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“Nice Getaway” 4 of 5 stars
Review of JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

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JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   231 Moo 3, Mai Khao, Phuket 83110, Thailand   |  
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Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in Mai Khao
Hong Kong, China
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Nice Getaway”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2011

We stayed at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort from March 19-21. We were there for a quick vacation and as we'd never been to Phuket, thought that this would be an ideal place to stay. And it was. The only reason that I didn't give it a perfect score is because of its location. It is on the north end of the island and an hour into town. The time isn't so bad but the price is. There is a taxi monopoly (some people have termed it taxi mafia) and it will cost you 800 baht to go to Phuket Town and 900 baht to Patong Beach. We initially wanted to eat in Phuket Town and then check out Patong Beach, but with the cost, we decided just to do everything at Patong Beach.

Back to the hotel. It's quite pretty and it was just nice to walk around the grounds. There were a lot of families there and we didn't stick around to see how the nightlife was. The breakfast buffet had a good selection. We took part in the complimentary yoga class. I thought the instructor was fantastic. Really nice sequences and was very helpful with alignment. The class took place in an open, covered area, which was nice except there were a lot of flies. Also, while hanging out at the pool, I was eaten alive by mosquitoes so best to bring bug repellent (but I usually am, so it wasn't anything new).

We got an upgrade, so the room was a nice size with a little alcove perfect for a nap or reading. Beds were plush and the room had all the major amenities. Except for an iPod dock, which would have come in handy.

All in all, a nice holiday. I think it would be ideal for families and for people just wanting to go to a resort. As we like to see the local culture, the location was too far for us. But I think Phuket in general is quite difficult to walk about.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2011 via mobile

You will pay a lot more than other places to stay here... But you do get what you pay for! This resort was pure paradise when my partner and I stayed.

The beach is great and quiet, quite a steep pitch though so be careful kids don't go out too far.
Food was great as were the cocktails. And the room we had was amazing!

Well away from the craziness of other areas. Go here for peace, relaxation and real pampering.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2011

Our kids are 4 & 6. During school breaks, we always try to do a beach holiday in the region. We've tried places in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia & Australia, but we keep coming back to the JW Marriott Phuket. We've now returned 3 times and the kids keep asking for the next trip! Why so good for kids?
- it has a fabulous, free kids club, full of interesting creative activities and very friendly staff. Batik making and treasure hunts are always a hit.
- the children's pool is fun. They never tire of the water slide, and the ice lollies are a nice touch on a hot day. It can get a little crowded, but that just means more kids to play with.
- there is a lovely, long deserted beach (brown sand). Unlike other places in Phuket, the JW Marriott has this beach all to itself. So when strolling with the kids you don't need to watch out for hawkers or any dubious characters.
- good kid friendly food. After discovering the coconut water one can get at breakfast, our kids think it is the norm for all resorts. The pizza is always a hit and served throughout the resort. The deli has a wealth of options too.
- good showers with strong water pressure to clean up before bedtime.
- Kds club offers DVDs of kids favorites to watch at night
- And the hotel has lots of trips off resort to keep the excitment high. Elephant trekking and boat trips are always favorites.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tokyo, Japan
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2011

Let me qualify my review upfront by saying that we've stayed at this resort 7 times since it opened (usually during the chaotic Christmas week) and know just about every corner of this place. My family and I are well travelled and have stayed at just about every beach between the Maldives and Hawaii. We haven't stayed at every resort, but we know where the good ones are. In regards to JWM Phuket, I'll start with the bad since everyone seems to focus on that these days before they want to hear the good stuff so here we go.

