After more than two years of no vacations overseas, cabin fever was really starting to set in. So when Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas invited us to stay last month, I jumped at the chance. Phuket has always been one of my favourite destinations, after all. And with Thailand relaxing its COVID-19 travel requirements since 1 July, the timing was perfect. No more Thailand Pass to apply for and no specific travel insurance. Simply obtain your entire family’s vaccination certificates (or PCR tests if not fully vaccinated) and you’re good to go!
Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket is billed as the ultimate family coastal resort, and I was not disappointed. Read on to find out why you should add it to your family’s bucket list. Psst! We also have a 2-night stay in a Two-Bedroom Family Suite to give away to a lucky family of four…
Why Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket is Ideal for Families
Let’s first look at what makes Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket so great for families with young children. Firstly, it takes just a 15-minute drive to get there from Phuket International Airport. The resort also offers seamless and comfy airport transfers. Just look out for a friendly face holding up an “AVANI+” placard as you exit the airport.
The resort offers a wide selection of one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, as well as one- to four-bedroom villas. In other words, something for the smallest nuclear families and large extended families alike. More on the accommodations below.
Parents with little ones will appreciate the large turquoise pool in the middle of the resort. Imagine relaxing on a poolside lounger with a cocktail while your kiddos are busy having fun of their own.
Conveniently, the AvaniKids Club, where childcare-trained staff engage little guests in games and crafts, is next to the pool. Babysitting services are also available upon request for a fee.
Older kids aren’t left out either. They can look forward to activities such as Muay Thai boxing lessons at the gym and an outdoor climbing wall. There’s also kids — and adult — yoga, tennis courts, bicycles to explore the grounds, pool movie nights, and more. Not to mention that Mai Khao beach is a short walk away.
Right across from Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas is its sister resort, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas. Both are located on either side of a dedicated driveway, so it does feel very exclusive and private. Next to them is Turtle Village, with shops, restaurants, and cafés, including familiar names like The Coffee Club and Swensen’s. There’s also a pharmacy, supermarket, moneychanger, and ATMs — very convenient!
The Villa Experience at Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket
A buggy delivered us via a scenic roundabout route to the entrance of our One-Bedroom Pool Villa. The tour is useful, allowing guests to get an idea of where all the amenities and restaurants are. Turns out that our villa was actually just a short walk from the main lobby!
One thing that is immediately obvious is how beautiful the grounds are. It’s essentially one huge and immaculately manicured garden that birds love too (we saw so many species!). It was bright and sunny outside, but stepping into our villa was like entering a cool and peaceful sanctuary.
The creature comforts are all there, starting with a bathroom that’s bigger than some hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. Next to the open-concept wardrobe ‘room’, it has his-and-hers sinks, a gigantic free-standing bathtub, and separate shower and toilet. Plus, an outdoor rain shower so you can take a warm shower out in the sunshine within the walled garden.
Of course, it also comes with its own private pool and sala, a traditional Thai outdoor pavilion. I recommend a midnight dip for mums and dads after the kids are in bed. There’s a large-screen TV in the living room, and another in the bedroom with a full spectrum of cable channels. But with so much to do here, we never even switched them on.
Mighty useful for families is the fully equipped kitchenette. Think microwave oven, stovetop, Nespresso machine, even a washer/dryer. The ‘minibar’ is a full-size fridge and shelves of snacks and drinks. Staying in? Order room service or cook up a family meal with fresh produce from the Turtle supermarket!
The One-Bedroom Pool Villa sleeps up to three adults and one child, and starts from S$282++ per night.
Access to the Top Attractions in Phuket
Getting around Phuket is easier than ever, with GrabCar now an option — just use the app you use in Singapore! Alternatively, the concierge will be glad to help you plan an itinerary with an English-speaking driver/guide. Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket is in the northwest of the island, putting it within an hour’s drive to most attractions. Indeed, some must-sees are mere minutes away.
One of these is Baan Ar-Jor Museum. The restored 85-year-old Sino-Portuguese mansion houses a mini museum where you can experience life in 1930s Phuket. Plan your visit around a meal, because the in-house Toh-Daeng restaurant serves unique Thai dishes with Peranakan influences. It uses only fresh produce fished and farmed by the local community, including fresh mulberry tea grown on-site. Helming the kitchen is Ar-Jor’s (yes, the honorific for great-grandparents) great-grandson, while his aunt is the artistic mind behind every décor element. It’s heaven for foodies and shutterbugs alike!
To explore more Sino-Portuguese culture and architecture, head to Phuket Old Town. The Sunday Walking Street Market is where everything happens, but there’s plenty to see and do even on weekdays. Wander around the old-meets-new enclave and find hipster ice cream cafés, more heritage restaurants, and lovely murals for your #OOTDs.
Other popular attractions include Wat Chalong, Phuket’s most revered and culturally important Buddhist temple, and the majestic Big Buddha. The 45-metre-tall statue, clad in gleaming Burmese white marble, sits at the summit of Nakkerd Hill. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate its tranquility and 360-degree panoramas of Phuket island.
For a different kind of vantage point, head to Promthep Cape, at the southernmost tip of Phuket island. Its clifftop viewpoint looks out over the Andaman Sea and is the best place to catch a stunning sunset.
Inside Two-Bedroom Family Suites at Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket
Back at the resort, I took the opportunity to check out some of the Two-Bedroom Family Suites. The overall layouts aren’t too unlike the villa we were staying in.
The living space extends to a self-catering kitchenette fitted with all the same amenities. In exchange for the private pool and garden, there’s a large balcony with loungers. Parents will be happy with the master bedroom with ensuite, which is as luxurious as the one in the villa.
But what truly sets the Family Suites apart are the kids-themed bedrooms with twin beds and their own ensuite. Depending on which style you choose (subject to availability, of course), the storytelling wallpaper and decorative touches pop them right into a fairytale.
In Pirates of Phuket, swashbucklers can slumber in their very own pirate ship, while sportscar fanatics dash into sweet dreams in a super car in Fast & Furious. The enchanted wonderland of Magical Princess Kingdom is filled with sparkly surprises for young royalty.
Little guests also receive AvaniKids backpacks upon arrival, and on their first night, special bath amenities delivered to the room. Oh, to be a kid again!
In the mornings, breakfast at Talad restaurant is a relaxed and sumptuous buffet affair. Expect everything from cold cereals and freshly baked breads to hot Thai, Asian, and Western breakfast stalwarts. Make a beeline for the live station serving up pancakes, waffles, and eggs any way you like.
The Two-Bedroom Family Suite is ideal for two adults and two children, and starts from S$306++ per night.
:: GIVEAWAY ::
We have a 2-Night stay in a Two-Bedroom Family Suite (including daily breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children) at the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas to give away!
How to win:
- Like and share this article’s Facebook post (make sure your share is public).
- Tag two friends whose families need a Phuket vacay too.
- Follow @avanimaikhao on Instagram.
- Answer the question: “Of the three themes, which Family Suite would your kids love best?”
- Sit back and relax. We’ll be in touch if you’ve won!
Closing date: 11.59pm, Sunday 14 August 2022
Terms and conditions:
- Stay is valid for a Two-Bedroom Family Suite only at the Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas.
- Prize voucher is valid till 23 December 2022 (blackout dates apply).
- Advanced reservation is required and bookings are subject to availability.
- Prize voucher must be presented upon check-in and is non-replaceable, non-refundable, non-transferable, and not redeemable for cash.
Rates are valid at time of publishing and are subject to changes.
Featured image: Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas