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“Paradise found!”

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Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 6 Thai Mueang B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We travel quite often and usually stay in very good hotels, but this place is… well, it is what we would describe as paradise. The very special experience started already with the pick up service at Phuket Airport – the first time that we were served a welcome drink in a limousine. After the doors closed and the busy world around as went silent, we realized that this time something might be different…

When we arrived we found out that we were the only guests for the next two nights. That was actually a pleasant surprise as we really intended to relax there. However for some people this might also be a bit awkward. We must admit that you need to get used to it. The staff was always around, trying to fulfill every single wish we had. Although the staff might need some more training, we felt that the service came from the heart and that they tried their best to improve every single day.

We highly appreciated the fact, that the GM came over to visit us at our Pool villa and took the time to tell us more about the resort. This gives it all a very welcomed and familiar feeling.

The resort itself is very beautiful, small and offers extremely high standards. They choose the best from the best regarding towels, linen, interior etc. The Pool villa we stayed in was located right at the front and offered a very nice garden view. Our pool was not very private, due to the fact that the plants haven not grown very high, but we enjoyed the garden view very much. The design and furnishing of the villa was excellent and we loved the huge oversized king bed.

But what we enjoyed most was the beach. It is really hard to find deserted beaches in Thailand nowadays. 37 kilometers of sand and salty water and only a couple of fishermen to be seen. Wonderful!

We were provided with two bicycles. They were not just regular bicycles; even here they selected high quality Trek bikes. We took the opportunity to explore the nearby surroundings. The roads around the resort are not really frequented and biking around that area is therefore quite safe.

As the resort lies quite remote it will be difficult to find other restaurants in near proximity but you shouldn’t worry about that as we would like to highlight the extremely good chef. She is a very attentive and young woman, who creates dishes, which leave you speechless. She adds a twist to the Thai food, which makes it special, yet keeps it simple and you really get to taste the different ingredients. For the second night of our stay, she specially cooked seafood for us, which was just delicious! Of course the menu is pricy for Thai standards but then again, you don’t go to such a place to save money.

Wanakarn is the perfect resort to relax, read a nice book, enjoy the sun, the wonderful beach and outstanding food! It’s heaven on earth.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Daniel-san80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 23, 2012

Because if I do then more people will go visit this gem and it will be a secret no longer!

What an amazing stay we had! 6 nights in a pool villa passed by in a blink of an eye. First let me rave about the food - some of the best I have had and I consider myself quite the foodie. The Phad Thai was quite simply the best I have ever had. And even the double boiled consomme was perfection itself. From breakfast to dinner, every meal was an absolute pleasure.

Then we go on to the attention to detail, the service of the staff. Guests are made to feel so special! Everyone is not just polite but seem genuinely happy to see you. Greetings from everyone are heartfelt, not rote. Makes a big difference! And the small things do make a difference - fresh fruit in the room every day, flowers on the bed, beautifully folded towels and even toilet paper (yes - toilet paper is presented so well!), to name just a few things.

And then there is the setting - a beautiful beach,so green all around, quiet & peaceful - a more perfect restful getaway I could not have asked for!

A huge 'Thank You' to everyone at Wanakarn for making this unexpected escapade into a truly memorable holiday!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank AparnaS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

silent, mood, fantastic sea, delicious food, kind service,I was satisfied with wanakarn.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank koreaJO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2012

We have just spent a week in Wanakarn Beach Resort.

The resort is beautiful in an isolated part of the island keeping a wild nature with the best service of a 5 star luxury resort.



I share all the good comments that have been written in the past reviews.



The Pool villa is very nice, luxury furnished and keep your privacy.



There is a 100 people staff devoted to your well being, you can ask for everything you need and they will do their best. The service is at a very high level.



The Chief is already talentuous and will surely become soon one of the best even if she is still young.



The beach is wild and marvelous and the staff will bring you whatever you need.



The manager is taking care of your well being and is always near when you need it and will do his best for your satisfaction.



but........



We where like other reviewers alone during the week or sometimes with an other couple who stayed for one night and even if we like privacy and to have a resort just for us we felt a little lonely in the evening with 15 tables empty around us and a Band playing only for us.



The food was good with some signature dishes figuring at breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you stay a week you like to find sometimes more simple in the menu and not always sophisticated dishes. Even if you can order everything you want and the Chief will do it for you. The Manager told us some more dishes will figure soon in the menu.

