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“Phuket getaway”
Review of Banyan Tree Phuket

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Banyan Tree Phuket
Ranked #20 of 97 Hotels in Thalang District
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 23, 2009

This hotel was recommened to me by a friend in LA. It was a good, elegant fun hotel but a bit overpriced. The location is good but food was very expensive and not up to Bangkok standards.

OK for family hotel. Safe and secure if a bit expensive.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank kevingmarks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 20, 2009

My husband and i recently came back from a 2 week trip to Thailand, which included Koh Samui, Phuket, and Bangkok. The highlight of our trip was Banyan Tree Phuket, it gave us some room for relaxation after the hussle and bussle of Phuket downtown. Our trip was composed of 4 nights at Koh Samui (which we didn't enjoy), 3 nights at Phuket downtown (Millenium Hotel which was amazing) and 3 nights at Banyan Tree Phuket (SUper amazing) and 3 nights at Bangkok. The hotel is composed of an island consisting of 7 interconnected hotels. The best part is that you can freely manouever between any of the hotels (use of spa, restaurants, pools, etc) and charge it to your room.

We stayed at the Pool Villa which was exceptional. You have the privacy of your own pool along with the use of the resorts pool. The staff are very attentive and friendly and the service is neat. I especially liked the activities available which included morning jogging classes, yoga, cyclying (which my husban and i enjoyed alot). Their massage is also not to be missed. The breakfast was veru fully, and it left us full till dinner time. The only downside was that the only food options were constrained to the resort(since the resort was far away from downtown phuket), most of which was expensive. My husband and i were smart enough, thankfly, to pack some small snacks and fruits from the supermarket prior to our check in. Anotherdownside is that the beach was relatively small, but quiet (unlike the hussle and bussle of downtown phuket). I would highly recommend this hotel for young couples, elders, and married couples that need some time alone. I would not recommend this hotel for families with children or teenagers.

My recommendation is to best connect your stay at the resort with another hotel in downtown phuket. That way you get to see the nighlife of Phuket yet experience the tranquility of a resort hotel. I would also recommend packing some food with you for snacks, do book a couples massage, and ensure a pool villa overlooking the lagoon.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Marwa_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2009

For 4 nights, the wife and i stayed in a Lagoon Pool Villa Banyan Tree Phuket. It was meant to be the last and our highlight hotel of the entire 12-night honeymoon trip. Fairly disappointed as reputation of Banyan Tree promised exceptional standards.

The booking process was nice, with the Resident Manager, Mr Jerry, taking care to make sure my requests were met and helping to make everything fall into place as smoothly as possible.

Check-in played a huge part in marring the first impressions as we were attended to by a staff who didn't seem to understand fairly simple English, communication process was pretty tedious. Noticed that all the other guests who were checking in had flowers but we were not given any. Not a big deal but it definitely didn't felt good.

Had read earlier tripadvisors' reviews so initial sights upon entering the villa didn't awed us but i have to say the pool was impressive. Complimentary bottle of champagne was provided as gifts for our honeymoon. Both the wife and i suffered a few mosquito bites but we had expected that. However, that was one of the key reasons we didn't use the outdoor sunken bath much. The other reasons being that it didn't look that clean and it took a very long time to get filled up.

The sleeping area look worn-out, perhaps because of the TV and the wooden decor(some parts of the floor were slightly loose) but it was comfortable enough. I am not entirely sure whether it was intentionally preserved this way or that they just couldn't bother to do any upgrading. This is based on my personal judgement after taking up the invitation to visit one of the Double Pool Villa. The decor there was very up-to-date and the bathroom area was nothing less than impressive; a huge contrast to Lagoon Pool Villa i would say.

The private beach was nice and quiet with beautiful views of sunset. The beachfront eateries served relatively nice snacks. However, don't bother visiting the mini water activities counter over there. For a good 5 days(up till the day i was checking out), i had wanted to try para-sailing but everyday i was cited reasons that they didn't have a speedboat available/not sufficient wind.

Most of the staffs were friendly enough, the exceptional ones being the Library staff. I have to mention Miss Ornanong who offered very good advices on travelling/shopping around Phuket and also recommending several places to have our meals. Also, she seems like the only one who took the effort and initiative to arrange relevant transportation for us anytime we need it, always with a smile on her face.

