We had booked a Deluxe Pool Suite, which we understood to be the most expensive room category, except for the villas, so when we arrived we had fairly high expectations. However, it turned out the "suite" was basically a fairly small single room with a large bathroom integrated in the room, with no walls. Also the terrace and plunge pool were very small indeed, and overlooking the hotel's car-park (room 116 it was I think, not sure though).
Anyway, since we had to accomodate a baby cot in the room as well as five suitcases I asked reception if we could change rooms, really hoping for an alternative in the same price range. However, I was told that there was no such alternative, only the opulent villas.
I had no choice, given our baby and space requirements so I looked at the villas. These are very good indeed, very large, sunken living room, with two flatscreen tvs, a larger terrace and a larger 7x2 m pool, and 8 metre high ceilings. On top of the amountI had already paid in Germany for the Deluxe Pool Suite the receptionist asked for an additional amount of money. He handled it very well and agreed to negotiate the price, so in the end we got a fairly good deal, given the list price of the villa. Can it be however, that people with children who are not happy about the amount of space in their rooms are shown the villas straight away, as a way to fill these hard to sell accomodation options? Anyway, I was glad I was offered the villa at a fair price, but you have been warned.
Regarding the pools the main pool and children pool are joined together. Both pools are very good, the children one in particular, thought it has a slide and some of the older children use it a lot even though it is supposed to be for smaller children so it can get a bit noisy. The lazy river has a wonderful floor feeling but again is very much monopolised by raucous older children, given the two fun slides which indeed are great fun for old and young. Unfortunately the lazy river is right on top of one of the main housing blocks, which is the case with the main pool as well, at least on one side. Despite the great size of the resort you do not see these large manicured lawn areas and everything feels a bit cramped in the main pool area, though it really isn't.
The sun beds are all plastic, but surprisingly comfortable and they do not feel cheap at all, there are also plenty of umbrellas provided. The hotel even has four or five Bales, covered pavillions, which they call "Salas" in Thailand, however, only two of them are not on the busy lazy river island abutting a housing block, and these two are also not particularly secluded. When we wanted to rent one I unfortunately found it was overrun by ants and had to pass. The pool area does not seem very well run, every morning when we arrived there was nobody there to hand out towels and we had to wait 20 minutes or so as they make you put your name and room number down in a book.
There is also an adult only pool, which was a bit secluded, but having a baby we were not allowed to use it. Ironically we were not allowed to use the child nursery either, since our baby is only 2 and the nursery only accepts children from age 4, for a reason unbeknownst to me. Having said that, a friendly young girl there agreed to look after our baby for 15 minutes as a one off anyway which was very nice of her. The adult pool looked very good, but was perhaps a bit a small for this kind of large resort.
The resort has two main restaurants and I am happy to say both are excellent. The Thai chef cooked some of the best Thai food during our entire stay and the Cove restaurant also has a good Indian chef, so the menu is huge. What's more the service is excellent and people make a genuine effort to get things right. The other main restaurant is Italian and it had Pizza that was better than Pizza we had in Italy, again with very good service. The prices are NOT too expensive, and in fact quite reasonable given the high quality of outdoor seating, expect 1800 to 2000 Baht for two people. If only the seat cushions were a bit firmer and not so soft that you sink in right away but overall I was positively impressed by the quality of the food and the service.
At breakfast we usually had a waitress named Kwan who was very good indeed and ensured we had a baby seat and everything went smoothly. Everyone was very fond of our daughter which was a very nice experience for her. The main breakfast buffet is of the usual standard catering for Australian, American, Indian, Thai and Japanese guests, though for us Germans perhaps the sandwich meat selection is a bit small and not having rolls was a surprise. Still, the baguette is very good and the selection of cakes, pastries, pancakes, rotis, eggs as you like, and so on is quite impressive. Also the coffee was very good, though Italian, not Thai or Indonesian.
The beach in front of the hotel is quite good, though it looks a bit unkempt and populated with cheap massage camps. The pipe going into the sea does not carry sewage, but rather saltwater that is pumped into a water facility, I asked a German manager. I did not find it disturbing in any way.
The Hotel's Spa is excellent, truly impressive. The massage is also very good and again a real effort was made, and the prices are reasonable. The fitness room also looked well appointed and use was free of charge.
The Hotel has its own fleet of cars. They charge about 35% more than the going rate, but then the cars are of high standards and you get the comfort of quick and easy transport. If price is an issue avoid the taxi touts outside and head into Karon, or better yet take a trip to Phuket Old Town and get the card of a driver you like there as prices are cheapest there. Then hire him for 3-6 hours at a time for 1200 or 1800 Baht respectively.
The Hotel makes a great effort with night entertainment, there was almost always a very entertaining show on offer, with beautiful decoration and dancers or singers. Also the top floor Hotel bar is very very pleasant and has a wonderful atmosphere.
The premium Club Service consists of a special lounge where you can partake of delicious cakes and free internet, two computers only are available but both are usually unoccupied and you can even get a DVD from a tiny selection of rather good films. Here the creme de la creme of service staff will usually speak to in good English and in a most friendly way, which was a surprise given the demanding and rude way some (Asian) tourists address these staff. I witnessed one tourist being most unpleasant and the staff keeping her courteous and pleasant manner throughout, I was very impressed. Furthermore they think of things to do for you on your check out and get it done without you having to do much, it really was very impressive service there, so well worth the cost.
Room service is good and the food was not cold when it arrived. Once I ordered a Baguette and got some toast, but the kitchen staff returned with a Baguette and apologised and asked we keep the sandwich toast for free. English may have been a problem, but the courteous and attentive service was very good. It made up for the long wait for the suitcases and babycot when we arrived and switched rooms (2 hours), when there must have been some miscommunication.
Regarding the mosquito situation we had three or four mosquitos on our terrace, after heavy rains, however, since the hotel sprays regularly mosquitos are not a huge problem in the resort I am glad to report.
In our villa we even got a Christmas tree on 23rd December, which was nicely decorated and I thought it was a really nice gesture. The cleaning staff was very good allround.
All in all, I would certainly stay at this resort again, due to the good service, the quality restaurants, the opulent pool landscapes and a generally luxurious feel throughout the resort, all made possible by wonderful people who get paid as little as 7000 Baht I was told by a gardener, so give tips whenever possible. I very much enjoyed the quiet of the villa and would opt for this again, no trampling above or at the sides, but of course this does cost a bit extra, but still within reasonable limits. Perhaps the hotel could improve on the English of some staff, but this is a general problem in Phuket and not limited to the hotel. Some of the items in our room were a bit dated, there was mould in our hotel booklet, but overall the staff make a good effort and things are kept clean without too many insects or mosquitos.
Avoid the Deluxe Pool Suites, they have no privacy, instead upgrade to a Villa, it's the best.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.