Asia Hotels Travel

Phuket – Baray Villa

Happy Friday and welcome to another Asia travel post! For my earlier posts on this trip, head to Hong Kong, Bangkok(1), Bangkok(2).

After two nights in Bangkok, Mr. Feather and I headed to the airport to make our way to Phuket. Right away when we checked in for our flight, we were informed that there was going to be at least an hour delay. The girl at the counter was nice enough to give us some coupons to use at the airport restaurants, so we went off in search of our food options…which we realized was only one. Hahaha. Actually “FOODSTOP” was a nice little food court that included ramen and McDonald’s, but I still thought this sign was pretty funny (and effective!) advertising. Want to go somewhere else? Too bad.

Our hotel was a bit of a saga. Since it was the very high season, both resorts that we originally wanted to stay at  – Aman and Trisara – ended up being 100% booked out. I was told that for the New Year’s period, some of these resorts are basically perpetually full, as the same people rebook year after year.

In a panic, I called my dear friend J in Bangkok – who told me not to worry, she’d take care of it. Lo and behold, a few weeks later she called and said that she managed to get us reservations at a resort. The cost would be around ~160,000 Thai Bhat per night, she said. I am horrible at currency conversion and thought it’d be fine until I remembered that J – while a total sweetheart – is also one of those local zillionaires and thus decided to Google the currency conversion to be safe. $4700 a night?? I started freaking out on the phone. “Oh yes, but I promise you’ll like it, it’s one of my favorites,” she cooed. She then helpfully added: “And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to play with some local monkeys.”

Even though these monkeys sounded pretty sweet, Mr. Feather and I were unwilling to sell our organs to finance this adventure and thus started over. At this point we were mere weeks out from landing in Phuket and I was seriously worried that we’d either be homeless or vacationing at the type of local Thai hotel where they’d film crime scenes in the future TV hit CSI: Thailand. Luckily at the last minute I was able to find a spot at a random resort I found on Tripadvisor – Baray Villa.

We were a little nervous when we landed in Phuket, but Baray Villa ended up being pretty amazing. The price we paid was literally 15% of what similar size accommodations would have been at Aman, and the villas were huge. I wasn’t able to get good photos so snagged some from the website to show you all – above is exactly what ours looked like, and you can also the at night a view of all the villas next to each other. The pools were especially amazing – all the villas shared one long giant pool, and each had their own private wading area and sun deck as well.

Wow, I am pale. As you can see there was also a little pool bar that was empty though fully staffed most of the time. I’m not really a pool eater or drinker, it’s a little weird to me to be scarfing down cheeseburgers while sitting in water. Plus when I want to eat, I’d prefer for my stomach not to be visible to others, please. The pool area was pretty private most of the time which was nice. To be honest we spent most of our time in Phuket at our resort – the beach was really crowded, and the water was just as nice here. Massages were right next door and there was no reason to leave except to duck out to 7-11 for more Magnum ice cream bars.

A quick tip that most hotel/resort pools in Phuket we heard aren’t heated – including hot tubs. A little strange coming from an American standpoint but it is so hot there that I understand. But I think it could be surprising to anybody booking a room with a pool for the first time, so just a note.

I loved all the animals and insects we saw around our room – here are two that Mr. Feather snapped, both on our sun deck when we went out in the morning. Beautiful huh?

Something that I wasn’t a fan of but that’s pretty much par for the course among all the Thai island resorts (high and low end) was a “mandatory” New Year’s Eve dinner that was charged by our hotel when we booked the room. Basically another way to make money, but I would have preferred that they just jack up the room price instead. You don’t have to go to the dinner…but you do have to pay…and the reviews typically aren’t that great for the price. But since it was a sunk cost we decided to check it out and our hotel actually had a pretty good buffet set up. Plus whenever I see a suckling pig, I cannot resist doing this:

Attractive huh? Afterwards I felt a bit of kinship to this poor animal and couldn’t even eat any. I named him Wilbur!

