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“This place is truly AMAZING” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

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Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   111 Moo 3 Nongthalay, Muang, Nong Thale, Krabi Town 81000, Thailand   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
$100 Resort Credit
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Nong Thale
Certificate of Excellence 2014
NYC, NY
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“This place is truly AMAZING”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2011

This is a truly stunning property in Krabi and quite possibly the best hotel I've ever stayed in as far as accommodation and service. First of all, there are only about 50 villas on the property, all with assigned butlers (they usually share more than one villa, but their service is incredibly personal). This takes a page from the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, the only other hotel that match's RC Phulay Bay in service in my opinion. Any concerns and questions are handled in an efficient and timely manner. Everyone, from the GM to the maids to the guys who give you towels, are there to make your experience one to remember.

The rooms are incredible. We rented two resort pavilion villas, the lowest category of room. It was amazing. The bed is a DOUBLE KING with a huge and beautiful bathroom AND an outdoor bath, shower and lounging area (very private as well). There are also large outdoor porches with some views of the water and great views of the artfully landscaped property. We came with our two children and one room is plenty big.

Not to be missed:
-Espa is very nice. Great lounge area-steamroom, sauna, plunge pool, raw bar.
-Pool is very nice size.
-Sunset drinks at the beach bar.
-Free boat service to Hong Island, a fun day trip-they even send a staff member to take care of you.
-Rent a boat and see all of Krabi's beauty in and out of the water.
-Ley Lay seafood restaurant
-Great Fitness Center
-Baby Elephant at Cocktail hour-the kids loved this.

To be honest, this place is really the ultimate Honeymoon/ Romantic getaway spot. However, they were terrific with our kids, and it is a very kid friendly place.

Nicely, while this place is expensive, you don't nickel and dimed for everything. Most things-like the mini bar and in room espresso maker as well as internet and breakfast are included with the room price.

The only drawback to the place is that there is not a great beach-this is why they have the shuttle to Hong Island-which has a beautiful beach. This is also why I strongly recommend renting a boat and going around Krabi. The scenery is stunning.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 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
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461 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (110)
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Genf
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2011

Phulay Bay is a hidden paradise in Krabi. Despite being close to touristic hot spots you will enjoy a absolutly calm resort given it only has 54 villas placed within a huge nicely designed parc. Truly outstanding is the butler service as your butler will take care of everything. Indeed the big watchout is that you will not have a nice long sandy beach straight at the hotel, but you also have fantastic overviews over the Andeman sea straight from the huge infinity pool. The hotel provides complimantay shuttle service to Hong Island where you need to pay the entrance fee as for every national parc in Thailand. Alternatively take a kayak and 15 minutes to the right comes a nice white sandy beach or rent a longtail boat for the day and go to even more amaying beaches around the islands, so its not a super big miss not to have a beach.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2011

My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Phulay Bay from Jan. 28th - Feb. 4th, with our 9-year old daughter. The pampering began when we arrived at Phuket airport and were collected by a car from the resort (we found this to be faster than waiting for a flight connection to Krabi airport). The luxury van was well-appointed, with a selection of chilled tropical fruit drinks, sodas, water, and snacks, as well as treats and DVDs for our daughter to watch during the drive to the Reserve (under 2 hours and an easy drive).
Upon arrival, we were greeted at the striking, massive entry pavilion (no check-in desk at the Reserve) by Marta, the hotel manager, and introduced to our private butler, JB, a lovely genie / assistant who will ensure all your needs and wishes are addressed. As our bags disappeared, we were whisked away by golf cart through the meticulously landscaped grounds which inspire a zen-like sense of well-being to our beautiful royal villa (#30). The opulent villa made a powerful impression as we entered the tall wooden gates to our own sanctuary: the villa was fronted with a private infinity pool overlooking the shore and stunning views of massive limestone rock formations rising out of the Andaman Sea---truly breathtaking! Inside, the spacious villa offered all the necessary high quality amenities, combined with scale designed to impress: double king-size bed (very comfortable---not too soft, which is sometimes the case at Ritz properties), separate room with oversized bathtub, huge bathroom / relaxation area, with his and her sinks and walk-in closets, plus an outside waterfall shower (a big hit with our daughter) and a quiet stone garden.

The "writing room" accommodated a roll-away bed for our daughter and we all enjoyed the privacy afforded by the sliding screen doors. It was our daughter's birthday and she was greeted with a series of thoughtful surprises: heart-shaped balloons, unique local flavor "signage" wishing her a happy birthday, candles, cookies, chocolates, and other treats. This really made her feel very special, as did JB's numerous treats and surprises each night throughout our stay.

In fact, one of the things we enjoyed most and will always remember about this trip is how we were all made to feel very special throughout our stay. The staff here will consistently do their best to accommodate (even anticipate) your requests. Our butler, JB, was noteworthy in that regard: she was an absolute delight, charming and thoughtful as she seamlessly "made things happen." Warm and friendly service (never intrusive) are the norm at Phulay Bay.

Much of the credit for this must go to General Manager Estelita Sebeto, a vision of loveliness, impeccably attired in her signature flowing dresses, who personifies Ritz Carlton excellence. Estelita radiates warmth and passion for her job, and this enthusiasm is pervasive and palpable throughout the Reserve. She is an exceptionally gracious host. The Executive Chef, Gaetan, is another fine example---he is outgoing, friendly,highly skilled, and will work to accommodate your off-menu requests---our daughter loved the pasta Alfredo.

On the topic of meals, as other reviewers have noted, there are typically two restaurants open each day; we certainly did not feel this was a limitation and enjoyed high quality meals throughout our stay, at the restaurants, poolside, and in-villa. Breakfasts were excellent with a fine selection----the pain au chocolat were particularly good and some of the best we've had anywhere in the world. For a special evening, try the private roof-top dinner under the star-filled sky at Lae Lay: chef will work with you to create your perfect dream meal. It was truly exceptional and very romantic.

Other random thoughts / observations:
- While there is no Kid's Club, per se, the Library has a variety of activities on tap to engage children of various ages; if you're interested, inquire in advance and they can share sample schedules (and you can also arrange for other activities outside of the scheduled events). Our daughter is quite independent and every morning she got up and went to the Library by herself and worked on various projects / crafts. She definitely had a great time and really liked the people (especially JB).
- The fitness center looked quite good, though we never got around to using it
- kayaking from the resort was complimentary and fun
- the longtail boat ride to Hong Island was definitely worth doing; you can see beautiful fish without even needing to snorkel and they will eat the bread (thoughtfully supplied by your butler) right from your hands!
- the swimming pool is large and supported by very helpful staff, with great views of the Andaman Sea
- Ao Nang isn't really worth seeing, unless you feel the need for a franchise hamburger, or a visit to Subway or Swensen's. The shops are generally cheap, frequented by a clientele comprised primarily of denizens of the local bar / surf scene. Not particularly threatening or uncomfortable to visit, but nothing new, either.
- My wife suggested we should return someday, just the two of us, as it is ideally suited to romantic getaways
- This is a wonderful place to visit if you're seeking a romantic getaway and you are comfortable staying primarily on the property (as we were).

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2011

My husband and I travelled to the hotel for our week long honeymoon and were delighted to be greeted personally on arrival by the General Manager and some of her staff. They upgraded us to a Reserve Villa which was simply breathtaking - with the fabulous and incredibly comfortable bed, an indoor and outdoor bath, private plunge pool, and a shower room.

The setting is beautiful with the hotel neatly nestled into the hillside next to the Andaman Sea. Powder white sand and island experiences are only 10 minutes away by a scenic (but bumpy) longtail boat ride. If you want more variety (or crowds!) - the beach village of Ao Nang is a 15 minute drive away (the only reason we did not rate the location as a 5). If you are looking for a private and exclusive romantic place - this is it!

Our butler, Jackie, was amazing. He handled all the details of our trip - including booking drivers for our golf excursions, making all of our restaurant reservations, making sure we had our chocolates at night - and generally ensuring that every whim of ours was taken care of. He carefully observed our preferences and ensured that we didn't have to ask twice for anything. We were personally escorted to our restaurant reservations on the resort as Jackie ensured that the way was clear by guiding us with his flashlight (although we could easily have navigated it ourselves). Our fellow guests described him as a 'genie' as he would often appear just as you were beginning to think of something you wanted.

One note around dining - although the resort has multiple restaurants they are not all open every day. They rotate dining choices - such as seafood buffets etc. depending on the day. There are usually two open / day, although perhaps this was due to the hotel not being completely full? All the food we ate for lunch and dinner was very good.

We have travelled extensively at 5+ star resorts throughout the world and we can honestly say this is the best service we have ever had. A level above what is typically offered at most 5 star resorts. Thank you Phulay Bay!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

I have stayed at several over-the-top hotels, but this one is hands down the best. My wife and I stayed at this facility during our honeymoon tour of Thailand. We were fortunately upgraded to an ocean front suite with a private pool and cabana that overlooks out into the beach - perfect for sunsets.

There is no hotel lobby, but a wooden structure that the hotel managers (yes, managers) and several staff receive you with flowered leis and refreshing drinks in hand. After that you are whisked away via golf cart to your room.

Our bed as actually 2 king sized beds placed end to end. The bed was huge. The triangular throw pillows on the bed were a bit dirty which is why I can't give this hotel an "excellent" rating on cleanliness.

Yes, this resort is pricey, but in hindsight the service made it worthwhile. Case in point....

Our butler, Meow, assigned to our room, made our dive reservations which included transfer to and from the boat. My wife and I were a little taken back by the open air pick up truck that the dive shop used to pick us up. Fortunately the back of the pick up truck had a canopy and that it was a nice beautiful day. We didn't complain about the truck, but our butler caught wind of our reaction and picked us up after our dive with a driver, cold towels, and water. Now that is service!

To top it all off, after our dive we asked the driver to stop by a local restaurant that the butler had recommended. Since we had our butler with us, she recommended certain items at the restaurant that we would never have gotten without her being with us. We took our seafood feast back to the hotel where our butler plated our take-out meal in fine china and silverware in our attached patio. She even had one of her colleagues bring a LED candle light and mosquito repellant for our alfresco take-out meal. She even brought us drinks from out in-room refrigerator for out meal. We barely lifted a finger. Now that is service.

My wife enjoyed the seafood cockles so much from our alfresco take-out meal that she asked the butler to see if anyone was going into town to pick up a dish of cockles from the restaurant for her for lunch the next day. Unfortunately no one was going into town, but our butler managed to get 2 KG of the cockles and had one of the restaurant kitchens on the premises perfectly prepare it for her with Thai chili fish sauce for dipping. Now that is service.

As a step above and beyond, the resort brings in a baby elephant twice a week for guests to take photos with and to feed. The resort provided bananas for the guests to feed to the elephant.

The only drawback to the resort is the restaurant. The variety of the breakfast buffet was mediocre probably due to the small number of guests at the resort. However, the eggs are cooked perfectly per your order. The one MAJOR problem we had about our food was the club sandwich that we ordered pool side. The chicken in the sandwich was so overly cooked that it was harder than rock. For a $18+ club sandwich, you would expect perfection. I've had better prepared club sandwiches at the local deli...at 1/3 the price. Try avoid ordering food poolside. Ironically we met the food and beverage manager at the hotel twice - during check in and at the pool. We wished we could show him the dried out overcooked chicken in the club sandwiche, but he was no where to found at the time. I'll post the photo later.

Overall our stay at this resort was unforgettable (along with the over cooked chicken). I HIGHLY recommend this resort for you and a loved one!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2010

I spent 5 days in this hotel with my significant other.
Our private butler (JB, thank you so much!) and the whole hotel staff made everything to make our stay at Phulay Bay incredible.
We are used to travel a lot in 5star hotels and we are quite picky but Phulay Bay was beyond our expectations.
We got married there and had the most perfect, relaxing, and blissful wedding you can imagine.

+:
- private butler
- very kind and thoughtful staff, takes time to talk and make you feel special
- we got an upgrade
- amazing villas, all very different and large
- good food
- very nice pool and pool bar
- quiet and relaxing, very few kids
- only 54 rooms and the resort is so big that it looks like there are even fewer

-:
- the beach is not very nice for swimming, but with our private pool and the very large form-free pool of the hotel we were perfectly fine
- room service can be improved

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
malta
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2010

Just to be clear, this review is relevant for somebody accustomed and expecting a 5 Star experience so comments should be taken accordingly...

THE GOOD
- As people have commented the service is first class and the personal butler we had catered to our needs beyond our expectations.
- The pool is great, large and maintained well. Nice beds surrounding it, although you have to wake up early.
- Sunsets at bar are breathtaking
- Gym was good with great selection of equipment
- Entrance to reception at hotel is amazing

THE BAD
- Breakfast is not great, in fact some of the food was shocking considering the brand.
- I laughed when another reviewer said they tripped on step at breakfast area, until I tripped and so did my wife.
- Quality issues within beach villa. You could see poor plumbing connections, safe didn't work, and other examples of poor quality control.
- Stubbed my toe several times on the stone walkways. Although visually pleasant, the stone tiles with large spaces and raises caused me to jam my toes and shed blood more than once. Luckily the staff had quick access to first aid (perhaps it happens frequently).
- Beach Villa has almost no seaview
- Guests required to pay for boat trip to nearby Hong Island which has the only decent beach.

THE UGLY
- The resort beach is not swimmable, and staff would tell you this. This makes a beach villa sort of pointless (especially since you also have almost no seaview).
- I really wanted to swim in the sea, so I scrambled over the rocks and foliage of resort to check out the adjacent beach (at high tide you cant walk on sand). I turned around after seeing so much garbage on sand and floating in water it turned me off completely.
- If you turn your head left you see some industrial workings. I asked the staff, and it is a loading area where the local mine dumps ore into ships. Not my idea of Paradise.

FINAL NOTE
When I think of a brand like Ritz Carlton I think of the best that money can buy, and one is paying serious money for this experience. Although the people were wonderful and service exceptional, the location makes no sense to me. When I arrive at a 5 Star beach resort and I'm told I can't swim in the sea, I feel tricked. I learned that all the good beaches are on islands. If I was managing this resort I would supply free boat trips and do everything possible to make sure people get to a real beach quickly. I'd also try to repair the immediate beach for swimming but maybe that is not possible. If you just want to stay in your room and swim in resort pools you will be happy.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

Address: 111 Moo 3 Nongthalay, Muang, Nong Thale, Krabi Town 81000, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Krabi Province > Krabi Town > Nong Thale
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Nong Thale
#2 Romantic Hotel in Nong Thale
#2 Business Hotel in Nong Thale
#2 Luxury Hotel in Nong Thale
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Nong Thale
#4 Family Hotel in Nong Thale
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 54
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Also Known As:
Phulay Bay, a Ritz Carlton Reserve Hotel Nong Thale
Ritz Carlton Krabi
Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve Krabi, Thailand

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