Phuket has one of Thailand’s best selections of lodgings, ranging from exquisite five-star hotels and private boutique villas to budget guesthouses. Most are found along the west coast, with Patong being the busiest and most central area. Karon and Kamala are more family friendly, Kata is upmarket and Bangtao is exclusive.
Phuket is a large and varied island and each of the west coast bays offer an entirely different atmosphere. You can stay in US$250 a night exclusive villas among the pretty lagoons of Bang Tao, hang out with the locals on the low-key Rawai Beach for US$20, or even bunk down at a backpackers in Phuket Town for US$8.
Patong lodging: this is party central and you’ll either love it or hate it, but the beach here is undeniably exciting and this busy area is where the action is by night. Only a few lodgings enjoy beachfront locations, with the southern end being quieter. Others are found near the sea to the north at Kalim Bay, but the beaches aren’t great.
Plenty of places are located in the heart of Phuket, close to the bars, shopping and conveniences, but are hardly exclusive. Patong is relatively expensive, but there are some ‘cheap’ places tucked away down the lanes. See our Patong guide
Karon lodging: less frenetic than Patong, lying just south over a small bluff, Karon is more suited to families and a quieter hotel experience. It has lots of facilities and most hotels tend to be in the busy centre or set on the hills behind since the lengthy beach area is mostly lined by a public road. There’s still nightlife here, and the biggest selection of nice hotels. See our Karon guide
Kata lodging: farther south still, this is one of the loveliest areas but it’s more expensive, especially the small and exclusive Kata Noi Beach at the southern end. Quite a few high-end hotels are right on the beach or just separated by a quiet road. Nice restaurants face the sandand there are still plenty of tourist amenities in the village centre. See our Kata guide
Kamala lodging: this beach got wiped out by the 2004 tsunami but has since recovered. There is a small memorial park found in the centre while the rest of this long, lovely sweeping beach is fronted by resorts. Other hotels are found in the relaxing and pleasant centre behind. It’s north of Patong and still fairly central. Hotels here are affordable and good value. See our Kamala guide
Surin lodging: a small and quiet beach sandwiched between Kamala and Bang Tao, Surin is full of private villas and self catering units, with a few hotels, most of which are set back from the beach on the hills behind. The beach itself is lovely but low-key with a few cheap, local style restaurants and few facilities. See our Surin guide
Bang Tao lodging: not as pretty as the other beaches, Bang Tao has one redeeming factor; the many lovely lagoons that resulted from a long-extinct tin mining trade. The Laguna complex is built around them and features some of the most luxurious hotel names in Thailand. It’s an exclusive experience with golf courses to match. See our Bang Tao guide
Rawai and Nai Harn lodging: these two beaches are somewhat isolated in the south, but enjoy a peaceful and less touristy atmosphere. The upmarket Le Meridien was the first of Nai Harn’s exclusive hotels, but Rawai has several middle market lodging options. Although the beach isn’t the best, it’s a nice ‘locals’ experience with shady casuarinas trees lining the waterfront. See our Rawai guide
Budget lodging: is found on Nai Yang Beach in the north. The beach is nice, but the facilities are limited and it’s very far from the action – but close to the airport. Backpackers and budget travellers also have the option of cheap guesthouses and rooms tucked away in the rear of Patong or Karon. There are a few better value choices in Rawai, otherwise look around in Phuket Town and its suburb of Chalong, and rent a motorbike to get to the beach.
Royal Phawadee Village Patong Beach Hotel: a exquisitely decorated traditional Thai styled resort almost on the beach front, with luxury rooms, a heavenly pool area, and a range of facilities. Managed by a professional group, complete with several restaurants and tourist services…more details and booking
Club One Seven Phuket: one of Patong’s newest, hippest boutique Bed and Breakfasts, this small and exclusive yet up-market venue includes a new pool garden with jacuzzi, gym and fitness room, as well as bar service available throughout the facility…more details and booking
Expat Hotel: a small and homely hotel in the centre of Patong with clean and comfy rooms and a nice tropical pool area, ideal for longer stays and convenience close to the nightlife and beach…more details and booking