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“Centara Karon Resort--OK, but some problems”

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Centara Karon Resort Phuket
Ranked #17 of 134 Hotels in Karon
Certificate of Excellence
Level 5 Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Centara Karon Resort--OK, but some problems”
Reviewed April 29, 2009

Had a very pleasant 4-night stay at this hotel -- until check-out. That was when the cashier said to me that she had been advised by the maid staff that there was an umbrella missing from my room. I thought this was an odd comment given that the only umbrellas in my room were the two we had brought ourselves.

I immediately argued, saying there never was an umbrella in the room. To which the cashier replied: The supervisor inspects each room before a party checks in to ensure everything is there. To which I replied, in an increasingly loud tone: There was no umbrella in the room when we checked in, and we brought our own anyway!!!

The cashier finally said, "OK," and that was that.

So basically, I would say that since I am not the only one who has had these problems at check-out (read some of the other reviews), this hotel is not very smart. When you have a problem at check-out, that becomes your lasting memory of the hotel. So we left angry.

Of course, this is typical of how many Thais do business: When the economy is in shambles and street protests and riots scare away tourists, the natural reaction is to try to extract more money out of those who do visit. I would think the cashier was not thrilled that not only had I gotten a great deal with an online booking service, but I did not spend a single baht at the hotel on the overpriced food or beverages. So why not try to get some cash by accusing me of stealing or losing an umbrella?

But all was not bad...

I think the most important thing to understand about this hotel is that it is not 5-star, and maybe not even a clear 4-star. Some parts are 3 star, others 4 star.

Another thing is, I think the level to which you enjoy the hotel depends a great deal on how much you paid. Like I said, I got a terrific low-season bargain on the Internet. So I was generally pleased. But if I had paid a high-season rate, I would have been very disappointed.

ROOMS: Stayed in a Lagoon deluxe. Good size room, good size bathroom, very clean, good lighting, spacious balcony overlooking the pool . My only complaint would be the furnishings were very old and worn. So again, if I had paid top dollar in high season, I would have been disappointed.

POOLS: No reason at all to complain one bit about the three lovely pools. The Lagoon pool was ideal for kids and seemed to be the most popular pool overall. But our favorite by far was the Tropicale pool. This was the largest pool and had the fewest people. Really lovely. And just a one-minute walk from the Lagoon area. Did not hang out at the Terrace pool but had a peek. Seemed OK, but not nearly as nice as the Tropicale.

BREAKFAST: Very mixed bag here. It's a large buffet in a large and nice restaurant. The food itself was very good, with a nice selection of the usual fare, both Thai and Western. Good selection of breads and pastries. Would have been nice to see a bit more focus on the fresh fruit. The pineapple was not very good, which is hard to believe considering you are on Phuket.

A major complaint was that the restaurant was VERY hot -- especially if you sit in the main part in the middle, away from the sides. So be prepared to sweat while eating. They had some ceiling fans on very low speed which did practically nothing. And no air conditioning as the room is open on the sides.

Much has been written about the wait to get a table at breakfast, and it is all true. I was there in low season, and had to wait three of the four mornings. I can only imagine what goes on during high season. I would imagine some people wait for a pretty long time. What was most disturbing, though, was that there really was no reason to wait. There were plenty of empty tables, but they were not being turned around fast enough. It was very obvious. Also, they have one hostess who has to 1) check the party in (what is your room number? how many people?), 2) scout out the open tables, and 3) bring the party to the table. There should be more than one person doing this.

STAFF: Overall, very nice, though not extraordinary. The room cleaning staff were very good. Our room was cleaned while we ate breakfast.

LOCATION: Pretty decent. Plenty of restaurants and convenience stores just outside the hotel. Five minutes from the beach. But the beach is nothing special, so we spent all our time at the pools, which was more than fine.

So, overall, we were satisfied but had to deduct some points for the way we were accused of stealing/losing an imaginary umbrella.

I'd recommend for couples as well as families -- but only if you get a good deal on the Internet.

5 Thank Erniecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
1,790 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2,155 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2009

This is a three star resort style hotel in Karon set about 5 minutes walk from the beach. It’s a reasonably priced hotel, Karon has a wonderful stretch of beach, a lively small resort a few miles from Patong. The hotel is a mixture of different styles with high rise blocks, cabanas to mid size white painted terraces that you would see in many Mediterranean holiday destinations.

