I welcome the opportunity to return to Andara and will recommend Villa 9 to friends seeking an island getaway in Thailand.

Overall Impression An hour long flight from Bangkok delivered me to Phuket where an Andara Resort and Villas representative met me at the airport. After a quick greeting he handed me a scented flower lei, a scented moist towel and a bottle of water and we set out on a short drive to the west side of the island. We arrived directly from the Phuket airport to Villa 9 where Botan, a resort representative, was waiting to coordinate my check-in. She quickly explained the basics of the Villa 9 and the resort property, went over the paperwork, and introduced me to Tan, the housekeeper. As a guest at the family friendly Andara resort, meaning star of Andaman in Thai, I was welcome to use the resort facilities. Due to the inclement weather and thanks to the comfort of my villa I spent most of my time in Villa 9.

The three story four bedroom house with a full time housekeeper, one of 63 homes at the 30-acre luxury resort, stood on a small hill facing Kamala Bay. My stay, although marred by nearly continuous rainy weather, was quiet and pleasant in large part thanks to my comfortable and well appointed accommodations. I liked that in addition to striking views of the bay Villa 9 was outfitted with most creature comforts and, except for food, just about everything I might want. For meals the resort main area and restaurant were a short golf cart shuttle away. The restaurant also offered room service of a limited selection of menu items. Given the rainy weather I especially appreciated the option and, with Tan’s help translating my order to the kitchen, I took advantage of it several times during my stay.

Since exploring was limited by the rain I focused on indoor activities like watching videos, reading and listening to music. When the rain slowed down I ventured out a bit, visiting the resort’s main building, fitness area and restaurant (the spa was under construction). One morning it looked like the sun wanted to break through the clouds so I tried my luck at the beach which was a few minutes by golf cart shuttle. By the time we arrived it had begun to rain again.

Villa 9 was pretty, new looking and spacious. Its 1,686 square meters provided ample indoor and outdoor space including a large terrace with an infinity edge pool overlooking the bay (my favorite place in the house), a game room, a fitness/massage room, a television and a combined dining room and living room area with comfy furniture. The house had many touches to enhance a guest stay like WiFi connectivity, clean smelling towels, guest bathroom in the pool area, a wireless phone in the living area (and regular phones elsewhere), a full size kitchen, a sound system and a large television as well as a television in my room. My favorite feature was the bay views from most areas of the house including my upstairs room and bathroom, the terrace, living and dining area, and television room. I welcome the opportunity to return to Andara and will recommend Villa 9 to friends seeking an island getaway in Thailand.

Children Yes, the property welcomed children of all ages.

Class Of Accommodation Five-Star luxury resort and spa

Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi connectivity in Villa 9 with signal strength that varied between weak and medium.

General Manager Andrew M. Whitaker

Handicapped Access Yes, according to a property spokesperson. There were many stairs throughout the common areas of the hotel and in the three-floor villa where I stayed.

Length Of Stay Three nights

Location The resort is 28 kilometers from the airport.

Managed Andara Resort and Villas Co. Ltd.

Owned Allan Zeman of the Paradise Group

Pets Allowed No

Size The development employed 330 staff and was home to 26 four to six bedroom Villas ranging in size between 4,000 and 20,000 square feet and 37 two to four bedroom Residences ranging in size between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet.

Year Opened-Renovated The resort was established in 2006 and the villa was built in 2008.

Lobby And Common Areas The resort had Contemporary Thai décor featuring Jim Thompson Silk wall coverings and teak wood floors. The hotel lobby was a large open air space. To the right side there was a reception desk with a courtesy iPad and wireless keyboard for guest use and to the left side there was a concierge desk. Between them a wide hallway led to the interior of the hotel. A clothing boutique and a wine shop occupied the space nearest the entrance. Further down there were magazine and book racks on both sides of the hallway and doorless entrances to the parking area. The gym was further down the hall and to the left. A flight of stairs led to a second level where the spa, Silk restaurant and the main pool were located.

