From the North to the South, start planning your next vacation.

See also: Thailand's 3 newest water parks

PHUKET

Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort

 

 

The Hyatt Group’s most premium brand expands in Thailand with the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort (+66 76-231-234, www.phuket.regency.hyatt.com), which sits on a hillside overlooking Kamala Cove, at the southern tip of Kamala Beach. The five-star resort consists of 199 rooms with unobstructed views of the Andaman Sea. It’s also home to the Regency Club, which offers exclusive access to a large infinity pool overlooking the resort, personalized check-in/out, and complimentary beverages all day.

 

Iniala Beach House

 

 

Taking luxury to the next level, Iniala Beach House (+66 76-451-456, www.iniala.com) consists of just 10 bedrooms spread over three villas and a penthouse. Located on Natai Beach, the property is the work of 10 international designers, who’ve created a unique design for each room. Owned by Mark Weingard, who was on Natai Beach when the Tsunami hit nine years ago, 10 percent of room revenue and 5 percent of other revenues from Iniala will go to charity. The beach house made the headlines after Kim Kardashian’s visit earlier this year.  

 

Kata Rocks 

 

 

The new five-star boutique resort Kata Rocks (+66 76-284-750, www.katarocks.com) consists of just 34 secluded oceanfront pool villas. Set on a hillside overlooking the Andaman Sea, each villa is equipped with its own infinity pool, spacious living area and iPad. Rates start from B29,000 ($1133) per night for a 134-sq-meter one-bedroom villa and B44,000 ($1720) per night for a 460-sq-meter four-bedroom villa. 

 

Point Yamu by Como 

 

 

Point Yamu by Como (+66 76-360-100, www.comohotels.com/pointyamu) is situated at the tip of Cape Yamu and features 106 rooms and villas created by Italian designer and architect Paola Navone. Guests can enjoy ocean-facing views from each room as well as the spectacular 100m swimming pool, two restaurants serving Thai and Italian food, a yoga studio, a large gym and signature treatments at the eight-room Como Shambhala Retreat. Do note the resort is located on the more peaceful side of Phuket—this place is for relaxing, not partying.

 

Le Coral Hideaway Beyond Phuket  

 

 

Phang Nga Bay welcomes yet another stylish resort, Le Coral Hideaway Beyond Phuket (+66 76-679-888, www.coralhideaway.com), which opened its doors in March. Located on the serene Natai Beach, 30 minutes’ drive from Phuket International Airport, the property consists of 58 rooms ranging from a 52-sq-meter deluxe room to a 300-sq-meter rooftop suite, all offering views of the Andaman Sea. 

 

U Zenmaya

 

 

March saw the opening of U Zenmaya (+66 76-336-888, www.uzenmayaphuket.com) on Kalim Beach. The Sino-Portuguese-style boutique property consists of 50 rooms, each with a balcony Jacuzzi, ranging from the 33-sq-meter superior room to the 70-sq-meter seaview suite. Like other U Hotel properties, guests can personalize their experience by selecting various amenities such as pillow type, tea, soap and music prior to arrival. 

 

Phuket’s new drinking hotspots

Nikki Beach

 

 

Nikki Beach (+66 76-681-161, www.nikkibeach.com/phuket) has taken its Miami-tinged style to Phuket’s Bangtao Beach. Decked out with plush white sunbeds and lots of suntanned tourists, there’s a definite laidback luxe vibe going on around the central freeform pool, which sits just steps from the beach. The venue promises dining and drinks accompanied by fashion, music, film and art events. 

 

Wonderland 

 

 

The intriguing Wonderland cocktail lounge (+66 86-024-1907, www.wonderlandphuket.com) is set in a hundred-year-old shophouse in the old quarter of Phuket Town. It looks to wow visitors with unique artsy décor pieces like metal rhino heads, vintage gothic furnishings, black chandeliers and vivid red walls. Offering a good selection of cocktails and sushi, it has quickly made its name among Phuket locals.

 

Upside Down House

 

 

Baan Teelanka (+66 84-456-5279, www.upsidedownhouse-phuket.com) is a three-story house furnished entirely upside down—couches, beds and even bathtubs all hang from the ceiling of this curious attraction in Phuket Town. There’s also a 1,000-sq-meter garden labyrinth created by British maze designer Adrian Fisher called A-Maze-in-Phuket. Entry fee is B200 ($8) for adults and B120 ($5) for children. A-Maze-in-Phuket costs an extra B150 ($6). Open daily 10am-6pm.

 

CHIANG MAI

 

 

Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa

 

 

At the beginning of this year, Chiang Mai welcomed the centrally located Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa (+66 53-327-777, www.sireeampan.com), handily placed near Nimmanhaemin Road. Inspired by Thai royal manors of the 18th century, the resort is set in an elegant building composed of 11 suites positioned around lush gardens. The suites are each named after a different gemstone, and range in size from 40-60 sq meters. All come equipped with marble bathrooms, rain showers, bathtubs and L’Occitane bath products. 

