Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
Laguna is a gated community about 25 minutes drive from Phuket International Airport. It has resorts, privately leased apartments, a small village and an 18-hole golf course. Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is right on Bangtao Beach.
To the left of the lobby you've got the white-sand beach (decent surf too), and, to your right, the calm lagoon. As spaces go, this is as heavenly as they come. All rooms have the luxury of water views, which let's face it… is what you want in Thailand.
For guests staying in Club guest rooms, The Club is the place to chill out. The waterfront lounge juts out into the lagoon and offers an endless supply of tea, coffee, drinks and snacks. For Club guests, breakfasts, afternoon tea and evening canapes (all complimentary) are served here too.
The pool is where the action is, with the twisting slide acting as the centrepiece. Sure, it's technically for children, but adults are allowed to play too.
There is a lifeguard on duty from 8am to 6pm, ensuring kidlets are watched over – clearly this is a resort popular with families. The kids' club (called Koh Kids, meaning Kid's Island) offers youngsters their own version of paradise with activities, such as shell collecting and learning the art of Thai dance, keeping them entertained.
The overall design aesthetic is best described as Thai style with Chinese elements. For example, the main lobby features beautiful Thai-style roofs and a lotus fishpond, mimicking a traditional Thai home, while the elaborate floor configurations are Chinese style.
A room with a day bed is a decent room in my books. You get to sleep in the super-soft, king-sized bed, then scuffle over to the day bed for daytime chill. For families, it can be converted into a bed for two small children, which means that all the guest rooms (there are 255 guest rooms, eight suites and one two-bedroom villa) can accommodate a family. Quite a nifty feat.
My Club Lagoon room features a clean-lined contemporary design and is well lit – something I value in hotel rooms.
Edgewater Beach Bistro is your beachside hang-out with a decent a la carte menu. I enjoy a barbecue seafood night here and walk away very full (I'm a big seafood fan, so that says something).
At Locavore Restaurant, learning to cook a Thai meal is a highlight. Tom yum soup, green chicken curry and banana fritters make for one topnotch lunch.
Metzo's Bistro & Bar, opened in October 2015, is one of my favourites. Chef Mustapha Haj Omar hails from Lebanon and does a fantastic job of showcasing Mediterranean flavours. The baba ghanoush is fantastic, the hummus is gutsy and crisp-fried falafel seals the deal. Although I fill up on snacks, I still manage to finish my lamb shank tagine. Fork-tender meat should never be left to waste.
There are shuttle buses that transport guests between resorts (you can dine at other resorts in Laguna and have the meal charged back to your room), but realistically no one comes here to venture out. It's easy to see why. With plenty of kids' activities, a choice of eateries, a lush spa, and even tennis, squash and badminton courts, why would you?
Perfect for families and anyone who enjoys the hustle and bustle that a large-scale resort often brings.
The Club. At breakfast time when the rest of the world was sleeping, it was my daily slice of tranquility.
I had a broken foot and couldn't try out the pool slide.
Laguna Phuket, 323 Moo 2, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Bangtao Bay, Phuket. Rooms start from $135 plus taxes a night. See outriggerthailand.com
Tatyana Leonov was a guest of Outrigger Resorts.