Sam Ritto | Discover Renaissance Hotels

Sam Ritto

Navigator Sam Ritto helps guests find adventure on the idyllic island of Phuket.

Navigator Biography

Sam Ritto is one of life’s adventurers and gets his kicks from exploring every inch of his native Phuket with his wife and two “angels” – Fifi and Daria. “My wife and I love to travel and discover local places. Now we are married and have two children – but our interest has never changed,” the Navigator says. It is a lucky man that calls the island of Phuket home, and Sam knows it. He remains in awe of his surroundings, from the marine turtles nesting on Maikhao beach to the sight of migratory birds from Siberia overhead each November; the swamps of Pru Jeh Son and the unique local cuisine drawn from Thai, Chinese and Middle-Eastern influences. The Navigator role compels Sam to both share his existing local knowledge and improve upon it. To do so, he diligently scours social media for new developments and is plugged-in to a local network of navigators. Sam is always stoked to see his hard work pay off. “What do I most enjoy about being a Navigator? When guests are excited with my hidden gems; get a chance to explore, come back and share their wonderful experiences,” he says. When he is not fixing up incredible experiences for guests at the hotel, Sam likes to indulge his other passion: “I'm a mechanic at heart, I love classic and racing motorbikes. I can spend the whole day in my garage changing new parts and accessorizing new collections.”He lives to a work hard, play hard ethos. And everything comes back to his passion for discovery. “I enjoy life’s adventures, that’s why I bought a good camera and SUV car. I like to find the new trail and great spots for photos.”

Big Buddha - find
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Big Buddha

Capture views of the Karon beaches and Chalong Bay from the hill. That is, if you can take your eyes off the mammoth marble Buddhist statue.
It's hard to miss this 45 meter tall marble statue peering down at you as you journey through the south of Phuket. Big Buddha sits serenely atop the hill at the end of Soi Yot Sane 1, which runs off the West Chao Fa Highway in Chalong. Though the statue itself is big enough to be taken in from afar, it's worth heading up to its base to both enjoy the view and learn more about it. Find out just how many tiles it's taken to construct the enormous statue, along with many other factoids about its upkeep. Donations to the project are welcomed and, as this is a holy site, conservative dress is strongly encouraged.
Address: Soi Yot Sane 1, Chalong, Phuket, 83100, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 211 036
Opening hours: Sunday to Saturday from 08:00 AM to 07:30 PM

Ban Boran Textiles

Pick up a one-of-kind, hand-woven silk scarves in a chic tribal pattern of a local indigenous group.
Shop for finely woven clothing at Ban Boran Textiles, which is located on one of the many charming streets in Phuket Old Town.
Address: 51 Yaowarad Road, Phuket, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 211 563

Mai Khao Beach

This is one of the few places in Phuket where you have a long stretch of beach all to yourself.
Address: Mai Khao Beach, Phuket, Thailand
La Gaetana - find
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La Gaetana

As host and professional sommelier Gianni serves amazing homemade Italian food. Start off with carpaccio.
Gianni and Chonchita are the friendly and hospitable owners of this delightful small restaurant. The creative and artistic flair is reflected in the décor, including crockery and food presentation. The main dining area has a red floor, dark wooden ceiling and bright yellow-wash walls. The cooking area is Chinese in-style and guests may choose to eat in the cooking area or at the counter. There is also a small indoor Japanese garden. A small menu includes omelets, salads, pasta, meat and fish dishes.
Address: 352 Phuket Road, T. Talad Yai, A. Muang, Phuket, 83000, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 250 523
Opening hours: Monday to Tuesday from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM,Friday from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM,Thursday to Tuesday from 06:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Ka Jok See - find
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Ka Jok See

More than its inventive food, it is the friendly ambiance that attracts the crowd at this great restaurant.
Every now and again one finds a “hidden gem,” where all the ingredients for a memorable evening are in place. That is why Ka Jok See, arguably Phuket Town's most popular restaurant, has been drawing the locals, and a few lucky tourists, over the years. The building is an 18th Century Sino-Portuguese gem with simple décor, but a charming sense of style. Elegant, but warm and welcoming, the fare served here is exceptionally good. Dishes such as the succulent prawns in vermicelli and jurassic salad are prepared in a traditional Bangkok style and cooked with a flair that raises even the simplest of dishes to new heights.
Address: 26 Takuapa Road, A. Muang, Phuket, 83000, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 217 903
Cheap Charlie's Rooftop Beach Bar - find
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Cheap Charlie's Rooftop Beach Bar

