As a seasoned travel professional, I’ve been sending clients to Phuket for years, many of them to Trisara, classed as one of the best hotels on the island since it opened over a decade ago.
Its location, on 40 acres of private coastline in the north-west, is lovely as it’s a bit less developed. Furthermore, the area has the best beaches on the island and incredible views of the Andaman Sea. Many of the west coast hotels, including Trisara, are built on hillsides overlooking these stunning shores.
Home to 39 pool villas and 30 privately owned residences with two to seven bedrooms, many of which are available to rent, a stay at Trisara will leave you wanting more. The service is faultlessly Asian and the facilities are top-notch. Plus, it is only 15 minutes from the airport, which is nice after a long flight.
Vibrant and lively touches everywhere make the resort visually stunning. There are ponds and little pools all around, filled to the brim with water lilies. Large vases with exotic flowers such as birds of paradise and lotus are placed here and there, and enormous bowls of brightly coloured petals are displayed everywhere you look.
Pool Villas have either open-plan layouts or separate bedroom and living rooms, allowing parents with children to stay in one accommodation. They all offer pools of varying sizes and large sundecks (with views) to while away the hours. The interiors have many creature comforts such as marble bathrooms with large, sunken bathtubs and beds with fluffy pillows and dreamy mattress-toppers. Little touches like daily offerings of cookies and chocolates are welcome. I like it when a hotel gives you homely little somethings for nothing – even if they really are calculated into your rate.
Although family-friendly, this is not a great kids’ destination, especially for those youngsters who need serious entertaining. But for us adults seeking the ultimate, relaxing vacation, this is an ideal place to drop off the grid for a spell.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Resort credit
- US$100 or equivalent credit to be used during your stay, not applicable to room service or incidentals
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
As I arrived at Trisara through lush tropical gardens, there didn’t seem to be a particular heart of the resort – just buildings dotted around, peeking through the foliage. I pulled up in a taxi at what was the reception/front desk area, and I was immediately greeted by several friendly bellmen. I felt very welcome as I was escorted to a sofa and offered a cool towel and glass of water while my passport was taken for arrival formalities. The space was pretty and colonial in style, with light woods and fabrics. There were beautiful views down to the sea.
There was no sign of anyone from management to greet me, but within five minutes I was taken to my villa on a golf buggy, my escort providing me with a little tour of the resort along the way.
Rooms and suites
My accommodation was an Ocean View Pool Junior Suite, down some steep steps and accessed through a large wooden gate and a little walkway round to the front. For privacy, greenery is all around. It was on the third level of the hill, and I was struck by the incredible views of the sea. There was a smallish plunge pool with an optional waterfall feature. And with an infinity edge, I could take full advantage of the views, not to mention the sunsets, while having a dip.
French doors opened into a large, open-plan bedroom with a seating area in front of a big bed. The decor was light wood (unusual for Thai hotels but all newly refurbished and updated) and the fabrics were all beiges with hints of light pastel shades. An armoire housed the minibar and tea- and coffee-making facilities at the back of the room, nestled in an alcove with a desk and chair.
Inside one of the two wardrobes was a lovely Trisara-branded beach bag, a gift, I was told, for guests to remember the fun times and take home with them.
My only criticism of the room would be that although the wardrobe space is ample, there was nowhere to unpack a large suitcase easily. There was a bag stool but it was nowhere near big enough to hold a large case.
The technology was suitably impressive. The head of the very large bed housed numerous switches and panels containing USB plugs, universal sockets, an AC panel and light switches, including a master switch for an easy ‘lights off’ at night. There was a huge flat-screen TV with numerous channels in all languages, and the wi-fi was strong and constant – no hiccupy service here.
Apart from the above quibble, I really couldn’t fault this room; most would be happy here. But personally I would stretch the budget and opt for the Ocean/ Oceanfront Pool Villas, which are much bigger. The pool is much larger than the Junior Suite’s – probably three times the size.
Some suites and villas have bedrooms separate from the living room and are not open-plan. Opt for this choice if you have kids and don’t require separate bedrooms.
The space between villas is ample. I didn’t hear or see much of my neighbours at all, but one night as I came back from dinner, I did hear kids next door crying, until I entered my room and shut the door; then silence.
The super-sized bathroom is lovely, filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows on one side; your modesty is kept in check by a wall that surrounds the garden. Two vanity units (his and hers) offer lots of space for toiletry bags, and there are huge mirrors on either side for preening. There’s a vast sunken bath and a large walk-in shower cubicle too.
The toiletries at Trisara are very nice, although I’m not sure of the make as they are decanted into onyx pots with pumps. These are placed all over the bathroom and refilled regularly – a nod towards eco-friendly practices, which I liked.
For a small hotel, Trisara has plenty of dining options. With three restaurants and varied menus, you would have to spend a long time here to get bored with the food. I dined at the seafood restaurant one evening, where the concept is Thai, prepared as mother would make and using recipes that have been passed down through the generations. I had the salt prawns with chilli and lime presented in a clay pot with kaffir leaves and spring onions. Alongside were dipping sauces of tamarind and two spicy choices, one sweet and one sour, that were yummy. For mains, I went for a Thai green curry, which you just can’t beat for taste and flavour, and this one was no exception: beautifully sweet with just the right amount of spice. Service was spot-on, the staff lovely.
