Stayed for 5 nights during the Chinese New Year holidays in the two-floor Grand Pool Villa, with wife and kids. Very mixed feelings about this resort.
Location: It's in Chalong, very close to Wat Chalong and Big Buddha, but about 45 mins from the airport. The resort is located on a hill, with nothing nearby on foot, so the experience is very different from staying in one of those typical Laguna area resorts. Private, but inconvenient, it's a trade off. I actually found the location to be somewhat of a positive.
View: Less than advertised. You really have to squint and concentrate to see Chalong Bay. Most of the villas seem to have a good view of other villas, but not much else. It's more of a "secluded" feel surrounded by trees.
Noise: It's mentioned in other reviews, and there are insects (cicadas?) that live on the trees that produce a sound that is very similar to a loud fire alarm. My wife and I debated for a day whether it's actually an errant fire alarm or "sound of nature." We got used to it and didn't mind it all that much, but for some this could be an issue. Strange but true.
Mosquitoes: It's an issue. There are lots of them. At dinner, during sleep, it's like fighting an army of vampires.
Hotel/Common Areas: Pretty. Villa is big, private pool is nice, general decor is stylish, and since the resort is in a heavily forested area, the ambience is good. One thing is that the resort is on a hill, which means getting from one place to another always involves walking up or down a steep incline. Not so convenient with a toddler.
Food: Sucks really bad. Breakfast was shameful, seems like most of the food was taken straight from the can, and not much variety either. Wine list is a joke - I've seen better selection at a 7-Eleven, this is the worst wine list during my 20 years of travelling. Dinner was slightly better (especially the Thai food), but distracting due to mosquitoes.
Maintenance: Actually not that much wear and tear overall, but they are cutting corners. Sunchairs in the main pool are so worn out that it's actually hazardous to use.
Service: The staff tries to be friendly, but here's the thing - they don't speak enough English to understand what you're saying. I've been to Phuket many times in the past, and this is the first time language was an issue. Again, cutting corners.
Identity Crisis: This resort was designed to be a private getaway for couples. The actual clientele is mostly family with small children. We were one of them. The resort needs to decide what it wants to be, because currently they are straddling the fence. Can't recommed to families because the resort is not kid-friendly or child-safe, and yet can't recommend to couples because there are just too many children running around (mine included).
And now, the last but the most serious complaint - ethics and respect for customers.
To cut a long story short, the resort advertised a "Super Saver" rate at around $400 per night. I thought this was a bargain given the size and quality of the villa, but also made sense since the resort is on a hill (and not near the ocean), and well, it's in Chalong and not Laguna or Kamala. They billed me $400 per night for the first 4 nights, and $1600 for the last night. Read that again. The last night cost the same as the first 4 nights combined. Their explanation was that the rate went up on the last day due to full occupany, and in any case the rate was disclosed in the confirmation email. It was. I should have read more carefully, but I have never seen anything like it. I was so enraged by this obvious and shameful ploy that I had a 20-min argument during check-out with the manager, after which he agreed to discount the final night rate to the same $400. Thank you, but this ploy was unethical. Just charge $600 per night and be honest about it. The reality is, I think this resort was designed for a certain type of clientele spending certain amount of money, and it's become a kiddie-resort, and now the numbers don't work out and they need to cut corners. Spend less on maintenance, hire less experienced less English-friendly staff, serve crappy breakfast, and stoop to these outrageous marketing ploys. I feel sorry for the manager who has to carry out these orders.
It's a shame because the resort has some potential. The villas are really nice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small and Intimate, nested on the heart of a hill overlooking the Andaman Sea. The Villa Zolitude, hidden in the hillside exotic jungle. Whilst tropical oasis has an air of rustic charm, it is as luxurious and sophisticated as you could wish.Each exclusive cottage is an exotic fusion of earth and Moroccan luxurious touch; a level of sophistication, stylish in accommodation and service that vividly contrasts with the primeval environment. Game drives and excursions are arranged to meet the wild life at close quarters and guests can explore their own roots, the pearl of Andaman. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Zolitude Hotel Chalong
- Zolitude Hotel Chalong
- Villa Zolitude Resort And Spa Phuket/Chalong