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Nicole McLean: An Insider’s Guide to Phuket

In 2010, Nicole McLean and her family were living on Grand Cayman Island, where she had started Absolutely Fabulous, a chic teakwood furniture retailer and wholesaler, at just 23. Then, the travel bug bit. “We were in the mood for adventure!” says Nicole, who’s from Christchurch, NZ. “We also wanted to be closer to grandparents.” Five years later, Absolutely Fabulous Phuket is thriving. Here’s what Nicole recommends on Thailand’s largest island.


Posh Digs


For “couples who just want to relax,” Nicole suggests Banyan Tree Phuket in Laguna. For a nice lunch, she heads to The Pavilions Resort in Layan. “It has a beautiful Colonial-style open-air dining room on top of a hill with views of the Andaman Sea.”


Shopping Central

Zen Sisters Ring_Entwined Ring

Nicole’s favourite place to lose track of time? Radsada Handmade. “It has a fantastic selection of handicrafts and ceramics.” For jewellery, it’s Zen Sisters or bust. “Some days I look like a walking advertisement!” she says. (29 Rassada Rd)


Beach Bliss

Surin Beach

“Surin Beach [shown] always has clean, clear water – great people watching, too.” Nicole likes the “quiet stretch of sand” at Layan Beach as well. “Flop out under a tree with a chilled coconut and relax.”


Pedi Paradise

Beauty Studio & Incense Spa

“I have tried pretty much every foot massage place in my area,” Nicole says. The best? Beauty Studio & Incense SPA. “My daughter and I would go every day if we could.”


Oldie and Goodie

Old Town Phuket

Where to find delicious local food? “Go into Old Phuket Town and walk,” Nicole instructs. “Anywhere you step into will be fabulous!” Bonus: “It has some of the most incredible Sino-Portuguese architecture.”


By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder, November 2015

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