Having a glass of wine is a pleasure but at 750 bath it becomes luxury for a glass of wine from Chile. The manager assure us that very soon will figure less expensive wine in the list.

We didn't use the Spa so better see the other reviews. The rates were 4000-5000 baths but for a 90-120 minutes treatment.

There is a free shuttle leaving at 10 am and coming back at 3.00 pm but you are 60 minutes away from Phuket. We would have prefer the shuttle 5.00 pm-10 pm but it seems that other guests prefer it in the morning.

A nurse is present 24h/24

We loved the resort and hope to be back soon in november. The resort is still very young and not well known and that explain probably why we were alone during this week.

If I can add a world I will say it could be probably a good idea to give some more advantage for guests staying a week or more like :

- 20 to 30% discount on the food and the spa

- Once or twice a week a shuttle to the city to be there at late afternoon and the evening and perhaps the opportunity to have dinner somewhere else

- Add in the menu a few simple dishes and Thai Specialties.

- Add some Thai Wine in the Wine List, I taste some not so bad in Bangkok and as local they will avoid the import taxes and be more affordable.

Anyway, if you have the opportunity to spend a few days their, don't miss it you will never regret it.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Flatsix75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

I was all over the internet before booking at Wanakarn in November for our stay in February 2012. I couldn't find a single review anywhere and it made me nervous, what if we had made the wrong choice for our honeymoon?

But we really didn't, we booked a package through a travel agent, including transfers in the swanky Wanakarn black Bentley, in room fruits daily, and a complimentary bottle of wine. A very nice touch.

The villas are very comfortable and beautifully appointed, furnished. The emphasis is on the bathroom and outdoor private pool area understandably. The bed is veeery comfortable and the villas are serviced twice daily. They do respect the privacy sign, which is extremely important (not all hotels do,) and they'll leave you alone when you want to.

The breakfast is wonderful, very decadent menu with hot meals and including pink champagne. The food is consistently very good, nothing we didn't like. Yes, it is expensive, but not more so than other 5 star resorts. We think the food was good value for money.

The beach is tricky since it is situated across the river, so you need transportation by boat to get there. I was a bit skeptical at first, if I would like it, since it would make it cumbersome to go back and forth for drinks/bathrooms/if you forgot something in the villa. But it was amazing. It is private and felt very private too since they boat you over and leave you alone there (if you are lucky.) The water is nice, but a bit steep with treacherous undertow, so take care when swimming in the ocean. They came over with 'beach packs' including cold towels, water, fruit and menus for lunch. I loved it!!!

We also loved the General Manager Mr. Sund who is very experienced and know what people want, we felt very safe in his capable hands. I do believe them when they say that no request is too big or too small.

One of our highlights was an arranged trip to a nearby temple to make a donation, since the monks of the temple feed abused and abandoned dogs. We were very appreciative of being able to see the temple and meet the dogs. (BTW if there is a dog appearing on the private beach it does belong to the temple, we found him to be very well mannered, so please don't be mean to him, since these dogs have been through abuse allready.. We called him Luke, and hope he is in good health.)

We loved our 5 nights at Wanakarn and kind of want to keep it a secret, but find it selfish not to rave about it when we were so happy.

The only a few things we would change would be the policy about allowing small children in the resort/pool as we feel that the kind of atmosphere the resort warrants isn't really compatible with small, noisy children. We were also a tiny bit bothered with the live music every night whichwas good, but very loud. Maybe every other night could have sufficed? The spacing of the villas isn't really great as they are close together and quite a few don't have great views. We also think that the staff shouldn't pass in front of the villas/private pools all the time, our villa was kind of private but we were disturbed by staff constantly who took a short cut from a shed nearby. The on-site nurse was actually a bit rude to us and we felt very uncomfortable in her office needing some non-prescription drugs one day. That is not the hotel's fault of course. The resort was also way to slow to respond to some emails before our upcoming stay, that needs to be improved.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Travelbird0505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2012

We have travelled quite a lot around, but never did we experience such a place like Wanakarn. Here we was treated like royals. The service was excellent, with a staff that seemed to know our needs before we did ourselves, and always was at hand in a very pleasant way, supervised by the highly professional hotel director who gave his personal attention to each and every guest.
The resort itself was beautiful with an extremely high standard offering its clients a calm and peaceful stay. We enjoyed the beautiful surroundings with the splendid beaches and the clear blue sea.
The food and wines were superb and the excellent chef took her pride in making special dishes on our request. She, along with her sister, also took the time to bring us to a local tortois release festival at the nearby village, to our great pleasure.
Both becauce of the resort itself and the fantastic staff, we are looking forward to return to this heaven on earth!!

