My wife and myself flew from Gatwick on the Dreamliner with a premier upgrade in early Feb. We were disappointed with the flight as the aircraft had been given such a talk up. The seat were ok but my wife was in the middle seat and to get out she had to climb over the wide and tall armrest that held the TV and the dinner table. Also this made sleeping difficult - particularly as they turned the light off for most of the flight. We would not bother with an upgrade if we travelled by the Dreamliner - not worth the extreme cost.
Passage through the airport at Puket was smooth and the one hour taxi ride was worth the cost.
Reception at the hotel was smooth and efficient. The room was spacious and well appointed except for the fact that there was not much drawer space. We always put most of our clothes on thin metal coat hangers so we simply hung almost all of our clothes up. As for the general layout of the hotel it was in the main excellent. However, much to our surprise it was hilly. There were steps down from our floor (we were not that high up) and to get to the beach you need to go down a steep hill that also has concrete steps. Therefore if you are less mobile be aware.
As for the main dining room the service was good and the food well prepared with plenty of variety. The lunch meal was down on the beach in the Veranda Bar area. Out of all the meals we enjoyed lunch the most. In the evenings the dinner rotated between the main dining room and the Veranda Bar area. There were themed nights and performances by local dancers. All in all the meal experience was excellent. All the bars were excellent and being all-inclusive we made good use of them.
As for the beach area we really enjoyed our daily walks along what was a lovely beach and unlike many other places we have travelled to there was no hassle from local hawkers. Also there were plenty of sunbeds but the umbrellas were less than perfect (a bit small). However, those who wanted shade were able to find it. There were no sunbeds allowed on any of the beaches.
Turning now to the staff I have absolutely no complaints. They were all helpful, cheerful and most courteous. Nothing was too much for them. Also the Manager was present most of the day and evening and was always ready to give advice.
As for the local area there were shops and restaurants within walking distance and it was quite safe to walk around. We also went to the market at Khao Lak - an experience! Part of the market was the usual stuff but a trip to the second part where they sold food etc was a sight to behold!
We went on the speedboat trip to Pi Pi Islands. A very interesting all day trip that was not without its drawbacks. Firstly, they got the pick up times wrong and because of the tides the first island was crowded with about a 1,000 people of all nationalities. As for the boat trip it was not for the faint hearted. The speedboat was very bumpy (as you would expect) so it was not for pregnant ladies or those with disabilities or bad backs! There were other trips but we did not go on them as they were so similar to those we have experienced elsewhere.
As for mosquitoes my wife is normally a mossie magnet but I suppose because of the time of the year she was not bitten at all.
Finally, the trip back through the airport was smooth and without incident. There were a number of outlets after going through security. The flight out was 11 hours but the flight back to the UK was 13 hours (headwind).