Phuket, Thailand family accommodation filter
February 20, 2007 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Phuket, Thailand family accommodation filter.

My family (M, F, G6yro, B4yro, B1.5yro) have been lucky enough to score some super cheap airfares to Phuket from May 21-30. My wife and I have been to Bangkok a couple of times before for a few days, but never Phuket. We are considering staying at but are not wedded to it. There price of 3000 baht is about right, and I will probably book via an web agent like
Our priorities are beach/pool fun for kids, enough space for 5 of us and a little bit of luxury.
Possible concerns are; is going in this low season a problem? i.e will it be deserted outside Patong? Is the monsoon going to make the beaches unpleasant for a paddle?
Any feedback/tips/advice greatly received. Any "must do" or other local experience also highly regarded.
posted by bystander to Travel & Transportation around Phuket, Thailand (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going there in three weeks time. Keep your eye on this thread and I'll post when I get back.
posted by tellurian at 7:33 PM on February 20, 2007

I've been in Thailand & Indonesia during monsoon season. It was humid and there were a few storms, but they didn't last all day or hold up our holiday or anything. (My experience with monsoons is that they're like a regular thunderstorm on steroids though, so you might want to prepare your kids ahead of time so they're not too scared of the noise if one gets loud.)

That hotel rate seems pretty good compared to a lot of the luxury resorts online. I wish I could give you the name of a good alternative place to stay but we went to other islands & never made it to Phuket. We found most of our lodging through word of mouth after arrival, but there were just two of us. When you're traveling with 3 kids no doubt it's better to make reservations. Hopefully someone else can help more.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:33 PM on February 20, 2007

I didn't spend much time on Phuket. We ended up in a sleepy little town called Kao Lak for most of the time (excellent place). We spent the last two days of the trip in Patong which is a hell-hole of commercialism. The hotel we stayed at was the Leelawadee. The rooms were okay for 2,000 baht. The nice thing was that it was a little bit out of the noisy part of town but still only a short walk to the beach and shopping area. You probably won't want to swim at Patong beach, I can recommend Laem Sing if you need a change from Kamala. If you get to the market in Pee Road (good shopping) have one at the Drunken Monky for me and say 'hi' to Beam (she makes a mean Margarita) - it's a cute open-air bar (one of many) where you can hang out, play Connect 4 and Jackpot while you 'look after the shopping bags' for your partner.
posted by tellurian at 7:48 PM on March 28, 2007

