Having read the TA reviews I was a little uneasy about booking (mixed reviews), so I sought advice from someone who had stayed previously - and went ahead with the booking and I'm glad we did.. Bought a deal through Agoda - studio villa with upgrade to Pool Villa with breakfast.
We had a hire car, and finding Chandara was no easy feat! After travelling the same road back and forth a couple of times, wrong turns and incorrect maps we finally found it! FYI it is pass the sign that says Gibbon Rehabilitation (can't really remember anymore!).
Drove through a little fishing village on the way and there it was!
On first impressions it looked lovely. Up the stairs to the reception which overlooks the infinity pool and the bay. Easy check in.
Our Villa didn't have a view of the water (so try to upgrade/request one that has). Small basket of fruit on arrival, kitchen, lounge with TV, huge bedroom and bed, dressing room and a big bathroom which had a huge bath set in stones and overlooks the pool. You can access the bathroom via the outdoor shower which leads to the pool. Outdoors we had a table with 2 chairs, 2 sunloungers with umbrella and a gorgeous private pool. Note - the pool floor and stairs were rather slippery. (The hot water trickles into the bath, so if you want one, start it early!)
Unpacked and headed out to explore the resort. The restaurant overlooks the beach - we enjoyed a storm complete with heavy rain, lightning and thunder (umbrellas supplied). Restaurant wasn't busy, and they have a lady singing (carefull she'll invite you to belt out a tune - not my scene, but a few had a go). Staff are very friendly, and by the end of our stay they knew I was a coffee drinker, and always stopped by to ask if I wanted a refill.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant, and is plentiful, eggs anyway you like, cereals, toasts etc (I did notice that depending on the guests at that time, the breakfast menu reflected some of their dishes - eg rice, stir fried vegies when there Chinese/Japenese).
Chandara is a departure point for tours to islands, so during breakfast busloads of tourers are dropped off for their tours (they don't come into where you are eating though).
Good variety of food at restaurant for dinner, and if you want somewhere else to eat the Happy Place (a couple we met said they had great cheap food), or the Marina (great food - we ate there a couple of times - a meeting place for the boaties).
Resort quiet during the day, the pool was empty most of the time till a group holding a convention arrived (Russians) - they took over! - and the restaurant was shut one night due to this but wasn't a problem.
Took advantage of the free boat trip to Naka Island which departs twice daily (the beach in front of Chandara is not suitable for swimming) - take some money with you and have a drink at the bars overlooking the water, or have your photo taken with monkeys!
Wanted to go on an elephant safari and the gentleman booking the tours was more than happy to help with this, and offered some great advice. The tour company will pick you up from Chandara - we did the Sealand Elephant Trekking/White Water Rafting (see seperate review - great value for money).
Met a couple from the UK who were spending a whole month at Chandara (and they were really impressed and used the shuttle bus a few times and told us about the different tours they had done)
Used room service one night when hubby was ill (with a bug), expensive, but I didn't want to eat in the restaurant by myself.
We didn't have an adaptor, so they kindly supplied us with one, and didn't realise there were different towels available for our own pool, but when requested, they were bought to us with a smile!
Free internet available in the library and so many books and magazines for you to buy!
We didn't use the kitchen facilities to cook, but liked the fact we had a big fridge to store all our duty free in and keep cold. Better ice trays would be a great idea. Bottled water supplied each day.
Used the laundry service - reasonably priced and comes back smelling oh so fresh!
After the hustle and bustle of Kata Beach, Chandara was the perfect place to sit back and relax. Wished we had spent more time just lazing about the pool and doing nothing!
Yes, the villas are a bit tired, and could do with a spruce up, sometimes the cleaners missed things (only minor) - all in all, we enjoyed our stay and will recommend it to others.
If you are looking for nightlife and shopping, this is not the place for you - Chandara is the place to sit back with a good book and relax from the stress of everyday life..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Absolute Chandara Resort & Spa in Phuket, Thailand. Reserve online now and get instant confirmation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Absolute Chandara Hotel Thalang
- Absolute Chandara Resort And Spa
- Absolute Chandara Resort & Spa Phuket, Thailand