I recently stayed in the Amatara Resort and Wellness in Panwa Phuket. If you follow me you already know that, if you don’t follow me then (OMG go follow me now Instagram and Facebook!!) 😉
I was looking for a nice and Muslim-friendly resort and this was recommended as having it all; a private pool, halal food and stunning views. When Serendipity Travel recommended the Amatara resort, I was sold. The resort is perfect for honeymooners and since I get so many requests about the best resorts for a honeymoon that are Muslim-friendly, I jumped at the opportunity to review this for you.
This review will be in two parts to keep it short and sweet. However, I don’t think I would do the resort justice if I tried to review all the things within one post. So this is part one where I will look into the villa and breakfast. In part two I will review the activities, spa and restaurants.
We were provided with a car by the hotel which picked us up from the airport. That was pretty awesome since we were tired after long flights and arriving in Phuket can be a little overwhelming. Nothing to worry about and you can definitely get a taxi yourself if you want too. The airport pick up made it a lot easier.
This Eid holiday was something I was looking forward to for a long time. I spent most of Ramadan working on my new website and then while on holiday there I had to re-do it. Long story. The point is I was in the mood to just relax and oh boy, did I just do that.
From stepping into the resort and check in you feel you are entering a lovely tropical paradise. Check in was very efficient and friendly. We were also given this beautiful bouquet of jasmine which had an awesome fragrance. After all the formalities were completed we were escorted to our room via a buggy.
The resort is built on a cliff and there are plenty of hills too. If you want to walk it you definitely can, we did start walking on the second day when we familiarised ourselves with the climate and the resort. But on the other hand, if you don’t feel like walking the buggy service is free and very prompt.
Unfortunately, as it was night time we couldn’t see much. All I could hear was the sea and that made me totally happy. One of my most favourite sounds in the world is the sound of the sea. I am totally a beach girl.
We were allocated a lovely (150sq meters) private pool villa. The entrance is all private with a wall around the villa so your neighbour cannot see you.
Upon entrance on your right side, you have a massive bathroom which is probably bigger than my first flat in London.I loved the round bathtub and his and hers vanity units.
The room was lovely and spacious and had everything you would expect. A large king sized bed, working desk, and a sitting area. The room is great and there is plenty of space to move around. I also loved the vaulted ceiling and it gives great height and the feeling of even more space.
We also had a prayer mat waiting for us in the room, which was a lovely touch. So much better than praying on bathroom towels. 🙂
One thing I really loved in the room is the small balcony which has a seat where you can sit and enjoy the views. Literally, you can only see the green jungle and the sea. Perfect to relax and just enjoy the birds.
Of course, there is the infinity private pool in the villa which is definitely a great size and comes with a jacuzzi as well. Needless to say, this space was my most favourite and I spent most of the day around the pool. Pure bliss.
I really liked the villa and it is a great space to relax in privacy if you are there as a couple or even as a young family. I love that everything is connected on one level and no matter where you are you can talk to each other.
The villa packages come up with some really cool perks such as:
- Free mini bar – however since we don’t drink, the mini bar was replaced with non-alcoholic drinks which were totally appreciated.
- 8 pieces of laundry – when I was told this I thought I won’t need it. However being so humid we ended up using almost all our daily allowance. I guess there is a reason why they offer this service. 🙂
- Personal Butler – Oh yes, you heard that right, private pool villas have their own personal butler to take care of all your needs.
- Access to the Retreat – Villa guests have access to the Private Retreat for breakfast, tea and coffee during the day as well as evening cocktails (in our case non-alcoholic, perfect!)
As we arrived late we didn’t meet our butler Martin, who was also a Muslim and an excellent help while there. I was offered a tour around the resort to have a look at some of the other room types they offered.
When possible I always ask to check out other room types and even the same type as different readers have different needs and budget. Sometimes the things a woman or a blogger notices with these Muslim-friendly resorts is different than what other people notice after all it mostly affects us. At least in my case.