We stayed in the family deluxe rooms. Check in was drawn out, although we arrived in the afternoon, our room was not yet ready and the staff were reluctant to tell us this. This meant we had to hang about for over a hour, and the welcome drink was as bad as it looked served on a strangely shaped glass. Next time just hand out plain boring Orange juice.

Once we went into the room, the size and amenities were as expected for this type of a hotel. It was a large room for a family unit. The downside was the rather drab colour scheme and the use of black. We are in family rooms in Phuket, how about some bright colours to add some wow.

The pool area was very nice, plenty of activities for the children. There was a swim up bar. There would be sun loungers available in the afternoon, although you would need to get your towels on them early in the morning. There was another large pool in the hotel, but we did not use that much. They had a kids club but we did not use it.

They also have a very good spa and a range of treatments that are reasonable price. Keep a look out for the deals of the day. In fact the spa was a highlight for my wife.

As I have said the resort did look a bit too much like those Mediterranean hotels, you almost forget that you are in Phuket although the Big Buddha on the mountain is visible from the hotel. Its only when you walk around the gardens and see the varied flora you realise you are in the Far East.

The hotel is popular with Scandinavians, although on our visit there was a mixture of Brits, Australians, French and Germans as well. I felt that the Hotel could have done more to mix the guests up. Although the hotel listed plenty of activities I always wondered where they were taking place. In our part of the pool there would be Aerobics and Volleyball only. There needed to be more cajoling done by pool staff to get the kids to play together I felt. They kids club staff could definitely done more to recruit the kids out by the pool. I have seen it done in other hotels. I remember seeing a dressed up kids character once coming to the pool area, shaking hands with the children and then disappearing. Never saw him again and none of the staff mentioned where he came from or use the occasion to get the children to kids club.

Breakfast was excellent. We ate in two locations and considering this is a three star hotel, the quality and range was almost 5 star levels. The croissants were of good, fresh quality, there were freshly cooked omelettes, and fresh fruit. The only downside was that the juices felt slightly diluted and I would like more potatoes such as Hash Browns regularly than something like mashed potatoes which we got some mornings.

The hotel also does themed buffets several times a week. On our first day there, it was Italian night, which did lead the head of food to joke that ‘you came all the way to Thailand to have a pizza.’ The buffet meals would be accompanied by a cabaret show. We tried the Thai night and saw the Thai dance show. You do not have to eat the meal to see the show, but unlike many other hotels I felt the show was on a bit too early at 8:00 pm.

Although Karon is more subdued than nearby Patong, there is enough liveliness. There are bars, restaurants, 7-11s, dentists, Thai massage shops, market stalls, and internet cafes. The hotel provides regular one way shuttles to Patong at 100 Baht per person.

Overall I found the hotel to be a decent resort hotel. It may be a three star but it sets it sights high. Good food, good price, good accommodation but it could be better in some areas, such as brightening up the hotel. Also although the bell boys were friendly I found the other staff to be rather distant and at odds with the welcoming image of Thai hotel staff.

It may be more to do with management issues, I could not help noting that Centara executive managers were Europeans (The hotel has a newsletter of the Centara group and I did not see any Thai in high positions in their resort hotels) that may have something to do with it.

We wanted late checkout for our final day and the reception wanted us to pay the day rate. We reminded them that we had to wait to check in so they extended check out for us for two hours for free.

However the one major surprise I did have was an attempt to sneak in some extra charges at the end of my stay. The hotel delivers two glass bottles to the room per day. Not sure why it’s not plastic bottles. If the empty glass bottles are not there the next day, they give you a small fine which I discovered when I got the interim bill on my final night. It was only a couple of Baht so it was no big deal. Not sure where our missing bottle went. But that was not the problem.

However upon checkout the receptionist wanted to charge us an extra £40.00 because they said we damaged the bed sheets and presented the evidence. It seems our youngest child whilst doodling on his sketch pad left some pen marks, something that would be washed out rather easily. But no they wanted £40.00 for one white sheet for a double bed with a few pen marks that I could buy for few pounds in any supermarket in the UK.

What upset us more that although this damage happened in the middle of our stay and picked up by the maids, they did not list it in the interim bill but kept it back until we checked out. I would say it was sneaky and I will deduct one star from my final ratings for this.