Villa I stayed in Villa 9, a 1,159 square meter (under roof) three story house with beautiful bay views. Although the owners’ master bedroom was off limits I was assigned a third story air conditioned room across from the master bedroom with a lovely view of the bay and nearby beach. The villa was divided into three distinct areas. The main entrance to the villa was through a double wood door. There was a back entrance via the covered garage. The main floor was several steps up from the entrance doors and led to the entry level where the pool terrace, a bedroom, a television room, a combined living room and dining room and kitchen were located.

The master bedroom and two bedrooms were one flight of stairs up from the main floor. A second set of stairs down from the main floor to a lower level. It had a large locked game room (I had to call the housekeeper to get in) with a pool table and a large flat screen television, a bedroom and a fitness room with a Precor elliptical machine and a universal weight machine. The room also had a massage area in the corner. There was a guest bathroom in the hallway.

The air conditioned living, dining and kitchen areas of the house were under one roof with sliding glass doors dividing the kitchen from the combined living and dining space. The living room had two comfortable cloth and wood khaki sofas with cushions, a large wood coffee table, three metal side tables with lamps, two wood cushioned armchairs, several planters and large decorative items and a mini bar with a small refrigerator. The center of the dining room was occupied by a wood dining room set with cushioned armchairs. Floor to ceiling glass doors on two sides led to the pool area which was populated with lounge chairs and umbrellas and had a lovely view of the bay and the beach.

High ceilings and wood floors, large glass and wood windows and doors accented the villa’s main feature, the view to the bay. The villa garden was lush, landscaped and lit at night. There was a water feature near the entrance and outdoor decorative artefacts within the gardens. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the large black tiled infinity pool facing the bay and beach with a built-in concrete settee on one side and an adjacent gazebo.

My room, upstairs on the third level of the villa, had a tall ceiling, a wall to wall wood closet with ample hanging and drawer space, and lots of windows. A comfortable and firm king bed with feather pillows, a duvet, and matching wood night tables and lamps on either side of it occupied the center of the room. The headrest was made of stone and wood and set against a wall high wallpapered surfaced with a wood frame. Two armchairs and a metal round table stood to one side of the room next to a small Sony flat screen television hanging on the wall in the corner and a Yamaha DVD player set within a small table below it. I set my computer on the wall facing wood desk with a matching armchair and a lamp stationed across from the bed.

The temperature was controlled via fans and in the rooms with air conditioning with in-room digital wall thermostats.

To the side of the stairs leading to the third level there was a family room with comfortable furniture, a 50 inch LCD TV flat screen television and DVD player, and Bose surround sound system which could be heard by the pool terrace. Next to it there was a bedroom identical to mine. Another bedroom like mine was a cross the hall from mine. A covered parking area was immediately past the double wood doors that led to the entrance to the house.

The villa décor was the work of Phuket based Paradise Designs supervised by Branko Pahor and team members from Thai Architect and Interior Designers. The design concept was inspired by ancient Thai culture highlighting wood flooring and framing and high ceilings while juxtaposing contemporary design. The idea was to create a youthful, homey and relaxing atmosphere.

For example, the builders used the original trapezium shape Thai door and windows, but turned them upside down, framing them with teak wood and furnishing them with Thai silk by Jim Thompson. The artifacts and antiques were mostly from the Thai Lanna culture, one of the oldest cultures in southeast Asia dating back to the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Lippon Garden, the company’s landscape architect, was selected for its understanding of tropical climate plants.

Bathroom In my room, a sliding wood door led to a light filled handsome bathroom. Whoever designed the bathroom did it to maximum advantage so that the view of the bay and beach area would be the single most noticeable feature. To the left of the entrance there was a spacious shower with a powerful shower head and a glass door. Just past it on the same side was the water closet. Both had black tiled walls. The center of the room was occupied by two sinks and mirror vanities on opposite sides of the bathroom. Oversize windows faced the outdoors providing a wonderful angled view of the bay and the beach thanks to extra large windows and twin mirrors on the walls that reflected the view so that it could be seen from any angle in the bathroom. An identical floor to ceiling mirror occupied the space between the water closet and one of the sinks.

