The Nai Harn Phuket is the only hotel in the entire world to boast an exclusive partnership with the world’s most renowned wine critic. You know it because it features the most beloved balconies on the island, and it is built into the landscape of one of Thailand’s best, pristine beaches.
Nevertheless, The Nai Harn Phuket sits peacefully on a quiet cliffside like it’s nobody’s business. It doesn’t need to show off. Oh, but if its walls could talk.
On a recent trip to admire the walls and halls, we uncovered exactly what makes The Nai Harn a special destination, beyond its magnificent location. It is every Phuket gourmand’s fantasy, with the sheer ‘grammability of an ideal contemporary island getaway. Find below our six key takeaways.
[All images courtesy of The Nai Harn Phuket]
First things first: you’re going to want to get a shot of this
An approximate one-hour ride through city buzz and sleepy rainforest, The Nai Harn Phuket lies in a dreamy location, built into the side of a cliff overlooking Nai Harn beach. This on its own gives the hotel an extremely unique location, further enhanced by its curious layout.
Following a modern design ethos with artful influences, the resort manages to maintain a sense of intimacy and cosiness. Comments from guests to both left and right link the resort to a Greek island getaway, which is fair given the Mediterranean whites of the walls, and really adds to the weekend getaway mood. Much like Southern Europe, then, you can expect the food to be on par with the view.
Phuket charcuterie is the best thing since (and with) sliced bread
Served at Cosmo Restaurant, a lot of the breakfast spread is made in-house, adding to the intimately home-y feel of the luxury resort. Tucked into a small, cool space, the cheese and charcuterie room stood out to us the most. Here, we found various homemade cold cuts, cheeses, and yogurts of different sorts, with a selection of cured sausages hanging from the ceiling for proof.
Executive chef Mark Jones puts his heart into his work, and it is evident in detailed touches such as these. Both the chef and general manager Frank Grassmann are passionate about food, with entire dinner conversations revolving around where and how to best enjoy it.
A Southern curry to get your heart racing
Southern curry is gaining momentum up in Bangkok restaurants, which grants it all the more anticipation at home down south. Cosmo Restaurant serves up a grand selection of local and regional Thai dishes (also a killer seafood tower for a Sunday), in a relaxed seaside setting. The Mieng Khum starter is gorgeous to look at and makes for an apt amuse bouche, yet it was Chef Ann’s yellow curry and blue swimmer crab that stole our show. Breakfast to dinner; it’s a sweet Phuket affair through and through.
Have you met James Suckling?
We can’t really believe we waited this long into the story to make this infamous introduction, though those who know him will know that this man needs no introduction.
Los Angeles-born writer and editor James Suckling is one of the most well-known wine critics in the world, recognised for his modern writing style, accurate tasting notes, and rating of wines on the 100-point scale. Most interestingly, there is only one hotel worldwide to which James Suckling has partnered his name, and it is The Nai Harn.
James has curated the wine list at each of the bars and restaurants at the resort, turning The Nai Harn into not only a hotspot for food lovers, but also for wine lovers. Every year, there are a number of wine tastings held here, with the ‘Great Wines of Italy Asia‘ and the annual ‘Best Rosé for Thailand’ events as shining stars on this calendar. But there’s no need to feel intimidated if you’re unfamiliar.
The chalkboard featuring a Top 10 list of rosés by the beach is a charming touch, and we love the room for experimentation that is encouraged therewith. Where other venues often require guests to buy a whole bottle of the more higher-end wines, at The Nai Harn the experimental amateur (or just not-so-thirsty sipper) gets to try these by the glass too, through the use of a Coravin.
(If you are said experimental amateur and don’t know what a Coravin is, do look it up. High tech, and exciting.)
Rock Salt is a view and a vibe
The aforementioned chalkboard of rosés can be found at Rock Salt, located by the beach and a short walk away from the resort. This gives guests a bit of a ‘dining out’ feel as the restaurant and bar is not located in the direct hotel building. It also means that non-residents easily make for frequent visitors, with much proof in the mascarpone pudding: even chefs from other resorts and restaurants on Phuket like to come here.
It’s easy to see why. There is a calming view of Nai Harn just below, and a menu that very much complements a day at the beach, between peri peri chicken (a must) and a fine chocolate sundae (quintessential). We particularly loved Chef Carsten’s Thai style mussels, though they are notorious for being sold out really fast — you can’t fault a fresh clam and a hungry beach-goer.
The champagne button
Again, you’re going to want to put this one in your Insta story.
The rooms at The Nai Harn feature a champagne button on the balcony. It is as wonderful as it sounds; it is a button you can press for when you want champagne delivered to your room. A simple but highly commendable detail, the little red button encapsulates much of what The Nai Harn stands for. Indulgence is written in capital letters, where a storied and somewhat island iconic resort can still keep up with the times and be a front runner on a rising food trend.
As Phuket quietly wakes up as a very respectable place to wine and dine, we’ll happily push this button and drink to that.
The Nai Harn, 23/3 Moo 1, Vises Rd., Rawai, Muang District, Phuket; +66 7683 0200 10.