We've just returned to India after 7 great days at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket. We are pretty seasoned travellers, especially in the beach-side resorts around the region (blame my son's fascination for sandy beaches!) so we always look for beach-facing properties which are away from crowded areas but still an acceptable distance from nightlife and restaurants. The Dusit at Laguna fulfilled all of these, there was a great deal on for a lagoon-facing villa (The Ultimate Pleasure Package) so we booked online about 10 days before heading out.
To be honest, we were a little unsure about the place and the group, never having used a Dusit property before and having had a bad experience some years ago in Phuket... so we were a bit unsure of what we were getting into. However, from the first moment we landed and drove into the property we were blown away both by the villa and by the famous Thai hospitality. The Laguna is a gated development of 6-7 resorts around a lagoon - I think there are only 3 which are beach front - the Dusit, the Banyan Tree, and the Sheraton (which has left Starwood and is being rebranded from next season.. it was shut down during our visit) while the others have beach access- so if thats important, you should check before booking.
The beach is lovely - its a public beach like all Phuket beaches but because of its location its not very accessible, so as good as private. We couldnt swim (red-flag season) but it was soft sand with a nice slope and then a dropoff.. so all ages and levels of swimmers, waders, paddlers can enjoy it in better weather.
If I could remember her name I would recommend the villa manager who met us and took us to the villa for a checkin - smooth process and clear explanations - we had a query about one of the freebies the package was supposed to include, and she was able to clarify it and revert to us. We've seen checkins go on for an hour at other places in the region, so it was great we were able to wrap it up quickly and smoothly.
A word on the villa - we had booked a pool villa - it was a split level accomodation- entrance level had a large dining and kitchen area with a sit out, two large bedrooms (1 king and 1 twin) one level below each with their own sit outs, and a terrace pool with loungers. High quality of fittings and furnishings and extremely private - we must have seen the housekeeping staff just twice the whole stay but everything was always laid out freshly. Even maintainence worked fast - the AC in one bedroom stopped working one day, but a call to housekeeping got an engineer over in 10 minutes flat, who fixed it quickly and unobstrusively, then vanished without bothering us.
The location - about 30 minutes by taxi to Patong, which is where all the nightlife and restaurants are. If you dont want to do, there are 6 other resorts clustered around the lagoon and there are free bus and water-ferry shuttles which keep going around between them, so you can try out other places too. There's also a touristy shopping arcade closeby (2 min walk from the gate). The village is also closeby ... with its own set of shops and eateries... about 10 min walk... we didnt try it since it was really hot and humid... but saw lots of folks head there regularly... both couples and families with children. There are also a bunch of beach shack eateries which we tried twice but were disappointed with the quality and pricing... cheaper booze but some of the meals were more expensive than that in the hotel!! Dunno how that works... Patong was extremely cheap and better wrt eating.
Tip - There are lots of 'laundry service' stands in front of each hotel... each sells booze and soft drinks and makes fruit snacks which all the guests at the pool consume... so during the day when we were at the main pool we ended up combining hotel service for cooked snacks with occasional trip to the stands to get cold cut pineapples and chilled beer. Bit surprised at the hotel allowing it... but I guess they've learnt to live with it. Best of both worlds!!
Things to watch out for -
1 Rough seas in this season - this affected some of our plans to take all day boat trips - since the sea at this time of the year is rough... so make contingency plans .. luckily there are enough other (inland) excursions you can take to make up for missing on this.
2 Overpriced taxis - pleasant folks but overpriced - the hotel runs a shuttle, but the timings dont always suit - so there's alternative to using the taxi stand at the gate - bit of bargaining needed - but nothing new for any resort... but factor in at least THB1000 per round-trip if you want to go to Patong or Phuket town.
3 Completely underwhelming elephant excursions - we wanted to go on an elephant safari... duly booked one from the hotels tour desk - amazingly bad - got driven about 30min away to what I can only describe as a large field with a stream - loaded onto an elephant with no seat restraints, just a rubber pipe wrapped around the 3 of us to hold us into our seats - as the elephant waded down into the stream and then meandered through a plantation. About 20 minutes in toto. Really not worth the time and money (about THB2500 for the 3 of us). Needless to say we did all our bookings online after that and got better results.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A truly striking beachfront location resort with excellent facilities and charming Thai service and hospitality, add up to a unique holiday experience. It is about 20 km or a 30-minute drive south of Phuket International Airport, half an hour north of Patong Beach and half an hour east of Phuket city. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel Thalang
- Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Cherngtalay
- Dusit Laguna Phuket
- Dusit Phuket
- Phuket Dusit
- Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Thailand