Friendship Beach Resort & Spa is one of Phuket Island’s longest-lasting institutions and figures in the memories of thousands of visitors and residents. Situated roughly halfway between Chalong and Rawai along Phuket’s east coast, the location has seen a radical change from the ‘old days’ at the turn of the millennium when it was converted from a musical hangout with run-down (but fun) bungalows, a central stage and dilapidated facilities.
Nowadays, it’s a colourful 32-room resort with a progressive wellness centre, a forward-looking restaurant, and a beachside swimming pool. The resort owner Starr, from Washington State, has a simple goal; that of ‘raising people’s consciousness’. He doesn’t mince his words, either: “You cannot raise people’s consciousness in a dump.” Hence the all-new look of the resort, its wellness centre, and its attractive accommodation choices.
Not long ago Friendship dropped its predominantly American comfort food menu in favour of a ‘raw food’ concept. The change was radical and didn’t sit well with the resort’s many regular customers, although it was perfect for the many health-food enthusiasts and people visiting its detox Atmanjai Spa.
A compromise was reached when Charlie Maurer, Friendship’s innovative and genial Executive Chef, tactfully reintroduced the ‘normal’ menu and as a result diners can have a vitamin-packed raw vegetable lasagna along with French fries and a burger if they so desire. It’s a unique concept and ideal for families and friends who differ in tastes and goals when it comes to dining out.
Beachside, the restaurant also is adjacent to a swimming pool and has plenty of bamboo-and-thatch shady dining nooks and crannies. Expect an immense menu with lots of surprises and choices.
Hosting clients from around the world, Atmanjai (meaning ‘loving spirit’) offers a range of four detox programs ‘ranging from mild to wild’ and from five-day to 28-day treatments. Michael Massey, the center’s manager, says, “Thailand is now a famous medical tourism destination but it’s leaning more towards boob jobs than the real stuff. Atmanjai is real medical tourism.”
Guests at Atmanjai are often leading personalities who have realised that without a healthy body they will not fulfill their greatest potential and wax enthusiastic about the tissue-cleansing programs, herbal and aroma therapies, body wraps, and even fasting programs that guarantee a complete transformation and weight loss in as little as a week. The results aren’t just physical, either: mental and emotional well being improves markedly after an Atmanjai course.
Friendship Beach Waterfront Resort offers 32 rooms in six different categories ranging from Deluxe King Rooms to Two-Bedroom Suites. Each room type features Thai-western décor and enjoys air conditioning, Wi-Fi, telephone, TV with DVD player, safety deposit box, hot water, hairdryer, and a Bali-style bath.
The resort itself is compact, making access to the wellness center, restaurant, swimming pool and beach extremely easy.
Friendship Beach is most certainly not a swimming beach. Even at high tide a paddle around is the best you can hope for because of the many rocks and underwater obstacles but it is a key windsurfing and kitesurfing destination towards its southern-central stretch from November-May when north-easterly winds prevail.
It’s also a great beach to stroll along, especially after the sun sinks below the western ridge of the island. Horse riding is popular along this strand and exploring the coastline and even neighbouring Lone Island by kayak (two kilometres away) is a great move, but make sure you get back before the tide ebbs as otherwise you will be caught in mud.
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Friendship Beach Resort & Atmanjai Wellness Centre
Friendship Beach Resort & Spa by iCheck Inn can be found in the south eastern part of Phuket Island, right on the eastern coast of the island to be more precise.The hotel can be found on the beach.Its key location allows guests to visit many great places such as the Chalong Bay, the archipelago of islands such as Koh Bon, Koh Phi, KohHae (also known as the Coral Island) and Koh Yao.There are 30 non-smoking rooms available at the hotel and every room boasts spectacular views of Chalong Bay.Every room has air conditioning, cable TV and a safety deposit box.Friendship Beach Resort & Spa by iCheck Inn has its own restaurant, pool and spa center. Read More...