The Slate has been through a couple of different names and incarnations since it first opened (we remember visiting when it was called the Indigo Pearl), but this design resortis the talk of the island. Since taking on its new name in 2016 and refining its concept in the process, the Slate has gone from strength to strength.
Before we even start to talk about the place’s whimsical design, it already had all the ingredients we knew would wow an OutThere traveller. It is incredibly close to the airport, so to get to your destination there’s no need to pile into a car for an hour or maybe more in Phuket’s notoriously madcap traffic. It’s set on a stunning stretch of beach, with just a smattering of sleepy, old-world sea-front restaurants and bars, perfect for those like us who love to wander away from the resort for a taste of local life. Nai Yang Beach – as it’s called – is also surrounded by the Sirinat National Park, which means the whole area is a quiet, undeveloped part of the island, both on land and sea.
The Slate has been designed entirely by OutThere favourite Bill Bensley – and while Bensley-philes have started to accuse Bill of adhering to a formulaic style in his recent hotels, the Slate is wholly different; and quirky. Our suite was a well-appointed space, melding indoors and outdoors into one comfortable holiday home. The harder industrial features – tin mine furniture and ironmonger bathroom fittings – were complemented by polished dark-wood floors and colourful handcrafted soft furnishings. We didn’t have a plunge pool outside, but our patio overlooked a small garden that led out into the hotel’s sprawling grounds. What we did have was a large, inviting day bed (where we spent hours with our noses in our books) and a large metal bathtub big enough for two.
We came here looking for escapism and we got it. It was all somewhat surreal at first, but when we rubbed our eyes a few times, we started to notice the loving detail that has gone into creating this folly of a resort. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with lush tropical plants and palm trees and our nearest infinity pool (one of three on the resort, two being adults-only) was just breathtaking. The pool butlers there had everything covered, from complimentary cold fruit, to sunscreen when we needed it most.
The property’s Coqoon Spa is another whimsical experience, where therapists pummelled and stretched us in a soothing environment true to its name. The spa itself is quite distinctively Thai, which was nice: we liked the fact that, despite the contemporary ambience across the rest of the resort, there was still an element of clasp-handed Thai hospitality here.