Now I love Phuket, I really do. But if you’re looking for gorgeous, sandy beaches with turquoise sea, there are actually far nicer places to go in Thailand. However if you’re looking for 90% guaranteed sunshine, blue skies and minimal rain over the Christmas/New Year period, Phuket’s your guy. For the last 8 years we have been holiday-ing in various villas in Phuket (excluding one year in Koh Samui which wasn’t repeated because of unpredictable weather and another in Sri Lanka). The key to booking a decent luxury villa over this busy period is to book far in advance (I’m talking 9 to 12 months). If you’re looking solely for a villa, perhaps with weekly maid service, there are loads on the market. If you’re looking for fully staffed luxury villa (e.g. chef, daily maid, driver) then there are fewer to choose from. The latter also come at a hefty price over Christmas/New Year (think 2x $ of low season).
In the past, I have used Asian Luxury Villas. They are great at offering up a wide choice of villas but didn’t seem to have the fully staffed ones on hand. You can choose villas where you pay extra to hire a chef but we’ve had a few instances of ‘fake chefs’ who weren’t used to catering for our size of party or even catering full stop (we caught one dishing out ready made food she’d bought in the market!). I googled ‘luxury, staffed villas’ and found Elite Havens Luxury Villa Rentals. They were prompt in response and gave me a few villas in my price range.
In case you are thinking of hiring a villa, here are some extra questions you may want to ask:
- Is there any construction noise near the property?
- Have any previous customers complained of noise?
- Can you send me any extra pictures?
- Do you have a floorplan for the villa?
- What are the pool dimensions? Is there a steep infinity edge?
- How much sun does the pool & patio get?
- How many sun loungers do you provide?
- What is included in the price? Chef? Airport transfers? Daily maid service?
In the end, we settled on a 4 bed property nestled in the Surin Hills, Baan Bon Khao. Prior to our stay, Elite Havens got in touch to see if there was anything in particular we wanted the kitchen to be stocked with and also to plan our first meals. They also had details of restaurants and trips we might be interested in. We had a minor hiccup in that initially they informed us we could arrive at the villa early but then changed their mind so we killed time at Catch Beach Club instead.
Where is the property located?
Baan Bon Khao is around 30-40 minutes from Phuket Airport, in Surin. Our booking included one airport transfer. However, as it also included daily use of a car + driver for 8 hours, on our return journey we used the driver to take us.
The villa is in a perfect location with incredible views out to Surin Beach. It feels very private and we didn’t really notice much noise, even though our villa was in front of a small road.
Surin is a great area of Phuket to be in with lots of local shops, boutiques, restaurants and beach clubs. We didn’t even make it to the beach as we were too lazy hanging around our pool.
What is the villa like?
Baan Bon Khao is a luxurious, Thai-style property. On the first level, you’ll find two bedrooms on either side of the long hall way. Each bedroom is identical, containing twin beds and ensuite.
Up the stairs is the pool. This was my only gripe with the property. As the patio and pool doesn’t get sun till around 10.45am, it means the pool can be quite cold. There is also a steep infinity edge so it may not be suitable for those with really young kids.
The patio area is lovely with 6 sun loungers, cushioned bench and outdoor dining area.
On one side you’ll find a spacious dining room and kitchen. On the other side is a lounge with TV and chill out area. There’s a toilet next to the lounge.
Go up a small flight of stairs from the pool and you’ll find a nestled outdoor, shaded seated area. You’ll also find a third bedroom with ensuite.
Head up one more flight of stairs and you’re at the Master suite. This has magnificent views out to sea, a comfortable King sized bed, huge walk in wardrobe and large bathroom with separate jacuzzi and shower.
How were the staff?
What really made Baan Bon Khao stand out were its team of staff. Our chef was incredible and we never tired of the intricate flower and vegetable carvings that would come with every meal.
Speaking of which, this is the reason we barely left the villa. The food was outstanding. There’s a menu you can choose from and we tended to stick to Thai favourites. You plan the menu the day before, giving the staff time to shop for ingredients. At any point if you want to restock the goods yourself, you can hop in the car down to the local supermarket.
The Villa Manager was also extremely helpful. She would appear every day and check if we needed any restaurant recommendations, spa bookings etc.
What else did you do in Phuket?
Well, we barely left the villa to be honest. But we did have a few delicious meals out:
- Catch Beach Club for lunch, excellent food
- Cafe Del Mar Phuket Beach Club & Restaurant – go for the weekend buffet
- HQ Beach Lounge (adjacent to Cafe Del Mar). We had dinner and cocktails here and the kids played happily on the beach in front.
- Good Western food at Taste Bar & Grill
We also did a boat tour to neighbouring Coral Island. The beach was very pretty with clear blue sea. But the boatloads of tourists also visiting at the same time as us were not. I would probably skip the trip, especially if you have young kids in tow.
Would I return to Baan Bon Khao?
I would say the villa is 90% perfect and that is in large part due to its staff (although I do believe Elite Havens rotate them, so you may not get our exact amazing chef). My only negative was that the pool was cold as it doesn’t receive sun till later in the day. That said, I did try to book the villa again for this coming Christmas and it’s already fully booked! Grrrrr…..