We didn't tried any restaurants within the resort's compound but we did went for Lotus on the first and last night. Being mentioned in previous reviews, i suppose i would just need to add in my affirmation for that fantastic beachfront restaurant. Breakfast at Watercourt had a good variety, with complimentary champagne with a creative touch every morning. Ants were commonly found crawling on my plates and utensils, not a pleasant sight.

Some additional information with regards to my trip:
- Taxi trip from airport to Banyan Tree cost 350 baht
- Local Taxi from Banyan Tree out to Phuket town/Patong cost 700 baht
- Tuk-Tuk from Patong to Phuket Town cost 300 baht
- Local Taxi from Phuket Town to Banyan Tree cost 400 baht

I am not sure whether we had been overcharged but we had definitely taken necessary precautions. For example, while in other parts of Phuket like Phuket town, we never directly mention our intention to return to Banyan Tree, instead, we simply say Laguna while negotiating a price. That is because BT is known to be a resort only to tourists with deeper pockets, you can do the thinking from here...

I do not think i will return to Phuket again, but if i do i may just select other resorts. There are a plentiful of other resorts that offer private villas/pools. My wife has been a huge fan of Banyan Tree prior to the trip, now that fan spirit may only be limited to the Banyan Tree Spa, which she claimed is the only thing with the wow factor.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SYKwong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2009

Having read the reviews on trip advisor, in particular other visitors’ disappointment, we swiftly adjusted our expectations of the Banyan Tree. But happily, we had a truly wonderful week, and left feeling relaxed, refreshed, with a ton of wonderful memories and photos. It is a fantastic place, with a lot to offer, but I can also understand why some more discerning travelers might feel that the BT does not deliver all it promises.

The BT is described as an award-winning luxury resort, going to great lengths to praise itself and point out its many awards and accolades. I would like to explain why this is and isn’t quite true.

Why the BT is “an award-winning luxury resort”:

1. The rooms. It is truly divine to walk into your own villa, with its beautiful traditional design, and be able to step from your bedroom directly into your own entirely secluded swimming pool. But a word of advice: don’t bother booking anything less than a Pool Villa. And make sure you are entirely happy with your room. Our first room, a Pool Villa, backed out onto some construction work and what seemed to be a nearby electricity generator. Not exactly peaceful! But, to the BT’s credit, 3 hours later we were in a new, and better, room – a Laguna Pool Villa.
2. The little touches make all the difference. Small details, such as the gifts at turndown, fresh orchids all over the villa, the smell of jasmine in the gardens, the thoughtfully-provided water, herbal refreshments by the pool – I could go on and on. These details will delight you at every turn.
3. The respect for nature – the resort is actually built on a disused tin mine, and has reintroduced a huge number of plants and wildlife to the area. I actually rather liked the fact that the toiletries provided in the room are locally-produced and biodegradable.

Why the BT is just a five-star hotel:

1. Compared to other world-class hotels, it does fall a little short. Ultimately, the BT is a holiday resort. The pictures on the site, which only really show the top class villas at night, do not give an accurate impression of the layout/ ambience, which is a sprawling complex arranged, albeit beautifully, around a man-made lagoon. Although you do have the additional privacy of your own private garden, the communal areas (lobby, restaurants, library, breakfast room) are pleasant, but quite ordinary.
2. Unless you stay in a Double Pool Villa, you will not be treated like royalty. Staff members are perfectly pleasant and helpful, but they do not remember your name or your room number, they will occasionally mix up your tea/ coffee orders at breakfast, forget to send the promised buggy to your room, and their English is sometimes lacking. Note: this did not spoil our experience at all, but I understand that some visitors might expect perfection in service at this price.

Eating:

Breakfast in the Watercourt restaurant is good, and caters for a wide variety of tastes. The traditional Western eggs, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal, juices, breads and pastries are balanced by a selection of Eastern breakfasts such as sushi, soups, noodles and rice. If you are very picky about what you eat for breakfast, you might find what’s on offer a little repetitive, although we were quite satisfied. We tried the hotel’s Saffron restaurant – delicious, but extremely expensive for Thai food, and, as we were almost the only people there, somewhat lacking in atmosphere. We ate once at the Pool, which was great, but I found it criminal to charge 690 Baht for a Pad Thai that costs 100 Baht on the beach a few steps away.

