By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
When it comes to sybaritic beachside getaways Phuket’s renown has reached all corners of the globe, and deservedly so. From the island’s resplendent beaches, to the studied history of Old Phuket Town, to its array of mouthwatering seafood, Phuket has everything guests will need for the perfect holiday, and no place more so than Splash Beach Resort, sprawled over 47 acres and only a 15-minute scenic drive from the airport.
When first arriving at the resort lobby in a thoughtfully provided private car, what first struck me was the property’s perfect amalgam of traditional cultural elements and contemporary edge. The lobby’s arched wooden ceilings, Thai ceiling fans, and décor of tropical blooms was offset by the industrial vibe of the exposed beams, slate-grey pillars, and striking avant- garde art installations. On a raised dais just off to the side was the well-appointed Lobby Bar, a relaxing space flooded with light from all sides; glass railings allow a stunning 270-degree view of the property, including the vibrant slides of the integrated Splash Jungle Water Park, which tempts all who gaze on it to jump into its fun-filled depths.
An affable receptionist pulled me away from my contemplation of which exhilarating ride I was most looking forward to, and offered me a refreshing welcome drink while checking me in with gracious efficiency. Although the layout of the sprawling property was explained to me with a handy pamphlet, I didn’t fully grasp how palatial in scale the resort was until I was in the buggy that would take me to my rooms. We drove past sweeping grounds of luxuriant vegetation, a man-made lake, and a vast conference centre before we got to the apartment-style complexes that housed almost 600 rooms and suites.
The Two Bedroom Residence with Balcony I was ushered into exuded a homely ambiance that immediately brought a smile to my face. Consisting of a comfortable living room in neutral tones and earthy wicker furnishings; two spacious, light-filled bedrooms; and a glass-railed balcony with a perfect view of the resort’s lavish estate; the suite is perfect for a family or group of friends on holiday. It’s no surprise that some of the main clientele of Splash Beach Resort are families with children, wedding parties, or groups of business travellers, as the décor in the suite is the perfect mix of upscale luxury and apartment living for large assemblies. Little touches like a complimentary basket of fruit and a floral welcome message ensconce you in a tropical embrace of hospitality. For those wanting that extra touch of opulence, the resort has generously outfitted villas and penthouses with their own kitchen and private pool, 33 of which have direct access to the golden sands of Mai Khao Beach.
After settling in, I called a buggy to take me to my next stop, the resort’s international all-day dining restaurant, Splash Kitchen. With both al fresco and indoor options, guests can sit in verdant surroundings or enjoy the uniquely patterned wooden ceilings and pillars inside that give it a rustic, yet sophisticated, feel. An incredible array of buffet options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available for guests (I cannot sing the praises of the breakfast egg station enough), as well as a substantial à la carte menu.
After lunch, I explored the resort on foot; pleasant despite the summer heat because of the lush verdure surroundings and the shade provided by the glut of palm trees. After traversing a couple of gracefully arched bridges, I found my way to the Beachfront Pool, a stunning infinity pool of deep cobalt that overlooked the magnificent vista of Mai Khao Beach. To the far right a water-volleyball net lay in wait for adventurous players to hit that first ace, to the left was a kids’ pool with enjoyable amenities for children of all ages. However, the hidden gem was the breach in the trees straight ahead that gave me an uninterrupted view of the sunset over the ocean; a sight that alone is worth the flight to Phuket. Beside the pool was the tranquil Splash Beach Club, an al fresco bar and restaurant that served food from Splash Kitchen, allowing me to sip on a piña colada while only a step away from the water’s refreshing embrace. At night, the space transforms into a party deck, with a live DJ and disco lighting so you can go from “splash” to “bash” in a heartbeat.
Just a short walk away from the poolside is Baan Thai, the resort’s signature Thai restaurant that opens from 6.30pm onwards, with a picturesque aspect over a lake. Done up in the traditional style of a Thai sala, the al fresco venue can be reached from a dock over the lake or through a charmingly-lit colonnade of frangipani trees. Offering a range of freshly-caught seafood and other Thai delicacies, the cuisine is second to none. I highly recommend the Yam som o’goong for an exquisitely crafted salad of savoury goodness, while the Jumbo Tiger Prawns fresh from the Andaman were succulent perfection.
For a truly rare experience, I took a 10-minute stroll down the pristine sands of Mai Khao Beach and found myself in a lesser-known visitor hotspot where I watched planes take-off and land from the nearby Phuket International Airport; a reminder to embrace every moment of enjoyment in my short stay in this slice of paradise by the sea.
Splash Jungle Water Park is the only integrated water park of its kind in Phuket; the perfect opportunity for the whole family to “seas” the day for some water- ful excitement. Once you step in, you’re flooded with choices, from the more sedate carrousel for little ones to a six-level wave pool, to the colourful and twisting slides for more adventurous thrill-seekers.
It’s best to dive right in and enjoy the variety of rides as there are enough to take up a whole day’s worth of fun. My favourite was the Boomerango, a heady slide on an inflatable for one or two people which ends in a reverse freefall off a vertical wall. Others looking for less stimulating options can just go with the flow and float through the 335-metre lazy river. All visitors are issued with a wristband that you can top up with cash at the entrance so you can pay for your lockers and food without any inconvenience.
The Inside Scoop
Having been host to Thailand’s biggest Indian wedding, #DKNLOVE, Splash Beach Resort continues to be a much sought-after venue for destination weddings. Managing Director John O’Shea talks about the resort’s unique wedding capabilities, as well as their future expansion plans.
“Not only do we have Phuket’s largest conference centre, an array of unique venues for wedding events, and a great banqueting team, but we also know that flexibility is the key. Every wedding needs to be individual and tailor-made so it’s vital to listen to the wedding couple and help them make memories for a lifetime by facillitating their decision-making process. Also, because our location is next to the airport, there are no noise restrictions for the wedding events.
We are continually expanding: we are building four more F&B outlets including another all-day dining restaurant, a Mediterranean seafood restaurant, a deli, and a second beach club. We furthermore plan to complete 41 more villas and rebrand part of the resort to Cordis Resort and Villas, which will consist of just suites and villas.”
Splash Beach Resort
65/47 Moo 4, Mai Khao Soi 4, Thalang, Phuket, 83110 Thailand
Tel: 07 637 2000