My wife was not impressed and informed reception that one of the sheets when we checked in had burn marks. Did they charge that guest £40.00 for the damage and then re-used the sheets? After a little bit of negotiation the bill was reduced to £10.00. In all our travels it’s the first time we have encountered something like this and obviously far from pleased. They were hoping we would be in a rush when checking out and would not argue the point. So beware the sneaky maids who snitch on the guests.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
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5 Thank PrestonGuild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2009

Great hotel for the price. Very well laid out with a sit out with good views of the sea. Rooms are very spacious including the bathrooms. Very good service overall. Had 2 swimming pools and and well planned.

Spa was very good and one of the best treatments we have had. Will definitely return to this hotel.

  • Stayed June 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1 Thank DDDD4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2009

We went to Phuket last week with our parents who are in their fifties. Although my husband and I are not very fussy travellers, we like to be comfortable and feel somewhat pampered. With the parents around, we were very nervous about our choice of hotel and did lots of research before picking a place.
Centara Karon did not disappoint us at all! We reached very late at night, around midnight . I must admit that the check in was average- especially that late at night, its a hassle to give all passports (we were 7 of us travelling) for copies, plus credit cards etc. We were tired and hungry but there was no food at the hotel, room service closes at 11pm. We walked across to a restaurant called Mermaid and the food was excellent. In better spirits we returned to the hotel and our luggage was still not sent to the rooms. After a little bit of temper flying around (which I owe to our state of fatigue!), we were taken to our rooms, which were definately better than expected. 2 terrace rooms and 1 lagoon room (which was a little far off).
The next day we asked for a change to a Cabana room which was closer to the 2 terrace rooms. For an extra charge of 30SGD a night which we thought was reasonable for the great room we got! The jacuzzi in the room was a good hangout for the entire family, so it was a good decision. The air con in the cabana room kept konking off, but the technicians were sent immediately to rectify the problem both times.
The beach is not very far but can be a smoldering walk in the afternoon. The spa was full for all the 4 days we were there so we could not get any massages in the hotel, but went instead to a massage parlor called Sukhothai which was very good and clean.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay, very good breakfast and room service. They gave us a complementary cake for my dads birthday. Communicating with the staff can be difficult since they dont understand unfamiliar accents..so keep your patience!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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4 Thank GupAdvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

We went to this hotel for 12 nights with our two children (8 and 10). The reception staff are terrible and everything is a problem - they made us wait just under an hour at check-in due to a mix up with our rooms - they wanted our children to be put in a room 5 doors down from ours and would not budge on this - incredulous!

Service in all restaurants and bars is so poor - lucky to get drinks served together and average wait about 30 mins.

There are inadequate amount of sunbeds around the pools which leads to alot of arguments between guests that have reserved them. Quite often had to lay on the floor on just mattresses - not ideal!

Don't be fooled by the term superior room - this seems to be their bog standard low quality room - then there are deluxe and deluxe deluxe - the list is endless - but heard quite a few people complaining about these rooms.

Hotel food at breakfast is also poor quality as was their BBQ night which had very little meat and was impossible to get a drink at.

All in all it is a very inefficient hotel with not great facilities. Nothing for the kids in the evening apart from wandering to the town although equally little to do there apart from the odd bar with a pool table.

Beach is about 5 minute walk down extremely busy road and a roundabout to cross which is not easy with young kids in tow.

Give this hotel a miss.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank jasper1804
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2009

We initially upgraded to a ocean view terrace room prior to going, however, when we arrived, the room was so high with tiny balcony, so we upgraded again to a tropical room with cost an extra £10 each per night (check the price with your travel agent before you go, maybe cheaper). The hotel itself is lovely, breakfast very good, for us british travellers, everything you can think of. Tropical rooms very roomy but the beds are rock hard (I am well travelled and I like a hard bed but these were like sleeping on a slab of concrete, it took me about 5 days to get used to it...) Hotel has 3 pools, we used the terrace pool most days, always beds available as most people only spent a few hours there. The hotel is approx 5 mins walk from the beach through a road full of restaurants and street market traders, after a few days they seem to leave you alone. The beach is one of the best beaches I have seen, including maldives and mauritius, not one stone either on the sand or in the water. fantasic for a daily walk. A lot of places nearby do laundry, we did our whole holidays laundry at the 'travellers rest' which is next door to the hotel for £6! Another top tip for travellers who have never been to Thailand before, wine is very expensive, the government put a load of tax on imported wine to get you to drink the local wine which tastes like vinegar - we ate a few times in the Karon Cafe (head past o'tools bar, o'tools on your left, turn left at the next corner, cafe approx 3rd on the left) this is a lovely restaurant, fillet steak and a litre carafe red italian house wine was approx £30. (litre carafe was 450BHT, approx £9) must be the cheapest place for Red wine anywhere in the area, plus it tasted lovely. Would also recommend the pancake man who stops on the corner after 4pm, it took us a week to pluck up the courage to eat off a street vendor but when we did the pancake was to die for..