I always try to keep a more rounded perspective as I know for example my readers come from all sorts of background some liberal and others very strict. I try to accommodate and keep an eye out for all. I’ve got you covered 😉
We stayed in villa 31 which was given to me as a very Private Muslim friendly villa. Sadly I can’t say that it was totally private. The views were amazing, I loved the high wall around the pool but one thing that fails this villa for me as “Muslim-friendly” is the fact that you can see and be seen from the beach area and the sea.
Now the resort can’t do anything about covering the sea, especially if you have a sea view villa, which usually costs more. So you do have to keep this in mind when booking. We did have several fisher boats and freight ships docked throughout our stay. Personally, I don’t mind having them and I also didn’t mind wearing something longer.
However, you could be seen from the beach if you were using the jacuzzi or sitting closer to your room. This is definitely not ideal if you want total privacy and it is important to you.
The next day when Martin took us around to view the resort he showed me villa number 29 which was the exact same villa but you have so much greenery around you that you have more privacy and you couldn’t be seen from the beach. He did offer for us to move to this villa but I decided to stay where we were. We only had one more day there so there was no need.
What I found is that some of their rooms are more private than others and this happens with any hotel. Because the hotel is built on a cliff you have a room further up that can overlook the lower grounds. One thing you can do, if you feel the room you were given is not as private, is for you to ask to check a few other room types.
One of the Pavillion rooms which I viewed had awesome privacy. No pool but if you are not bothered by it then it was perfect for a hijabi or a niqabi.
This privacy doesn’t take away of the beauty of the resort and I would happily return back. They do have many Muslim customers and during our stay, there were at least two more Muslim couples enjoying the resort.
Actually what I would personally suggest especially if you are on a budget, is to book a Pavilion room with total greenery around you. This was super private and also you can sunbathe and be hijab free. If you want to use the pool and you don’t mind wearing burkini then the resort’s pool was never full. You can also check out the prices for upgrades to the Retreat as the pool there is amazing and virtually empty.
One thing I like about Amatara is the fact that it caters to different budgets with rooms starting from £100 a day. So you can still enjoy this resort even if you don’t want to break the bank doing so.
As guests of the villas, we could take breakfast either in the main restaurant or in the Retreat, which is more private. The first morning we opted to try the breakfast in the restaurant. Breakfast had a great choice. There were fresh juices, fruits, cheese spreads and morning snacks as well as Asian delicatessens.
You can also order from the menu which was great. If you are there try the waffles. We also had some of the nicest and freshest eggs benedict ever so I highly recommend them.
The highlight of my breakfast were the birds which are so familiar with human contact that they would walk up to you pretty much asking for food. I loved that!
We did have breakfast in the Retreat the next day, which is more private and less crowded. The breakfast menu there is more of a healthy choice and also it is a la carte so you can only order and there is no buffet. I do have to say that I expected better from the Retreat. I consider this to be a private lounge for the guests and of a higher standard than the normal restaurant. I found that the breakfast was slow, not sure if they cook them on site or bring the food but it did take 40 minutes; also the portions were tiny. The last day we went back to having breakfast in the main restaurant and I definitely enjoyed it more.
The Retreat itself is a private area for guests and all the times we were there it was never crowded. They do have a small swimming pool with stunning views which guests can use. When we were there this was empty and is perfect if you don’t like crowds. The Retreat also offers evening cocktails as well as coffees and teas throughout the day and you can have lunch and dinner there as well. We did have dinner in both restaurants and I will cover them in the second part of this review.
There is so much more I can write but I will end this review here. I will cover the spa, halal food, the great activities and some of the resorts features in part two of this review.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Amatara Resort and Wellness. The trip was organised by Serendipity travel, the experts in amazing halal and Muslim friendly resorts, perfect for honeymooners. The views and opinions are my own whether they are good, bad or ugly.