Updated: May 10, 2018
Elegant, superb facilities, smaller than most and family-friendly. An extended laneway from the main road leads to a welcoming lobby of lotus ponds and traditional music. The rooms are similar, with only views of the sea (upper floors) and tropical gardens (ground level) differing. Most can squeeze in an extra single bed and a few have connecting doors. And the suites – many with divine sea views and direct beach access – can easily cater for a family of four. The Infinity pool is magical – lagoon-shaped and beachside, with ‘islands’ of palms – while the beach offers white sands and calm waters. The Baan Ling Noi (‘Little Monkey’) Children’s Club provides a better-than-average range of absorbing and educational activities, such as language, dancing and coconut bowling. Also impressive are the library, playground with a trampoline on the sand, games room, tennis court, movie room (when raining) and activities for the whole family, such as yoga and cooking. It’s midway along Bo Phut, a less developed region on the north coast, but with enough facilities within a short stroll and a few cafés along the beach.
Massive gardens, perfect for families, beachside yet downtown. With extensive grounds parallel to the beach, this is the only major resort in central Chaweng, the most developed part of the island. The landscaped gardens are immaculate and the lawns, with petanque, badminton nets and futsal goals, are immense. The lagoon-shaped pool is also idyllic, with ‘islands’ of palms and a kids’ splash area attached, while the beach is long and golden, with plenty of water-sports available (including noisy jet skis). Almost all rooms boast sea views, except those on the ground floor, which are compensated with a private plunge pool. All are elegantly furnished, although the bathroom is so big that the bedroom seems undersized. Family Suites can easily accommodate a family of 4, while most other rooms can slide in an extra single bed and/or have connecting doors. Activities for the family include yoga and aqua aerobics, while the library, games room and tennis courts are added attractions. The Camp Safari Kids’ Club is undersized but supervised, with heaps of fun games and a sizeable playground on the sand.
Laidback, central, spacious and fun for families. One of the island’s very first backpacker lodges is now totally renovated but still maintains an easy-going charm and commitment to the local ecology. The pool villas are separated and hidden behind hedges, and others are split-level with 2 bedrooms. Many bungalows are dotted around the extensive gardens. With a 1970s-style rustic appeal, these are very comfortable with plenty of windows, a sizeable balcony and room for an extra single bed. The lagoon-shaped pool offers breezes and views, but minimal shade, while the beach is small and spotless. Also welcome are the quaint library, onsite dive centre and substantial building for cooking classes. The kids’ club is indoors and unsupervised but decent enough, and some activities are organised. The young ones would also enjoy the children’s pool, conveniently alongside the breakfast café and shady playground. In central Bo Phut, a less developed area along the north coast, there are plenty of facilities along the road and some cafés on the beach.
Opulent, vast, quiet and superb for families. Set in colossal grounds where guests need buggies and staff ride bicycles, villas directly face the sea or overlook the gardens, and many feature a private pool. All are modern, luxurious and spacious enough for at least one extra single bed, while some villas and suites have two bedrooms. About 300m long, the beach is studded with palms and particularly serene. Far less inviting, however, is the main pool, which is oval-shaped and far too big. The range of attractions for the family is truly impressive: free water-sports and bicycle hire; a floodlit tennis court; futsal ground; and an extensive ‘sports centre’ with ping pong, badminton, yoga and snooker. Adults may also enjoy the related golf course (only 3km away), while the younger ones would relish the playground, movie room and children’s pool. The excellent Kids Activity Centre offers plenty of activities, such as Thai cooking and boxing, as well as a trampoline. Quietly set 200m from the main road, it’s at the western end of low-key Mae Nam, but with enough facilities nearby.
Luxurious, extensive, perfect beach and ideal for families. With sprawling grounds squeezed between the road and beach, the Sheraton offers a range of rooms and suites with a whitewood décor. The Superior Rooms and Studios are similar inside, but the latter has more space, a Jacuzzi on the balcony and sea views (palms permitting). Most can squeeze in another single bed, many have connecting doors, and the two-bedroom suites can accommodate a family of 6. The lagoon-style pool is large enough to feature sandy ‘beaches’, while the real thing is wide and spotless. The whole family would enjoy the tennis court, games room and activities, such as yoga and Thai boxing, while the younger ones would relish the special café menu and children’s pool close to the breakfast area. And the Starkids’ kids club is one of the very best in Thailand: gated and supervised, it features a huge indoor area; a playground, jungle gym and treehouse on the beach; and a fascinating array of daily activities. The resort is in Chaweng Noi, just south of Chaweng, which is the island’s main tourist region and only a few minutes by songthaew taxi truck or hotel shuttle bus.
Chic, serene, sumptuous and increasingly popular for families. Meaning ‘beautiful forest’ in two languages, it only offers secluded suites and villas, each with a private Infinity-edged pool and outstanding sea views. The Tropical Pool Villas are truly massive, with full-length windows on three sides, a refined Thai décor and open-plan bathroom. A personal butler is also included. All villas and suites can easily fit in at least one extra single bed. The sands below are bleached-white and immaculately raked, while the main Infinity pool facing the sea is very stylish and surprisingly substantial considering all guests have a private pool. Families will enjoy the array of activities, such as Thai cooking and language lessons, as well as ‘coconut petanque’. Or perhaps, something more physical like Pilates and beach soccer? The entrance is 300m from the main road in Chaweng Noi. This is smaller and to the south of Chaweng, the island’s most popular tourist region, which is easily accessible by songthaew taxi truck. Some low-key cafés are also dotted along the road nearby.