Outside the hotel, there are a lot of options. We ate 3 times at Lotus restaurant on the beach, it was so good – fabulous fresh fish and shellfish, a great atmosphere, and not expensive. We also tried Tatonka (funky menu, relaxed, good atmosphere) and Dedos (unusual concept – Thai tapas – but quite pricey and poor service). Looked into Bluebells and walked straight out – empty and run down. Silk restaurant is a little more upscale, with an excellent menu range. All restaurants seem to offer a pick-up service, which you can arrange through the hotel reception.

Recommended activities:

This is where the BT really excels. There are so many activities provided by the hotel, many of them free, such as yoga/ pilates classes, Thai language and cultural classes, local market tours, bicycle tours and other watersports activities. We also tried the hotel’s Thai cooking class, which was fantastic. If you’re a foodie, I highly recommend the early morning fresh produce market tour with the chef – you’ll see and taste some pretty amazing stuff!

The spa deserves all the credit it receives. It’s expensive, but absolutely worth it. The outdoor massage areas are a delight in themselves and the therapists are extremely professional, skilled and caring. Make sure you treat yourself at least once during your stay. Tip: if you do some shopping at the Gallery shop in the resort, they often give you vouchers for free massages.

I would also recommend the 4-in-1 canoeing and snorkeling tour to the islands organized by Laguna Tours – extremely professionally run and a great day out.

Overall, I would recommend the BT to any couple looking for a relaxing and stimulating break. But perhaps a little modesty on the BT’s part would allow guests to discover and experience the BT’s delights themselves (the giant awards cabinet in the Library is a bit much!). Frankly, this omnipresent self-praise leaves the only smear on what was otherwise a heavenly stay.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tengchah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2009

We stayed at the Banyan Tree in February. We have been lucky to stay at a number of beautiful resorts around the world that totally wowed us with service however within 1 day of arriving at the Banyan Tree we were disappointed with the service - the staff were attentive and helpful but none of the service went that little bit extra especially with the price we were paying per night. The lack of english was really bad and we felt we could not ask any questions on the resort or area as no one would have been able to answer us. The food was great however and the breakfast buffet was superb - the room was great and we stayed in a villa overlooking the lagoon with a pool. After the holiday we said we enjoyed it but would probably never go back again and to be honest after staying at Taj resorts worldwide and receiving first class service, it has put us off a Banyon Tree resort in future.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank loobiloo20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2009

