Combine edgy, modern style and innovation with all the charm of a beachside holiday in Thailand with a stay at a design lover’s dream, The Slate, writes Natalie Bannister.
A major hazard of working on a magazine like Queensland Homes is that I’m faced with gorgeous interiors and the best calibre of design every day (arduous, I know!). So during a recent holiday to Phuket, I couldn’t pass up the chance to stay a few nights at one of the most unique resorts in Thailand that combines all the things I love — modern art, innovative design, and a whole lot of luxury.
Welcome to The Slate, an avant-garde beachfront property that was once renowned Phuket resort Indigo Pearl, now reimagined with a new name and new look in an homage to history by the Na-Ranong family, descendants of Khaw Sim Bee Na-Ranong, Phuket’s former governor and a prominent figure in the island’s tin mining industry.
The family lent heavily on this rich history for The Slate’s concept — tin was a central element in the island’s trade for centuries and was once dubbed by locals as their ‘Black Gold’ — enlisting one of Southeast Asia’s leading designers, Bangkok and Bali-based architect, interior designer and landscape designer Bill Bensley, to oversee a thoroughly modern redesign. One where sleek steel, bronze and concrete are artfully combined with raw timbers and traditional Thai decor, all set amongst a lush landscape — a contemporary expression of a tropical aesthetic. Little wonder that The Slate is a member of the Design Hotels collection, a prestigious stable of handpicked boutique and luxurious escapes across the globe that are defined by (you guessed it) great design.
There’s multiple levels of suites and private villas to choose from, including (my favourite) the sublime one and two bedroom pool villas, perfect for couples, groups or families. Plus, there’s eight restaurants and bars, and three swimming pools scattered across the resort’s grounds, to keep your every whim well catered for. Holiday perfection!
And with a prime position right on the sands of peaceful Nai Yang Beach on the northwest coast of Phuket, a mere five-minute drive by the resort’s chauffeured SUV from Phuket International Airport, it gets bonus points for convenience. You can be out of the airport arrivals hall and into the pool or spa at The Slate in no time.
Nai Yang Beach is one of Phuket’s hidden gems, where colourful umbrellas and sun lounges line the sand and quaint beachside bars beckon every sunset for those wanting the simple pleasures of toes-in-the-sand sundowners. Though when it comes to eating, you’ll be very hard-pressed to pull yourself away from the joys offered at The Slate — the dining experiences are some of the most exciting and innovative I’ve ever enjoyed, including the exquisite Michelin-recommended restaurant, Black Ginger.
The arrival at Black Ginger sets the scene for a magical gastronomic adventure — guests are ferried by raft across a lagoon to the lantern-lit restaurant housed within a traditional Thai mansion, where an evening of tantalising tastes awaits.
The menu crafted by Chef Piak draws from ancient local recipes and is a melting pot of authentic southern Thai cuisine and delicately balanced flavours. We opted for the multi-course set menu and settled in for a masterpiece of Thai culinary art, partaking in no less than nine mind-blowingly delicious dishes.
We were also intrigued by The Slate’s unique take on experiential gastronomic BOLD events (Be Original Lighthearted Daring) combining food, culture, art, and fashion, held throughout the year. There’s some very out-of-the-box concepts designed for hungry bellies — and open minds. Case in point: coming up soon after our stay was the cannabis-infused dining experience, Bong Appetit (Thailand having decriminalised marijuana in 2022).
And the experiential journey doesn’t stop at the food. Every element of The Slate is designed to stimulate the senses — it even has its own signature scent, White Champaka, which co-founder and owner Krystal Prakaikaew Na-Ranong personally chose to reflect the tropical essence of Phuket. The fragrance wafts throughout the resort’s spaces, and also greets guests at the spa, where more sensory pleasures await.
In a country renowned for its massage and therapeutic spa traditions, Coqoon Spa represents a different holistic healing experience, with a menu of rejuvenating rituals that will transport you to bliss. The spa is set out over seven private suites, the pinnacle of which is The Nest, which seems to defy gravity, hidden away in the resort’s lush gardens and native trees.
A boutique property on a grand scale, The Slate makes for an indulgent escape unique to others in Thailand — a one-of-a-kind resort that marries an industrial edginess with traditional Thai touches; it’s sleek and chic yet utterly charming for lovers of modern style and luxury.