Post-holiday follow up:
My family of five stayed in a two bedroom suite at the Kamala Bay Garden Resort at the start of the low season. We had two adults and a 1yro, 3yro and 6yro. The rooms were spacious and easily accommodated my family, and could potentially sleep a couple more on the day bed. The hotel was very quiet. There were only 5 or 6 rooms occupied when we arrived, although there were a few more guests over the weekend.
The hotel is setup to cater to Swedes especially, with a Swedish cable TV channel and a guest library in Swedish. That said, Bloomberg and BBC World were available in English. The rooms were clean and attractively presented, with a separate air-con unit for each room, and a kitchenette. The kitchen is less equipped than it could be, but it was possible to make noodles and there was a toaster. The bathroom was small and lacked a bath, but was adequate for our needs with an American style toilet.
The TV included AV sockets so we could plug in a portable DVD player to watch movies, and an iPod for music. There is no CD player or radio. We requested a room on the ground floor, about 10 paces from the pool. We could supervise our older kids in the pool from our little patio area. Upstairs rooms might offer more privacy, but this was not an issue for us in the nearly empty hotel. We ordered room service several times, ate breakfast every day and had dinner a couple of times. On the whole, the food was adequate, but not great. Western dishes were uninspired, and the Thai dishes not as good as available around the corner for half the price.
The first few days the breakfast buffet was replaced with an a la carte breakfast menu, presumably as there were few guests. I noticed no difference in the quality between that and the buffet. At the buffet there is a cook on duty who will cook eggs to your liking, which is a much better option than rubbery buffet eggs.
There were also some Asian style breakfast choices like boiled rice and pork, fried rice or noodles and vegetables. Prices for meals at the pool bar and restaurant were higher than comparable restaurants, but that is normal for a hotel. Some examples, a Singha beer 330ml can is 100baht, a cocktail is 250baht, the set menu dinner is 450b.
We found ourselves buying drinks at the shops outside the hotel where a 660ml Singha is 65b or Leo beer is 45b. The two grocery stores immediately outside the hotel are priced about 15% higher than the big supermarket under the Robinson centre in Phuket Town, and maybe 5% dearer than the little stores in Kamala village. The resort owns the one on the left, the one on the right I believe is independent, plus has a better range and longer hours. We were pleased by the friendliness of the store keepers, who regularly gave my kids fruit and sweets when we shopped there.
Also outside are about 6 tailors! I had a suit made at the Boss Tailor and Tom and Sam there told me I was the first customer in a month, so it seems there must be some very busy periods in the high season.
There is a taxi company out front, and usually a tuk tuk at the bottom of the street. The going rate is 250-300b to Patong and 100-150b to Kamala, but you may be able to haggle better than me. Note the taxi guys in the hotel reception will charge a little more, but are nice, friendly guys.
A really good tip is to walk to the bottom of the street, turn left and walk another 50 metres to Baan Mai, a classy restaurant/bar/spa which does excellent food at prices much cheaper than the resort. It also has a sauna. I cannot imagine the sales guy who sold a Thai a room to get hot and humid in.
The beach is close, maybe 300m, but requires crossing a sometimes busy road. The beach at this end of Kamala is pretty quiet. There are 3 or 4 shacks selling drinks and allegedly food, but I only saw them open one day of our 10-day holiday and they were, annoyingly, closed again by sunset, which is a beautiful time to visit the beach.
The town of Kamala is about 1.5km south along the beach. It is certainly walkable for adults in 15mins or so, and I did so a couple of times, but the kids found it too far in the heat. There are a few bars on the beach a bit closer.
The beach is long and wide, and was generally deserted. I can’t imagine it would be packed even in peak season. The sand is quite coarse over much of the beach but where it meets the water it is fine like Bondi. By comparison, Patong beach is all fine sand. All along the beach are palm trees held up by strut frames, apparently replanted after being flattened by the tsunami. About 1 in 5 have died, but most are sprouting green tops. This and the ubiquitous signs pointing to tsunami escape routes, and some 5 storey tall warning towers were the only evidence of the disaster readily visible, although just about all the buildings look recently renovated. The locals do not speak of the tsunami, and the only time it came up was a market seller who sold copies of a tsunami documentary. He said it was sad, he had lost family, and he didn’t understand who would buy it, but it sold regularly to the tourists.
If you have any concerns, know that the tsunami evacuation route passes the hotel, so it would be a safe location in such a circumstance.
The hotel staff were all very friendly, and showed genuine affection to our children, always greeting them and smiling. The swim up bar is fun, and happy hour is 2 for 1 between 6pm and 7pm and 10pm and 11pm, beer and soft drinks only.
The reception was able to organise tours and Phuket Fantasea tickets, but weren’t very good at suggesting things. Better to look at the brochures available at travel agents stalls outside and all over Patong.
I had read that the monsoon made the beach dangerous for swimming, and it was closed (red flags) one day of our trip, but was fine with gentle surf all the other days. The weather was very fine with rain only one day and one night.
Overall, I feel that the hotel offered extremely good value in the low season, and was a splendid place for kids with the great pool and water slide. I wouldn’t recommend it for a honeymoon, but the Kamala area is much, much more peaceful than Patong, which was crowded and busy even in the low season. Don’t be put off by the few reviews around that sound like old women, worrying about a spot of dirt or some imagined slight in the service, this is a really good place to stay and we would happily return.
posted by bystander at 10:41 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

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