For the past 5 Christmases, we have decided to meet up with our family in Thailand (we are based in HK and they are in the UK). Rather than stay in a hotel, we opt for a villa as it tends to be cheaper, offers relaxing communal areas and is easy to put napping children to bed while you hang out by the pool. Best of all you don’t have to worry about annoying other hotel guests (or hotel guests that are quite frankly annoying). This year we were a big group of 7 adults and 4 kids. In an ideal world we would deviate from our mainstay of Thailand’s Phuket. However we have learnt from previous experience (Sri Lanka and Koh Samui) that the weather is more reliable in Phuket. As most of our group are flying out from the UK and desperately seeking sunshine, this is something we have to prioritise!
I usually book through a villa rental agency although it can be cheaper if you reach out directly to the villa owner. I returned to an agency we had used previously, Asian Luxury Villas. Be really careful when booking a villa, I have had a few friends who have been scammed. Do some checks on the internet, find other reviews and most importantly, pick up the phone to the villa rental company to assure yourself this person actually exists!
Villa Booking Process
Asian Luxury Villas has a decent selection, covering Thailand and Bali. They are responsive and I would use them again. I was looking for a 6 bed villa and they came back with a number of options. Note that over busy periods including Christmas and New Year, the villa may require a ten night minimum rental.
We decided to go for Opal Villa aka TLP251 which cost USD 1,400 per night. The price was inclusive of, VAT, utilities (electric, gas, water), unlimited high speed WIFI, one return airport transfer, complimentary stop at a supermarket, daily maid service, daytime cook (8:30am to 5pm), all bed linen, bath and swimming towels and complimentary welcome pack on arrival.
For families they can provide baby cots, high chairs and also a swimming pool safety fence.
I had to pay a 50% deposit and then the remainder 30 days prior to arrival.
How far is Opal Villa from the airport?
It took approximately one hour to get to the villa from Phuket International Airport. Our airport transfer also included a complimentary stop at a large Tesco near the villa so we could stock up on supplies.
Describe the villa
The villa has 6 main bedrooms (plus a 7th maid/nanny bedroom should you require it).
On the ground floor is:
- A lounge area with TV
- A King bedroom which has an adjoining smaller bedroom with bunkbeds and an ensuite
- Two other King bedrooms with ensuites
- An open games area with a pool table, several exercise machines and a dart board
- Laundry room which also has a bed
The ground floor lounge and 2 of the bedrooms open up directly on to the pool area
On the first floor is:
- Large lounge area with TV
- Large balcony with sofa on one side and dining table on the other side (this is where we ate all our meals)
- Master bedroom with ensuite (plus balcony)
- Twin bedroom with ensuite
- Kitchen with cushioned sitting area
The villa has a large pool (10 x 5m) with an integrated jacuzzi (a nice spot for young kids to perch in). To one side is a cabana with a large table. On the other side of the pool is a grassy area where the kids enjoyed playing and we set up a makeshift badminton court!
We had a slight issue with the cleanliness of the pool. Apparently the pool requires cleaning every 2-3 days but they only seemed to appear twice during our 11 day stay. Make sure you request regular pool cleaning.
What are the staff like?
The rental cost included a full-time maid who worked 9 to 5pm who cooked and did all the cleaning. Although Anne (our lovely maid) was great, we actually felt that cleaning and looking after the 6 bed villa plus doing all the cooking herself was far too big a job. In all our other villas, the cook was always separate from the cleaning staff and so we ended up complaining to the villa management who in turn, provided an extra pair of hands for Anne.
Whilst Anne’s core hours were 9 to 5pm, if we wanted her to stay on and cook dinner, it was an extra 1,000 THB (plus the cost of groceries). Baby sitting can be arranged on request, the charge is 100 THB per hour, per child.
What’s the food like?
Anne was a great cook – her spring rolls are amazing! She has a menu that you can choose from which includes Western and kids but she was also rustled up some off menu goodies.
We also ate dinner out several times and got takeaway Italian from a local pizza joint and pasta from Cecconi (truly fabulous).
How secluded is the villa?
To the left is another villa – you can see into it if you are on the stairs but it does feel fairly private. To the right you back on to the wall of another villa. We didn’t have too much noise coming in from other neighbours.
Opal Villa is part of 18 private villas for rent in the Nai Harn area, all named after gemstones. The location is perfect for those who don’t mind not being walking distance from the beach. They are tucked into lush green hills, about a 20 minute walk from the main street of Nai Harn. You are a 10 minute taxi ride away from Nai Harn Beach.
Taxis can be difficult to come by so either book in advance or be prepared to walk! Once you set out, it’s usually quite easy to flag down a tuktuk.
I loved this area of Phuket, it’s very popular with longterm expats who reside in Phuket and there are lots of wellness/cleanse retreats nearby. Our local high street was filled with awesome cafes including Wilsons (amazing green juice), the whimsical Spoonful Of Sugar (perfect for cake) and Coffee Tribe (try their omelettes).
Would I recommend this villa?
If you are looking for a fully staffed villa where you are waited on hand and foot then this won’t be right for you (and you will have to pay through the nose for it, especially over Christmas).
For us, it was absolutely perfect. Opal Villa is incredibly spacious with lots of different areas to relax in. We weren’t disturbed by any noisy neighbours and the pool area is great. We also loved having the chef service and eagerly awaited Anne’s every meal!
Jetlag & Mayhem’s Tips for Opal Villa & Booking Through Asian Luxury Villa
- No question is too stupid. I always ask how much sun the villa gets, how many sun loungers there are, pool dimensions
- Always ask for a discount. Depending on when you book, you may be eligible for Early Bird pricing etc
- Opal Villa is a short taxi ride away from the beach and main strip of shops. Over Christmas/New Year it was sometimes hard to get hold of a minivan so book these a day in advance.
- There are lots of shops close by selling fun pool inflatables and games. However if you want a proper toddler float ring, bring your own.
- There’s a decent sized supermarket a taxi ride away from the villa. But bring your own home comforts and baby formula/nappies.