RAWAI: East 88 Beach Lounge at Serenity Resort & Residences
With a pool at its heart and the sea and sky stretching out beyond it, East 88 serves up a near-perfect tropical tableau for idling away a sunny afternoon. Watch yachts and long-tail boats glide by in the distance while egrets wade close by in the shallows. Coveted spots are the beachfront double sunbeds, ideal for contemplating the changing hues of the sea. With families welcome, expect to see (and hear) lots of splashy exuberance in the pool. Night time brings smooth DJ tunes.
Try this: Sex on Friendship Beach – a nod to its neighbouring resort, this cocktail delivers sweetness with a kick, a blend of vodka, peach liqueur, orange and cranberry juice, and a dollop of banana syrup.
BANG TAO: XANA Beach Club
Brought to Phuket by Singapore’s famous club, Attica, XANA Beach Club combines a stunning location, big pool, imaginative cocktail and food menus, great sounds – and, day or night, style to die for.
XANA’S beach loungers, day beds by the pool and VIP cabanas for up to 10 guests make XANA the perfect place to chill out, whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon or a late night get-together.
XANA is also the perfect venue for events of all kinds – from stylish product launches to corporate incentive events to private gatherings to weddings – and comes with the unique advantage of onsite accommodation at Angsana Laguna Phuket Hotel.
KAMALA: Sienna Rocks & Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge at Cape Sienna Hotel Phuket
This decidedly ‘kid-unfriendly’ resort bar clings to the rocks at the ‘Millionaire’s Mile’ end of Kamala Bay. Though not on the beach, its sandy floor and sun loungers offer a stylish sunbathing alternative, especially if you opt for a soak and swim in the glittering white-marble infinity pool (non-guests of Cape Sienna pay 1,000 baht for pool use). Though the bland pop music selection adds little to the ambiance, judging by the number of people seen snoozing poolside this is a prime spot for a peaceful retreat. Be sure to order a ginger and lemongrass martini for some afternoon zip.
Best to go: For a fab Friday forget-about-the-week escape, stop in at Sienna Rocks for its daily two-for-one happy hour from 3-5pm, then hop across the road and upstairs to the stunning rooftop Vanilla SkyBar in time for a sunset wine and tapas session.
CHALONG: Phuket Yacht Club
With more salt than style, the Phuket Yacht Club is a casual open-air waterfront hangout where sailors gather around the bar to trade tales and tips, yet it’s not so clubby that landlubbers seeking refreshment don't feel welcome. In fact, you're just as likely to get roped into a discussion on golf handicaps or local politics as the results of the last regatta. Handy for sea lovers, you can motor your dinghy right up to the club and tie it up to the pontoon pier or haul it ashore up the boat ramp. Service runs on tropical time so don’t expect a speedy meal – all the better for savouring those sea breezes.
We like: Views of the Chalong Bay panorama, taking in the pier, Khao Khat, Lon Island and dozens of bobbing yachts in the bay. Borrow the bar’s binoculars for a better look.
Best to go: Happy hour from 5-7pm, to save an extra 10 baht on the already well-priced beer.
CAPE PANWA: Baba Nest at Sri Panwa Villa Resort
Sri Panwa’s swish Baba Poolclub was apparently not lofty or exclusive enough for some, thus Baba Nest was created to give the elite set a higher-up hideaway spot. This platform on the top of a private villa features a wraparound pool and incredible sweeping views across a south Phuket seascape. Bean-bag cushions and low round tables lend an intimate, playful air. Inside is a sparkling white dining lounge with a roof-covered terrace to escape into if the winds pick up strength, which are known to sometimes send the sashimi flying. With prices to match Baba’s elevated heights, be prepared for a splurge. Reservations essential.
We like: The Baba Daiquiri for sweet refreshment or, for something more tangy, the Sake Mojito. Best to go: Sunset is a must, for the 360º view of the blazing sky.
KATA: Boathouse Wine & Grill & RE KÁ TA Beach Club
The first spot in Phuket to bring sophistication to the sands, The Boathouse recently emerged from an extensive makeover and is now looking poised to reel in a new generation of wining and dining globetrotters. Wine lovers, indeed, are sure to salivate over the big red menu listing more than 800 selections. With friendly wait staff helpful almost to a fault, you’re treated like royalty here – though expect to pay royal prices, too, for the French and Thai fare. The Re Ka Ta beach club, opened in late November, promises to ante up the beach chic with poolside dining and an all-new menu.
We like: The marvellous mojito cocktail – fresh, zingy and perfect for toasting the setting sun.
Best to go: Happy hour from 5-7pm to enjoy a sundowner with 50 percent off drinks (except wine).