast.
Need to Knows
Naka Island is quite secluded and the ferry ride costs a hefty THB 1600 (USD50 rtn) so there’s no getting out if you want to grab a bite outside the resort or explore the rest of Phuket (unless you don’t mind leaving the resort with a lighter pocket!). You could probably hitch a cheaper ride on a long boat but keep in mind food choices are limited to the resort.
Weather- Avoid rainy/monsoon season- September/October. When it rains, it rains non-stop 24/7.
Check out Starwood promo page for current offers on an all inclusive deal for Naka Island Resort.