This was our second visit to the BT and third to the Laguna hotels (last visit 2002) This time we brought the children (10 and 6) for 7 nights. The BT is not necessarily aimed at children (as a "spa" hotel other guests were maybe hoping that there wouldnt be any children!), but we thought they would have a great time there and they did. They were by no means the only children in the resort. All in all we had a fantastic week and would definitely go back.
Our stay didnt get off to a great start as they didnt seem to be expecting us when we arrived, and so our check-in was a bit laborious - not great after a 20 hour journey. Eventually the cold towels, drink, flowers etc arrived. For the rest of our stay the smiling helpful and friendly staff were a highlight.
We had a Pool Villa, which are great. Other reviewers have detailed the facilities, so I just pick out our highlights. Plenty of space, and a good sized private pool and garden. The rooms were in decent condition and hadnt changed much in the last 6 years. Room highlights include excellent coffee machine (although make sure you order plenty of milk), outside sunken bath, great shower, free WiFi, good hifi, aromatherapy oils/candles and josticks with different scents each night. Housekeeping was a little bit hit and miss, and some items took 3 or 4 requests to arrive, but that may have been down to a language issue.
Breakfast was excellent. pretty much everything you would expect in a good 5 star international hotel buffet breakfast, and good Asian selection too. A complimentary champagne cocktail started every day with a kick.
The resort is quite spread out, but buggies arrive promptly to take you wherever you want. Our room happened to be 3 or 4 mins walk from the beach. All beaches are public in Thailand and so there are a couple of non-hotel bars and restaurants (basic Thai beach wooden shacks) on the beach by the hotel. Far from being a draw back, this is one of the reasons why we wanted to go to the BT so that we could eat informally on the beach in the evenings with the children, rather than in hotel restaurants. We ate several times on the beach - at the Lotus (5-10 mins walk south, though they will send a car) or nearer to the BT (the one on the left by the hotel towel kiosk had the best Tod Man Pla and the best Pad Thai we had in Thailand). Food was always excellent, although the Lotus has grown a lot since we first went there in 1998, and is a bit commercialised. The hotel has beds and shades on the beach, and a couple of hotel staff for towels, but not complimentary water / cold towels etc (at least not that we saw). You can order food / drinks from them from the hotel, although most people seemed to get a cold Singha or coconut from one of the beach bars. You can also have a cheap Thai massage on your sunbed. We didnt have any problems finding 4 sunbeds (see other reviews).
The hotel pool area is well laid out, and usually very quiet. The only real complaint we had during our stay related to this area. The pool area staff, and the pool bar/restaurant staff, were not on the ball. Particularly given how quiet it was, with rarely more than a dozen people by the pool (dont forget almost all villas have their own pool too), the service and attention (for pool towels, water, cold towels, trying to order food and drinks, bothering to switch on the various jets and lazy rivers in the pool etc) was not 5 star. We raised this with the v helpful F&B manager when we left and am sure this will have had his attention.
We did a few trips through the Laguna Tours desk at the hotel. We went snorkelling twice, hiring speedboats (2 crew) from one of the sub-contractors, Coral Seekers. They seem quite a small outfit but were excellent, with good boats and great crew. Price was about US$250-300 for a long half day, but if there are 4 of you then it is about the same price as going on a shared "tour" boat and 20 times better. We did the elephant trekking near Ban Pae waterfall. This was very commercialised and disappointing (OK, am glad to have ridden on an elephant) but you might be better off saving the driving time and go on an elephant ride in the Laguna complex near the Canal Village.
One night we had an in-villa barbecue. This was superb. We ordered for 2, but it fed 4. We had a chef and a waiter who brought a barbecue and set up dinner in the garden with table linen, flowers etc. and then cooked and served us all evening.
We used the spa once, which was excellent as expected. Didnt play golf or tennis this time, but have done before.
It is a great hotel. There are probably better hotels in the Far East, but it still must rank as one of the best, and although expensive, a Pool Villa is actually pretty good value for what you get. Compared to any hotel where you "just" get a room, however grand, this is in a different league. A great holiday.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Voyager212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2009

Arrived at the Banyan Tree with high expectations, and they were all met, with bells on.
Unfortunately during our stay, the unions/staff decided to go on strike (over some pay dispute?) and blockaded most, if not all of the access roads in and out of the resort.
While this offered a bit of inconvenience, the way that the staff managed the situation, under extremely difficult circumstances, didnt detract at all from our pleasurable stay, and the remaining staff (mostly management) did an extraordinary job to maintain some normailty and still provide a high level of service to guests.
In particular one of the Directors, Russell Loughland, seemed to be everywhere at all times, from early morning to early morning, talking to and reassuring us, driving guests around in buggies, making any arrangements for guests, and really made a big difference to our whole Banyan Tree experience, which was greatly appreciated (as it could easily have turned into been a disaster).
Would definitely recommend this resort for its stunning beauty and luxurious villas, but not least for caring, sharing and customer focused staff such as Russell. Thanks!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank shutupvern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Phuket

Address: 33, 33/27 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Road | Amphur Talang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Thalang District
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Business Hotel in Thalang District
#9 Family Hotel in Thalang District
#10 Romantic Hotel in Thalang District
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Thalang District
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Thalang District
#17 Spa Hotel in Thalang District
#19 Luxury Hotel in Thalang District
Price Range: $317 - $1,744 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Phuket 5*
Number of rooms: 173
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banyan Tree Phuket, Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary and DoublePool Villas by Banyan Tree each deliver a unique experience in a tranquil setting. Located at Bang Tao Bay on the northwest coast of Phuket Island in Thailand, a 20-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. Banyan Tree Phuket Resorts is part of Laguna Phuket, Asia's first integrated resort, and is also the first Banyan Tree resort to be conceptualised and built, setting the benchmark for future properties. This flagship resort offers 173 luxuriously appointed villas surrounded by lush tropical gardens and Asian watercourts. All villas feature a king-sized bed, bathtub and private pool in a landscaped garden. Complimentary minibar except alcoholic drinks with daily refill for all villa categories. The perfect haven to spend time with loved ones, Banyan Tree Phuket Resorts caters for romance, with its private pool villa, fragrant gardens and saltwater lagoons. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Phuket Hotel Thalang
Banyan Tree Phuket Cherngtalay
Banyan Tree Phuket Thailand

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