Having read all the TripAdvisor reviews, we were eagerly anticipating this vacation from our home in Bangkok. While SALA is certainly a nice place, it wasn't all we were hoping for.
On the positive side, SALA is located not far from the airport (about 20 min) but we did not notice any plane noise or disruption at all. The beach itself was also nicer than many in Phuket in terms of not being crowded nor spoiled by umbrellas, chairs, vendors, pony rides, etc - very nice for sunset viewing without being bothered (though it appears to be steep, one should beware currents). SALA did a good job setting up a day diving trip with Seabees while we were there, and the staff at the reception area were quite helpful and friendly. One evening at dinner featured Thai dances from around the country and that was a lot of fun. And for any readers who are birders, I can add that the road around the lake behind SALA is productive in the mornings.
For anyone considering the balcony rooms, which have outdoor baths and toilets, I would point out that these rooms all face each other across a small courtyard. Yes, you can look directly into the outdoor bath and toilet of the balcony room opposite, and they at you ... unless you pull closed the floor-to-ceiling curtain, which sort of defeats the purpose of the outdoor facilities. Most resorts in Thailand that feature outdoor baths do it better by mixing privacy with the sense of being outside. Even with the odd arrangement, SALA could have achieved something similar via half-height screens or curtains that still allowed some view of the sky and treetops. And that nice-looking round tub on the balcony? That takes forever to fill and is not very comfortable to actually sit in.
Our balcony room itself was a rather depressing concrete box, all painted in drab, muted colors. The floor was nothing more than painted concrete, with a tiny rug at the foot of the bed. Our impression was that the room had been heavily used. The TV remote control was so old most of the markings on the buttons were worn off. The built in furniture was chipped and marked up, the doors were heavily scuffed, and walls were marked by the hands and luggage of many previous guests. We asked for a deep-clean of the room after finding dust bunnies on the shelves and dirt/flyspecks in the glasses set out on the shelves. The management did offer to shift us to a first-floor pool room, and we appreciated that consideration, but upon taking a look decided that it was less attractive due to being completely walled in. The balcony rooms at least caught a bit of a breeze in the afternoons.
We took a look into pool villas as we walked around, and a lot of reviews are quite complimentary. We did notice, again, that they appeared a bit stark - rectangular with high concrete walls. Of course, one would appreciate the privacy but other places we've stayed soften the impression with woodwork, bamboo work, or small gardens around the pools. In fact, the overall impression of the resort is very much concrete and rectangles. Those who are looking for a more tropical, Thai style resort might want to look through the traveler photos on other places in Phuket too.
The food, to us, was not very exciting. As others have mentioned, one can ask for plain water instead of the pricey sparkling or Voss water. Wine is exorbitantly priced, even for Thailand, and the beer selection is minimal (Hoegaarden at THB290 for a 330ml bottle) which is disappointing considering that Thailand is undergoing a nice sort of beer renaissance recently. Just outside the hotel grounds is a collection of Thai beach restaurants which we enjoyed one evening. We brought our own wine ...
Overall, SALA was a nice place to relax for a couple of days, and one can do far worse in Phuket, but there are other places we'd go back to before here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SALA Phuket Resort and Spa is a stunning deluxe pool villa resort, featuring private swimming pools in 63 out of 79 rooms, villas, and suites.SALA Phuket boutique resort is an impressive compliment to its popular sister property, SALA Samui. SALA Phuket combines rare historical Sino - Portuguese architecture with modern 5-star facilities.Located on pristine Mai Khao beach on Phuket's northwest shoreline, SALA Phuket resort and spa is just 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport. The famous Blue Canyon Golf Course is a short distance from SALA Phuket and the picturesque Phang Nga Bay is located just 25 minutes away.SALA Phuket is the ideal location for a Phuket wedding and honeymoon with its vast and private pristine golden sand beach and lush beachside lawn surrounded by a coconut tree plantation swaying in the wind.In addition to friendly, professional and personalised service, SALA Phuket luxury resort offers facilities including:- 3 large beachfront swimming pools- World class international beachfront restaurant and bar with an air-conditioned dining option- Award winning SALA Spa- Full equipped Gym, Steam Rooms & Salon- Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet connection throughout the entire resort- Gift Shop- Business traveller services- Entertainment and Theme Nights- Nightly Villa Turn down Service- In-Villa Dining- Miles of untouched beach front, the longest and least developed in Phuket- An array of local activities and excursions are availableWeddings at SALA PhuketMarriage is an occasion that should be cherished always. A variety of locations for your ceremony are available, from golden sand beach stretches, lush green lawn expanses or an intimate sunset rooftop vantage. Our personal, intuitive staff will ensure your special occasion receives the attention it deserves. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sala Phuket Resort And Spa
- Sala Phuket Mai Khao
- Sala Phuket Hotel Mai Khao
- SALA Phuket Resort & Spa Mai Khao