By Gurleen Khanijoun Chawla
If you’re in for a holiday by the beach, it’s no doubt that Phuket is the place to be. So take a luxurious turn into the slow lane at one of the finest five-star resorts in Phuket’s Kamala region. Nestled on a steep hillside overlooking Kamala Cove, the captivating Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort has all the amenities you seek, from a knowledgeable concierge to a romantic, open-air dining establishment aptly named Sunset Grill.
A swift 50-minute commute from Phuket International Airport was provided by the resort’s lush E-Class service. I was greeted on arrival with sweet fruity drinks and cool towels, while a smiling staff organised the details of my stay with experienced efficiency. Observing the spacious high-ceilinged, open-air lobby while friendly porters whisked my bags away, I saw families’ large and small, honeymooners, westerners, Asians – the gamut. It seemed to be the perfect, premier destination appealing to all types of visitors.
Checking-in was a breeze. No matter how late you arrive, guests are quickly transported with their luggage to their rooms in a golf cart. Discerning holidaymakers are also spoiled for choice with a varied selection of 201-room accommodations that offer unobstructed, panoramic views of the Andaman Sea with spectacular sunsets. Each calming, clutter-free room is blessed with a private balcony or terrace, and features an array of high-tech enhancements, including 40-inch, flat-screen televisions, Bluetooth audio devices and complimentary Wi-Fi, enabling guests to relax, be productive and stay connected.
I opted to stay in the Deluxe Suite at the Regency Club, a luxurious space with a king-sized bed, a narrow walk-in closet, and a spacious, well-lit bathroom and shaded terrace. The master bed is cleverly positioned, letting you recline in peace while watching television or looking out at the emerald-hued waters. And my favourite aspect? A nightly turndown service, when the lamps are dimmed, slippers are left out and water is placed on your bedside table to make the room feel warm and cosy before you settle in for the night. The Deluxe Suite is also an alluring choice for honeymoon couples who love to unwind, although they should upgrade the room for the large balcony option with either a Jacuzzi or a private dipping pool.
Later, touring the property, I discovered why this resort holds such wide appeal. The landscaping is like something out of a travel magazine, where the long infinity pool is the property’s most popular amenity, perfect for sun-seekers and water-babies. All guests, either sunbathing or swimming, can absorb astonishing views of the azure waters from an impressive vantage point. A row of shaded, over-water day beds complete the picture of tropical sophistication, and for deeper relaxation, there’s Nahm Spa – an opulent oasis of calm with eight private spa suites.
Of course, no vacation at a luxurious resort is complete without a spa treatment. The inspiration behind Nahm Spa is to allow individuals to reconnect with the healing nature of the sea and to ease away the day-to-day stress from within. I was pampered with a 60-minute Sahm Signature massage that utilised a healing blend of nutmeg, ginger and clove, while the deep, rhythmic strokes inspired by the ocean helped to relieve muscle aches and pain. The spa rooms also aid in easing away tension. Its soothing, low-lit ambiance and soft music helped to transport me away to the waves of the ocean, as the expert therapist kneaded and stroked my tired muscles. Suffice to say, by the time I emerged from the spa I was truly, deeply in a holiday relaxation mood.
For guests requiring a more exclusive experience, club rooms include access to the Regency Club’s infinity pool with spectacular views of the entire bay, as well as the Regency Club Lounge, which offers a host of special facilities and services, including personalised check-in and check-out, complimentary breakfast, complimentary free-flowing evening cocktails, wine, local beer and canapés, all-day refreshments and one-hour free use of a meeting room.
Meet General Manager:
Stephen Radcliffe brings almost 34 years of experience to his position as General Manager (GM) of Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort. Prior to this, he was selected as GM for Bali Hyatt, where he remained for eight years before assuming his most recent role as GM for Hyatt ‘City of Dreams Manila’ in 2014. Having worked in Thailand for only a few months, Stephen is delighted to reveal his current aspirations for the luxurious hotel, as well as his role in catering banquet events and Indian weddings.
What is the market mix of the hotel?
The market mix is very varied, more so than my experience at Bali Hyatt where 60 percent of our guests were European. Here in Phuket, we don’t only cater to the domestic and European market, but we also have a lot of Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern and American tourists.
