More than any other spot in southeast Asia, Thailand has become a beloved destination for sun seekers. Beautiful beaches and luxury resorts abound along the country’s extensive coastline, lined with towering karst formations and coral reefs that teem with tropical creatures. Even better, the Thai are known for their love of children, and even the most exclusive resorts extend a warm welcome to little guests. Here are our five favorite getaways for a Thailand family beach vacation — if you find it nearly impossible to choose, you’re in good company!
Perched on the Gulf of Thailand about three hours’ drive from Bangkok, Anantara Hua Hin pairs perfectly with a few busy days in the city. This luxe oceanfront resort is modeled on a classic Thai village, with gardens and water features woven throughout the grounds — subtly opulent, yet upbeat and inviting for all ages. If surf and sand are at the top of your agenda, Anantara has plenty of beach activities and watersports to choose from, like kitesurfing, kayaking and scuba diving. Fancy the pool instead? Families love the beachfront pool with swim-up bar, though there’s a dedicated children’s pool for younger ones. The Baan Pla Noi kids’ club offers Thai-inspired activities like batik crafting to entertain tots while parents enjoy a yoga class or a cooking lesson in the onsite culinary school.
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Phuket tops the list of popular Thai beach destinations, and Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach tops our list of family resorts in the area. While there’s a lot to love about this 5-star escape, the room configurations — one- and two-bedroom villas, plus family rooms with bunk beds located a stone’s throw from the kids’ club — especially stand out. So does the setting: The resort is built into a cliffside overlooking the sea, and the tranquil infinity pool (one of two onsite) seems to merge with the turquoise water beyond. Naithon Beach itself is a gem, wide, walkable and lapped by waves that are gentle enough even for babies and toddlers. You could spend the entire stay soaking up the sun, but you’d be missing out on an enticing range of activities, from tai chi and water yoga to snorkeling and traditional long-tail boat rides. When hunger strikes, pull up a chair at Float, the most family-friendly of the four restaurants on-property; the menu includes dishes such as barbecue pork ribs with Asian slaw and a Thai-flavored spin on a burger.
Just south of the Pullman sits Trisara, a slice of Phuket family paradise that redefines the word luxurious. There are no standard rooms here — the configurations range from oceanview junior suites to staffed multi-bedroom residences, all impossibly plush with their own swimming pools. Bespoke activities are yours for the choosing: The concierge team can arrange a private cooking class or tennis lesson, a yacht cruise or even a helicopter flight over the area. You might think such an oasis would frown upon the younger set running around, but it’s just the opposite — Trisara caters to its littlest visitors in countless ways, from the complimentary kids’ club to mini mocktails in the bar areas. The resort is tucked along a private bay that creates the ultimate sense of beach seclusion; water sports (December through April) include snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and fishing charters. Or splash in the oceanfront saltwater pool, which is lifeguarded for parents’ peace of mind.
Even on an island celebrated for its unspoiled scenery and upscale vibe, the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui feels special. Serenity and relaxation reign here, yet children are welcomed with the thoughtful touches that set the Four Seasons brand apart, such as complimentary welcome kits, inventive sweet treats and other goodies. Family pool villas have their own infinity pools plus a separate sleeping area for up to two kids under 12; private residences, which can accommodate up to 15 people, are ideal for multigenerational groups or several families traveling together. Children can try their own versions of popular adult activities, such as Muay Thai boxing, cooking classes and spa treatments, or have fun with new friends in the Kids for All Seasons kids’ club. For guests staying in the private residences, the staff will even bring all the fixings for a family barbecue — the perfect night in.
Although you could arrange a regular transfer from the Phuket airport to Koyao Island Resort, this remote, indulgent haven deserves an arrival in style. Board a long-tail boat after your flight, and a scenic hour-and-40-minute-ride later, you’ll debark right at the property’s private beach. This is the place to get away from it all — in contrast to Phuket’s tourist bustle, the island of Koh Yao Noi feels like an intimate sanctuary, surrounded by lush flora and foliage. Given its compact layout and small size (just over two dozen rooms), Koyao Island Resort is particularly well suited for older kids; parents can feel comfortable giving them freedom to explore on their own. Want space for everyone to spread out? Book a family beach villa, which can sleep up to six. Active kids will be drawn to pursuits like mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing and birdwatching, though the powdery white beach is a spectacular spot to laze. And at dinnertime, the resort’s Pum Pui restaurant takes an innovative approach to Thai cuisine — it’s served tapas-style, allowing guests to sample the broadest possible range of local flavors.
Editor’s Note: Photos courtesy of the individual properties pictured.
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