Hotels & Resorts

Review: Island Escape by Burasari

It’s easier than you might think to escape to paradise–head to luxe Burasari resort, which is putting Thailand’s undiscovered Coconut Island on the map. 

4-Bedroom Oceanview Pool Villa, Island Escape by Burasari

4-Bedroom Oceanview Pool Villa. Photo by @ibreak2travel

By Vincent Vichit-Vadakan

Aug 18, 2022

DESPITE BEING JUST 15 minutes away from the east coast of Phuket – the top-ranked island in Southeast Asia in our Asia’s Best Awards 2022 – Coconut Island still barely registers with visitors, or even locals for that matter. Called Koh Maprao in Thai, the island was until very recently literally off the grid: it was connected to mainland electricity just five years ago.

Getting to the island is a breeze. Colorful wooden longtail boats leave several times a day from Laem Hin Pier and scheduled transfers are included for all guests. But you can also upgrade to a more bespoke experience, starting with a seamless check in (and some light refreshments) at the resort’s lounge in Phuket’s Boat Lagoon. From there, a speedboat zips you over to the pier of Island Escape. 

Bird Eyes View POOL, Island Escape by Burasari

As soon as I arrived, I took in the uninterrupted views of sparsely inhabited islands like Koh Rang Yai and Koh Yao Yai. If you’re interested in exploring their remote beaches, ask the hotel about hiring a boat, complete with pilot, parasols and a picnic. The resort can also arrange yacht service.

Island Escape faces east, which means that early risers are spoiled with hard-to-beat sunrises. Once the sun is up you can stick around for morning yoga and TRX stretching on the beach. If you want that picture-perfect leafy sunrise shot, head for the dramatically framed Wedding Pavilion. (Sunsets are best from the resort’s private pier.)

4-Bedroom Oceanview Pool Villa, Island Escape by Burasari
Four-bedroom oceanview pool villa. Photo by @ibreak2travel

You won’t be short on photo ops. Want that floating breakfast in your own private plunge pool? Can do. How about a candlelit dinner on the beach, an envy-provoking shot in the infinity pool or a group selfie around the campfire, complete with marshmallows? Check, check and check. The crème de la crème of glamor shots however has got to be in the evening back at the Wedding Pavilion. At the foot of a theatrically lit staircase, you’ll find elegant pinpoint lights in the water on three sides and multicolored other-worldly spheres suspended overhead: this is a movie-set caliber backdrop, fit for a romantic table for two or an intimate party with your nearest and dearest. 

During my stay, I bounced back and forth between the resort’s two restaurants. It’s Everything has the views from above and as its name suggests, a smattering of pastas, sandwiches and grilled meats (the lamb skewers from the middle eastern menu were excellent). Eat is right on the beach, and offers popular Thai dishes. The organic garden in the heart of the property has been planted and will soon be providing produce and eggs. 

Floating Breakfast at Island Escape by Burasari
Floating breakfast

Family villas have in-room features like daybeds, monkey bars and climbing walls and offer access to a lagoon pool and jacuzzi in the Splash Zone or playground and gardens in the Play Zone. What really sold me on Island Escape, however, was my Ocean Zone pool villa.

Call me self-indulgent, but there are very few things I like better than floating around in the privacy of my own pool. I don’t even need breakfast on a raft. Add a sea view and I really couldn’t ask for more. The villas themselves are light and airy, with high peaked ceilings and walled gardens outside the bathrooms that afford natural light and shield your ablutions from prying eyes. 

4-Bedroom Oceanview Pool Villa, Island Escape by Burasari
Four-bedroom oceanview pool villa. Photo by @ibreak2travel

In addition to the plunge pool, my more grown-up villa featured a capacious designer bathtub, perfect for soaking away the (minimal) efforts of the day. For groups, there are two-, three- and four-villa configurations built around a comfortable common area again with an infinity pool facing the sea.

Among the many daily activities, I loved the guided nature walk through the property and the island’s only village, which counts 850 inhabitants, mostly fishermen and their families. Kids arriving at school and locals starting their day greeted us as we strolled by. Bring a little change to get snacks of freshly grilled beef skewers and fragrant fried chicken from the vendor opposite the entrance to the school. Everyone I talked to was proud of the fact that their tiny community has a school, a clinic (“with doctor AND a nurse”) and a mosque. The easy walk takes about an hour to complete. 

Island Escape by Burasari
Photo by @SomewhereSomeone

I also went on a half-day tour of nearby Intara Farm. We learned about cobia (aka black salmon) farming, a fish that is popular on a lot of menus right now because it can be locally and sustainably sourced. The little lesson on producing pearls was informative (and yes, you can buy jewelry here). I joined a cooking demonstration, paddled through the mangrove and even practiced tie-dying with colors made from local barks and herbs. 

And perhaps best of all, you can eat the products of the farm: we feasted on super-sized mussels with Thai herbs, mixed seafood tom yum, and a mouth-puckering salad of sea grapes, among other dishes. And for you selfie lovers, there are photogenic swings and benches dotted around the floating farm. 

Floating farm, Intara

Back at the resort, the brand-new gym and 10-room spa are slated to open in September. Just before I left, I got a preview of the treatment rooms from Ya, my expert therapist whose vigorous Thai massage relaxed me enough that I almost didn’t mind my flight back to civilization. 

Island Escape by Burasari is a 30-minute ground transfer then a 15-minute speedboat ride from Phuket International Airport; one-bedroom Ocean Zone pool villas from Bt9,000. 

All photos courtesy of Island Escape by Burasari.

Centara Phuket

Hotels & Resorts

Rediscover Phuket: Quarantine-Free Travel with Centara

Enjoy quarantine-free travel with the Phuket Sandbox programme, and experience the beauty of sea and sand, restored to their natural state.

Hotels & Resorts

The Slate Phuket Is a Steampunk Beach Resort Fever Dream

An ode to Phuket’s tin mining past, this Bill Bensley–designed wonderland on Naiyang Beach marries industrial chic with traditional Thai design.

Hotels & Resorts

Centara Is Offering Major Deals for the Holidays

Get out of town this holiday season with these three deals from Centara.

Hotels & Resorts

Hotels for Cool Kids

Family stays can be stylish too—these new and refurbished hotels, resorts and villas let you go glam with the fam.