At the SAiiside!
By Shaan Bajaj
My family has spoilt me beyond measure when it comes to travel; whether I was jetting off to Japan or packing my bags for a quick local getaway, I always had a trip planned. Some of my most cherished memories with my family, however, are at beaches in Thailand. As the car pulled up to the beautiful Thai architectural-style lobby of SAii Laguna Phuket, I felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me, and I instantly felt relaxed and comfortable.
The lobby stretched out to meet a pond and balcony area overlooking the resort’s pools and Bang Tao Beach, and was done up in classic Thai elements, with a striking wooden wall decorated with contrasting red and yellow photo frames of Thailand. As I sat down to check in, the staff served me a refreshing glass of roselle juice, a delicious start to my stay.
After an easy and quick check in, I was excited to explore my room and the hotel. The hotel has two different wings, the beach wing or the lagoon wing. My room was located at the latter, with a balcony overlooking the lagoon. The room was incredibly spacious with a king-size bed, TV, dressing table, small dining table, and a day bed. The sprawling washroom included a huge bathtub and shower and was extremely inviting – I was tempted to spend most of my time there itself.
Once I had made myself at home, I could not wait to get into the pool. You can choose to take a dip in one of three different swimming pools: you can relax at their lazy pool, slide into their fun pool with your kids, or get in some laps at their third pool. You can also order a cocktail or snacks from their Mr. Tomyam Thai-inspired eatery and pool bar, or head to the massage sala for much-needed deep relaxation.
The resort is an ideal choice for families with kids or different age groups, couples, or friends, as it’s both spacious and luxe, offering everything you can think of for a getaway. Whether you plan to stay for a few days or a month, the staff are incredibly friendly and will make you feel taken care off. Moreover, it is conveniently located, just 25 minutes from the airport, with a range of cafés, restaurants, bars and shops nearby. As a beachfront property, guests can easily enjoy watching the waves or opt for a peaceful walk on the beach.
FOOD AND DRINK
Although I’m personally a ‘skip breakfast’ kind of gal, that does not apply when I’m on holiday. A big hotel breakfast is an absolute must, and SAii Laguna’s breakfast restaurant, Locavore, serves up a feast. Located near the lobby, you can choose to sit by the pond and watch the koi fish swim around, or inside the restaurant to be closer to the delicious food. The options available were truly impressive and diverse, even for vegetarians like me. I could choose to eat breakfast classics, eggs made in any way, freshly-baked breads and pastries, or start my day with some mouth-watering vegetarian sushi or opt for a taste of home with a bowl of Daal makhani; I truly could not decide what to eat. I settled for a plate of fluffy yet soft mini pancakes, and a scrumptious bowl of muesli. As I finished my breakfast, I ordered an iced latte from bean/Co, their café that serves artisanal coffee, sandwiches and smoothies all day. I would recommend trying one of their refreshing smoothies, which are freshly-made, healthy, and delicious.
For lunch, I would recommend heading to their Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, Miss Olive Oyl, which is one of their flagship restaurants, able to cater to people from all walks of life. Focused on providing guests with fresh and organic offerings, their menu spans an array of starters such as their selection of mezzes like Falafel (THB 190), Hummus (THB 220) or Baba ghanouj (THB 160); and delicious and filling mains such as their Lamb kofta (THB520), Spiced roast chicken (THB 490) or Gaeng massaman (THB 550). If none of those options excite you, they have a wide variety of delicious pastas, salads, and pizzas.
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and at Miss Olive Oyl, you can choose from a refreshing tropical Passion fruit crème brulee (THB 280), Homemade lemon grass pannacotta(THB 280) or a classic Banana and chocolate cake (THB 280) – I would personally recommend the pannacotta. You can also enjoy your meal with a large selection of soft drinks, cocktails, spirits, wines and more. If you cannot already tell, my holidays often revolve around the food I eat.
Their second signature restaurant, Mr. Tomyam, is the star of the show. An alfresco-style eatery and bar by the pool, it has front row seats to a spectacular view of the sun setting on Bang Tao beach. Pro tip for all the social media users, the golden-hour lighting is incredible. As though listening to the sound of waves and watching the sky burst into hues of orange isn’t enough, Mr. Tomyam’s menu focuses on Thai and European cuisines, offering guests a selection of traditional Thai dishes and Italian dishes.
