Where to stay in Phuket: SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort

Sun-drenched beaches and deliciously warm weather set the tone for relaxation in Phuket. It’s often a destination associated with backpackers and the packed party-streets of Patong Beach but, dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover a completely different side to this iconic Thai holiday spot. Here, there’s nothing to do but slow down the pace and immerse yourself in a world of luxury and decadence. Trust me, you’ve earned it!

Where is the hotel located?

You’ll find the resort located in Phuket at Mai Khao Beach, a short 20-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. Phuket’s main tourist hub, Patong Beach, lies to the south-west of the island about 60-minutes drive from the airport. Patong is famous for its vibrant nightlife, a beloved spot for those keen to kick back with a few cold drinks and wild nights out. It also offers an abundance of shopping, outdoor activities, restaurants, cafes and a seemingly endless string of bars.

In comparison, Mai Khao Beach offers peace and tranquillity away from big crowds and the rest of the world. From the moment we arrived, we felt like we’d found our very own slice of heaven. To be honest, it’s a side of Phuket I hadn’t experienced before and I enjoyed it far more than any previous visit I’d had to the region! I’ve always liked Phuket but just hadn’t found a place that connected with my personal preferences. SALA’s hidden location allowed for a slower pace, inducing serious amounts of relaxation and a feeling like there was no rush to be anywhere or do anything. It was pure bliss.

The map below offers a look at where SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort is located in relation to Phuket International Airport and Patong Beach (the starred-located on the map). Please note, while the attraction in the aqua colour appears on the map this is an automatic occurrence and we do not endorse this business as it uses animals as performers. For an ethical elephant encounter in Phuket be sure to read all about our visit to the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park here and our guide to understanding why it’s not okay to ride elephants.

How to get to Phuket and your hotel

To get to Phuket we flew from Brisbane to Bangkok direct with Thai Airways, arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport. We spent five nights exploring Bangkok and nearby Hua Hin before returning to Bangkok to catch a domestic flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phuket International Airport. The flight time from Bangkok to Phuket was around 1 hour and 25 minutes.

We had a fantastic experience with Thai Airways, especially as we had the opportunity to enjoy their Royal Silk Class (Business Class) from Brisbane to Bangkok. Our seats were incredibly comfortable, offering us loads of legroom to scooch down and get comfortable while watching movies and tv shows on our tv screens. The service was wonderful, with the staff members on board being attentive and thorough, taking excellent care of us the whole way.

We also flew with Thai Airways from Bangkok to Phuket aboard their economy class service and, again, the service was fantastic. There were plenty of great movies to choose from and our tickets included checked baggage and refreshments, two little things that made our journey that much easier. We’ve flown with Thai Airways on most of our visits to Thailand and, I have to say, the airline always offers consistently great customer service, delicious food on-board and great entertainment. If you’re planning a visit and aren’t sure which airline to go with, we happily recommend Thai Airways.

To get from Phuket Airport to the resort you can pre-book an airport transfer with SALA using their transfer service or you could arrange your own transfer. This can be done by finding a provider online or arranging one when you get there.

What are the rooms like?

We stayed in a One Bedroom Pool Villa Suite and, at a whopping 214 sqm, it offered oodles of space. Honestly, it felt like our own house, combining the sense of space and freedom I love in holiday rental accommodation with all the luxury, pampering and great food of a high-end resort. Basically, pure perfection!

From the very moment we stepped through the doors, both Matt and I were blown away by how beautiful our villa was. In fact, it was so good we decided to include it in a YouTube video sharing five of our most unforgettable luxury accommodation stays! You can watch that here.

There were so many little details that made our stay special, like the staff completing our check-in at our villa where we selected the scent we’d like for our bath products and choose our pillows from a menu complete with tiny pillow samples. It felt as though we were able to customise parts of our stay and make it the best fit possible for us!

Our villa featured a generous private swimming pool of about 10 metres in length, combined with sun loungers and an umbrella for shade. At the top of the pool, you’ll find an outdoor bathroom complete with daybed, bathtub, toilet, basin and an incredible outdoor shower! Our shower was nestled beneath a beautiful tree which added a sense of wonder and joy to our stay.

Inside, the villa was equipped with everything we needed including a comfortable king-size bed, wardrobe, air conditioning and ceiling fans, indoor sofa, another daybed by the actual bed (perfect for luggage), desk and chair, mini-bar, safe, coffee and tea making facilities, SMART TV and a separate living room area. The dividers between the bedroom and living room area came in very useful as we could open them up for more space or close them to create separate areas when I wanted to sleep and Matt wanted to stay up.