Overall I really enjoyed our time at Baray Villa and I’d recommend it to most. It was the quintessential “local” Thai experience in that we felt we got really beautiful accommodations, services and experiences for a relatively low price. I do have a few friends who are super duper picky about their luxury hotel/resort stays which is why I’d say that I only recommend Baray to most. Baray didn’t have Bvlgari toiletries or Pratesi sheets, the breakfast spread was mediocre at best, and occasionally you’d come across a grungy pool towel (easily replaced). Those things can be a big deal to certain travelers, which I totally understand – in which case I’d recommend Trisara or the like. But otherwise Baray would be a strong contender and a good value.

We spent five days in Phuket and it was absolutely fabulous – nothing can beat lots of water, sun and reading time for me. I really want to return to Thailand and try out more islands and resorts so if you have any recommendations, please let me know! Thank you for reading along and look out for my next post where I’ll show you my last bits of Bangkok and Hong Kong. Have a nice weekend!

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  • PetiteLittleGirl
    January 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Sounds like an awesome vacation, Kat! I've heard so many great things about Phuket but haven't had a chance to visit yet. The hotel looks so nice. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!

  • Lisa
    January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    hahaha omgosh kat you are too adorable for words!! omgosh your villa looked AMAZING!!! i'm so jealous of your asian vacation so fabulous!!

  • Anonymous
    January 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Beautiful! who makes your Sunnies?

    :o)

  • Plami
    January 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    What an amazing place! The perfect gateway!

    XoXo
    Plami

    http://www.fashionthrill.com/

  • Diva In Me
    January 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog. Also, thanks for spotting the red wallet =) A Chinese New Year's gift =D
    Your hotel is WOW! I hope you are having a great time in Phuket and enjoying Asia already! Happy holiday =)

  • Kiwi's Fashion Blog
    January 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Love these picture! You looked so cute haha 🙂

  • Adele
    January 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    The villa looks lovely. Brings back happy memories of my trip to Thailand.
    Happy weekend hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • amy b.s.
    January 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    looks like you had an amazing time! glad to hear everything worked out!

  • Katherine
    January 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    D&G 🙂 They look good on a lot of face types, I'd recommend them!

  • Lindsay K
    January 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I'm glad everything worked out with your hotel. I can only imagine how stressed you were, but it all worked out beautifully.

    I'm glad you loved Thailand! Thanks for the heads up on hotels. I want to plan a trip back next winter and I get picky about where I stay.

    Reading, sun and water sounds like paradise:)

  • makeupandpearls
    January 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    wow – now that looks right up my alley!

    laurafornerphotograhy.blogspot.com

  • janettaylor
    January 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Looks wonderful!

  • Jannine
    January 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    what an amazing trip! the hotel looks lovely! i would have totally had a drink at the pool bar. certainly no burgers haha but a nice multicolored cocktail for sure! 🙂
    XX
    jannine

    http://fashionistArg.blogspot.com

  • rolala
    January 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Phuket looks amazing! That pool! Your pose next to the suckling pig is too cute. Happy weekend!

  • katattack2000
    January 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Hahha your last picture is priceless! Looks like you had a relaxing time in Phuket! What more can you ask? Sun food beach and a resort holiday!

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

  • chillairandperfume
    January 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Gorgeous photos (even if they are from the website)! Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    xo,
    Hannah
    http://www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    January 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    The villa looks amazing. hahahaha….suck a classic photo by the suckling pig. I've always wanted to see the floating market and try out the local cuisine. I love hawker style food although hubby cringes at the thought.

  • skippysays
    January 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Sounds like a wonderfully amazing and relaxing time! And man, I love Magnum!
    http://www.saysskippy.blogspot.com

  • caise
    January 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    such a magical place!

  • newpetite
    January 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Prefect Getaway! Loved the pics and the villa looks really beautiful!