You can choose to order classic Thai dishes like Mr. Tomyam goong (THB 350) or the Andaman yellow fin tuna steak (750 THB)straight from the grill, or have the best of both worlds and order a smoky, wood-fired Margherita pizza (THB 360) alongside a spicy Penne amatriciana (THB 400). Don’t forget to order the signature Mr. Tomyam mojito (THB350) to make a toast to the spectacular holiday you’re on!
On the second day, I had the opportunity to dine at The Club for breakfast, an exclusive lounge area overlooking the lagoon that guests can access for an additional cost in order to enjoy a private breakfast and other privileges. The lounge privileges include daily breakfast, all-day refreshments, afternoon snacks and evening cocktails. I took advantage of the space by not only enjoying a quiet meal but also utilising the space to catch up on some reading. I had some of the most enjoyable moments at the club lounge; it would be criminal to miss the experience.
Overall, my stay at SAii Laguna Phuket was both fun-filled and relaxing, and one that I’ll be sure to repeat next time I miss the crystal-blue waters of the Andaman Sea.
ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
As I checked into the hotel, the lovely staff asked me todownload their application for the duration of my stay.Clicking on the app provided me with information ofthe hotel grounds, restaurants, and activities I could bookthrough the app. Their chat service also allowed me to talkto a member of staff without having to call room service.
My favourite feature was the ability to research and book the different type of activities available. Although I enjoy spending my time by the pool or on the beach, the variety of water sports and ground sports was truly exciting! I was able to choose from a selection of yoga, muay Thai, tennis, or even water paddling. The grounds have a world-class gym, tennis courts, and many different fitness classes, so health fanatics, you won’t have to leave the hotel to do what you love most. For families with kids, SAii Laguna has a dedicated kids’ area filled with books, cooking classes, art classes, a small football field, and more!
EVENTS AND WEDDINGS
During my visit, I had a chance to look at the meeting rooms and ballrooms. The property boasts nine different event spaces, from ballrooms that can hold up to 400 people to small meeting rooms for more intimate celebrations. They’ve recently unveiled their six-metre-high, pillarless Similan Ballroom, which would be an ideal space to host a big fat Indian wedding. In addition to their dedicated event spaces, their property enjoys the benefits of being a beachfront and lagoon resort. Guests can choose to host an event by the pool, at the beach, or even at the lobby area. Their spacious resort allows for a variety of different options for the many different events in an Indian wedding, and the team at SAii Laguna are keen to help you find the perfect location for any type of event.
I sat down with Bart Callens, the Cluster General Manager, to ask him for his unique insight into the property:
What drew you to join SAii Laguna Phuket?
Look at the property, it speaks for itself. They don’t make hotels like this anymore. We are a spacious hotel with sports and leisure facilities, whereas if a new resort were to be built on the square footage of this resort, it’d be 800 instead of 255 rooms. SAii Laguna is able to provide guests with the luxury of space. Our rooms are big in comparison to other resorts, as we aim to become a home away from home for many long-stay guests. Additionally, this property holds a lot of potential.
In your opinion, what makes Phuket such a popular destination?
Phuket is an island but you never feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. Phuket has everything, from fantastic beaches, jungle hikes, Thai culture, shopping, and unique gastronomy with cuisines from all around the world.
What makes SAii Laguna Phuket unique in terms of event spaces, location and facilities?
Firstly, we are in Laguna; we work together with other hotels who share the lagoon. Our guests can actually sign into any of the other restaurants on the lagoon and sign their bill to the hotel. We are also a beachfront property, so our hotel is in an ideal holiday location. As a hotel, our facilities can cater to different types of people, from couples, families, business events, and even Indian weddings –we’ve even opened a new ballroom that would be perfect for hosting such events.
Can you tell me a little bit about your F&B services?
We are very passionate about our food and beverages; we have a variety of different restaurants. We aim to create memorable experiences for our guests. It’s not just about the food, but also the atmosphere. You’ll also be interested to note that our F&B Director is from India, and we are planning to hire an Indian chef to cater for the Indian clientele.
What else do you offer your Indian clientele, such as those looking to hold an Indian wedding here?
An Indian wedding lasts a few days, and we can cater to this as we have a variety of outdoor and indoor spaces, from our ballroom, to our poolside area and even our beachfront. We can even utilise the lagoon for a bridal entry via a boat, and who else can offer that experience? Additionally, our Indian staff are able to help guests feel settled while also providing Indian food choices. People miss home once in a while, and we try and have a touch of home through the different cuisines we can provide.
SAii Laguna Phuket
323, Moo 2, Srisoonthorn Road Bang tao Beach Cherngtalay, Thalang District, Phuket 83110
Facebook and Instagram: @saii.lagunaphuket