The BAD (in no particular order):
- Tennis courts. They have great courts, but you can never get a morning reservation (when it's cool) because they seem to be always booked. The part that sucks is half the time, no one is using it even though it's "reserved". If you're an avid player and want to play, my suggestion to you is to book the courts 2-3 weeks prior to your arrival. If you don't take my advice but still want to play, there's a way you can cheat: book a lesson with a pro (because they have standing reservations there) and cancel 1 hr before the lesson starts so you don't get charged. "Usually" the court is empty and you can slide right it. It's worked for us about 5 times. One time, the pro showed up even after we cancelled so we ended up playing 2 vs. 1 against him and he didn't charge us. Cool guy.

- Bike rentals at activity center. About half the bikes are in poor condition so do be careful. The chain came off when one of my kids was riding and she almost crashed. I was able to fix it on the road, but do a thorough check before you take it out. Also the helmets stink. I would wash it out before I put it on or wear a hat underneath the helmet just in case there was lice. With that said, a bike ride around the resort is pretty cool. We took the mountain bikes to the nearby village and hung out with the locals. They were mellow and the food was actually decent (but not for those with delicate stomachs). Half the time, you'll get a water buffalo sighting which the kids always like. Don't get too close because they do charge sometimes. If you're too lazy to cycle, but still want to explore the nearby areas - go to the concierge and ask them to rent you a scooter. Last time we were there, they arranged an outside company to bring us scooters for 400 baht per afternoon.

- Pool chairs around the kids' pool. I do laps in the main pool every morning around 7am when no one is around and sure enough when I get out a half hour later, I always spot a knuckle-head or two putting stuff on chairs to "reserve" their pool chairs for the day. This pisses me off. Usually it's the Americans that do it, but lately it's been the Chinese. When my kids and I get out there at 9am (when the water slide gets turned on), 80% of the chairs are "reserved". My simple solution - I tip the pool manager 100 baht (USD 3-4) and he finds me chairs that have not been used for over an hour. That's hotel policy and the tip is to cover the wrath they get from angry rule breakers. It's not a problem at the North, Main or South pools - just at the kids' pool so be forewarned.

- After dinner entertainment. The new outdoor bar next to Ginja and the pool bar at the South Pool are nice, but they are not a replacement for true nightlife. If you're single or married w/o kids and are looking for night time entertainment, you need to hire a cab to take you into Patong which is about an hour away with light traffic. If you have small kids, I would get out of Patong before dusk because the place turns into a mini Nana Street / Siam Square in Bangkok after dark. If you don't know what I mean, go to youtube and find out. The resort is quiet after dinner. The most exciting place near the resort after 9pm is the Irish Pub at Turtle Village. The place gets crowded on nights when there's a big Premier League game on or when the local billiard pro is hustling some tourists. I'm a table shuffleboard guy myself and they have a good one there. Good beer / food. Decent prices.

- Marriott Vacation Club sales people. Next to the lobby check-in counter is the Marriott Vacation Club kiosk. Usually there will be an attractive Thai woman to greet you after you check in and she will ask you whether you'd like to attend a one hour presentation explaining their fractional ownership program. The men will get hooked by these sales women and the wives will get hooked by the "free gifts" you will get if you sit through the presentation. If you're not interested, you should be firm and say so up front and they don't usually bother you after that. If you're weak and you waver with comments like "let me think about it" or "let me check with my wife", they will hunt you down during your stay. I tried to be nice at first, but learned to be firm and I've been fine the last 3 times we've been there.

- Guests. There are some guests you're going to get along with and certain guests you are not. We were there once when there was an Indian wedding going on at the beach. My kids had never seen one so we stood along the outskirts and watched. The groom's father saw us and invited us to join so my family and I partied like rockstars that night. Hands down one of the funnest nights we've had in Phuket. Then there are other times that aren't so great. There were more Chinese folks this last time than usual and for the most part, they are fine, but be warned, they like to cut in line (at the concierge desk, at the deli, at the water slide). I'm not a basher, but it seems to be part of their culture. I expect it when I'm in Shanghai and Beijing for business, but they seem to export their behavior when on vacation. I'm sure JWM is not the only resort with this problem, but it's something the hotel will have to address as they target Chinese tourists to the resort. I've never been, but I heard Chinese New Year is much worse.