Grethe and Ole Neergaard

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Grethe N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2012

LOCATION
Wanakarn is located northwest off the island of Phuket, halfway between Phuket airport and the town of Khao Lak, at a very secluded beachfront. It is an ideal location for those, who are seeking the tranquility and comfort of the hotel's grounds without planning to leave the resort for major excursions. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus to either Khao Lak or Phuket town once per day, but the drive takes 45 minutes to each destination and neither offers much sightseeing value. The hotel is the first undertaking to introduce international tourism to the area, so there are no shopping malls, restaurants, or other hotels yet within a radius of several miles. The resort itself comprises only 15 villas, scattered around a very green and picturesque compound. The landscape is divided by a small river, that has its outlet into the Andaman sea directly at the resort's shores, thereby creating two beach-sides. One side is the completely private river shore in front of the pool area; the other is the actual beach-side, situated directly across the river, that runs for miles on end along the Andaman sea. A complimentary zodiac service is on stand-by all day long to ferry guests from one beach to the other. Finding an adequate hotel beach in Thailand is not an easy endeavor, since all beaches are public and therefore often crowded with beach-vendors, cheap massage-huts, dubious restaurants, and annoying tail boats that ship in the backpacker hordes. Many beaches also have strong tides and currents, that make swimming unpleasant or downright dangerous. It is therefore a great asset (if not THE asset) of Wanakarn to feature a sheer endless, unspoiled and deserted beachfront of soft sand as well as clean and calm waters.

AMBIENCE
Wanakarn was high on my 'to do list' ever since I read an article about its opening in late 2010. Its small size and remote location holds certainly no appeal for those seeking action and entertainment. It is also not the right destination for families with children. Instead, it appeals to couples who seek peace and quiet in a sophisticated yet relaxed environment. Alas, the hotel opened at a disastrous time for the Thai tourism industry. While 2010 saw Bangkok emerged in bloody street fighting, deterring tourists for months, the country-wide flooding of the next year brought even more misery to an already weak and declining market. As a result, most hotels slashed prices to compete for the few remaining visitors and many of the smaller boutique houses closed down permanently. It therefore came as no surprise that, by the time we arrived at Wanakarn, only two of the 15 villas were occupied and that included our own. As we wandered the manicured grounds, surrounded by gentle spa music, we eventually spotted the only other couple in residence (they had been alone for half a week). What must be a proprietor's nightmare, seemed like heaven to us, as for the next few days about 100 resort staff would attend to only four guests.

SERVICE
Even with more than just two villas occupied, the ratio of staff to guests at Wanakarn is impressive. Most of the staff are locally recruited with little or no F&B background, but have been patiently and expertly trained by the hotel manager Mr. Sund. The cheerful and sturdy Norwegian holds the reigns at Wanakarn and keeps spirits as well as standards high, despite an obviously challenging business climate. As a result, the service throughout the hotel is hearty and attentive in a charming subdued Thai style. Service might not always be impeccable, but it certainly is ever enthusiastic. All staff, from receptionist, to security guard, to waiter seem genuinely proud of having you as their guest and do their utmost to make you feel comfortable. With business low, however, there is the temptation for every management to compromise on service standards. Certainly not at Wanakarn. On each night of our stay there was an excellent three-piece show band playing in the restaurant; beach and pool were attended by three deck-hands; a nurse from Phuket International Hospital was on 24 hrs stand-by within the resort; four security guards were constantly on duty; the list could be further continued and should also include one important aspect: food.