What I loved about our villa was the strong focus on the outdoor aspects! I mean, you don’t go to Thailand just to stay inside, right?! Our villa allowed us to make the most of our time in Thailand by spending every sun-drenched moment in the pool or relaxing with room service on the outdoor daybed. Having your very own private swimming pool means you don’t have to jostle with other guests for the perfect spot or even worry about how you look in your swimsuit. It is total and complete privacy!

Let’s talk about the food situation

Given the resort’s location, it’s really important the food and beverage offerings are top-notch and SALA did not disappoint! On the first night we arrived, the resort had a street-food style market set up under the stars with traditional Thai stalls offering buffet-style bites! Now, let’s be honest, a buffet can easily go wrong. The food can be mass-produced and flavourless, leaving you wondering if you would’ve been better off going with A La Carte.

You’ll be just as glad I was to know every dish served up by the SALA team was bursting with flavour, highlighting all the things we love about Thai cuisine. The flavours were authentic and absolutely delicious, allowing diners to try a broad range of Thai dishes without needing to leave the comfort of the resort. The market set up was just gorgeous and guests could visit each stall to sample the goods. Seriously, there wasn’t a weak dish among the pack!

The next night, we decided to tuck into the restaurant’s A La Carte menu and, again, we were not disappointed. It seems you just cannot go wrong at SALA! Matt and I were both so happy with each dish we ordered and would have been very happy eating every single meal at the resort. The standard of service, quality of ingredients and overwhelmingly delicious flavour make for a fantastic food experience.

We were also very happy to dive into SALA’s floating breakfast, served in our villa. We placed our order with the front desk team and were treated to the most stunning spread, complete with favourites like bacon and eggs alongside fresh fruits, muesli, coffee and so much more. If you stay at SALA, I highly recommend giving it a try!

What other facilities does the hotel have?

In addition to the private pool in your pool villa, you’ll find the resort also has two additional beachfront pools surrounded by sun loungers and cosy spots to relax with a cocktail or three. Wander down to the water and you’ll find Mai Khao Beach, a quiet haven away from the bustling beaches typical of Phuket.

Back in the resort, you can grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant or soak-in the sunset with a cocktail at the bar. We opted for a pre-bed massage at the on-site spa which was nothing short of wonderful. The staff were extremely professional and attentive, offering a quality massage that left us both floating on air! (Tip: If you’re flying in long-haul be sure to book yourself in for a massage to help with those stiff muscles).

You’ll also find the resort has a range of activities, a gym, gift shop, sunset gazebo and much more. We found the staff to be incredibly friendly and helpful so I’m sure they’d be able to help you organise any of your activities or plan something special for your stay.

The verdict…

If you haven’t been able to tell from everything I’ve written in this review, Matt and I both loved our time at SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort. It allowed me to finally fall in love with Phuket and I know we’ll go back to visit and stay there again. In fact, I’d love nothing more than an entire week at SALA! I have a feeling I’d float away from there a brand new woman!

We loved the resort’s tranquil and convenient location a short drive from the airport, the generous size of our villa, huge private pool and, of course, the absolutely delicious food. I would very happily recommend a stay at SALA Phuket to my mum and dad, close friends and, of course, you guys. It would be the perfect place to stay for a special occasion like a honeymoon, birthday or celebration. It would also be perfect for a much-needed getaway to rest and recharge in a truly stunning part of the world. If you’re planning a trip to Phuket and are looking for the perfect place to stay, be sure to check out SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort.

If you found this review useful and are considering booking a stay at SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort or anywhere else in Thailand or the world, be sure to use our affiliate link here! We’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you and your generosity helps keep our business running and our website ad-free.

Our two-night stay was generously hosted by SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort. This review was not paid for and all opinions are, as always, authentically our own. 

Useful travel resources for your trip to Thailand

As always, our guides are completely free. If you found this post (or anything we do) useful, we’d be grateful if you considered using the affiliate links below. We’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, these are the services we love and use ourselves. Thanks for your support! XO Phoebe and Matt.

Agoda – for booking hotels
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Booking.com – for booking hotels
Motorhome Republic – for booking RVs
RentalCars.com – for car rentals
SCTI – for travel insurance
Skyscanner – for booking flights
Surfshark – for online security and VPN
TourRadar – for booking tours
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Little Grey Box

I'm a writer and presenter and my husband Matt is a videographer. Together, we run Little Grey Box; an award-winning travel blog and YouTube channel.

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