Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania. He prefers a slower pace to his travels to explore destinations more in-depth and to get a feel for what life is actually like there. When he’s not writing, he’s usually off exploring trails with his fiancée, Kaitlyn.
Looking for the best luxury resort in Phuket? Read this Keemala Phuket review and discover these hidden villas in the rainforest above Kamala Beach.
Did you know that Keemala Hotel in Phuket, Thailand, was named the Best Luxury Hotel Spa in 2023?
If this got your attention, then you’ll love what’s coming next.
Keemala is a gorgeous eco-resort nestled in the hills of Phuket, and it takes luxury travel to a new level. Plus, it’s the perfect getaway from the wild roads and busy beaches of Patong and Kamala while visiting one of the best places Phuket has to offer.
With some tranquility infused with some luxury, you can kick back, relax, and have one of the best stays of your lifetime.
And I had the chance to stay there (on my own dime) so I’m here to share my experiences at this award-winning resort.
But is this luxury hotel all it’s cracked up to be?
Let’s find out.
Keemala Hotel Phuket review
My fiancée, Kaitlyn, and I had the chance to stay in Keemala during Covid of 2020.
We had been living in Thailand when the pandemic started and ended up getting “stuck” there while the world shut down.
And we were lucky for it. Keemala ran special pricing, and we decided to book a room after we had seen it on countless YouTube videos and social media posts.
During our stay at Keemala, only five other villas were occupied, so we got free reign over most of the resort.
First, let me say that I felt like a fish out of water. We arrived, and the security guard looked at us with an instant look of, “Did you get lost?” We rode our Honda Click to the property. And if you know us, we don’t travel with anything but backpacks. So we weren’t your standard travelers to the resort.
We quickly explained we had a reservation, and he let us in, and we parked.
This is where things blew me away.
Immediately, we were greeted and taken to a small golf buggy to take us to the lobby. The Thai man was super courteous and chatted with us in great English as we rode to the lobby, explaining how things were during COVID-19.
Once at the lobby, things continued as we were greeted with complimentary welcome drinks (some green tea) and some cool towels at one of the pavilions while they processed our reservation. With everything done, they took us to the golf cart, where we weaved along small paths between trees and waterfalls until we arrived at our villa.
After a brief introduction, the villa was ours to enjoy.
And there was tons to enjoy. This seems like an excellent segue into describing their accommodation choices…
Where you stay
What’s a tropical getaway without the perfect villa to nest in, right?
And Keemala understands that to the core.
They have 38 villas. And each of their four different villas comes with its own pool, which took my lounging to a new level. We stayed in the clay pool cottages during our stay, and they were more than enough for our needs.
What’s most interesting about the accommodation is the story behind them and the ancient Phuket settlers.
Each accommodation represents one of the four clans that settled there, and they’ve built their values into each of the rooms.
Clay Pool Cottages
Nestled amidst the all-embracing lush greenery, the Clay Pool Cottages provide a comfortable alcove with a private pool and a cozy outdoor terrace.
Inside, you find three rooms — an entrance/foyer, a bedroom, and a bathroom. Inside the bathroom is an incredible stone tub that can fit two. Perfect for anyone looking for a super romantic evening. And, in case things get a little buggy (as they do in a tree house), you have a mosquito net around your bed to keep the bugs out.
Now, I mentioned the four clans above, and the clay pool cottages represent the “Pa-Ta-Pea” clan, or the Earth clan.
The clan consisted of laborers, and they used clay and soil for everything — from their ceilings to their beds. And you see that in the design of the Clay Pool Cottages with its earthen roofs and wooden walls.
Tent Pool Villas
The Tent Pool Villas represent the “Khon-Jorn” clan, who were wanderers and traders.
They usually set up semi-permanent homes which they’d move on from at some point. So enter the Tent Pool Villas and their wooden walls and stretched awning. It’s the perfect place to look out over Kamala Beach and its aqua waters as the cotton-candy skies set in.
If that’s not enough, you get an indoor and outdoor shower, a gigantic bed, and your own private infinity pool.
Tree Pool Houses
Remember those days of dreaming about living in a treehouse like the ones in your favorite childhood books?
Here’s your chance. Built like a posh Robinson Crusoe treehouse, the Tree Pool Houses have a different design than the first two. Most importantly, it has two floors.
The top has a large bed, TV, and a balcony to relax. And on the bottom is a lounge, dining area, and, of course, your own pool. And instead of views out over the ocean, you trade it for rainforest views to truly immerse yourself in nature.
The Tree Pool Houses represent the “We-Ha” clan, or the Sky clan, which was full of creators and healers.
Bird’s Nest Villas
The upper echelon of accommodations at Keemala.
The Bird Nest Villas offer a captivating view of the entire resort and the Andaman Sea. And the villas are just unreal.
Designed to mimic a bird’s nest, the villas are a luxury haven wrapped in an artsy facade. You get an ocean-view bath, a huge bedroom and lounge area, and gorgeous terrace with infinity pool with the best views from the resort.
The Bird’s Nest Vilas showcase the “Rung-Nok” clan, which had musicians, poets, and philosophers. According to their website, they “enjoyed opulence,” and that’s exactly what these villas are.