 

 

Café Culture

 

 

Adding to Chiang Mai’s already lively coffee community is FABB Café & Bistro (+66 53-329-296,tinyurl.com/nrwt3jn), which opened in February in Nandakwang Garden Mall. The name is not new to Bangkok’s coffee lovers, though. Owner Janejira “Luv” Kamonsawedku decided to relocate from the capital to enjoy a slower pace of life up north while helping to develop the region’s coffee scene. As the first Thai to receive a diploma in coffee training issued by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE AST), Luv offers intensive coffee training courses, though they don't come cheap, starting from B19,500 ($762) for a full-day introduction. As well as coffee, FABB Café & Bistro serves pasta, salads, pizza, homemade desserts and cocktails. 

 

 

Northern Baths    

 

 

Chiang Mai’s first Japanese-style onsen opened earlier this year at RarinJinda Wellness Spa (+66 53-247-000, www.rarinjinda.com). The spa is composed of three pools: the hot spring pool, which uses concentrate from Japan’s Gero hot springs; the soda carbonated pool, which aims to help blood circulation and cleanse skin; and the cold pool, designed to tighten your pores. 

 

KHAO YAI

Escape Khao Yai

 

 

This February saw the opening of property developer Sansiri’s second hotel, Escape Khao Yai (+66 44-756-669, www.escape-hotel.com), set amid the greenery of Padsuk-Goodkla Road, 15km from Khao Yai National Park. Escape Khao Yai offers 48 contemporary rooms and six pool villas, with rates from about B2,700 ($105) for a 25-sq-meter deluxe room and B4,200 ($164) for a 45-sq-meter pool villa, including late breakfast until 2pm. The hotel restaurant, Green Oak, offers Thai and Western dishes under a farm-to-table concept using organic vegetables grown at the resort.

 

Thames Valley, Khao Yai

 

 

Thames Valley Khao Yai (+66 44-009-999, www.thamesvalleykhaoyai.com) adds to the area’s theme attractions with the chance to pretend you’re staying in the English countryside. The 58 rooms start from B6,000 ($234) for a 40-sq-meter deluxe room up to B22,000 ($860) for a 185-sq-meter duplex pool villa. Completing this rural idyll are Castle Restaurant, which serves English favorites like fish and chips in a manor house setting, and Clotted Cream Tea Room, where you can find TWG Teas, pastries and sandwiches.

 

Botanica Khao Yai 

 

 

Botanica Khao Yai (+66 44-001-111, www.botanicakhaoyai.com) consists of 116 contemporary rooms, an onsen spa, two swimming pools, a BBQ pit, a library lounge and a jogging track. Panoramic views of the national park, which is just 3km away, complete the experience. Weekend rates are B4,999 ($195) for a 49-sq-meter studio, B6,099 ($238) for a studio with plunge pool, B16,999 ($664) for a two-bedroom duplex suite, and B23,999 ($938) for a two-bedroom Panorama Suite. 

PATTAYA

Cape Dara Resort 

 

 

A few months ago, Cape Dara Resort (+66 38-933-888, www.capedarapattaya.com) launched the TopStar Compound, a luxurious 855-sq-meter three-story villa with five bedrooms, an infinity pool, two living rooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a Jacuzzi in every bedroom. Rates for the new pool villa are B216,297 ($8457) per night on Sun-Thu and B216,597 on Fri-Sat, which includes a personal butler, complimentary minibar, and 100km transport per day. Transfer payment within two days of making your reservation to receive a 15 percent discount.

 

AYUTTHAYA

Sala Ayutthaya

 

 

Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Pratu Chai, opposite the renowned Wat Phutthaisawan, the recently opened and very stylish Sala Ayutthaya (+66 2-231-2588, www.salaresorts.com/ayutthaya) consists of 26 rooms. The resort is decked out with modern white furnishings as well as Eastern-inspired décor in the form of wood fittings and tiger-motif walls. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and dining venue with an outdoor terrace overlooking the river. Rates start from B3,766 ($147) per night on weekdays and B4,708 ($184) per night Fri-Sat. The group also plans to open another Samui property, Sala Chaweng, later this year.

KANCHANABURI

X2 River Kwai

 

 

In July, the boutique resort chain opened X2 River Kwai (+66 2-168-7533, www.x2resorts.com) on a six-rai plot of land on the bank of Kwai Noi River. Consisting of eight stark cabins all with river views, the resort boasts an industrial chic design and facilities like an infinity riverfront pool with sun loungers and sun beds, a library, free Wi-Fi and iPads for loan. Bicycles are also available for guests to explore the surrounding countryside.