By Sebastian Marc Graham
After two long years of the pandemic, Thailand has finally opened its borders to international visitors and dropped most of its restrictions. Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is a diverse and stunning country, boasting some of the world’s most beautiful and attractive destinations. On my first ever trip to Thailand, I first landed in Bangkok. After a few intense days in the capital, I headed to Phuket, a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle.
The country’s largest island, nestled in the middle of the Andaman Sea, is a world-renowned destination. I had to see this special part of the world for myself.I decided to stay at the Surin Hotel. 103 cottages and suites dot the lush forest and are framed by the stunning white sands of Pansea beach. You are instantly greeted with the warm and friendly hospitality of southern Thailand. The laid-back way of life is a strong contrast to the fast pace of Bangkok. Ed Tutte, a well-known architect, designed the structure.This boutique hotel has recently been majorly refurbished. Its minimalist Thai design and earthy tones engage perfectly with its surroundings. Its hexagonal pool, however, dominates the hotel grounds and it is perfect for an afternoon dip.
The cottages sit on a gentle slope stretching from the beach to the hill. The mature forest creates a private and serene environment, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your terrace. My room was very generous in size and filled with light. One of my favourite memories of my room was the fresh flowers left on my bed and the aromatic powders that created a truly tropical ambience. These small details are where the Surin really excels. The Surin provides you with a very practical amenity kit and beach bag. It was so nice, I took it home as a souvenir!
The beach at Surin, however, is the star of the show. Cocooned by rocks and coconut palms, the beach is truly postcard perfect. This private beach is one of Phuket’s best and its aligned rocks and shallow waters are ideal for snorkelling. During my snorkelling adventure, I encountered schools of butterfly fish, angel fish, long-finned bannerfish, and giant saltwater clams. The coral reefs at Surin Beach are unspoilt and abundant with wildlife, making snorkelling here one of my most memorable experiences from my vacation.
The Surin offers long boards, paddle boards, and all sorts of aquatic equipment to make your beach day exciting. I decided to rent a jet ski and glide along the west coast. After all the fun in the sun, you can relax at the excellent beach bar. It is the meeting spot at the Surin as it always attracts a great crowd and vibe. Make sure you order the Mai Tai, especially at happy hour!
The Surin also boasts numerous on-site sports facilities such as a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, yoga and meditation on the beach. Personally, the beach is so wonderful that I never want to leave it. The water is warm and the sea breeze keeps you cool even during the hottest times of the day. There is a really laid-back ambience at the beach with people playing music, playing football with the locals and sipping coconuts on the sand.
After all the sports and swimming, the spa should be your next stop. The hotel golf buggy will whisk you away to the spa. Thailand is renowned for its massages, and a traditional Thai massage is a must, especially after a rigorous football game on the beach.
The Surin has several dining options. The beach restaurant reopens in September. The sunset restaurant offers wonderful traditional Thai and Italian cuisine overlooking the palm trees and Andaman Sea. My personal favourite is the Gaeng Poo Bai Chaploo. A yellow crab curry served with rice noodles. Although I did feel bad for all the hermit crabs that hopped around the beach.
The Surin is the perfect tropical escape and a truly special place. The hospitality is relaxed, friendly, and helpful, the rooms are cozy, and the beach is perfect. I would highly recommend the Surin Hotel to anyone, and I can’t wait to stay there again.