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“Nice stay, not fantastic!”

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Centara Karon Resort Phuket
Ranked #18 of 135 Hotels in Karon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 17, 2009

I had been looking forward to this hoilday for months. Imagine arriving after a flight to Phuket via Singapore from London only to be told the room you paid from was not available and they had no record of it. We booked a pool cabana and were told they were fully booked and then offered the premier honeymoon suite. After a lot of hassle we were eventually told we could move into the cabana 3 days later, originally they said a week. Not what we wanted to hear but 3 days is better than a week. It was Easter at the time and then Songkran so I think here is where the problem had started. I informed our travel agent who did liase with the hotel.
The hotel was full. It was hard to get a bed at the pool. Beds had been reserved even though there are signs telling you this is not allowed but it still goes on. We complained but all we were told is to complain to management. They didn't seem interested. So rather than get up everyday to get a bed we went to Kata Noi beach on our hired motorbike. It was a lovely beach and not busy at all.
The honeymoon suite was situated in the terraces. All I can say if it was our honeymoon we would have had a divorce!!! A nice room but not if it was your honeymoon.
We didn't unpack for 3 days and we could not relax and enjoy our holiday. Eventually we moved into the cabana and what a difference. We are so glad we stayed there as I prefered the location of the cabanas and the rooms were far superior. They were an oasis of tranquility and I highly recommend them.
Staff were very pleasant. One day my partner left the keys in our motorbike. A security guard noticed took them out and left us a note to say he had them . You can't imagine how grateful we were.
Breakfast was ok usual hotel breakfast we didn't eat any other meals at the hotel so can't comment. We ate dinner at he Red Onion which was about a 5 minute walk from the hotel.The food is traditional Thai and just fantastic and so reasonable. We tried 1 or 2 other places but just kept coming back to this restaurant. It was always busy here.
After the initial hiccup our holiday was fine. I think if I went back I would stay in Kata it had more of a village feel where as Karon was a bit more spread out.
It was my 1st visit to Phuket having been many times to Samui and we felt it would be a change. Would I go back to Phuket? Probably not I missed the feel of an island. I didn't think Phuket would be so big I could have been on the mainland. Also when staying in Samui the hotel was on the beach and I missed that in Phuket.
I'm glad I visited but won't be rushing back

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Bopa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 13, 2009

Booked trip last minute due to long awaited trip to mexico cancelled.Holiday last minute but far from disapointing . Upgraded room to superior ocean view when booking and view was amazing.Service always comes with a smile.Breakfast choice caters for all.Located within easy reach of beach,bars restaurants and shops.Fantasea show worth paying to go and see and scuba diving trips njoyed by hubby.Beware if a wine drinker expensive wherever you go but food and local beer lovely.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank anderson48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2009

I have been to the far east many times and have always booked good quality hotels
We booked this hotel through an agent in the far east, We read many reviews in the UK which we thought were contradicting so took advice from my agent who said it was a good hotel ??
I booked a Deluxe Lagoon Room, sounds fantastic, unfortunately not, on entering the room we could smell a damp musty smell, the bed was so hard we have slept on softer floors, the matress topper was non existent, on removal of the pillow cases the pillows where brown discoloured and had this stink about them, (use your own imagination) and last of all the air conditioning sounded like working in a ships engine room, and we used a towel to soak up condensation from the air con, on the floor.
TV reception was a snow storm
Overall i would give this room a two star
Next morning i sent a letter to the manager who appologised and was promptly shown another room, an upgrade free of charge as an appology
This room was a lot better, This was a superior deluxe room,
The maid used a duvet as a matress topper, and gave usnew pillows the air con was fine and tv good
We thought we had things sorted, Oh no !, construction started, refitting steel balcony rails, welding and grinding above our room, health and safety non existent men welding without gloves and welding masks, working in flip flops, sparks showering down on people, this went on for 6 days
No wonder they can build anything so cheap as life is cheap !
I have taken many photos and are going to seek compensation even if i get a free week or two accomodation, this would be enough,
The hotel has lots of potential but needs upgrading, the pools are good, poolside bar and snack bar employees need praise as they are always tring to please.
Many que for the buffet breakfast on the morning, so they find it hard to cope, a bit under staffed.
Lots of people complaints about this hotel
May be give it a 3 star

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank markd2k11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2009

Absolutely loved the Centara and wouldnt hesitate to recommend to friends!!

Be aware that there is currently a building site in close vicinity and the noise sometimes woke us up early in the morning or even during the night but you could request a room away from this area if you find it bothers you and it wasnt enough of a problem to affect our stay too much.

Hotel itself we found to be a quiet pretty tropical oasis in the centre of Karon Town.
Bars, shops and restaurants surround the hotels resort grounds so you're never far from what you need.
Whilst not on the beach, it is within a 5 min walk past the main street of shops, bars and restaurants and we preffered the pool's in the hotel on relaxation days anyway as they were so peaceful.
The sea current on Karon Beach is quite strong and the beach itself, although large with ultra soft powdery sand, sometimes seemed slightly grubby with rubbish left by other tourists which was a shame.

Staff friendly and helpful and hotel facilities were well run and maintained. There are 3 or 4 pools serving the different accomodations areas but you can use any and they all have pool bars and plenty of sun loungers including pool towels.