The GOOD (again, in no particular order):
You can read the other predominatly positive reviews to get a good feel for what's good at the resort. I'll just hightlight a few things that we like.

- The Staff. I read a few comments that said the staff was "clueless" or "unhelpful". I disagree. We've been there often enough to know that they have good people working there. The Thai people in general are very friendly and they truly do try to make your stay enjoyable. The gardeners (dressed in green) and groundspeople / maintenance (dressed in brown) don't speak great English (if at all). If you ask one of these people for dinner recommendations or directions, you're not going to get a satisfactory answer. Save your questions for the people "in constume". If you can't tell the difference between hospitality staff and maintenance worker, then I can't help you. Also the beach massage people are locals - not part of the hotel staff - so there's no sense in dinging the hotel for their behavior. We have a good relationship with people all over the hotel; the ladies at the Kids Club, the manager at Siam Deli, front desk staff, the concierge, the restaurant reservation ladies etc. They know my kids by name and are always looking out for them. My kids LOVE the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and the deli manager makes sure they always set some aside for them. The servers at the deli know my kids' favorite ice cream flavors and know that I like their green curry. In the end, if you treat the staff with the respect they deserve, they will pay back in kind. The only questionable service we got was at concierge / transportation desk. These folks are overworked and they are handling way too many requests. The hotel needs to add another desk and hire more people to handle the flow.

- Kids' Club. Some people like to park their kids there and go on their island excursion and some people like to play with their kids there. Whatever you do, the Kids' Club is flexible enough to meet your needs. There are a ton of activities that your kids can participate in so he / she will never run out of things to do. If your kid is more than 8 years old, I wouldn't leave them there. Kids' Club is for little kids. Older kids will just play video games and you can do that anywhere. Staff is courteous and fun, but if your kid is active, chances are he / she might get scraped or bruised, but that's normal. Don't be too sensitive about normal wear and tear on your kid. It's free and they do the best they can to provide a safe environment. If you're worried, hire a private sitter to watch your kid exclusively.

- Mandara Spa. First, it's pricey, but the massages are the best I've had and I've had plenty of good ones at some great resorts. You can prepay for massage packages (10, 5 or 3) and they save you a lot of money. You can split the 10 massages between two people or 5 for that matter so look into it before you pay for your first. The swedish massage is nice, but after a rough day with the kids, I usually go for the deep tissue massage. I would avoid the Indian head massage (?) - not worth the money in my book.

- The Food. There's something for everyone here. People complain about the price, but it's no different from other resorts in Phuket. If you're eating with kids, I would eat at Siam Deli or Marriott Cafe - especially if your kid is picky. After the kids go to bed, you and your wife should sneak off to Ginja. The Thai food there is great. Andaman Grill is also good, but somewhat expensive. The Pizza at Cucina is also good. If you're feeling lazy, you can have room service bring you anything from any of the restaurants at the resort. My family and I have never had a problem with the quality of food there. No one has gotten sick.

- Emergencies. On our last trip, one of my kids cut her foot open and the first aid staff got to us quickly with all the right supplies / equipment. There's no doctor on the premises, but the nurse that showed up was more than capable. We didn't have to go to the emergency room, but they prepared a car to take us there and called ahead to the hospital just in case we had to. They thought of everything and I felt really good about their preparedness - even though we didn't have to test it.

- The Beach. there is no white sand (it's actually more like tiny pebbles) and you can't exactly layout to sun tan because the beach is narrow and somewhat steep, but there aren't that many resorts nearby so you can go for a nice long run or walk. Also there's no motorized vessels allowed in the bay adjacent to the hotel so you can go for a long ocean swims. Just watch the riptides in the late afternoon and the runaway sailboats / windsurfers. The sunsets are awesome and if you can find a leatherback turtle laying eggs at night - that's a real treat. If you don't get to see it, go to the hatchery and ask them when they are doing the next baby turtle release and make sure your kids participate. My kids still talk about how cool it was.

