Friendship Beach Resort & Spa in Phuket
Long-Established Venue near Rawai Beach0
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.
- Phi Phi Island Speedboat Excursion
- Ao Phang Nga National Park Kayak Adventure
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Introduction to City Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Morning Sino Heritage Walk
- Koh Yao Noi Full-Day Bike Tour
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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