How to take a break and unwind if the relentless nature of an Asian road trip is getting you down.
Road trips are great fun and are a fantastic way to tick off sights and destinations, but it’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced nature of road tripping or backpacking and forget to take a break. We believe it’s great to take time to recharge your batteries, even in the most hectic schedule, as a well-rested traveller has more headspace for appreciating where they are and the experiences they’re having.
#TeamCoco’s Beth visited OZO Phuket in Kata Beach, Phuket to find out how to get some rest and tick off the sights:
Get some R&R
Opened in June 2019 OZO Phuket aims to dispel a thought process that most travellers can relate to when looking for accommodation: ‘we’ll be out all day and just be sleeping there so it doesn’t matter if it’s not great’. Well, OZO Phuket disagree shining importance on getting great sleep in a comfortable environment and making guests look forward to returning to the hotel after a day of sightseeing.
My first impression, from the moment I stepped out of the taxi and into the open-plan lobby, was fantastic. I was greeted immediately by a team of welcoming and friendly staff who expertly unloaded my luggage and walked me to reception protecting me from the rain with umbrellas. In fact the service provided was incredible at every stage, from the easy check-in and concierge service to the restaurant and poolside staff to the impeccable standard of housekeeping and turndown service.
Check-in was seamless and completely paperless (just one of the many ways OZO Phuket is striving towards sustainability) and I was directed to my room. The hotel itself is bright and cheery – even among the gloomy skies of Thailand’s rainy season – and the bright blue parasols, striped beach towels and colourful cocktails are enough to entice anyone to chill out poolside.
The rooms are simple, but well-designed, providing all the necessary amenities without clutter. Little features like USB charging points and reading lights next to both sides of the bed are the details that make a hotel room easier to settle in to – nobody likes having to leave their device charging on the other side of the room.
OZO’s philosophy surrounds providing the best sleep experience so, of course, the piece de resistance of every room is the bed. The state of the art, high-quality DreamMaster king size beds are so comfortable and have two sets of comfy pillows of differing firmness meaning you can pick and choose depending on your preferences. Each bed is angled towards the window so early risers can make the most of the natural light, but the blackout blinds cater for those who, like myself, prefer darkness. As someone who suffers from insomnia I was dubious when hearing promises of “the best sleep you’ve ever had” but I can confirm I slept like a baby – but that could have been the jet lag.
The onsite restaurant EAT is open from breakfast until 8pm, providing hearty and authentic Asian food. The breakfast spread was delicious and offered all the usual favourites and some Thai specialities. EAT then offers an a la carte menu that remains the same for lunch and dinner and is a well-balanced mix of Western home comforts and tasty Thai dishes with many flexible choices for vegetarians. I tried the Green Thai Curry and it was undoubtedly the best green curry I’ve ever tasted. The sauce was so full of flavour and perfectly spiced that I ended up ordering it another three times– I really couldn’t get enough!
Get out & about
Just a short stroll away, taking a detour behind the hotel pool and through a private-use gate, is the sandy shores of Kata Beach. The beach has a few sunloungers available to hire, plenty of space to lay down a towel and is also known for great surfing opportunities – you can rent boards and hire tutors on the beachside. Bars and street vendors line the beach selling fruits, smoothies and snacks.
If you’re looking for the best views of the island then the aptly named Karon View Point isthe place to go. It’s just a 10-minute drive uphill from Kata Beach and offers uninterrupted views of the three west coast beaches of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon (the locals call it Khao Saam Haad which translates to Three Beaches Hill).
About a 30-minute drive away Phuket Old Town is a lively little place known for its charming, brightly coloured buildings. The main attraction is Walking Street Market. Hosted every Sunday between 4pm and 10pm the market takes over Walking Street with authentic food stalls, artists selling their creations, clothing, accessories and live music. The Market offers a wide variety of authentic Thai street food, from Mee Hokkien (noodles with seafood, pork, greens and a broth) to Apong (a traditional crispy flatbread sweetened with sugar).
One of the most highly recommended landmarks of Phuket is the Big Buddha. This 45 metre tall statue is still under construction and you can buy marble tiles to contribute to the completion of the project. As well as being a tourist attraction, it’s also an active temple so make sure you dress suitably. I recommend going around 10am when it’s quieter and cooler.
OZO Phuket is the perfect base for a chilled mini break among a busy Asian road trip or for a stand-alone holiday that combines exploration and relaxation. It’s in a prime location, situated in the heart of Kata Beach on the West Coast of Phuket, with the beach on the doorstep and many of the island’s top attractions just a short drive away. This close proximity means you can explore on a leisurely timetable and save a few hours for relaxing by the pool every day. Find out more here.