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Advice on where to stay in Phuket

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Hi, we are planning a trip to Thailand in December. We've been to Bangkok several times, but this time we also want to go to Phuket. Could you suggest where we should stay? It looks like there are several beach areas like Bang Tao, Surin, etc. Which area do you feel is the best? We would like a beautiful hotel with a private beach (if possible) and a decent range of water sports offered. We're just looking to kick back and soak up some sun.

Also - I have seen accomodation options for beach front villas and apartments. Are those recommended? We are 4 adults (all family), so we wouldn't mind taking a 2-bedroom villa or apartment as long as it was (a) on the beach and (b) part of a complex that had all the hotel-like facilities such as restaurants, gym, water sports, etc.

Thanks in advance!

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