To give you a grasp on what you get with each type of stay, here’s a table to keep it simple and straight:
|Villa Type||Private Pool||Outdoor Terrace||Distinct Feature|
|Clay Pool Cottages||Yes||Yes||Nestled in lush greenery|
|Tent Pool Villas||Yes||Yes||Luxurious camping style with sea views|
|Tree Pool Houses||Yes||Yes||High-rise treehouse living immersed in the rainforest|
|Bird’s Nest Pool Villas||Yes||Yes||Legendary bird nest design with panoramic views over the resort and sea|
If you’re an eco-resort fan and you want top-tier luxury, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these choices.
The Keemala stay experience
At Keemala, they’ve really mastered the art of blending luxury with comfort.
During my entire stay, I almost felt out of place as I’m not usually comfortable in luxury/fancy places. But the staff here ensured I was comfortable the entire time.
Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you:
- Excellent dining options: There are a few bars and restaurants to choose from. And all of them serve up excellent food and drink.
- Award-winning spa: Herbal treatments and holistic therapies only help deepen your relaxation and wellness.
- Sustainable practices: This is an eco-resort that builds itself around the rainforest, not on top of it.
- Extra services: Cooking classes, yoga sessions, and nature walks. If you have an experience you want to try, Keemala has an option for you. They even offer a complimentary shuttle service to Kamala Beach.
Let’s jump into these in a bit more detail.
Excellent restaurants and bars
The first thing you need to know is that Keemala Phuket doesn’t play around when it comes to dining options.
Keemala has a few different restaurants & bars you can choose from, each offering its unique flavors and vibes:
- Mala Restaurant: A great spot for all-day dining. Enjoy Thai and international cuisines, whether it’s breakfast to kick-start your day or a romantic dinner under the stars. My fiancée and I ate here often. You can dine in your own little pod for an intimate experience.
- Mala Bar: Mala Bar offers tapas, snacks, and lighter meals to accompany those cold beverages. Perfect for lazy afternoons!
- Cha-La Pool Bar: Sip on refreshing drinks by the main pool area while soaking up the sun. The pool bar is also a great spot for a leisurely lunch. (I enjoyed more than a few drinks here.)
Overall, you won’t be short on options during your stay.
The resort’s Mala Spa is a stuff of legends.
The treatments they offer are fantastic and varied. Traditional Thai massage — check. Aromatherapy treatments — check. Raindrop therapy treatment rooms — uh, yeah, they’ve got that too.
Not only are these treatments expertly executed by well-trained therapists, but the serene environment helps in achieving maximum relaxation.
And, after all, it’s not every day you get to get pampered at a spa like this.
Mixing untouched nature and luxury is a difficult thing to pull off.
But Keemala is setting newer, greener standards without compromising the guest experience.
Let’s take a peek at their green initiatives:
- Organic gardens – By sourcing organic veggies and herbs from their gardens, Keemala reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transportation.
- Water conservation – They minimize water usage through rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment systems.
- Composting – Leftover foliage, kitchen scraps, they compost it all. So nothing is going to waste and going right back into the earth.
But it doesn’t stop at just helping the Earth.
From their employment practices to the way they engage with local communities, ethical tourism is at the heart of everything Keemala does:
- Locally Sourced Staff – Keemala prioritizes hiring locally, boosting the local economy.
- Conscious Construction – The villas and common spaces have been built with lots of love, respect for the local culture, and local materials.
- Community Involvement – Keemala is actively involved in community events, charities, and local development projects.
Picture this: you’re sitting in your private villa, the scent of lemongrass wafting through the air, surrounded by rolling hills, and a stress-relieving yoga lesson is about to begin.
Sounds great, right?
Now, if that doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s always the cooking classes, a perfect blend of culinary education and hands-on experience. You’ll learn to whip up some traditional Thai favorites, and who knows, maybe show off those newfound skills to your friends and family back home.
And if you’re a lover of nature like me, the resort offers guided nature walks, giving you a chance to explore the beautiful hiking trails in Phuket.
So whether you’re a yogi, an amateur chef, or an enthusiastic adventurer, Keemala Phuket has something special to offer you.
My personal experience
Overall, I was blown away by Keemala.
From the time the staff welcomed us, the staff took excellent care of us. From the welcoming staff to the bartender, who should have cut me off after a few mojitos — the entire experience felt genuine.
And I could rave about the rooms for hours.
The deep tub in the bathroom was incredible and relaxing. I’m not even a fan of taking a bath, but when you have a tub that good, how do you not?
My fiancée and I sat around the private pool, simply lounging and watching the sun move across the sky, until night time when we’d watch the lights dim over the resort.
When we got bored, we walked down to the communal pool and bar to do basically the same thing.
But that’s what you should do in a place like this.
The beauty of the resort is in the relaxation it brings you to do nothing and have no obligations.
Except maybe an appointment at the spa.
How to get to Keemala
Keemala is around a 40-45 minute drive from Phuket International Airport.
The hotel does offer a private transfer service if you request it. Otherwise, you can get a taxi right outside of the terminal in Phuket, which will likely involve a beautiful (but thrilling) drive along the Phuket coast.
Final Thoughts on the Keemala Hotel in Phuket
So, there we have it.
Keemala is one of the best luxury experiences you can have in Phuket. And I’m ecstatic I had the opportunity to stay there and experience everything Keemala offers.
And if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, then Keemala Hotel Phuket is a must.
But I want to hear from you.
First, I’d love to know if this review of Keemala was helpful and any ways I could improve it.
Second, what are your experiences/thoughts on the Keemala Phuket Resort? And will you be staying there in the future?
Let me know both in the comments below!