In short: Stayed 3 nights, loved this resort. Strongly recommended for those who want a quiet and serene environment.
We visited Sala Phuket for a brief 4D3N break in early September and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Yet, I think this resort is not for everyone – I’m sure some will dislike it for a myriad of reasons especially its distance to Phuket Town, but here’s why we loved it.
Sala Phuket is located on the west coast of Phuket, north from the Phuket International Airport, on Mai Khao beach. Mai Khao is generally considered unsuitable to swim in due to its strong currents and steep gradient, and during our stay the red flag (i.e. no swimming) was up all the way. This, however, also meant that Mai Khao was a very quiet beach – no surfers or sun bathers, only the sky, the sea and the beach. The tranquillity was what we loved most of the beach, which is easily accessible from the pool and bar of the hotel. The resorts along this strip are also spaced sparsely, with only four hotels along this couple kilometre long beach, we rarely run into visitors from adjacent hotels on the beach.
For those who seek the night life of Phuket town, however, Sala Phuket is probably not for you, as you’ll find a (probably) hour long taxi ride between Sala Phuket and the town. If you are in Phuket for the excursions, this might not be the resort for you either, as I’ve heard that (didn’t verify) it’s also an hour long ride to the piers.
We liked the design of Sala Phuket. About half of the rooms are various villas with private swimming pools and the other half on a cluster of two storey buildings near the lobby. The design itself is neat and tidy, with an almost zen-like feel. Strategic placement of lights creates a peaceful ambiance at night. The room and restaurant are as open as possible without sacrificing privacy. The photos says it all.
The design of the Sala Spa was also a very interesting combination of openness and seclusion. The open air water features, the shaded reception, the misty pathway on water to the spa rooms, the open air shower and toilet at the inner chamber of the spa rooms – everything felt so connected with the surrounding environment yet so shielded from other guests, providing the ideal environment to relax and enjoy the treatments.
We stayed at the Sala Pool Villa, which was extremely good value for the price. Three sides of the bedroom are full height glass panel doors, allowing ample sunlight to come in when all the curtains are drawn back and a nice breeze if you leave them all open. Bed-to-pool distance is about three steps, and the toilet, shower, bath etc are all outdoors, although these are all covered except for the shower. We had reservations on the cleanliness of the tub, given that it’s outdoor, until we peeked into another villa that’s being cleaned and saw a Sala staff scrubbing the tub.
Leafs / bugs that have fallen into the pool were cleared daily and when a particularly large cockroach has drowned in the pool and you ask for the pool man’s help. Don’t get me wrong, though: it’s only natural that there are cockroaches around, given it is outdoor! The pool itself was quite generous in size and is ~1.5m deep, big enough that one can properly swim a few strokes before reaching the other end.
We’ve had a look at the balcony rooms too, which the staff provided for us to relax when we waited for our villa (we arrived way too early). The huge sofa on the balcony gives a nice place to chill out and read, but as two rows of such blocks face the same garden and paths, one can see those on the opposite building. Whilst this is partially mitigated by the sufficiently tall trees in between, you might want to use those curtains when using that outdoor shower…
Service was excellent, as one would expect from a resort of Sala’s calibre. All the staff were friendly and helpful, with service that minimize intrusion to the relaxation of the guests. Every day when we finished breakfast and returned to our room it was cleaned and tidied. When we return from dinner? The bed was set with a “sleep well” drink and information on the next day’s weather, “mosquito coil” was lit in the garden and aromatic candle lit in the room.
To conclude, we loved this resort. Definitely recommended!