Every expat residing in Singapore would agree that you have to get out of town once in a while to stay sane. However comfortable the little red dot is, Singapore does not have much happening most of the time (although the music scene has improved tremendously over the past 2 years — gotta give it the credit). Luckily and ironically, we love Singapore because it is the most convenient place to get in and out (speaking of Changi, hats off to the world’s best airport), to those beautiful Southeast Asian islands. I could totally get used to the life with last minute trip to Bali.
For our “stay sane” weekend getaway trip, we chose The Slate at Nai Yang beach, Phuket. I haven’t been back to Phuket since 2014 and I heard a great sweep was done by government to clean up the touristic hub that was (probably still is) packed with young drunk Aussies, so I was really excited to revisit. And The Slate is one of the 3 design hotels on Phuket island, which really spells for me (a self-proclaimed design-conscious snob) and hopefully would bring a good vibe to our short vacation.
Interestingly, the theme of The Slate is inspired by the island’s tin-mining heritage, and its omnipresent rustic industrial elements add a unique touch to the lush tropical style. American architect and designer Bill Bensley did a brilliant job in both the conceptualization and the details. From the concrete walls and black steel furnishings, to the designs of faucets and soap containers, this place really brings the past to life.
I also really love the fact that they don’t use plastic at all. Everything is refilled in steel and copper containers. Thank you on behalf of all the turtles out there!
Compared to the larger-sized, more commercial hotel, The Slate serves the right amount of guests, perfect for couple vacation. Kevin and I walked around a lot (as we love the landscape design) and just occasionally bumped into 1 or 2 groups of guests. We really enjoyed the quietness with mostly the sound of nature, yet definitely not the dead silence — its restaurants, bars, and pools are usually very buzzing, a good balance of exclusivity and activity.
If you feel that the industrial theme is too rough for feminine taste, trust me the hotel is more exquisite and romantic than its dark look. There is this subtle, lovely scent of Ylang Ylang from the moment you walked in and it is EVERYWHERE, making me feel relaxed, happy and rich (and thus spent lavishly). One of its pools have the most IG-worthy view (as seen in the cover photo). If you live your life on Instagram, snapping a bikini picture by the pool at sunset would worth the bucks. Besides, there are plenty of beautiful venues at the estate. We literally spent the whole 3 days at the resort without hitting the touristic part of town.
The Slate happens to host one of the best restaurants at Phuket, Black Ginger. The way to the restaurant was a delightful surprise. You would take a boat and pull yourself over the lagoon through a cable to reach the restaurant. Honestly, we were not so swooned by the food as by the ambience. It is a good fusion cuisine (a bit towards the local style), but nothing too creative or dazzling. The overall taste is slightly below expectation for its price, but we LOVED the coconut ice cream (yes that’s the most memorable dish and it is REALLY delicious) and would definitely come back again for the dining experience (and the coconut ice cream).
Another highlight during our stay was the award-winning Coqoon spa. Mr. Bensley takes the concept of being “cocooned” (before a beauty transformation) rather literally with the Nest, an impressive wicker structure hung from a giant banyan tree. We both had their signature message, and Kevin said it’s one of the best he had in his life. So just take his word for it!
Bonus point: The Slate is just 15 mins drive from the Phuket airport, saving the cost and time between the chaotic airport and your dream resort and bikini shot.