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.

All images courtesy of The Slate

By Veronica Inveen

Dec 10, 2021

WHILE WE ADMIT the breezy, palm-lined northwestern shore of Phuket isn’t the first place we’d assume to find a steel-and-concrete, industrial era-inspired hotel, The Slate somehow makes sense. But then again, when wildly creative hotel designer Bill Bensley is heading a redesign, conventional is just about the last thing you should expect.

With concrete floors, steel furnishing and unexpected touches like chandeliers made out of beer bottles, you’d have a hard time believing that The Slate was born out of what used to be a ho-hum three-star resort. The 277-room property is a welcome contrast to most of its surrounding neighbors, who present more like the property’s original iteration.

Two-bedroom villa

When the hotel was first conceived by father-daughter-duo Wichit and Prakaikaew Na-Ranong, from a storied family that revolutionized the island’s trade sector with tin mining back in the day, the goal was to make the hotel modern while still reflecting Phuket. It was Prakaikaew, a passionate connoisseur of art and fashion and graduate of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, who had the idea to take her family and the island’s tin-mining history and spin it into something innovative and design-driven.

Known for his strong—if not fantastical—designs, Bensley made the family’s vision a reality. The Slate’s moody, industrial aesthetic is punctuated with vibrant lighting structures fit with gem-like bulbs and a traditional Thai architectural foundation. But really, it’s the stark contrast of the hotel’s lush tropical locale that emboldens the stunning design.

Take Rivet and Rebar, the swish restaurant and bar located at the center of the resort, for example. Done up with dark leather seating, blackened steel paneling and bronze rivets everywhere, the eatery remains loyal to its locale with tropical timber beams and flower arrangements billowing with exotic flowers like Bird of Paradise.

Or Black Ginger, which might hold the record for most dramatic restaurant entrance on Phuket. To get to the Michelin-recognized Thai restaurant, diners must cross a blue-lit lagoon by raft, tracing a journey back to the Ayudhaya period to a swish bar for a welcome drink. The menu features all of Phuket’s best hits—orange currystir-fried miang leaves—along with the signature dishes of chef Piak, who has been at the restaurant for more than 10 years. 

The entrance to Black Ginger

Rooms are spacious and take on the same modern yet unexpectedly funky feel. Anyone traveling with a group of friends should consider the Two-Bedroom Villa, complete with a vast terrace, lagoon-style pool, and (our fave) a poolside bar.

With a total of six stylish eateries, an in-house boutique selling unique pieces found throughout the resort, and the Coqoon Spa, an impressive wicker structure hangs from a giant banyan tree, you may find is difficult to peel yourself off property. But we recommend meandering down to the sweeping stretch of Naiyang Beach at the front of The Slate Phuket for a coconut and an ocean dip to fully appreciate the hotel’s seamless integration into its locale.

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