We emailed the hotel prior to our departure requesting a lift from the airport. There are plenty of cabs waiting to take you to your hotel, but we would recommend you get the hotel bus as prior correspondence can build up a good relationship with the hotel and avoid any possible rip off from a taxi (not that we were ripped off at any point during our trip – far from it). The cost was 220 baht each way (about £5). The driver/porter will take your bags to your room (make sure you have a small baht note handy for a tip).
The hotel is 5-10 minutes from the airport. Being so close to an airport may cause noise issues, but we didn't hear a thing, and in fact only caught sight of some planes on one evening while having dinner on the beach about ½ mile away.
We arrived at reception, which is actually outside, but covered. We were a little early for check-in, but this was not a problem. We were immediately given an upgrade from a junior suite to a pool villa. We have no idea why we were given such an upgrade – we never asked or expected it, but we felt a few courteous mails back and forth on unrelated matters before we got to Phuket certainly did no harm. The receptionist's English was a little hard to understand, but the hotel staff were most polite all through our stay.
Our pool villa was one very large room, which hosted a king size four poster bed, a good portioned sitting area with TV and sofa, chair and table, plus kettle, tea/coffee sachets, and fridge. The wardrobes and drawers were more than ample for a few days. The air conditioning (and you'll need it) was very effective. The fragranced oil burner on the table was a nice little addition. The room was very clean. However, the most impressive attractions were outside. The villa is secluded from view to those outside by high walls and trees, which makes the outdoor bath, shower and small pool all the more enticing. I certainly didn't tire of the novelty of using an outdoor shower. We also liked the 'his and hers' basins, and you also get sun loungers and a table and chairs with a small garden. The toilet is outside, which may be disconcerting to some who need to visit in the middle of the night. The majority of our pool/garden area was in the shade. I liked the cat and her kitten that frequently visited – my girlfriend not so much. The hotel does a neat little newsletter of the following day's events, which it put on our door every evening.
Insect repellent is absolutely essential (though it didn't stop my girlfriend getting bit several times), and you have remember to close the doors to the room at all times as flies will get in. One of our repellents was supplied by the hotel, but I'd advise you to also take your own as one won't be enough and you might not like their particular brand.
Outside the hotel, at the beach end, there are a lot of shops ('shacks' may be an unkind word), massage parlours, beach hire, restaurants, bars and the usual knick-knack stores. We found a shop at the front end of the hotel selling cheap food and drink, and as drinking the tap water is not recommended it's a good idea to stock up as soon as you can on bottled water. When we visited, the beach was fairly quiet, and we got the impression that it's never really crowded, which is good if you want to venture outside the hotel and still have a bit of peace and solitude.
Breakfast was outstanding. You have a hot ordered option such as pancakes, waffles and eggs, plus a wide choice from the buffet, including about a dozen different cereals (I can heartily recommend the berry crunch). We were a bit naughty and smuggled out some croissants, bread and margarine, which we stuck in our fridge for lunch.
There are two pools at the hotel. Neither had more than half a dozen people using them while we were there. In fact, the whole hotel seemed fairly quiet during our stay, which we couldn't quite understand. Near the family terrace, there is free internet on two computers, though only one of them was working when I logged on. Table tennis, a small gym and showers are also in that area.
We had dinner a couple of times at the hotel (not included in our package, so this was charged to our room). We asked for a small side that wasn't on the menu and the restaurant was happy to oblige. There were a good selection of restaurants on the beach front plus one or two a touch off further away. Mostly, these were fine. As most who venture to this part of the world know, getting good food is never usually a problem. The beach strip is relatively lively at night (by Nai Yang standards at least). The hotel bar was pretty quiet and when we passed by in the evening we would frequently find the under-used bar staff playing pool. On one evening, there was a British male singer doing the entertaining.
The hotel offers a free shuttle bus that stops at Central Festival and then Patong. We didn't do the latter, which from what we heard is more like a party town. It doesn't stop at Phuket Town (or technically Phuket City to give its proper name) because, as we were told, the traffic is too busy in the city. We ventured for Central Festival (a large shopping centre), which is a good way outside Phuket and from there got a taxi to the island's capital. Unless you like shopping we didn't think there was a whole lot to do. But if shopping is your thing then you'll be spoilt as just about every building is a store of some description. Not just the usual food places either - we must have passed about a dozen DIY stores and tyre shops.
As expected, the city was very busy, so it's good if you want a contrast to the sanctuary of Nai Yang. If you want to continue the relaxation instead, there are plenty of trips to outlying islands including Ko Phi Phi Lee and Khao Phing Kan, where the films 'The Beach' and 'The Man With The Golden Gun' were filmed. We had to fill about six hours in total before the shuttle bus returned to pick us up, and we spent a good proportion of that time at the Phuket Thai Hua Museum, which charts the history of the Chinese in Phuket. Our guide book said it was free. It was not. However, despite not being the most riveting subject, it's hard to see how the history of the Chinese in Phuket could have been better presented and the building was very well air conditioned, a welcome resite from the conditions outside. Save for a small group of fellow European tourists, we were the only ones there. The gentleman at the ticket desk was very friendly and gladly took our photo.
We got a tuk-tuk back to Central Festival, which we absolutely loved and made us feel like we experienced a small part of the real Thailand. Our female driver was very aggressive to her fellow road users – but very friendly to us. We had a bit of time to kill so went inside Central Festival. If you hadn't had your fill shopping in the more ramshackle Phuket City, then this would satisfy your more sophisticated side. It doesn't look much from the outside but is very impressive inside. I would gladly swap the drab Broad Marsh centre in Nottingham for this multi-floored affair. There are some upmarket stores if you have the cash, and if factory outlets like Reebok and Lacoste are your bag, then you'll need your cards to hand. It's worth having a look just to see the Ronald McDonald hands-together-in-prayer-mode statue outside the Big M near the ground floor. The shuttle bus was a good half hour late picking us up on the return journey.
I'd rate this hotel a good four stars, but for what we paid and what we got, it's an absolute nailed-on five out of five for value for money.
Build friendly correspondence with the hotel prior to leaving, which may result in an upgrade.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.