How do you cater to such a diverse and multinational group of people?
We have two key restaurants here that provide both international and Asian favourites. We also want to bring in one or two Indian chefs, from either our sister hotels in India or from within Thailand itself. We want to add more variety to the menu, especially because there is a demand for Indian food, particularly when we organise Indian weddings.
What’s the largest wedding group at the hotel thus far?
We held a wedding with around 400 guests. That was one of the first weddings we organised back in 2014. Ever since then, we’ve catered to around six weddings per year, and it’s definitely a market that we want to all grow.
How do you differ from other hotels in Phuket that are also known for arranging Indian weddings?
We offer ocean-front views, which is definitely an advantage. There is also a lawn area near the reception area that can accommodate up to 400 people, while our ballroom, with natural lighting, can cater to around 150 people for a sit-down dinner. In addition, we have plans to renovate The Pool House to bring about a more vibrant vibe that is similar to a beach club.
Can you give me a few unique selling points of the property?
The pool is definitely our best asset. Our owners also want to invest in a floating jetty because we don’t have proper access to the beach, although there is currently a daily shuttle service to take guests to Kamala Beach and Patong. The T-shape floating dock will extend 230 metres into the ocean, allowing guests the freedom to swim and play in the beautiful waters. Another unique selling point is our diverse accommodations, and our good balance of local and international employees working in the hotel.
Have you received any unique or extraordinary requests from a bride and groom?
We always try to accommodate special requests. So far I haven’t seen anything major, but we are always available to move heaven and earth, if possible.
The best part about the resort is you can do as little or as much as you like. Luckily, for the latter, here a few amenities worth checking out:
Camp Hyatt: A programme featuring cultural and educational activities for children aged four to 12. Parents can enjoy any of the resort’s facilities knowing that the friendly childcare staff is looking after their children.
Fitness Centre: This exercise centre offers the latest cardiovascular and strength machines as well as personal trainers. Equipment includes Life Fitness bicycles, treadmills, cross trainers as well as a range of free weights. So bench press before breakfast or tone with free weights, while enjoying your private escape.
Thai Cooking: Take a culinary journey during an eventful afternoon in the open kitchen of The Pool House, where you will learn how to prepare authentic Thai dishes. There is also a cooking class for children, where they can learn to create scrumptious pizza.
Take a short, golf-cart ride through the hilly slopes of the resort, and you’ll discover that there are restaurants and bars suitable for every taste. The signature eatery is the Sunset Grill that offers a stunning open-air setting, lit by romantic yellow lights, with lush mountains and Andaman waters as a picturesque backdrop. This lovely venue is ideal for romantic tete-a-tetes and marriage proposals. At night, you hear a faint chorus of chirping crickets nearby.
Each dish served is exquisitely crafted and presented. The menu consists of market-fresh local seafood, meat and vegetables, all grilled to perfection. For an appetiser, try the Fritto Misto, a combination of crispy fried shrimps, calamari, zucchini, as well as asparagus served with a light cocktail sauce and basil mayonnaise — a flavourful dish with a bit of bite. For the main course, satisfy your protein cravings with the Australian beef tenderloin. Its texture is tender, and the seasoning is flawless. Seafood lovers will relish the excellently prepared King prawns flambéed with chalong bay rum, garlic and parsley.
Meanwhile, wake up to a sumptuous breakfast buffet by the pool, as well as all-day dining at The Pool House, which features local favourites and classic Italian dishes. The Massaman beef should not be missed here. The dish stars lean cuts of juicy beef chunks in spiced curry that goes well with jasmine rice. Another must is the chef-recommended Phad Thai goong, as Asian spices enhance the fresh flavours of the seafood. Add to this a spicy salad, a hearty soup and a selection of crispy pizza, and you’ve got a delightful kaleidoscope of fabulous tastes. Also, don’t forget to visit The Pool Bar nearby, to enjoy a refreshing selection of cocktails, homemade Thai ice tea or a glass of wine while watching the sun set.
Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort
16/12 Moo 6, Tambon Kamala
Amphur Kathu, Phuket, 83150 Thailand
Tel: +66(0) 7623 1234