The surroundings of the seafood restaurant are fairly simple: rattan-style furniture and bare, wooden table tops. Since most guests would choose to eat outside rather than indoors with the air conditioning, there were fewer place settings inside, which looked a bit sparse.
Breakfast, also served here, offered a wide variety of foods, including home-baked goodies such as Danish pastries, croissants and pain au chocolat. There was a large section of honeys, home-made granola and freshly made yoghurts, either natural or with fruit compotes. Smoothies were in small, old-school milk bottles with a description of what was inside and the benefits therein. I opted for the vitamin C drink, packed full of goodness to ‘make your skin glow’, as the card informed me. I’m not sure about the claim but it tasted delicious. Finally, any eggs or cooked produce could be ordered.
Other restaurant options
There’s a delicious new restaurant called PRU, only open for dinner six days a week (and sadly closed when I was here). With fine dining all the way, reservations are required as it’s very small. The menu is a farm-to-table concept, with goods supplied exclusively by the Trisara farm and some foraged locally. The fish comes directly from fishermen at the nearest port.
The Deck is another dining venue with all-day service and offers both international and Thai specialities. I had a delicious tuna fillet with a Caesar salad one day, which was perfect for a light lunch.
For a change of scene, book an in-villa barbecue served on your private terrace. You choose the seafood, meat and salads for your meal and a private chef comes and does all the rest. It’s the ultimate in personalised luxury.
Spa and wellness
The spa at Trisara is set high on the hillside with six rooms for individual or couples treatments, all single pavilions with lovely views out to sea. All products used are chemical-free with AKA organic massage and essential oils and Sodashi face-care products.
I enjoyed a Jara oil massage, an hour of bliss using aromatic oils specially selected by me from a choice of four. The therapist used her palms, elbows and knuckles, employing techniques from Thai as well as Western treatments. The result was a vigorous massage that worked beautifully on all my muscles.
However, the ultimate treatment is the Royal Trisara six-hand massage that the spa therapists here have created. Three therapists work together using pressure, oils and herbal compresses in perfect harmony. The feeling was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Pilates and yoga are offered at the spa, and there’s a Muay Thai boxing ring and a newly renovated gym on the ground floor, with personal training available. There’s also a series of free activities, including tennis, on the agenda every day for guests who want to get active.
Pool and beach
As every accommodation has a private pool, the main pool (all 48 metres of it) seemed to be empty every time I went by. Set back from the beach, it’s in a lovely position, with salt water rather than chlorine, so there’s no smell. There were big sun loungers and day beds on one side, and on the other was the same set-up facing over the beach. There’s also a well-staffed beach bar.
The beach at Trisara is private, which is fairly unique for Phuket. There are quite a few rocks around, and I believe it has a rocky bottom too, which makes it awkward to enter from the beach to swim. In the high season the hotel constructs a pontoon to allow swimmers access past the rocks – a good idea, if a bit ugly. The beach is only a small cove, pretty enough but nothing exceptional.
There are non-motorised watersports at the end of the beach, but while I was there the water was too choppy to take full advantage of the facilities. During high season (Dec to April), they offer snorkelling, sailing, kayaks, windsurfing and paddle boarding.
As I said, there’s not much going on here for kids. That said, the hotel is good for families in terms of accommodation layout, and they don’t charge for under-12s sharing with their parents. The villas are on the hillside, so there are significant ‘drops’ from the pool deck, but all have been well childproofed.The pools all have an infinity edge without a protective screen on the end so you would need to keep a watchful eye on the young ones. There’s a kids’ clubhouse that’s really only suitable for the very young but it’s open every day. It’s essentially a dedicated room with arts and crafts, books and toys. There are kids’ menus at the restaurants, and the resort employs trained childcare staff too.
For more space, opt for the Private Pool Residences, which are huge and have lots of room to allow kids more freedom, plus you’ll have the convenience of staff to prepare meals and snacks outside of usual times.
Staff and service
The service at Trisara is on the whole faultless, but there are a few staff members who noticeably lack the usual warm Thai approach, their formality perhaps due to their being overtrained. There were several key employees at the restaurants who were chatty and tried to make my dining experience extra-special. There were also members of the guest relations team who were always first to greet you and ask about your day.
Trisara is very international, with Brits, Americans and Chinese guests. Quite a few of the guests were older couples; perhaps the honeymooners were all ensconced in their villas. There were also quite a few large family groups.
On the morning of my departure I called the lobby 15 minutes before I was to leave and was promptly picked up by the hotel car and taken to the pavilion to check out. I had received a copy of my bill the night before, so a quick glance ensured all was in order before I said my final goodbyes. It was super-efficient and I was on my way to the airport within five minutes.
How to get there
15 minutes by road transfer from Phuket Airport