Like a grain of sand’s transformation into a thing of beauty at the bottom of the ocean, the Na-Ranong family-owned recently refurbished and renamed hotel The Slate (formally Indigo Pearl) has evolved from a slightly ugly duckling into a swan. The design-led hotel tastefully recalls the area’s tin-mining past with all manner of defunct machinery adorning its reception area, as well as making appearances throughout the hotel’s grounds. It’s miles away from the bland international feel of so many resort hotels and is great fun for the kids, but some of the more brutalist bedrooms with their brushed-concrete finish would benefit from being given a slightly softer touch.
It’s a sizeable hotel with 177 rooms and certain pools are reserved for adults only, but the real star attraction is the signature restaurant Black Ginger, run by talented Chef Piak, which makes this hotel worth the stay alone. Reaching this domain is via a rope-pulled raft across a softly lit lagoon, adding to the theatre of the experience. The traditional Thai cuisine draws from different regions of the country but with an emphasis on Chef Piak’s southern Thai roots. Dishes such as gaeng poo bai cha ploo (southern style crab curry), som tam (green papaya salad) and poh pia sod (roll-your-own rice-flour pancakes) are elevated from their street food roots into Michelin-grade plates. GR. Doubles from $380.