We just returned from a 7 night, 8 day stay at the Renaissance Phuket and cannot rave enough about this property. The staff is sensational, warm and the perfect hosts for a vacation in Phuket. As has been mentioned on hundreds of posts before us, this is the place to stay if you want the Phuket "paradise experience", not if you want night life. There is nothing around this area besides miles of serene beautiful beaches and lovely resorts. This is not Patong (thank God)! At points during our stay we were literally the only people out on the beach and it was heaven. The property itself is very new and decorated in a modern style. We stayed in a pool villa, which I think made all the difference in our experience. I can't comment on the size of a regular room, but I can say that when we return to Phuket we will absolutely book another fabulous pool suite. The room was enormous, as was the bathroom (separate shower and soaking tube large enough for 3!, dual sinks, etc) and was equipped with a quite sizable private plunge pool and deck. This turned out to a be a second honeymoon for us due to the privacy and feel and of the pool suite. We actually honeymooned 5 years ago in Bora Bora and I would argue that our accommodations in Phuket were more luxurious, private and romantic than our bungalow in Bora Bora--that is saying a lot. What really sets this place apart, however, is the staff. I especially need to mention Nancy, who is the head of programming at the Renaissance. I have never met such nice people who seem to genuinely love their jobs. We were treated like royalty the entire time we were there. I happened to celebrate my 31st birthday while we were there as well and the hotel staff made me a cake and all sang Happy Birthday during our dinner in addition to offering a complimentary bottle of champagne for the event.
Now, a few specific tips/comments:
(1) Food/drinks: phenomenal. We never had a bad meal. To echo prior posts here, the cost is higher than you will find in the rest of Thailand, but I did not feel like the value was not there. The portions were huge and the quality fabulous. I live in a big city (Chicago) and the prices were on par with what we would pay for a great dinner out downtown (around 80-150 per couple including wine, tax, tip for dinner). Breakfast is insane and offers an incredible selection at a great value (~$20/person includes all drinks and unlimited buffet, tax/gratuity). This is much better than any hotel brunch we have ever had both in selection and value. Our favorite dinner meals included a Castello Banfi wine dinner that was held at Taikeng (the Thai restaurant), a private Valentine's beach dinner complete with the most insane seafood platter you will ever see, and the Tandoori Buffet. We also immensely enjoyed the Taikeng restaurant for dinner. We were usually so full after breakfast that we didn't each a formal lunch eat day, but did enjoy some food from Sandbar while lounging at the beach. The best part about Sandbar is the happy hour from 5pm-6:30pm each day--buy one, get one free drinks. We didn't discover this until half way through our stay and were sad we didn't realize it earlier! The only downside is we are wine drinkers and the bottles of wine were priced ridiculously high in Thailand (nothing cheaper than $55/bottle at dinner) and were not of fabulous quality for the price (for the most part). Just know this coming in if you are a winos like us. We ended up taking bikes down to the Turtle Village Market and picking up a few bottles (moderately cheaper) to have back in our room to sip on poolside and enjoyed the mixed drinks at the bar, which were a better deal than $50 for an Australian Sauvignon Blanc that was just so-so.
- you MUST do a private cooking class with Ton at Kimdee Restaurant. 2500 baht per couple included transportation, food and instruction in four dishes of your choice in her open air restaurant overlooking the river. It was a magical experience. We wanted to do the Thai cooking class at the JW Marriott, but were relieved when it was actually closed and the Renaissance suggested Kimdee. What a find! Much more authentic.
- Simba Sea Trips was the best snorkling, PhiPhi experience. I found it on TripAdvisor before we left. HIGHLY recommend. The transport to and from our hotel and the entire trip was seamless.
- BanPae Safari. I only give this 1 star. I wanted to ride an elephant and I am so glad I did, but the "safari" was cheesy and the staff terrible. This was recommended to us byt he Renaissance, but I wouldn't do it again. I would just pay to ride and elephant (well worth it). If you have kids, then I can see how the rest of the "safari" would be fun, but for adults--forget it.
- As mentioned previously, the ride into "town" or Patong is at least 40 minutes and will cost you $1000 baht round trip. We loved the resort so much we decided not to do this, but be expecting the long trip if that is something you want to do.
