Discover where art meets the sea.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
I admit that these days, when it comes to beach holidays, my island of choice in the country is Phuket. The joys it offers are obvious: from the reasonable flight prices there, to the glittering Andaman sea, surplus of islands with pristine shores to fill our Instagram feeds, surfeit of fresh-caught seafood, and plenty of other entertainment (during pre-COVID times), it’s little wonder that it’s long been considered a favoured tropical retreat around the world. With such charms, therefore, there isn’t a dearth of five-star retreats with which to enjoy an island getaway there.
Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by my stay in Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort, which, although a new contender in the luxury hotel scene in Phuket, offers plenty of its own unique selling points. Located just across the road from the white sands of the renowned Patong Beach – there are no private beaches in this area of Phuket – the hotel is a relaxed oasis in the midst of the island’s most well-known entertainment district. Speaking to Daryn Hudson, the hotel’s GM, he tells me that their desire was to “see the domestic market make Patong a place that they can be proud of, and we want that to start with us.” To that end, the resort’s focus is facilities for every variety of guest to enjoy, from families with their gaggle of young ones, to honeymooners, work-from-home executives, and singletons looking for a good time.
Arriving at the resort, I was pleased to see the kind of stringent COVID- prevention measures that one could expect from any high-end establishment, from temperature checks to masked staff and glass screens to maintain social distancing. The lobby itself was an airy affair with modern, mismatched seating in warm greys, a glut of natural light from the 360-degree views, and rattan panels done in a very striking contemporary style. This was, I was told, a representation of the hotel’s distinct aesthetic: traditional Thai elements with a contemporary twist.
“Everything has that old-Phuket feel, but the concept has been executed in a very modern way,” I’m told by the GM. “I don’t think the hotel in any way looks traditional. But everything, from the mats, and the artefacts, pulls through that old Malay-Chinese tradition, and we like to add an artistic element as well.”
The 600-key resort itself is divided into three, self-contained areas: on one side of the lobby is the beach club and the more capacious Deluxe rooms, replete with pool-facing balconies; to the side is a building that consists of the ballroom and breakout rooms, which even now regularly hold numerous MICE events and work retreats; and on the other side of the lobby are the majority of the other accommodations, with a ‘lazy river’ pool winding through the lot. My Superior Room was located in the latter, and on the way I noticed a number of charming, handpainted murals in unexpected locations – here, around a corner from the stairs, there, on the glass of a fire escape hydrant. I was informed that there were over 70 of these murals throughout the resort, painted by artists from the art school Artslonga in Bangkok; hidden treasures I was determined to discover during my stay.
True to their emphasis on integrating creative elements throughout the resort, my room, which was done up in soothing shades of grey and blue, had framed, handmade art pieces above the headboard to add the personal touch, but I have to say the best part was the Four Points by Sheraton Comfort Bed, with magnificently sized pillows that made it hard to leave for breakfast in the morning. For those who want to take advantage of the pool below us, the Pool Access Rooms lead straight into the lazy river, while I was most titillated by the Family Suite, which had a separate, nautical-themed room for kids, complete with boat-shaped beds – a reference to the sea nomads who used to live in the area. I admit that it made me, for a moment, wish that I were still 10. If that wasn’t enough to amuse the hotel’s younger guests, the resort has a sizeable and well-equipped Little Sea Gypsies Kids Club that follows the same theme.
The hotel’s GM himself was quite effusive in his admiration of the family friendly facilities: “It’s a real opportunity for the kids to be playing in the club while mum and dad are relaxing at the grill, and then you all come back together in the end,” he says with the air of someone who knows exactly how handy that option would come during a family vacation.
When I embarked upon my full exploration of the resort, I found that it was a very indolent adventure as every five minutes I would find another nook or cranny which would make for the perfect picture. “When we decided to open,” I was told, “our strategy to tempt the domestic market revolved around two things: food and photography. It’s the two big things that Thai people love, so we focused on local food, and spaces in the hotel that are very Instagrammable.” Indeed, therewas much to love about all the resort had to offer, and I was determined to bring a friend or two next time to take pictures for posterity – which a couple of weeks later, I did!
DRINKING AND DINING
Having learned that the F&B was one of the hotel’s main emphases, and having missed the uniquely southern Thai cuisine, I was keen to try their options. The hotel has five outlets: Chao Leh Kitchen, their all-day dining and buffet restaurant; Sears & Co., their newly-opened signature restaurant which focuses on barbecue grills; The Deck Beach Club Patong, with an infinity pool and party beats to hype you up all day long; the Pool Bar for a refreshing tipple while you float down the lazy river; and the Lobby Bar, where you can get some of the best craft beers the island has to offer. When trying the latter, make sure to visit between 5pm-7pm, which offers buy-one-get-one happy hour offers (it’s not hard to guess where I was at that time every evening).
Their international breakfast is at Chao Leh Kitchen and has a variety of options available, but the one thing I’d definitely recommend is their Phuket signature omelette, a dish with that distinct flavour of curry I’ve only found down South. Their à la carte menu had local favourites such as the Gaeng phu mee hoon (THB 399), crab meat curry with local noodles, which was spiced perfectly, but their dinner buffet also offers a wealth of fresh seafood on ice, a treat I couldn’t ignore.
When visiting the industrial-chic Sears & Co., which faces the sea and takes advantage of the golden light of some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, make sure to consider their Andaman seafood set (THB 999 for two; THB 1,799 for three) for more of that Andaman fruits de mer.
My favourite hang-out spot, however, was the beach club with its infinity pool, that always felt like a party and had comfortable, covered seating so that you can lounge in the sea air without having to suffer the noonday sun.
Because the resort is divided into such distinct areas, it’s hard to remember that the cosy atmosphere belies enough event spaces for the full assortment ofoccasions. The ballroom and breakout rooms, all of which once again had handcrafted art as part of their appeal, made up over 1,200 sqm of function space, and the ballroom has the unique proposition of looking out on to Patong Beach. On top of that, there are 1,000sqm of outdoor spaces, which includes a sunset deck above the infinity pool, as well as the beach club, with its surround- sound music system and illuminated water features at night, which I could easily imagine turning into a hopping party locale.
When asked about their accommodation for Indian weddings, the GM assures me, “I’ve done a number of Indian weddings during my years in the hospitality industry, and the facilities here will be great for them. The resort offers a number of areas that will allow different experiences for all the various events, and I’m sure that everyone will have a unique time at each one.”
Definitely a place for groups, come here with your family, your squad, or even your colleagues for a work retreat. The beach club and its plethora of affordable cocktails is a must-visit, and when you’re there, don’t forget to sample their signature Ya nud remedy cocktail. Named after the word for ‘pineapple’ in the Southern dialect, it’s the perfect refreshment to pair with the island sunsets.
Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort
198/8-9 Thawewong Rd, Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150
Tel: 076 645 999
Facebook and Instagram: @fourpointsphuket