Our room was in the high rise terrace block and it was modern and comfortable and of a good size. The maids kept it spotless throughout our stay.
The only quibble would be that the shower was quite hard to operate - it was a little eratic with its hot and cold output but we didnt mind the cold showers after a long hot day in the sunshine, and the water pressure was a little poor.

The onsite restaurant food was superb, as was room service.
You dont pay cash for food and drink on site but rather assign them to your room and settle the bill as you please or on departure.
The breakfast buffet was fine, we never had an issue with the temperature of food or availabilty of it as others have mentioned, we were always down for breakfast by 10.15am (they stop serving at 10.30am).
I even got a birthday cake left in my room on my birthday from the staff, I hadnt mentioned my birthday so they must have taken this information from our check in details... very thoughtful and very tasty!

The hotel bar is a nice, relaxed place for a cocktail in the evening and they also show sport for the men out there who dont like to miss out.

The Cenvaree spa is well worth a visit as well, so tranquil and relaxing with professional staff and excellent massages.

All in all we loved our time at Centara and would definately return... I didnt want to leave.

Remember that a small tip for the bell boys, room cleaners etc goes a long way...
Also bartering with prices is a must. You cant do this in main stores where items are pre priced but in markets and other smaller shops then haggle well. For example a dress in one store was quoted at 1000 baht but soon reduced to 500 baht once we seemed less interested...also barter with tuk tuk drivers and taxis.

Karon itself was a great base to explore from, its close to Kata and Patong by taxi or tuk tuk and there is a local bus which takes you to Phuket Town. We took two day speedboat trips to Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay with a company recommended on trip advisor (Simba Sea Tours, see seperate review) and an afternoon safari and elephant trek with Siam Safari - all of which were excellent and both companies highly recommended.
We also saw Phantasea evening show which we really enjoyed.

In Karon itself you will experience lots of local vendors asking you want a suit, tuk tuk, taxi or massage but a smile and a no thanks seemed to be enough at the times you are not interested.

However the suit sellers can be a little more pushy and try to engage you in conversation to draw you into their store. We did actually want to buy a suit while there but were intially put off by their pushiness.

A small tip was that we found out there are only a few genuine thai tailors in Karon (the thai tailors will never be outside their stores touting business, you go to them if you want something) and so we sought out one of these on a recommendation from a fellow hotel guest as we wanted genuine quality, a good price and better more relaxed service. We used CRYSTAL tailors on the main road and would recommend them.
They have set prices dependant on the material you choose but the prices were reasonable compared to some of those quoted by the other vendors and the quality good.

Cant wait to return to Thailand one day...

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank SharonBLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2009

Just got back from a 10 day stay at the Centara with our 3 Children 11,9 & 2. Upon arriving at the resort our room was not ready either. We stayed at the Lagoon family room which we found was probably the best room for a family. The rooms are clean although a little outdated (bathroom in particular). We didn't enjoying showering in the yellow water that was coming out of the taps either.
We did eat a few times in the resort which was nice but overpriced compared to outside the resort. We had our first meal directly outside the resort at the Irish pub called Angus O'Tools, The food was terrible although I will say the drinks were icy cold. Had some lovely thai meals just outside the resort at a Thai restaurant called Papaya. Overall we found the western food was very overpriced and not of good quality.
Went into the kids club a couple of times with my children and found kids where walking in and out freely and the one staff member that was rostered on had no idea who was signed in and who wasn't. A little bit slap happy for me.
Overall we did have a nice time but for our next family holiday we will be looking elsewhere for our next trip.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank CazzCentralCoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2009

Just got back from 10 day stay at the centara.
was very pleasant stay and would certainly recommend it.

we arrived after long flight and were given drinks while they made up our room. That took just over half an hour which wasn't great. When you have just flown half way round the world 30 mins seems a hell of a lot longer. (bad start).

The room was excellent. We stayed in the cabana. It had 2 big double beds, plenty of space, cable tv, kettle,mini fridge and a very powerful shower which was brilliant.
The cabana was brilliant to cool off and i spent many hours just sitting in it relaxing and reading, very peaceful, plus in the cabana you get 2 free cocktails. just don't have the melon one! my god! that was awful, like a drain blew out into it. not sure what that means but it was bad. have a mai tai or a pina colada......nice.......anyway...

Breakfast was really good, a big selection of all the usual things (cereal,pastries,bacon.juice,fruits)plus a suprise or two. The freshly cooked pancakes
were great!
We had room service quite a bit and it was a decent price and really delicious.
For evening meals i would suggest going out of the hotel because the prices are much better and there are many nice places to eat within a few hundred metres. The hotel right on the doorstep has an excellent menu and we wished we found it earlier.
There are a few 7-11 type shops around which were really useful for getting cold drinks for the fridge or whatever.

We had the same thing at checkout as the review below. Not as bad but we paid our bill the night before we left so there wouldnt be any problem the next morning. all done.
However, next morning a couple of things showed up from the mini fridge that hadnt showed up the night before. A pain to argue over when you are expecting your airport transfer any minute.

Other than that this hotel was brilliant, the pools were excellent, never saw any problems over seating or towels. dont know where people are getting that from.
Just a really relaxing base to explore a little of the island.
would certainly recommend the hotel and also the elephant trek trip.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Randy_marsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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Additional Information about 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
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Karon
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Karon
#11 Spa Hotel in Karon
#15 Family Hotel in Karon
#17 Luxury Hotel in Karon
#18 Romantic Hotel in Karon
Price Range: $33 - $235 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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