Food And Restaurants The day I arrived I ordered room service: Por Pia Thod (Crispy vegetarian spring rolls with plum sauce) and Tom Kha Gai (Coconut milk soup with chicken and kaffir lime leaves). Sit down meals were available at Silk, the hotel restaurant where the following morning I had a tasty breakfast of fried rice and fresh squeezed orange juice. Another day for breakfast I ordered the delicious Thai style rice soup with a choice of prawns, chicken or pork (I chose prawns).

From the room service menu I also sampled a club sandwich (The Andara Club) for breakfast. It was supposed to have rosemary focacia but it had regular sliced bread. I also sampled Crispy vegetarian spring rolls with a plum sauce and Miang Pla Grob (white snapper salad with ginger, lemongrass, and cashew nuts). Although there was no mention of chili in the description it was so hot I could not eat it. Thanks to Tan the kitchen replaced it with another identical plate without chili which was delicious. I also ordered Pad Thai Goong Sod (stir fried rice noodles with prawns, tofu, tamarind sauce, crushed peanuts, spring onion and lime). I liked the Khao Niaw Mamuang (traditional Thai style sticky rice with fresh mango).

Amenities In my room and throughout Villa 9 there was house brand lemongrass scented shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (no soap) in plastic tubes, 150 milliliter house brand insect repellent, individually wrapped cotton pads, razor kit, toothbrush kit, shower cap, and house brand bottled water. I liked the crisp, clean smelling bath sheets in the bedroom and by the pool.

Beach At the nearby Kamala Beach Andara had a Beach Club open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It consisted of a handful of beach chairs, umbrellas and sun loungers and an attendant at the beach who provided towels and complimentary water. The small area was sandwiched between restaurants, massage tents and the rising surf. From my villa there were two ways to go to the beach, walking down the hill from the villa and through the town or by shuttle which took five minutes. No sooner had I reached the beach than it started raining so I asked the helpful attendant for a shuttle pick up which arrived right away. By the time I reached the villa it was pouring.

Pool The villa pool was was 20 square meters large. The resort pool was 40 square meters large and two meters deep.

Resort Facilities Main swimming pool, spa (was under renovation during my visit), fitness center, Silk restaurant, boutique and wine shop.

Resort Fitness Center And Spa The resort had a 3,000 square foot fitness room with 20 machines and Precor equipment where I worked out until I discovered a small workout area at Villa 9. The spa was under construction during my visit. According to promotional materials it has eight treatment rooms ranging in size between 100 and 200 square feet.

In the lower level of the house there was a massage bed where late one afternoon a spa masseuse gave me an hour long Swedish massage. Although it was a bit musty probably from being closed up it meant she didn’t have to bring any equipment and since the spa was closed it was the best option.

Conference Facilities The resort offered in Villa conferences for up to 20 delegates with audiovisual equipment support.

Other The only dissonant aspect of my stay were the frequent sounds of construction work and the chattering of one of the crews in the neighborhood. I saw mosquitos although none bit me. There were mosquito repellent burners and the housekeeper kept the doors to the living areas closed to keep the mosquitoes out.

To reach the common areas of the hotel it was necessary to request a shuttle. Minutes after Tan called the shuttle picked me up at the villa and drove me out of the gated complex to a public street and a block further to the covered area of the main entrance to the hotel.

The resort was listed in the Conde Nast Hot list 2010. According to promotional materials, there were two Baglietto yachts available for charter.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review September 2010

Reviewers Article and photographs by Elena del Valle

Service Tan, the housekeeper spoke some English. She was was quiet and ever vigilant as well as friendly and helpful. Tan checked on my room several times during the day, set and replaced pool towels, translated and was an all around great addition to the villa. Ake (pronounced “ache”), my driver on a lunch excursion to a nearby town, spoke some English and was very helpful. The concierge staff were helpful with lunch and transfer arrangements.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • 15 Moo6, Kamala Beach
    • Kathu, Phuket 83120
    • Thailand
  • Phone:
    • +66 7 633 8777
  • Website:
  • Email: