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“Gorgeous beachfront, sewer-smelling rooms and bad service”

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Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
Ranked #11 of 137 Hotels in Karon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 7, 2013

I'll start by saying that I am a Diamond member with Hyatt, and stay more than 50 nights a year in a hotel, so I am a relatively experienced traveler and have a decent reference point with which to judge hotels. I chose to stay at Le Meridien in Phuket with Gold status because Starwood offered a better location than Hyatt. I stayed 5 nights to celebrate an anniversary.

Like others here, I'll recount the good, bad, and ugly to help you really read into the #10 ranking for this hotel. For reference, I most value the hotel's physical location, rooms, and service.

Good:
1) Stunning beachfront location from which you can see the sun set! Quiet, private, and quite a treat compared to the crowds and pace in nearby Karon or Patong.

2) Lots of resort activities available - I took a Thai boxing class one morning, played squash another day. It never felt overbooked. There is also a clinic on site in case you get sick.

3) The resident baby elephant that walks the beach twice a day to brighten up moods!

Now the Bad:
1) No beachfront food / beverage service --- it is self-serve from a few huts.

2) Food quality was lacklustre - we ate at all the restaurants during our 5 day stay. If you ordered fish, that's it --- you just got fish... without the embellishment and flavor you would expect out of finer hotel restaurants. Food was priced like other nicer hotels, so I was expecting more, especially when you can have a much cheaper meal outside of hotel doors.

3) I was put in an adjoining room, despite having previously requested a non-adjoining one. Our neighbors came back from partying in Patong at 4am one night and kept us up until 6am.

4) hotel felt overstaffed, yet service felt lacking -- lots of servers walking back and forth and immediately there to ask you what you need, but it never felt relaxing --- just rushed. In a nice restaurant, service feels attentive, but mostly invisible when things appear and disappear at the table, allowing the diners to focus on each other. In contrast at Le Med, they asked me several times whether I was done with my dinner as soon as I took a pause to digest. A better trained restaurant would know to look for the "signal" - fork and knife at 4 o'clock on the plate - and not approach the table before that unless they are asking how we are enjoying our meal. We felt our conversation interrupted repeatedly. Another example is the way they bring you the check in the morning as soon as they've brought you your breakfast... when there are plenty of open tables. This feels like you're rushing the customer. My final peeve is the way the staff will ignore you if you approach them --- unless you directly call for their attention. It might be cultural, but it doesn't work well in a western hotel. Another example -- we heard housekeeping break a glass in the hallway, and an hour later as we were leaving our room there were still large shards sitting out with no staff in sight. Very dangerous when you have children running around. I alerted the front desk on our way out.

The Ugly:
1) Our room smelled like a sewer... so bad that I complained about it on several occasions. The first time, they sent housekeeping --- who just said it smelled "fine." I knew we weren't imagining it since the strong odor hit us every time we returned to the room, and in looking at other reviews, others had similar experiences. When I complained to the front desk again, they said that all the other rooms were booked. On a third try, they finally sent a candle diffuser --- which lasted about 15 minutes, and did nothing to mask the smell. We just tried to keep our deck door open, but at night this let in all the flies. This caused us to stay out of our room as much as possible, but I was mostly appalled they would even consider this room usable for a guest. This experience was exacerbated by point 2:

2) The staff speaks limited to no English, and vary in professionalism. I had a lot of trouble getting the phone service to understand that I was complaining about the smell in my room; so much so that I finally gave up. I asked the beach towel attendant where the Lobby was on the first day, and he could not understand me. By day 4, I memorized the few staff who had English proficiency at the front desk, and approached them directly for questions.

In short, I was very disappointed with my room and my experience with the staff at Le Meridien, and am not convinced there is any reason to bring my business to SPG. It wouldn't have been unbearable had we not gotten such a terrible smelling room as you could limit your interaction with the staff by eating elsewhere, but this hotel really needs to reconsider its room quality and service level to bring it to what I would expect from a Le Meridien class hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank NYCInMindSFAtHeart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2013

Dear "NYCInMindSFAtHeart"

We are pleased to know that you liked our secluded location –only accessible through our private road- on Phuket, with so far no Hyatt. Beach service is limited as all beaches in Thailand are public and the deal made with the locals –who run the two beach bars- is not to solicit food and beverage on the beach. However when orders are placed in our venues, we do serve on the beach. We have taken note of your other comments and we were sorry to learn that the food and service did not meet your expectations .Staffing is an issue on Phuket and we were compelled to take on trainees from Thai hotel schools, which might have affected the service and the communication. It is always very valuable for us to understand our guest experiences so that we can continue to review our service offerings. Please be assured that your feedback has been positively taken on board and has been shared with the relevant department managers for necessary action and improvement.
Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconveniences you experienced, we know we could have done better. Thank you once again for taking the time to write your review and we do hope to welcome you back to regain your confidence in our resort.

Kind regards,

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Reviewed January 6, 2013

I recently stayed in Phuket for 7 nights and decided to give Starwood a try as I am a Hilton Diamond (and now Hyatt member due to my Paris Vendome stay). I could have never made a bigger mistake than to switch from the Hilton Phuket to Le Meridien. I went from being treated like a celebrity at the Hilton to being treated like a dirty peasant at Le Meridien. After mentioning I was on Honeymoon, I received 0 upgrade, no free internet, no free breakfast and absolutely no service or recognition. I did see them treating their Platinum members very well, but one would think you would want to make new members turn into Platinum - that is how you gain business I thought (the Hyatt did so very well). Room was ok nothing to brag about, definitely can use remodeling. About the only good feature to save this hotel from failure is its Private Beach. And my suggestion to Mr. Borgesius would be to drop the golf clubs and get back to bringing the Service up to standards and equal for all. You will gain more future business this way, trust me. Maybe pay a visit to the Hyatt Vendome Paris or walk down the block to the Hilton Phuket.

Room Tip: Don't waste your time on a good room here, its only good for the beach. So stay out of the room...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ttouch00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Almario, Director of Online & Marketing Communications at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2013

Dear Ttouch00

Warm greetings from Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort. I am sorry to learn that you were unhappy with your recent stay during the Christmas peak period. Obviously, benefits and privileges differ based on one’s membership level. Nevertheless we do our utmost to accommodate special requests. I regret that we were unable to provide you with a complimentary upgrade or offer a higher category room instead of what you booked and paid, which was also mentioned in the email correspondance with the resort prior to your arrival. Please do contact me for a game of golf when your travel plans bring you back to Phuket. Thank you for your feedback and we wish you pleasant journeys.

Kind regards,

Rudolf Borgesius
General Manager

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Reviewed January 4, 2013

This was our second hotel in the Phuket area which made the deficiencies at Le Meridien really stand out. Check in was confusing. Low english proficiency of staff. This may be because most guests seemed to be Russian.

Room was ok. Balcony door did not shut squarely and we found many tiny spiders on the desk whenever we looked. Dark colored wood laminate flooring was all scratched up from luggage wheels etc... What were they thinking?. Decent bed, great 2 headed shower, no tub.

The worst thing was the food. Breakfast buffet was good, but other food really hit and miss. Became ill twice, including a hellish flight out after having a final meal upon check out.

Great beach but large waves. Monstrous pool but much was 2 metres deep so half of it went unused.

Being an SPG member got me nothing.

A bit isolated from other hotels, shopping, restaurants, etc. causing many taxi rides to town and back.

Overall, give it a miss for inconsistency of food.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank zeczeczec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2013

Dear "zeczeczec"


Thank you for your posting your comments on TripAdvisor regarding your stay in September 2012, a green month and indeed with rough seas and not comparable with the present high season. A month when we do have quite a number of Australians and when some F+B offerings are geared to keep the customers in the resort, rather than going to Patong, where one tends to not respect the health and hygiene procedures for which Le Meridien is known, with all its consequences and keeping the resort nurse busy. As for the product, this summer we will continue our renovation programme and finalize the remaining rooms as well as some restaurant areas. We appreciate your time in posting this feedback and look forward to the opportunity of regaining your confidence in our services.


Kind regards,

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

My husband and I stayed in Le Meridien for 2 nights. Generally speaking we find this resort excellent!

We stayed in Deluxe Pool View Room on the top floor with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership. The pool and sea view is good!

We love the private beach as it's clean. We're surprised to see the little elephant on the beach on day! Very cute!

The food is good too. I like the buffet breakfast and panini at la fiamma.

The location is a little bit inconvenient but I guess it's a trade-off when you'd like to enjoy the tranquil private beach. There's shuttle bus to Patong beach. However, when I waited for the bus for a long time at Patong, I realised there're some small words on the shuttle bus schedule card saying that I must make reservation. Well... it's my fault but I guess I'd appreciate a gentle reminder from the hotel. Other than that, I am happy with the stay in Le Meridien. I'll come back if there's chance in future. :)

Room Tip: Deluxe Pool View Room on 6th floor is good. Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership would be helpf...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LauraHoHoHo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2013

Dear "LauraHoHoHo"

Thank you for staying with us and posting a review on TripAdvisor. I'm glad to know you liked our pristine beach and you enjoyed the seclusion it offers. I'm delighted that you and your husband enjoyed our facilities and services. Thanks for your comments on the food at breakfast and the panini at La Fiamma. I have shared this with our F&B Director and his team whom I'm sure received it with great pleasure. We sincerely appreciate your kind comments and appraisal and we'll definitely look forward to your next stay.

Warm regards,

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

I am a butique hotel owner and had 30yrs in tourism business already so, do believe that I am the right person to critique this place. Every one smiles in Thailand;so this is not something special to this place.We were greated with a beautiful smile at the airport,at the hotel lobby and we kept waiting for our room for an hour. We woke up at 5.30am,flew from Bangkok having dreams of a good swimm as soon as possible and here we are waiting for our rooms. We received the keys with no names but only room numbers and went to our rooms. Opened the door,looked at the pool view with a nice balcony and started to un pack. 1/2 hr later,reception is calling us and telling us that there was a mistake and we had to change our room with our friends because WE TOOK their room... It was given to us and since I wrote to the hotel for an upgrade,I thought they did (according to their nice email) Later,front office manager comes to the room. He tells us to go. I told him that I am from the same business and this is their mistake so they have to correct it by upgrating our friends as well. The answer is: 'you will sleep in the garden if you don't because hotel is full'. My husband was really angry with this attitude so he told him to get out. We lost the whole day,no swim,no appology...3days passed,still no appology.
We wanted to speak with the general manager and the last day,we did. Worse is,they all knew what had happened and did nothing.He smiled and said'he(front office manager) works here for 20yrs' This is the answer. He also did say'let me offer you a massage' as we are looking for free things. We only and really waited an apology from the management for this terrible attitude.
Hotel should be renovated,beach facilities are very poor.We had to take our own empty dishes back to the pool restaurant since there is no one to pick them up and also had to go and order food by ourselves .Plastic beach seats,ripped umbrellas and etc.
The only good place is the Thai restaurant in the hotel.Special thanks to the Chef. They were very kind to cook every thing according to my diet since I am gluten and lactose free.He made sure I liked the food and came to our table twice.Thank you chef:-)
My friend who lives in Thailand said that people are trying to support Phuket after the Tsunami and some places are spoiled with this attention.They have their own beach and this specially makes them ignorant with the problems.
There were 2 more families at the lobby arguing about the room situation when we were waiting for the manager.We are not the first and last.Choose another hotel...

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank DortOda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2013

Dear "burburmody"

We were very sorry to learn that you did not enjoy your recent stay with us. I understand that this stemmed from receiving the incorrect room key card from your travel company representative which resulted in you getting your travel companion’s room. I discussed your comments with the Front Office Manager and he clarified that he was explaining your confirmed reservation was for a ‘Garden’ view room. We also regret that you did not enjoy the resort’s venues apart from the Thai restaurant. I apologize for the service lapses you encountered in the pool. We do appreciate your kind feedback with regards to the care given into preparing your food based on your dietary requirements. I am sorry to learn that we were unable to provide you with an enjoyable stay. Thank you for staying with us and we wish you pleasant journeys.

Kind regards,

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

I stayed here with my 14yr old son, for 5nts from 9-14Dec. Booked a Garden view twin but we were upgraded to Pool View Rm on arrival. Would definitely book a Garden or Pool view to get a renovated room - just lovely. Great beds, plenty of space, very clean. Pool view rooms also have brilliant views of the ocean and that gorgeous beach, which is for private use of hotel guests. That's if you can drag yourself away from the pool! Even though we were there in December, the pool was never crowded. Plenty of pool mats to just float around on for hours. We also had lunch by the pool (Burger and a BLT, THB329 / AUD10.00 each) and thought both the food and the service was excellent. Buy your cocktails from the hut on the beach for THB150 (AUD5.00), and go for a 1hr massage in the hut at the end of the beach for THB500 (AUD15.00).
You can also get massages for THB400 by just walking up the road that leads down to the hotel entrance. Small row of shops and massage spots there, including a small supermarket with some basics like toiletries and snacks, if you don't want to venture into town. If you do - go to BIG C supermarket in Jungcylon Shopping Centre to buy necessities. Very cheap. (See traveller tip for how to get there). Would also recommend shopping at night when it's not so hot. And for goodness sakes BARTER! The shop owners expect it, and will quote outrageous prices to start the bartering. They'll come down a lot if you barter with a smile on your face. It helps to know what you should be paying, so check out cathyandgarystravelpages.com for absolutely everything you need to know about Phuket, including an excellent shopping guide with appropriate prices to pay for the usual purchases.
Back to Le Meridien, I do have to say that, apart from the 'pool service lunch', the food was really ordinary. I know buffets are hard to get right but this needs some work. We didn't eat in the a la carte restaurants though, and these looked a lot more up market, so the food may be better there. We found the staff to be incredibly helpful and friendly everywhere within the property, and could not fault the service. The staff on the front desk even helped me chase down a tailor on the day we were leaving to ensure I received my parcel before departure. We also took advantage of the free activities like Archery and giant chess. There are many more including some gorgeous tennis courts, if you don't mind the heat.
I would definitely recommend this property and will stay here again if we go back to Phuket.

Room Tip: If there's only one or two of you, use the shuttle bus to get from the hotel into Patong and bac...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank lyndad747
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Dear "lyndad747"

Warm greetings from Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort.

I am delighted to know that you liked your stay in one of our Pool View rooms and
that you found it to be spacious. I am also happy to know that you enjoyed the recreational activities in the resort and we are truly grateful for your appreciation on our facilities and services. Thank you for your time in writing and sharing your experience. We will definitely
look forward to welcoming you and your family back in the resort.

Best regards,

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

The resort is lovely, great swimming pools (especially for swimming lengths) and nice beach with beach bars for lunch or evening drink. The selection of restaurants is great (Thai, Italian, Buffet, Japanese and Western). The spa facilities are good quality and reasonably priced. There is free wireless Internet in the communal areas and the rooms are clean, good size and more than adequate. The hotel will arrange airport pick ups at reasonable cost. The staff are very friendly and helpful. You can book day tours from the hotel including scuba diving.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GlobeTrotterSing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jehan_Suanico, Marketing Communications Specialist at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Dear "GlobeTrotterSing"

Thank you for choosing to stay with us and posting a review on TripAdvisor. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your recent stay with us. We certainly do our utmost to exceed guests' expectations and we are glad that it has been achieved again this time. We are also happy that you enjoyed the secluded beach and many of our dining venues. Thank you once again for your kind comments and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Best regards,

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Additional Information about Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort

Address: 29 Soi Karon Nui | Karon, Muang, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Karon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Karon
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Karon
#5 Spa Hotel in Karon
#5 Family Hotel in Karon
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Karon
#10 Luxury Hotel in Karon
#14 Romantic Hotel in Karon
Price Range: $88 - $1,049 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 470
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort is located on a lush cove on Phuket’s southwestern coast with a secluded 500-metre pristine white-sand beach. One of very few hotels on Phuket where guests can enjoy a tranquil secluded beach right next to the hotel without the need to cross a street or walk some distance. Le Meridien Phuket Beach offers 470 renovated rooms and suites. Enjoy a complete range of sports and recreational facilities with two oversized tropical swimming pools, shaded kids pool, lap pool, 6 tennis courts, 2 air-conditioned squash courts, 9-hole mini-golf, basketball court, and a dedicated on-site LM Family Kids Club (04-12 yrs) offering fun, creative, and educational programmes. All non-motorised watersports at the Resort are free for guests. Le Spa, awarded 'Amazing Resort Spa' at the 2013 Thailand Spa and Well-Being Awards, offers pampering treatments and luxurious programmes designed to rejuvinate and refresh the senses.There are 10 restaurants and bars offering the world's more popular cuisines. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort is only 5kms away from Patong and Karon, Phuket's main entertainment and shopping districts and is a 90-minute drive from Phuket International Airport and 5 kms from the shopping and entertainment district of Patong. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Hotel Karon
Le Meridien Karon
Meridien Phuket Beach Hotel
Phuket Le Meridien
Le Meridian Phuket
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort Karon

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