Amanpuri Thailand
Courtesy Amanpuri
Inspiration

Which Thailand Hotel Will Become the Next White Lotus?

Our resident Thailand expert and hotel snob takes us through what's on our list, from four Four Seasons properties to a Chao Praya river cruise.

The cat's out of the bag: the third season of HBO's smash-hit TV series The White Lotus will see its cast of bratty holidaymakers jet off to Thailand. In a post-finale interview, showrunner Mike White had already hinted at an Asian setting, and in late March, Variety reported that sources close to the production had confirmed the Southeast Asian country for the series' next installment. Naturally, it sent the rumor mill in overdrive. With the show spiking reservations at its previous settings, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Hawaii and Sicily's monastery-turned-Four Seasons' San Domenico Palace Hotel, an on-screen appearance could turn any resort into an instant hit. So, which one(s) of Thailand's dozens of plush hotels will be the lucky next? 

Given that the series' first two seasons were shot in resorts of the same brand, the money is, unsurprisingly, on Four Seasons' Thai outposts. And they'd make for stunning television: the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, with multi-bedroom pool villas starting at around $1800 per night (because, let's face it: Cameron, Daphne, and co. would never book a standard room) sits in the middle of rolling rice fields and has its own herd of resident water buffaloes. The villas, all pointy-roofed and done up in swirling Thai teak, would give a strong sense of place and its setting near some of the country's prettiest temples (Wat Doi Suthep and Wat Phra Singh among them) would deliver plenty of fodder for the "Eastern religion and spirituality" Mike White hinted would play a central role in season 3. A detour to Four Seasons' other northern Thai resort wouldn't be out of question, either. The ultra-luxe tented suites (starting at around $2700 per night) at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle offer views over the mountainous border with Myanmar and Laos and come infused with hotel designer Bill Bensley's theatrical whimsy. And even if White decided to stick to the beach theme that ran through the first two seasons, the hotel chain has a Thai outpost for that: hugging a private swoop of sand along the glassy waters of Koh Samui's Laem Yai Bay, the Four Seasons Koh Samui offers sprawling thatch-roofed residences with palm-fringed pools, butler service, and a perfect location for jaunts around the Gulf of Thailand. 

Four Seasons Bangkok is another option, this one located in the Thai capital.

KENSEET/Four Seasons

Four Seasons' spokespeople remain, predictably, tight-lipped–which only keeps the gossip going. The series' team of location scouts has reportedly been sighted in resorts from Krabi to Chiang Mai, and while none have released statements that indicate a possible role in the upcoming season, some have inadvertently dropped (possible) hints. Below are a few contenders, some picked up through the grapevine, others spun from pure fantasy and a pinch of wishful thinking.

If anything, consider it an itinerary for your own White Lotus-worthy trip around the Land of Smiles. 

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Amanpuri, Phuket

A little internet sleuthing reveals that Amanpuri, the Phuket beach resort that rang in a new era for ultra-luxe hospitality when it opened in 1988, has blocked reservations for its $900-a-night pavilions and multi-bedroomed villas from June through August this year. The maintenance closure in June is an annual affair, but given that Mike White himself was spotted at The Surin next door last January, this year's three-month hiatus seems fishy. Aman's public relations department declined to comment, but it's not hard to imagine the likes of Tanya McQuoid, played by Jennifer Coolidge, prancing around the resort's giant, black-tiled swimming pool in a breezy sun dress. And with villas featuring up to nine bedrooms each, this hush-hush haven delivers space and privacy in spades. 

Amanpuri

Miles & Miles

Rayavadee, Krabi

Chances are that you've already seen Rayavadee's signature restaurant, as this cave-like dining room with toes-in-the-sand tables under an ancient limestone cliff has been featured on magazine pages and Instagram feeds the world over. Rumors of the The White Lotus' location scouts snooping around the property have swirled around Thailand's hospitality circles for months (and have been confirmed by Rayavadee's PR representative). It's easy to picture cinematic magic in the resort's setting between coconut groves and lush jungle: there are swaying palms, pristine beaches, and potential for jaw-dropping aerial shots of the karst formations jutting out from the azure-hued Andaman Sea on the horizon. 

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand's cacophonous capital, is the starting point for most trips around the country. And even though the city welcomed a Hot List-worthy Four Seasons in 2021, there's only one hotel with the panache of The White Lotus' earlier embodiments. Favored by A-listers since opening more than a century ago, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is chocolate-box pretty, with long colonnaded corridors, ornate floral arrangements, and suites dripping in crystals, porcelains and silk. Breakfast scenes, of which the previous two seasons featured many, would look brilliant on the hotel's riverfront terrace, where waitstaff in sharp Thai tailoring zip between tables with champagne bottles and silver platters loaded with tropical fruits. Another possible clue: when this writer checked in for a stay one weekend last April, he spotted Mike White in the hotel’s flower-festooned lobby. 

Rayavadee

Photo courtesy Rayavadee

Cape Fahn, Koh Samui

With its booming beach club scene and powder-white beaches, Koh Samui is exactly the kind of island The White Lotus guests would gravitate to. It's home to some of Thailand's glitziest resorts, but when it comes to spectacular settings, few can hold a candle to Cape Fahn. Set on a small private island just off Samui's northeastern coast, this secluded retreat has just 24 villas hiding in its hilltop jungle. Each one, featuring serene interiors with jolts of indigo, opens to a private infinity pool and has unobstructed views over the Gulf of Thailand. Tanya, rest in peace, would have opted for the Fahn Noi villa. Perched on its own separate islet, this private hideaway comes with two bedrooms, a wraparound pool, and plenty of garden space for cinematic action. 

Pa Sak Tong, Chiang Rai

If it's space and privacy Cameron and co. are after, Pa Sak Tong in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province is just the ticket. Conceived as the holiday home for a discrete family of European royals, this private estate opens for buy-outs when the owners are not around. Surrounded by rice paddies, fruit orchards and a mountain backdrop, its two multi-bedroomed chalets come with splashy art collections, private pools, mini cinema, fitness center and personal spa (including a hot tub and steam room), plus a small army of chefs and butlers to cater to every whim. The estate's hidden salas and lotus ponds offer plenty of space for intimate duologues, and with Chiang Rai's proximity to the Golden Triangle, a hotbed of the country's infamous opium trade, weaving in another corruption-laced storyline is hardly a challenge. 

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

George Apostolidis/Courtesy Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Loy Pela, Bangkok

Jennifer Coolidge's now-legendary yacht scene in the final episode of Season 2 undoubtedly played a role in her bagging a Golden Globe, so hopes for another boat-based sequel are high—even without gay mafia involved. A catamaran jaunt around the Andaman Sea or the Gulf of Thailand is the obvious choice, but the Bangkok-based Loy Pela cruise offers an interesting alternative. Plying the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, this four-stateroom jewel box of a boat weaves past crumbling temple ruins and stately palaces during its three-day journeys. On-land excursions include tuk-tuk tours to local markets and stops at temples way off the tourist trail, making it possible to show off central Thailand's wildly diverse landscapes in the timespan of a single episode. With bottomless booze, dinners by chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn of Michelin-starred Le Du, and a price tag north of $5300 for the two-night trip, Tanya would certainly approve.