On the way back from London we stopped off in Thailand for some much needed sun and spent four nights at The Sands. (We've stayed at Katathani several times and wanted to try something different and a bit quieter).
Overall, it was hard to find too many faults with the Sands - while not as established at Katathani, everything is almost brand new
- Excellent sense of space and really a tranquil place to relax.
- Rooms are fresh and very comfortable. Kind of a tropical feel throughout. We paid extra to stay in a "Junior Seaside Suite".
- Bathroom great, and can separate it off. Massive, deep bathtup.
- Great little work space behind the bed too, so did some work and connected to the Wi-Fi for free.
- The food at the two restaurants are excellent. We spent quite a few nights dining on Seafood at the "Talay" restaurant (Rock lobster!) and loved the floating market boats that served Soup as part of breakfast buffet.
- Staff were well trained (especially for a new hotel) - while they aren't quite as formal as at the Shore, we were pretty impressed
- The Main Pool - it is really tranquil - and if you are lucky enough to get a day with some rain (and yes I say lucky because the weather was excellent most of the time) there is nothing more beautiful than swimming in the tropical heat with a gentle rain. Very romantic.
- The beach is solid, much nicer than Patong (and nicer than Kata as well). Reminded a little bit of Malaysia which is quieter than the crowds in central Phuket.
- in house Massages were reasoably priced for a nice hotel spa. We always prefer to spend a little bit more and get a massage in a hotel spa than risk somewhere on the main street (to save $5). There is actually a spa in the open air near the beach which is worth trying.
- location is perfect - Khoa Lak is a much quieter option than Patong but has lots of restaurants only a few minutes from the hotel. We tended to rotate and eat one night in, one night out, but good to have more options.
Tip: Make sure you arrange a transfer BEFORE you arrive. It costs a little more but you don't want the hassle of having to wade through crowds at Phuket airport. The hotel should be able to arrange for you.
- The resort is new, so some the palm trees / landscaping hasn't been fully grown, didn't really bother us but it's probably a few months from being all done.
- Sometimes, the staff may get a little confused if you make complicated changes to the menu items (eg Add this, substitute that, can you do it this way), but we found that once we said it slower, and they repeated the order, all was fine.
- If you are into partying, this isn't the place for you. Stick to Patong. Suited us though.
- The gym was good, but if you're a real junkie (like my husband), you might want a few more free weights. It's fine if you're using treadmill/bike etc.
If you intend to relax, enjoy great food, have a great beach location, good mix of relaxed people, and not intending to party like Patong, then would definitely recommend this as a good 'week away' kind of place. While not a six star resort, it's super solid and great value for money (and we'll be coming back on our next trip through).