Yes, this is a hotel review. But first, a story.

Two years ago, when I was living in Phuket, I spent a day on Surin Beach and because we fancied a little adrenaline rush that afternoon, we decided to go wakeboarding. My partner got in the speedboat and I got dragged out to sea behind them… willingly I should add. And mercifully, I managed to stand and wakeboard my way out there with some grace. We cruised along the full length of the beach, me carving my way across the waves and attempting jumps of a few centimetres, and then the bay of Surin Beach approached. But we kept going on into the neighbouring bay. Next door I saw a smaller beach, but it was noticeably quieter, cleaner and less crowded. The sand seemed whiter, the sea a little bluer and WOAH! What was that building there? It must be some kind of fancy pants resort that we can’t afford.

Pansea Beach - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

Back on dry land after watching my boyfriend have his go on the wakeboard – a few metre high jumps and several surface 180 turns included – I told him about this place I’d seen. We Googled it and found its name: The Surin, a luxury 5-star resort with private beach.

On the beach - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

Little did I know then that two years later we’d be checking into that very hotel and not for any ordinary stay but for our “babymoon”. Due in July this year, I joked within days of finding out we were expecting that I wanted a very special last couple’s holiday before we had a baby. I wanted luxury, lazy days, long afternoons on a sun lounger reading a book and late night dinners in candlelit restaurants. (Hey, I don’t want much.) Lucky for us, The Surin was able to deliver on all these fronts.

Hillside Villa View - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

Set into the rainforest-like terrain of the hillside that rises up from Pansea Beach, the majority of the accommodation on offer at The Surin is in the form of Hillside Cottages. Depending on your budget and love of hills you can be close to the hotel’s main lobby and restaurant areas, or you can be quite a bit further up in the hill meaning a little extra work for your thighs or a few minutes waiting for golf buggies to ferry you around. We stayed in a Superior cottage which is one up from the cheapest and was closer to the lobby, but still involved quite a bit of walking and a series of staircases. While some may begrudge doing this, it really didn’t bother us too much as it wasn’t like we spent the rest of the day running marathons! No matter where you stay – there are beach villas too – you will encounter some steps just because of the layout of the main resort building which is staggered over three floors, each of which are quite sizeable. And because you have to go down to get to the beach and swimming pool, you must also at some point go up again. I was six months pregnant while staying at The Surin and although I got a little out of breath walking from the beach to our villa, I actually enjoyed the opportunity to stretch my legs and burn off some of the mango shakes I was consuming.

HIllside Villa - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson The Surin Building

The villa itself was spacious and very comfortable and I have to award extra points for the bed which was huge and incredibly comfortable. We found the AC unit a little old and noisy, but it worked (thank goodness!) and its volume wasn’t a problem ear plugs couldn’t serve. Breakfast was served at lobby level and while the resort was very busy (we were there over Easter weekend) the staff did a great job greeting us promptly and making sure I got tea within moments of sitting down – thank you!

Breakfast - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

Because we were only there for three nights and relaxation was our main goal, we decided to eat at the resort each night. Two of the nights we enjoyed Thai food in Lomtalay Thai Restaurant, which was really exceptional, and the other night we dined outside on the beach restaurant, where I chose exactly how my catch of the day fish could be prepared – delicious! Of course, dining in resort restaurants in Thailand mean you pay more than a few dollars for your meal, but when we factored in the atmosphere, the quality and the convenience we actually thought the price (around €40 for two, with one person drinking!) was very good value.

The Surin at Sunset - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

We spent our days mostly on the beach, which was just as clean and pretty as I had imagined when I saw it from the water two years ago. Again, it was a busy period in the hotel so there was a small rush and hustle for sun loungers every morning but I didn’t notice any fist fights or anyone going without. During the day we were approached many times by people working at a beach shack style cafe serving ice creams and drinks, which I honestly didn’t expect as they didn’t appear to be associated with The Surin (and their prices were a fraction of the hotel’s!). If I’m going to be really stuck up, this did get a little annoying as it was pretty consistent, but at the same time they were always very friendly and polite so I’m inclined to put my annoyance down to moody pregnancy hormones.

Girls on a beach - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

My favourite part of staying at The Surin was definitely those hours we spent on the beach. Although a number of changes have meant that many of Phuket’s beaches have become much clearer of businesses, it’s still quite difficult to find a quiet, not-too-crowded spot of sand next to a beautiful blue stretch of water. Pansea Beach – which is shared by The Surin and another resort – is therefore something very special on an island that is welcoming more and more tourists to its shores. I have no doubt that when the time comes and I’m holding a baby in one hand and wiping away vomit from my top with the other hand, I will think back to the time I was lying on that beach with nothing to hold but a book and a fresh coconut juice and I will thank The Surin for giving us a great few baby-free days in Phuket.

By the pool - Travelettes Review of The Surin, Phuket by Frances M Thompson

All photos by Frankie Thompson.

frankie-in-ljubljana

This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.