"Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone"
When you think of 'Phuket, Thailand', you think beaches, palm-trees, ocean front. In fact, there are so many truly ocean-front properties in Phuket to choose from, being set back from being directly 'on the beach' can be what makes or breaks your property, and has been one of the factors that I realize now has prevented me experiencing some truly exquisite places.
This is Hotelintel.co, though, and I'm a Promad now more than ever. I don't want to stay at just any old hotel, and rather than putting 'direct beach access' on my list of not-negotiable criteria, I decided this time to expand my selection pool. Enter 'The Slate'.
The Slate is located at Nai Yang Beach, and although it doesn't have its own private beach access (it is separated from Nai Yang beach by a single public beach road), it offers a lot more than many other properties with direct beach access do.
Attention property owners in paradise - building 'uniqueness' into your property and brand has moved way beyond just offering Coconut Tomyum Cocktails. Your Unique Selling Point needs to start at conception. If you haven't done that, perhaps it's time to wipe the slate clean and start again - no pun intended ... well, maybe a little bit.
Think Your Art Through
"Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone" This well worn trope of the design world sums up well what 'The Slate' is all about. As you traverse through the sprawling property, there are works of art - sculptures and paintings ranging in size from minute to grand. There is even an art exhibition room with artwork by the students of Central St. Martin.
You will also see (and feel) the design of iconic designer Bill Bensley. Regular Hotelintel.co readers would know that the family that owns The Slate actually used to own a tin mine in Phuket. This 'tin mine' theme is carried out throughout the property, with many mine-themed gadgets, tools, structures - and even 'slates' baked into the design.
Every piece and every detail you see has its own meaning and origin story. Nothing is out of place.
I have seen hotels that have claimed to be a 'design hotels' or 'unique', only to come home from them feeling disappointed. Many of these properties may have come up with some grand overarching concept only to have it finally only realized superficially on the façade and not going any deeper into all the other facets of the property and service which results in not being able to really connect. Too many properties have ended up on my 'Pretend Unique Hotel' list. The Slate is not one of them.
The Slate is a Destination in Itself
Despite being only 10 minutes away from Phuket International Airport, and stone's thrown away from convenience stores and restaurants, once you're in the property, you feel like you're in your own self-contained world and there is a feeling of not really needing to leave it. There are a total of 7 outlets for you to try and visit including not only my favorite outlet of the property, but perhaps one of my favorite restaurants in the country - Black Ginger.
Black Ginger is a Michelin Guide restaurant and really is a 'unique' experience. First of all, you have to cross a man-made mote on a raft through the mist - yes, there are mist machines billowing as your human hosts pull you across the pond on your luxury pontoon with a rope. Cross-fit has nothing on these guys. It's a very whimsical and memorable experience - and we haven't even gotten to the food yet. As a Thai, I can say that this is Thai food fit for Thais - not altered for 'foreign palates' like many properties might do in a place like Phuket. You get to taste the real taste of Southern Thailand.
The Slate is NOT Home
My theory is simple - If it 'feels just like home', I don't want it. It must be better than home - and The Slate was way better than my own home. I didn't want to leave.
As the owner said in our interview recently, "Luxury varies for everyone". You might not see big chandeliers dangling in your face, but there are other things that are more subtle, but just as striking - like their villas.
If your definition of luxury doesn't involve a big crystal chandelier, then this property is for you. In their pool villas, you get your own 'everything' - including your own treatment room complete with sauna, steam-room and twin massage tables. In the main bedroom, there are 'dual toilets' for those more intimate moments as well as two showers - one indoor which is temperature controlled, and one outdoor which is actually a dual shower with water pouring out of retro-fitted above-head buckets. What bedroom would be complete without an in-room jacuzzi - because sometimes you want to watch TV while soaking it up in the bath in the comfort of your bedroom's AC. The villa's pool is landscaped into the nature surrounding the villa and is enormous - and yes, it too comes with its own jacuzzi for those jacuzzi moments for which you don't need the comfort of your room's AC.
Luxury is exclusive; it's the freedom of choice. It allows you to appreciate things that are important to you but that you couldn't usually afford if not because of monetary restrictions, because of the fact that your regular busy schedule wouldn't normally allow for it. For us as a family, luxury is when you have time to sit back and enjoy art, sun, and swim in your pool villa without being interrupted from the outside world.