Since the release of season one in 2021, one of the most popular shows in recent memory is The White Lotus, a dark comedy-drama with razor-sharp writing.
While season three will not air until 2025 (delayed from 2024 due to the actors’ and screenwriters’ strikes), fans have been eagerly awaiting the latest season of the caustic series that takes great pleasure in poking fun at wealthy and entitled Western travelers. New details about the filming locations will whet fans’ appetites for the dysfunctional drama that is sure to follow.
Season one of the Emmy-winning series examined wealth and colonialism in Hawaii, while season two in Sicily positioned money and sex as its primary themes. Rumours have long been circulating that White Lotus three will be filmed in Asia, with director Mike White hinting at the end of season two that the next one will focus on “death and Eastern religion and spirituality”.
Although the show was initially interested in filming in Japan, news about Thailand’s selection surfaced in March 2023. At the 2023 Tokyo Film Festival, Japanese producer Georgina Pope stated that a portion of this was because of millions of dollars in production incentives, which amounted to a $4.4 million rebate on a $35 million project.
The play has had an incredible effect on every location. The first season, which was shot in Hawaii’s Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, increased the property’s web traffic by 425% in comparison to the previous year. The Italian island of Sicily and its historic resort town of Taormina experienced a spike in inquiries and reservations during the second season. Much of the season’s convoluted plot took place at the Four Seasons’ cliffside San Domenico Palace, which was booked solid for months.
Dubbed “The White Lotus effect”, this phenomenon of travellers flocking to the locations of their favourite TV shows and movies will surely apply to season three and define Thailand’s travel and tourism trends in the coming months and years.
The site of The White Lotus, a fictional network of upscale resorts that provide the ideal setting for the caprices of their affluent patrons, has remained a mystery despite Thailand’s official confirmation as the shooting location.
Since the first two seasons were entirely filmed in Four Seasons resorts, it was widely anticipated that the third season would take place at one of the upscale hotel chain’s locations in Thailand. Season Tree will reportedly be largely filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, according to Bloomberg, though this has not been formally verified for contractual reasons (all sources spoke on the condition of anonymity).
Fascinatingly, Bloomberg reports that episodes of the show would also be recorded in an unidentified hotel in Bangkok and in Phuket at the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas. For the first time ever, the show will take place across many different properties.
An obvious alternative is the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, a five-star establishment whose large infinity pool, private beach, and variety of pool villas tucked away in the tropical scenery would undoubtedly appeal to affluent tourists seeking opulence. Furthermore, Ko Samui’s breathtaking beaches and sunsets will provide the ideal setting for any drama that takes place.
Anantara is a choice that is more intriguing. With the opening of its first resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, in 2001, this luxury hospitality brand has since expanded to include over 43 hotels and resorts in 24 countries around Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Anantara is quite well-known in Asia, but the US and UK aren’t as familiar with the brand. However, this is expected to change shortly because to the White Lotus effect.
The show is set in the beautifully designed villas at Antantara Mai Khao in Phuket. The opulent seaside resort features an infinity pool right on the sand, a wellness center, and a variety of eating establishments, including Tree House, a Japanese restaurant centered around an old banyan tree. There’s sunset yoga, Himalayan sound bath therapy, reflexology hand massage, and rose quartz facial gua sha on offer, all in the true White Lotus style. If it is actually filmed there, I’m excited to see what Smith might accomplish with the setting—it’s understated elegance at its best.
The resort is located next to Phuket’s longest beach and is quiet and seclusion, with villas arranged around a lagoon dotted with lilies. Paths lead to views of exquisite entrances behind which are luxurious houses with private pools, outdoor showers, spas integrated into the pool itself, and personal wine cellars. You can stroll along bamboo-shaded paths and through tropical gardens designed by Bill Bensley. A two-person terrazzo bathtub may be found in the bathrooms.
The jewel in the crown is the Jim Thomson mansion, a 389 square meter colossus that is located right next to the beach and is modeled after the story of Jim Thompson, the man who founded the Thai silk industry. The villa is designed in the style of a southern Thai town.
According to Bloomberg, the hotel in Bangkok that has not yet been given a name will have a “more authentically Thai-looking property [than the Four Seasons], as yet unidentified.”
One thing is certain: Thailand will soon witness The White Lotus effect for itself, regardless of the location or type of hotel.