Overlooking the beach, mingle with tourists and locals against the backdrop of exciting live events at this backpackers bar.
For those looking for quirky hangout places in Patong, head to the Cheap Charlie's Rooftop Beach Bar. As the name suggest, the bar offers a cheap hangout place with an happening rooftop ambiance that overlooks the beach. Weekly events such as karaoke, BBQ nights, live music and beach parties attracts a large number of tourists and locals alike. Located close to the happening Patong beach, you can also book a room at the downstairs lodging facility of this bar.
Address: 54 Nanai Road, Patong Beach, Patong, 83150, Thailand
Phone: +66 82 221 2922


Hike to this beachside treehouse, drink an ice-cold beer and spend sunset paddling on the water.
Address: North End, Kamala Beach, Kamala, 83100, Thailand
Phone: +66 82 519 3282
Kin Dee Restaurant - find
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Kin Dee Restaurant

Surrounded by orchid blooms and mangroves, relish their signature Crab Cake, Pad Thai and Mango Salad in an equatorial setting.
This off-the-track, family-run eatery, has a tropical look that is very inviting. "Kin Dee" which means "eat well" in Thai, is a compact restaurant on a wooden terrace adorned with bamboo tables and chairs, and orchids blossoming on all sides. Specializing in the cuisine from north Phuket, the ingredients used are sourced from local farms and villages. Their menu includes dishes like Pepper Crab, Duck in Tamarind Sauce, Pineapple Fried Rice, Tom Yam Goong and Mango Sticky Rice. You can also hone your cooking skills at their classes held daily. Located near an estuary and mangroves, this place offers a memorable dining experience.
Address: 71/6 Mu 5 Mai Khao, Phuket, 83110, Thailand
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Mee Ton Pho

Taste the Thai tradition at Mee Ton Pho, one of Phuket's oldest restaurants known for its local ingredients and community consciousness.
Mee Ton Pho has been a staple of Phuket dining for decades. This restaurant utilizes ingredients from local farms and cultivates a supportive community atmosphere by serving traditional Phuket cuisine made by local chefs. Diners often indulge in the hokkien mee, frequently touted as the best dish that the restaurant offers, comprised of egg noodles cooked in a fish sauce and covered with pork cracklings and shallots. The seafood offerings are also popular at this long-standing establishment.
Address: 214/7-8 Phuket Road, Mueang District, Phuket, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 216 293
Opening hours: Sunday to Saturday from 09:00 AM to 06:30 PM
Chan's Antique - find
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Chan's Antique

Bring home the quirky teak wood Spirit House or beautifully designed bar cabinate as souvenir from this shop.
Located about 5 kilometers from Phuket Town, owner Chan Sim offers the largest collection of antiques and traditional object d'art on the island. He sources his antiques from across Asia and also has a great deal of teak wood carvings made by master craftsman in Chiang Mai City. The showroom is packed with everything from modern-crafted teak suites to Chinese medicine cabinets and intricate golden statues. Most of his customers come to the showroom and the items are then shipped abroad. Some buyers come to Thailand from Hong Kong to buy authentic antique Hong Kong furniture.
Address: 99/42, Moo 5, By Pass Road, Phuket, 83000, Thailand
Phone: +66 76 261 416

Baan Chinpracha

The old mansion of Phuket was built in 1903 and is open to the public.
Phra Pitak Chinpracha, the original owner inherited this elegant mansion to his eldest son. Discover antique items, vintage floor tiles and imported furniture from Europe and China a century ago.
Address: 98 Krabi Road, Phuket, Thailand
Phone: +66 (0)76 211 167
Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm

Phuket Indy Market

Phuket Indy Market on Dibuk Road is a local hangout space.
This has quickly become a popular market among young local people for meeting up, shopping and entertainment, from street nail painting to live music performances.
Address: Limelight Avenue, Dibuk Road, Phuket, Thailand
Opening hours: Every Wednesday & Thursday 4pm-10pm