A few earlier posts commented on inability to swim in the ocean here and lack of pool chairs. I don't know what they are talking about. At least in February the ocean was serene and while wavy at times swimming in it was more than safe and wonderful! The bottom is sandy and soft. There was an insane plethora of available beach and pool lounge chairs as well, with no shortage of towels. The hotel was at 97% capacity when we were there as well.
(4) JW vs. Renaissance
We labored over this decision for HOURS and are soooo glad we chose the Renaissance. My husband is a Marriott Rewards Member and the Renaissance ended up being a few points less, so we booked it for the deal. The JW is a very nice property, and we walked through here several times, but it felt like a Disney World resort to me---large, with a lot of restaurants and kids activities, but very impersonal. If I was traveling with a family and my kids wanted a lot of activities, then I can see the draw here. The Renaissance did have a kids area and pool, but it was largely deserted--great for childless couples who want a "honeymoon" experience though! We ate the JW Kabuki Japanese restaurant one night and really enjoyed our meal, but every time we walked by the pool, there were no empty chairs to be had and it was a zoo! The two properties are a mere 10 minutes walk apart on the beachfront and the hotels offer complimentary shuttles between the two for dinner, so if you are traveling to Thailand and get tired of the restaurant offerings at one, you can easily eat dinner at the other. A word about the JW--their restaurants are on a rotating schedule and not all are open every night. If you want to try a specific one, like the sushi restaurant, be sure to inquire about availability and make a reservation when you arrive to ensure you get a table. I'm assuming they do this for cost purposes as keeping all 7 restaurants open at once can get expensive. At the Renaissance all four eating establishments were open for dinner every night--Loca Vore, Sandbox, Taikeng & Coffee/sandwhich shop, in addition to any theme dinners that were occurring at night.
(5) Spa. This will be my only negative review on here. Bottom line: not worth it. We love spa treatments when we travel and were excited to try the spa after receiving a tour of the absolutely beautiful facilities, but were sorely disappointed by our services we received. I did a package a with a body scrub, wrap and a thai massage and my husband booked a thai massage and foot rub. First, let me warn you what a Thai massage is--this is NOT swedish massage (duh). It is not for the weak or wimpy (aka, my husband and I). It kind of hurts! This has nothing to do with my impression of the services, just thought I would share since I was surprised that I am not a fan of Thai massage. What was disappointing about our service, was the lack of ambiance and personalization of the service. Usually, when you arrive for a spa treatment, you meet with your specialist and discuss expectations for the session, preferences, sensitivities, etc. NONE of this was done. We were ushered in, clothes changed and plopped on the table, making for a very uncomfortable experience. In addition, the ability of my husband's specialist to communicate with him was severely lacking (she didn't speak English) and so couldn't check in with him as to his comfort level--he was very uncomfortable the entire time and when he tried to voice his concerns, she couldn't understand him. This is fine for a 400 Baht beach massage in a hut, but for a 5000 baht spa package, ridiculous! We did share our feedback after the experience and received a substantial discount for the services, which was fair compensation, but I would not return for the spa services. This is the only negative thing I have to say about our experience overall!
Bottom line is, quickly book your next trip to the Renaissance Phuket. I promise you, it is so worth it!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled amidst tropical gardens, the chic boutique-like Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, a Marriott Luxury & Lifestyle Hotel, offers privacy and is only 15 minutes leisurely drive from Phuket International Airport. Our Phuket, Thailand resort's location is ideally adjacent to beautiful Sirinath Marine National Park, as well, providing the chance to completely enjoy the magic of our island. We offer 22 Pool Villas and 4 Ocean Front Pool Villas with private pool and large patio, 4 One Bedroom Suites and 150 Deluxe Rooms. Two outdoor swimming pools, Quan Spa with eight treatment rooms, 6 event venues, steam rooms, outdoor massage sala, fitness centre, bike rides, cooking school, diving lessons, Kid's world and children's pavilion with indoor recreation area and outdoor pool all delight travelers to Thailand. Golf is available nearby, and for your gastronomical journey, our hotel offers an all-day restaurant with fresh ingredients - our signature Loca Vore, Takieng - Thai Restaurant. We also provide The Lounge, Doppio for gourmet deli with coffee and tea leaf bar and Sand Box at Mai Khao beachfront serving international cuisine during the day and BBQ at night. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Renaissance Phuket Hotel Mai Khao
- Renaissance Phuket Resort And Spa
- Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Mai Khao