Words: Natalie Bannister
Industrial design and avant-garde art are not usually associated with a tropical island aesthetic. But as our Editor, Natalie Bannister, discovers during a stay at The Slate in Phuket, you can combine edgy, modern style and architectural innovation with all the charm of a traditional beachside holiday or honeymoon in Thailand (toes-in-the-sand romance and all!).
At a glance:
Designed by one of South East Asia’s leading architects, Bill Bensley, The Slate offers a sophisticated haven for couples seeking luxury and romance in Phuket (with a contemporary twist!).
As a member of the Design Hotels collection, a prestigious selection of design-driven hotels worldwide, The Slate will delight lovers of modern style. The hotel’s unique design marks a change of pace from the usual tropical aesthetic of Thailand’s island destinations, with a creative showcase of Phuket’s modernity and fascinating history. Phuket’s tin mining past has inspired the hotel’s unique architecture, and it’s a fanciful world where sleek steel, bronze and concrete are artfully combined with raw timbers and traditional Thai decor, all set amongst a lush landscape.
Every element of The Slate is designed to stimulate the senses — I was delighted to discover that the hotel even has its own signature scent, White Champaka (one of my favourite floral scents!), which co-founder and owner Krystal Prakaikaew Na-Ranong personally chose to reflect the tropical essence of Phuket.
The resort offers 177 rooms and villas, eight restaurants and bars, three swimming pools (two of which are adults-only), an award-winning spa, and a cooking school. Not to mention one of Thailand’s most exciting and innovative selections of bespoke dining experiences we’ve ever experienced. But more on that later.
The Slate takes up a large swathe of beachside splendour mere steps away from the peaceful sands and Casuarina-lined main street of Nai Yang Beach on the northwest coast of Phuket.
Nai Yang Beach is one of Phuket’s hidden gems. This coastline strip is popular for watersports, and kite surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling beckon the adventurous. Colourful umbrellas and sun lounges line the sand, and plenty of beachside bars, rustic toes-in-the-sand eateries, and food stalls along the way. We had many a lovely sunset strolling the pristine sand here, dipping our toes into the water as traditional Thai longtail fishing boats bobbed nearby.
While Nai Yang’s calm waters and relaxed vibe are ideal, its location is another drawcard for travellers wanting a fuss-free arrival (The Slate is only a five-minute drive by chauffeured SUV from Phuket International Airport).
Best room for two:
The Slate boasts multiple levels of suites and private villas for couples to choose from, but for the utmost privacy and indulgence, book into one of the hotel’s five one-bedroom pool villas.
Retreat to romance for your honeymoon or holiday in heaven in your beautiful pool villa, with a separate living and bedroom pavilion (with a plush, oversized bed!), a bathroom complete with a sauna and steam room and en-suite massage beds, and personal butler service and a lush, tropical poolscape with outdoor shower and sun terrace to relax into, with only the songs of tropical birds to punctuate the peace. Absolute bliss!
Food & drink:
We had one of the most memorable dining experiences of our life at the exquisite Michelin-recommended restaurant, Black Ginger. The arrival here sets the scene for a magical and romantic gastronomic adventure — guests are ferried by raft across a lake to the lantern-lit restaurant housed within a traditional Thai mansion, where an evening of tantalising tastes awaits.
The menu crafted by Chef Piak draws from ancient local recipes and is a melting pot of authentic southern Thai cuisine and delicately balanced avant-garde flavours. Chef Piak’s signature specialities include som tam, tom yum and phanaeng curry. For a feast to remember, do as we did: choose the indulgent multi-course set menu and settle in for a masterpiece of Thai culinary art (you’ll be partaking in no less than nine mind-blowingly delicious dishes!).
Reservation is essential (and in high demand with limited tables available) for dinner at Black Ginger, so be sure to book well before your stay.
Gourmands and adventurous foodies will also love The Slate’s BOLD (Be Original Lighthearted Daring) events held throughout the year, with a rotation of innovating gastronomic events, with menus representing a feast of experiential flavours and modern flair, all inspired by culture, art, and fashion.
Pools, play & pampering:
The Slate is an escape for mind and body, where rest, relaxation and indulgence are the order of the day.
Couples can while away their days soaking up the cool waters, sun lounges, and swim-up bar at the adults-only Pulley Pool & Bar or the Snakeskin, an infinity pool surrounded by silver palms, perfect for laps or naps.
And in a country renowned for its massage and therapeutic spa traditions, Coqoon Spa represents a different holistic healing experience, with a menu of multi-sensory experiences and rejuvenating rituals that will transport you to bliss. The spa is set out over seven private suites, the pinnacle of which is The Nest, which seems to defy gravity, hidden away in the resort’s lush gardens and native trees and accessed by its own private bridge. Book in advance to indulge in the Coqoon Spa’s romantic ‘Mr. & Mrs.’ treatment — a perfect couples-only celebration for your honeymoon or anniversary, including a 60-minute massage, Coqoon Spa Facial and ended with a milky bath.
The hotel even boasts its own groundbreaking approach to wellness with a regenerative retreat centre, Kru Precision Wellness, located within The Slate, offering personalised journeys into innovative healthcare concepts, including the KRU diagnosis program, which comprises a full check-up and screening session and vitamin services such as the KRU Signature VitaDrip, weight loss program, liver detox cleansing and more.
Couples will love:
A boutique property on a grand scale, The Slate makes for an indulgent escape unique to others we’ve had in Thailand — a one-of-a-kind resort that marries an industrial edginess with traditional Thai touches, it’s modern, sleek and chic yet utterly charming at the same time. Plus, there are so many ways to indulge the mind and body, making The Slate a whole sensory experience for lovers of luxury.
Discover more of The Slate at www.theslatephuket.com