Traditional Thai spa treatments on your very own peak-roofed sala
Butlers on speed dial
Private swimming pools big enough to do laps in
What To Know
The Bell runs five free shuttle buses a day to the beach, which is two miles away
Free bicycles are available for guests to putter around the village
There’s no communal pool
Parking on site
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Secluded 16-villa retreat in laid-back Kamala with huge private swimming pools and butler service
Two centuries ago, a boom in tin mining lured thousands of Chinese immigrants to Phuket’s sunny shores, and much of their history remains. The Bell Pool Villas, in laid-back Kamala, taps into this rich heritage with a Sino-chic look. There's only one public space: the reception-cum-restaurant, which is strewn with scarlet lanterns, fierce-looking Peking Opera masks and oversize bamboo sofas and chairs. It’s at its most alluring in the evening, bathed in the glow of candles, moonlight and lamps. All of the 16 villas are enclosed within high stone walls covered in jungle greenery, and they feel exceptionally private. A subtle Chinese aesthetic carries through each one, from the expansive living spaces to the bedrooms, which feature large brass bell chandeliers and red lacquer furnishings set against putty-colored walls. The bathrooms are generously proportioned, with swaths of black marble, twin sinks, big tubs and lemongrass and mandarin amenities from swish Thai perfumery Panpuri, while the outdoor spaces have huge swimming pools, wooden decks, salas and sun loungers. The only place to mingle with other guests is at the ruby-hued Zhong lounge and restaurant, which serves Thai and pan-Asian cuisine and is open for lunch and dinner. Not that the lack of shared facilities is a problem; most of the guests prefer to stick to their villas, where breakfast can be taken in bed, barbecue lunches can be cooked by the pool, and starlit dinners can be served on the deck.
In the Area
Although it's a resort town, Kamala is one of Phuket’s calmer corners, and it retains a laid-back village vibe. Nip down to the beach in the morning and you can still see fisherman setting off in longtail boats in search of white snapper, sailfish and wahoo. In the evening a night market sets up on the roadside, with traders selling everything from knockoff handbags and wooden Buddhas to bags of spicy salad, soup, sauces and rice. For a flashier scene, take a taxi over the hill to Surin, where you’ll find the island’s beautiful people hanging out at glam beach clubs Catch and Bimi.