Stayed one night here with wife, 2 kids and mum-in-law for a quick getaway. First and foremost, my wife and I love beaches, which factor heavily into whether or not we like a beach resort overall. And Thistle was a pleasant surprise :)
The sand's a combination of brown and gray, so it's not much to look at but it's pretty fine and quite clean. The water is probably as clear as it can get from the mainland (it's about the same as Langkawi, really).
My older boy (4yrs) absolutely loved it and was building and destroying sand castles for a good hour or so. My younger one (2yrs) was terrified when we told him the many holes in the sand were caused by crabs. I got a free banana boat ride myself, which was cool. The one thing we found REALLY odd, was that there weren't any deck chairs on the beach itself, which made lounging there less comfortable than it could've been. Beach access isn't very clear/easy either - you have to walk through a garden rather than a path. There ARE sand flies on the beach, but for some reason only I got bitten - my wife and kids were fine. It could be because I was sitting still for a long time.
We got a deluxe sea-facing twin room and got an extra bed + breakfast for my mum-in-law for RM70 - 80 extra (don't have my receipt here right now, and I can't remember the exact amount). The room was spacious, clean, very comfortable and has Disney Junior as a selectable channel on TV (I swear, this place is awesome for kids). The mini-bar/fridge was empty but was pretty darn cold (and is big enough to fit 1.5L bottles of drinks), for families with younger kids, you could store loads of yogurt / milk / cheese in here too.
The swimming pool was the highlight of the trip and we spent many hours in it (when we weren't on the beach). It's huge and gets pretty deep in some ends. There's a water slide attached to the main pool as well as another funky twin-slide thing in a separate kids' pool. We had an early dinner by the pool - sandwiches and burgers, which tasted rather good.
There's also a pretty awesome children's play area with a ball pit and plastic slides/toys to play with if its raining outside.
And at night, after the kids had gone to bed, my wife and I had a relaxing time at the 'Cumulus' bar/lounge by the beach. The atmosphere was really nice, they played chillax tunes on the sounds system and the bartedner made a good lime Margarita with ice. There's an adults-only pool there as well, though we had too much clothes on (not sure if they'd let you take a dip after dark).
Now for the bad news.
Breakfast was terrible. The spread was pretty big but looked really unappealing. Went for the 'safe' option of eggs, sausages, hash browns and baked beans - the eggs and sausages were ok, but the baked beans were cold and the hash browns were mushy. Tried the chicken porridge and soup noodles, and they were ok. What really got me, though, were the number of FLIES in the area. I skipped the entire cold-cut / cheese / fruits section because of this. We were also swarmed by flies when eating dinner by the pool the evening before.
Come to think of it, there were flies bugging me at the reception area too when I was checking in. Seriously, this is something they have to sort out.
The other problem with Thistle is that it seems to be a popular venue for corporate/company trips. As a result, you get a pretty large number of people here who looked like they've never seen a beach resort before. Transgressions include large groups of fully clothed people jumping into the pool (literally, wearing long track pants and collared shirts with a company logo emblazoned over them - God knows whether they were cooling off after some outdoor activity and doing their laundry at the same time), people clearing their throats and spitting INTO the pool, people leaving empty sugar/creamer and butter packets on the beach and too many annoying people in their 20s-30s there on "team-building" exercises who smoke at all the entrances and who stare at you as if it's a novelty to be carrying a small child in your arms.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay and will probably come back again, though the bad breakfast, the flies (my God, the flies) and dodgy swimming partners did make the trip less pleasant than it could have been.
ALSO, don't trust Waze if you're using a GPS to get there - it got the location wrong, and I had to call up the hotel for directions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. It is good to hear that there were elements of your stay which you enjoyed and we are very sorry that we let you down in some areas. We are very grateful for your very constructive feedback and these comments will be discussed with the team so that we can make the necessary improvements to our performance.
We sincerely hope that you will return to us in the future and if we can be of any assistance at all, please let us know. Our contact details are located at the top of out Trip Advisor home page.
Once again, thank you very much for this review and we hope to see you again soon.
John & The Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.