FOOD
Being miles away from the next local restaurant, the kitchen at Wanakarn is the only viable choice for hotel guests. You can compare the set-up with a Maldives island or a cruise ship, where, with bad luck, you could be stuck with the same boring menu and lousy food for your entire stay without hope for escape. Evermore so at Wanakarn, since the hotel has only one restaurant and a single head chef. Luckily, the chef, being as charming as talented, of Thai origin, but far travelled, prepares a delicious own interpretation of nouvelle Thai cuisine. Indeed, all dishes sampled throughout our stay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were of the highest quality and truly recommendable. Be aware, however, that the restaurant is a la carte and very pricey; for Thai standards anyway, but also by international measures. The dinner menu makes extensive use of dishes with Wagyu beef, seafood, and Lobster, which can easily set you back by USD 100 per head for a three course meal and a bottle of house wine. Also, the dinner menu tends to be a bit repetitive after few days. To address the matter of price and variety, however, the chef will happily prepare a more robust Thai cuisine or any other dish on your wish list as long as you give her a day's notice. Robust or delicate, the food at Wanakarn is truly excellent and, in terms of quality and innovativeness, well above the level tasted at other upscale resorts throughout Thailand.

ACCOMMODATION
All one-bedroom villas at Wanakarn are of identical size and layout and come with a plunge pool. We booked at a 50% discount directly through the hotel's website. Factoring in the rebate, the room rate comes more or less on par with other high-end properties on Phuket such as the Trisara, Anantara, Banyan Tree etc. (ca. USD 750 per night). We found the discounted rate to be a more or less agreeable value proposition, but would consider any higher price tag as excessive. As it goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we found the villas with their modern and simple architecture just not very beautiful. While the modest construction quality might be common to most hotel developments in Thailand, the villa's simplistic and minimalistic architecture is not. We would have appreciated a bit more elegance as well as traditional influences, but that's down to personal taste. What is not negotiable, however, is the lack of a private garden, the comparatively small size of the villa's pool, the lack of a sala, and the absence of any sense of privacy on the porch. In view of the bountiful space available across the extensive hotel compound, it strikes as rather odd, that the villas are built in closest proximity to each other, whereby the terrace of the neighbor sits wall on wall with your own. This might not be an issue when the resort has almost no guests, but could become problematic if occupancy goes up. On balance, we have seen more spacious and more elegant pool villas prized at the same rate in other Thai resorts and beyond. What makes Wanakarn nonetheless outstanding, if not the accommodation, is the endless beach, the excellent food, the extensive grounds, and the charming service. What about the spa?

SPA
If they compromise on quality at Wanakarn it is only, and very strangely for a Thai resort, in relation to the Spa. What should be the architectural highlight and the cash cow of any resort, is strangely neglected here. The location in itself is problematic, being crammed into the back of the resort, sandwiched between reception and tennis courts. Charmless and crude, the spa has the design of a converted garage with treatment rooms as cosy as a hospital. The other problem relates to the fact that the hotel has the spa outsourced to a local provider. As a result, the quality and variety of treatments is reminiscent of your average Bangkok day spa including a greasy and spotty spa menu, an assortment of cheap massage oils, and an endless variation of the same Thai massage routine, - at ten times the cost. This is not adequate for Wanakarn and needs to be addressed. An open Lana-style teak sala at the river shore, in the shade of a tree with a view onto the beach and sea, operated by one qualified therapist, would be miles better than the current sorry state of affairs.

SUMMARY
Wanakarn deserves to succeed as a secluded boutique gem that offers peace and quiet to the discerning traveller. At the discounted rate and with a somewhat improved spa, it is very recommendable. Before you go, however, make sure that Mr. Sund is still in charge as the Hotel Manager. He is ensuring high standards and implements the necessary touches that keep the property in the five star realm. Also, check with him on the progress and impact of the new property development that is planned next door to Wanakarn. This could potentially spoil much of the tranquility and charm of the location.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Newmessage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa

Address: 48/2 Moo 3, Baan Pordang, Thai Mueang 82120, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Thai Mueang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Thai Mueang
Price Range: $446 - $2,448 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa, affiliated with the prestigious Relais & Chateaux organization, is located on Thaimuang Beach, 40 minutes drive from Phuket International Airport, and is situated on 15 acres of pristine beachfront land facing endless white beaches and the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. As an all services, all facilities luxury boutique resort it offers generously sized villas in a harmonious blend of contemporary Thai style architecture and design, exquisite dining options and an abundance of sports and leisure activities. Set in a tranquil and peaceful environment it offers the discerning traveler complete relaxation and an escape from the outside world while being pampered in true Thai style. The grounds are a natural botanical garden exploding with the colors of exotic flowers and lush greenery and utmost care is taken to preserve the natural beauty and the environment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa Thailand/Phang Nga Province

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