One September morning a few years back, I woke up to the view of the Andaman Sea. I was standing at the balcony of Kantary Bay Phuket when I stared at its turquoise waters for a long time. It was almost a surreal feeling, something in between awe and disbelief.
Back then, I really thought that I would not be able to see the famed Andaman, let alone join my good friends Jessica and Jonathan in our Phuket escapade. Weeks before our scheduled departure, I regrettably told them that I was forgoing the trip because I have already depleted my imaginary travel coffers.
But since they are my very good friends, they were able to somehow convince me to join them at the last minute. To make the long story short, I filed that ‘quick sick leave’ on the very day that our flight took off from Manila.
The drive from the airport to Kantary Bay Phuket, a seafront property located at the southeast portion of the island, was a rather long one. Surprisingly, none in our group seemed to mind the distance. Maybe we were all excited to see what Phuket is known for including Koh Phi Phi, that dazzling island where Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach was filmed.
It was way past midnight when we arrived. After getting our passports, the hotel staff then informed us that we could already check-in that early and at no extra cost as well. I’m glad we chose Kantary Bay Phuket at that instant.
Well aside from that, it was our preferred hotel since Elmer, Jessica’s better half, and his colleagues attended an international conference at nearby Cape Panwa, its more luxurious sister property
Aside from the view of the Andaman, I also woke up to the sheer size of our room. I realized that we were billeted at a 70 sqm One Bedroom Suite which was big enough to accommodate a family of 4 or even 6.
It had the usual hotel amenities (widescreen TV, In-room WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities and the like) and its own separate living/dining area and a functional kitchenette. We enjoyed all our takeaway dinners here, including Jonathan’s birthday celebration. The hotel actually surprised him with a cake that morning, which I think was a wonderful personal touch.
I wanted to linger as long as I can in our huge A/C suite. Most of the time however, we were out of the hotel. During our first few days we explored Phuket – its temples, the old town and well, the unavoidable tourist traps in between.
On our last day, we took a roller coaster-esque tour of Krabi’s beautiful islands. I remember that we already checked out early that morning, but the hotel was kind enough to allow our group to return after our islands tour and to wash up in an unoccupied room.
So you can see that we had a full day every time. That’s why to some extent, I was also looking forward to get back to our hotel, if only to catch an incredible sunset at the rooftop pool, then enjoy a long hot shower and hug my oversized pillow afterwards.
But if I were to travel to Phuket in my early 20s, I probably would not write that last sentence. I would not even stay in this hotel. Maybe I’ll choose a dingy backpacker place somewhere in Patong, if only to party the night away, then catch some form of sleep in the morning and nurse a terrible hangover afterwards.
Since I am not in my early 20s anymore, I somehow appreciated (and even missed) Kantary Bay Phuket’s restful atmosphere, relaxed vibe and relative seclusion from the maddening party crowds elsewhere.
This hotel somehow showed me a different side of Phuket, a laidback alternative that I did not expect, but one that I actually needed.
Kantary Bay Hotel, Phuket
Mu 8, Sakdidej Rd., Cape Panwa Phuket 83000, Thailand
Tel: +66 76 39 1514
Fax: +66 76 39 1208