  • Daria
    January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Awesome blog! 🙂

    please visit dnd follow
    http://www.lusciousstyle.blogspot.com/

  • Sarah
    January 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Phuket looks beautiful, I want to go someday! And I love your pic with that pig haha. I do the same thing. 😉

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  • Beatrice
    January 28, 2012 at 12:28 am

    No trip to James Bond island while you were at Phuket? At least the island recovered after that big tsunami in 2004.

  • The Fashionable ESQ
    January 28, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Hi lady! I love your travel posts. It sounds like a very interesting and fun fun fun time.

    xo
    The Fashionable ESQ
    http://www.thefashionableesq.blogspot.com/

  • Katherine
    January 28, 2012 at 12:42 am

    This is very embarrassing as we truly intended to go (Phi phi right?) But we woke up too late each day to make it to the early morning boat and then got really lazy…I really want to go one day!

  • Latkes and Dim Sum
    January 28, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Fun!

    I'd recommend Four Seasons Koh Samui in Thailand if you're looking for another nice place to visit. Each room has its own infinity pool (though yes, as you've noted, unheated!) 🙂

  • faye lu
    January 28, 2012 at 3:10 am

    thank you for sharing these beautiful pics! phuket looks amazing. thailand is my favourite place in the whole wide world … hope you had an amazing time. can't wait to see you HK post x

  • mai
    January 28, 2012 at 5:55 am

    wow, what a beautiful resort!

  • Permanent Nomad
    January 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Thanks for sharing!! I am planning to go to Phuket in March and couldn't be more excited!!

  • Mica
    January 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Wow it looks so magical! What a wonderful trip! 🙂

    awayfromtheblue.blogspot.com

  • Geri Looker
    January 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Wow, so envious, the pictures are stunning! I am now yearning for sun and a relaxed vacation! Would settle for a massage right now! Thanks for the comment too on my blog!

  • Veronica of Best of Palm Beach Consignment
    January 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Looks gorgeous, I am so glad you found a beautiful hotel for less.

  • Rachel {Da Paura ♥}
    January 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    These photos are so amazing, I love travel posts! This resort looks so peaceful and tranquil. Love your sunglasses too. Thanks for your kind words – so happy you like my blog. I'm loving your's as well!

    x
    Rachel

  • Style Servings
    January 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Wow, it looks absolutely amazing!!

    http://styleservings.blogspot.com/

  • tiffyama
    January 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Glad everything worked out! This place looks sooo beautiful!! If I had to put on description name to Phuket, it'd have to be "paradise." Love the decor~ and just…everything!! HAHA…you and your pig pose. Aw…and you just had to name him…lol. The poor guy. XD

    Still working on catching up on your posts…I'm determined!

  • Plami
    January 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Hey girl! Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my blog! You're such an inspiration to me and your support made me so happy 🙂

    XoXo
    Plami

    http://www.fashionthrill.com/

  • Brownie
    January 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Baray Villas look lovely. I just got back from Phuket too and wished I had seen your post earlier! You guys got gorgeous pics of the animals and insects in your room but I still can't get my head around sharing my living area them.

  • pjlatte
    January 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Amazing photos. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Thailand!

    Follow me & my bags, shoes, and all things dainty at:
    pjlattesbagbook.blogspot.com

  • dajana, all kinds of lovely
    January 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Thailand is amazing, isn' it? The food (LOVE!), the people, the colours, the architecture. Egad, I can't wait to go back. We enjoyed every minute of our trip to southeast Asia. Our favourite country was Cambodia. The Cambodian people made our trip as did our visit to Angkor Wat.

    Safe and happy travels! (:

  • CoffeeBreakCrn
    January 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Wow, Thailand is really amazing. I haven;t been back in a while. This just makes me want to go back more!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for an award. You can check it out on my blog. coffeebreakcrn.blogspot.com

  • Rhe Beep
    January 30, 2012 at 12:09 am

    OMG! It is so beautiful and amazing, I have always wanted to go and this just moved it up higher on my list!