Anyhow, hope this review helps. I tried to be balanced with my views - sorry if I offended anyone. I'm not a hater and it wasn't my intention to be offensive to anyone or any culture.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2011

Rooms : 4.5/5
Rooms are extremely spacious and clean, even though walls are a bit thin. As the resort is a bit inland and has only 3 floors, don't expect too much from a 'sea view'.

Location : 3/5
Nice location at the beach, but without umbrellas or sunbeds. About 25 minutes from the airport, but a drive to Phuket Town or Patong beach is over one hour.

Pools : 5/5
Large (main) kids pool with slide, 'south' pool with bar and some noisy russians. North pool with mainly elderly guests. Ample sunbeds.

Breakfast : 4.5/5
Large selection of food and drink, many staff. After a couple of days, it gets a bit 'boring', and it would be better to have more choices for b/f.

Service : 3/5
While 'standard' situations are handled well, anything non-routine might become difficult. When we consulted with the lady at the 'dining reservation' desk about a proper way to celebrate a birthday, we were told that they would prepare a private room at the restaurant, as well as a cake and a song. This was apparently forgotten - an hour after we finished dinner a bit disappointed, an apologetic waiter brought a small cake to the room. Not really the service you expect from a 5-star resort.

Kids : 4/5
Pools are nice and you can leave the kids at the club for a movie or video games, but outdoor activities cost extra and only last for a relative short time. Fair, but not as good as other places such as Club Med where they take the kids to the pool and beach. We went to the 'Phuket Fantasea' show with the kids, but as the hotel is so remote, we only came back after midnight.

Value : 4/5
Somehow, the hotel's homepage has higher prices than tour companies so do shop around for special offers.

Overall : 4/5
For me it is still somehow unclear what kind of clientele the JW Marriott is exactly appealing to. After enjoying the sunset from one of the beach restaurants, the hotel's beach bar started blasting loud disco music (Lady Gaga, etc.) from 7 pm sharp which kind of destroyed the mood. But the disco crowd would anyway not chose the remote location of the Marriott. It's good for families, but there are better options. It's also not a good base to explore the island. For serenity, the Amanpuri would be much better and the Four Seasons for service.

Would I recommend the place to a friend :
Yes, but only for shorter stays up to 5 days.

Other thoughts :
Check the nearby 'Turtle Village' for shopping and food options. (Even the pub serves Thai food)

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bangkok
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2011

best, never seen any hotel better then this. This is like a small city in itself, Beautiful beach, with romantic Blueo bar, greenry, and amazing scenery. all is there. I think if I get holidays every year, i should go there every year.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Singapore, Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2011

My daughter loved the trapeze and the staff of Kids Soleil. They were professional, safe and a lot of fun. We stayed at the Marriott for 4 days and every day my 8 year old daughter wanted to go back to the trapeze and learn new tricks. I highly recommend this activity. A big shout out to G, Turkey, Chicken and Nui!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Address: 231 Moo 3, Mai Khao, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Thalang District > Mai Khao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Mai Khao
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Mai Khao
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mai Khao
#4 Family Hotel in Mai Khao
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Mai Khao
#5 Spa Hotel in Mai Khao
#5 Luxury Hotel in Mai Khao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 265
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is set in lush tropical gardens, with 17 kms of natural beachfront. Fifteen minutes north of the airport, the resort comprises 265 spacious rooms, including 13 suites, all facing towards the Andaman Sea. Facilities include eleven restaurants and bars, Thai cooking school, three magnificent pools, a Mandara Spa, shopping arcade and an activities-packed kids club. The fitness center includes two tennis courts, yoga sala. Golf available nearby. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Phuket Resort And Spa
Jw Marriott Phuket Hotel Mai Khao
Jw Marriott Mai Khao
Marriott Phuket
Phuket Marriott
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa Mai Khao

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