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank dawnbPenarth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, England
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2009

We stayed at Cenatara Karon for a week on a winter sun package deal for part of our honeymoon and were mainly very impressed with the hotel.

It is about 1 hour drive from Phuket airport but situated 5 minutes walk from the beach surrounded by restaurants, shops and a very handy supermarket.

The communal areas of the hotel were beautiful, clean and well kept. The staff were mainly very attentive and friendly.

Breakfast was a vast buffet each morning with anything you could ever imagine for breakfast, service was sometimes a little slow but we were never in a rush. We had a complimentary 3 course meal in the restaurant one dinner time and it was pretty average.

Our main dissatisfaction was that we had booked a cabana room as it was our honeymoon, they have a private jacuzzi on the terrace, unfortunately our terrace hardly ever got any sun as it is covered with plants over a ceiling trellace. The jacuzzi was unheated so this made for a fairly uncomfortable use of the jacuzzi twice during our whole stay in Karon. We mainly sat by the Terraces pool on the sunny days. This just made us feel that we had wasted our money on a room that wasnt as we had expected - spending long days lounging in a sun-kissed jacuzzi on our honeymoon.

We had 2 spa treaments each which were excellent, the massages offered outside the hotel are cheaper but the Spa was a beautiful, relaxing part of the resort.

Whilst in Karon the best food we had was actually at a restaurant just around the corner called Papaya, it didnt look much with plastic chairs at the tables but the Thai food was great!

We also went on a Phi Phi boat trip with Simba Sea Tours (found on tripadvisor) which was EXCELLENT!!

Overall we enjoyed our stay but would probably stay elsewhere if we returned, although this is also due to the fact that we would visit another island if we returned just to experience something different.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3 Thank nursey_girl_03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Centara Karon Resort Phuket

Property: Centara Karon Resort Phuket
Address: 502/3 Patak Road | Karon Beach, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand (Formerly Central Karon Beach Resort)
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Karon
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Karon
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Karon
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Karon
#10 Spa Hotel in Karon
#15 Family Hotel in Karon
#16 Luxury Hotel in Karon
#18 Romantic Hotel in Karon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Centara Karon Resort Phuket 4*
Number of rooms: 335
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At the heart of Karon Town, with an abundance of eateries and entertainment options at its doorstep and Karon Beach a short stroll away, the resort is perfectly located to experience the many facets of Phuket. As a destination in its own right, Centara Karon Resort Phuket fulfils every holiday aspiration, from pure bliss at Spa Cenvaree to active holidays and family fun with activities galore, yoga sessions, three swimming pools, waterslides and a kids’ club. This four-star resort, laid out within beautiful gardens backed by green hills, is comprised of four very distinctive residential zones. Couples and small families will find the rooms and Honeymoon Suites at the Terraces a comfortable retreat, and enjoy the option of ocean view or a private outdoor Jacuzzi; while families and groups of friends are spoilt for choice with spacious guestrooms set moments away from the waterslide and games of the Lagoon pool. The generously-sized one- and two-bedroom Cabanas feature a private terrace with a plunge Jacuzzi. As a fun place for families, the resort has a kids’ club with daily activities and three expansive swimming pool areas complete with three children’s pools for the younger ones to splash in, two waterslides and pool games. Pool parties are held regularly, and other activities include tennis and football. The resort also has two restaurants, a sports bar, and three swim-up pool bars A scheduled shuttle service takes guests from the resort to Patong, and Phuket International Airport is reached in less than one hour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Karon Resort Phuket Hotel Karon
Centara Karon Hotel Phuket
Centara Hotel Karon

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