    Rhe
    rhestyle.com

  • thekellytang
    January 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

    What an amazing amazing trip! It looks like you had so much fun the hotel is gorgeous! And haha, at that very attractive pig pose. 😉

    <3 Kelly

  • Isabel
    January 30, 2012 at 3:19 am

    im jealous!

  • Lisa
    January 30, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Wauw, beautifull pictures!

  • akiko
    January 30, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Looks like a great place and what stunning photos! Love it xo akiko
    Style Imported

  • Kim (A Very Sweet Blog)
    January 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Baray Villa is beyond gorgeous! So glad you found a great place to stay and within budget. HaHa Wilbur is a cutie and so are you Katherine. Cute pics of you girl. Thanks for sharing your travels.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

  • Samantha
    January 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Baray Villa sounds really nice!! Those web pics are fab, so I can only imagine how lovely it was in person! LOL@ that pic of you by the pig!! But I'm a little heartless when it comes to food (me=piggy), so I probably still would have eaten Wilbur!

    xo, sam

  • xJOLE
    January 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Love the last photo.. Nice to see you being silly!

    http://xjole.blogspot.com

  • ruthie
    February 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Next time you head to Phuket – you should really try out Indigo Pearl! It's bliss there! 🙂

  • istanbul tours
    March 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    If I'd known how good PTT were going to be I'd have done every tour they offer, not just two. I did Phra Nang Speedboat tour and Phi Phi Speedboat tour – both hosted by http://www.privatetoursinistanbul.com Both days were excellent and highly recommended., so obviously written by competitors – you only have to look at the 'person' to know!

    You get to see so much and learn so much on PST trips. Everyone onboard is friendly and it's like going on a day out with a large extended family. When booking tours solo it's always a gamble if you'll be the 'odd one out' or accepted by other travellers – on PST everyone accepts you. Travelling solo on PTT has it's perks too, I had Captain John in my kayak and we had a great chat about what we were seeing and took some great shots of the wildlife.

    You'll never go hungry on a PST trip either. I have significant food allergies that can make travelling in Thailand a real hassle. Elise at PTT said 'no problem' and I had so much food that I didn't need dinner on return from either trip! They cater for all sorts of dietary needs. You'll never have a chance to dehydrate with the crew always offering complimentary water, sodas and iced coffees all day long..

    tour operators and the crew are just lovely. John's like an uncle to everyone onboard and he knows everyone at the stops. He'll tell you things you always wanted to know about Thailand .

    Worth every penny, worth more.

  • istanbul tours
    March 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    If I'd known how good PTT were going to be I'd have done every tour they offer, not just two. I did Phra Nang Speedboat tour and Phi Phi Speedboat tour – both hosted by http://www.privatetoursinistanbul.com Both days were excellent and highly recommended., so obviously written by competitors – you only have to look at the 'person' to know!

    You get to see so much and learn so much on PST trips. Everyone onboard is friendly and it's like going on a day out with a large extended family. When booking tours solo it's always a gamble if you'll be the 'odd one out' or accepted by other travellers – on PST everyone accepts you. Travelling solo on PTT has it's perks too, I had Captain John in my kayak and we had a great chat about what we were seeing and took some great shots of the wildlife.

    You'll never go hungry on a PST trip either. I have significant food allergies that can make travelling in Thailand a real hassle. Elise at PTT said 'no problem' and I had so much food that I didn't need dinner on return from either trip! They cater for all sorts of dietary needs. You'll never have a chance to dehydrate with the crew always offering complimentary water, sodas and iced coffees all day long..

    tour operators and the crew are just lovely. John's like an uncle to everyone onboard and he knows everyone at the stops. He'll tell you things you always wanted to know about Thailand .

    Worth every penny, worth more.

  • Surin Beach Hotel
    April 26, 2012 at 2:34 am

    We are planning to visit Phuket in mid-Oct.
    Thank you for posting.

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