Just got back from a 4 day, 3 night stay with two kids (4 years old and 20 months). Highly recommend this place.
Location: definitely not in the center of the action as it is a bit isolated in the northern part of the island just north of the airport. So if you're looking to do a lot of excursions and see sights all over Phuket, this is probably not the best option. But it is very close to the airport which makes the short trip to the hotel after a flight with 2 kids a blessing. If you're happy spending all your time at the resort, then it's great.
Check-in/Check-out: check in is at 4pm (which is very late compared to most other places). We got to the hotel at 2pm and since the hotel had arranged our pickup, we assumed they would have gotten our room ready early. Not a big deal as we killed some time at the Kids Club next to the lobby and our room was ready by 3pm. If you want to check in early, suggest that you call in advance and not assume like we did. Their check out is 10am and we didn't have a problem delaying it til 1pm.
Rooms: best part of the resort are the spacious two bedroom apartments which was perfect for us given how young our kids were and how we needed the kitchenette and it was easy to run back and arrange naps etc. Washer and dryer was also very useful.
There are 4 buildings in a row, 4 floors each. We stayed on the top floor which got a lot of light. The bottom floor units had a terrace and plunge pool but it was very dark so we were happy with our unit. The lobby/kids club is between buildings 2 and 3 with building 1 closest to the entrance and Turtle Mart and building 4 being the most inconvenient of the 4 buildings.
Resort/Facilities: the resort is definitely on the small side, especially if compared to the JW Marriott or Anantara next door. If you want all the facilities that JW Marriott has to offer, you can try to book the Phuket Beach Club apartment units which are pretty much identical two bedroom units as the ones at the Marriott Mai Khao Beach. However, they are a lot more expensive (even though they are a bit older) because you get access to all the JW Marriott facilities (including a much superior Kids Club).
The Marriott Mai Khao Beach is quieter and more cozy. The Kids Club is small, with a few tables for drawing and activities and a total of 6 flat screen TVs for Wii, X-Box, Playstation and DVDs. They have a decent DVD library from which you can borrow for free. The Kids Club is probably geared towards a bit older kids (6-10).
The main pool is a nice size. The kids pool is small but has a slide and our kids had a lot of fun wading in the water. We went swimming really early so never had a problem getting a seat and it never seemed too full even when we arrived on our first day which was the end of Thai new year. I could see people getting bored if it was a longer stay, especially since the facilities at the JW Marriott next door were off limits.
There are also bikes that you can borrow (didn't see any helmets) although we didn't take advantage of this.
The fitness center is above the lobby/kids club. It was well equipped. No spa (need to use the one next door at the JW).
If you need to get off the property, there is a shuttle bus to the JW Marriott which runs every 15 minutes. You can also call a buggy (golf cart) to take you there, but the JW Marriott won't let you use their buggies to take you back so you will have to wait and grab the shuttle.
Beach: The buggies will also take you to the beach which is basically a small stretch right between the Anantara and JW Marriott properties. This resort isn't on the beach but we felt that access was still very convenient (10-15 minute walk or less than 5 minute buggy ride). At the beach there is a manned stall specifically for Mai Khao guests where you can get water and towels. They only operate from 10am-5pm though, but it's convenient because you can get them to call a buggy to pick you up and bring you back. With two young kids, walking wasn't really an option. There are a handful of beach chairs for Mai Khao guests, nothing fancy. The best part is on both sides of this stretch of beach, there are local masseuses who provide beach side massages for 400 Baht per hour on a covered sala. Can't beat the value.
Food: we had room service twice and ate at Zest twice (once for breakfast and once for lunch). Food in general was good quality and decent value, although expect hotel prices. Kids below 7 eat free though (at the breakfast buffet). Turtle Village next door was convenient and we got some groceries at the Turtle Mart in the basement (western prices), had breakfast at Coffee Club one morning (decent), and had dinner at Thai Express (avoid at all costs - service was slow and food was horrible). Was great to have some other options next door, otherwise eating all the meals at the resort would have gotten repetitive very fast.
We had dinner at Kin Dee (a local Thai restaurant overlooking a valley) one night which was very good and very reasonably priced (they do free delivery too). A taxi will take you there, wait for up to 3 hours and take you back for 500 Baht (it's literally a 5 minute drive away). We had breakfast at Marriott Cafe at the JW Marriott next door which had similar food as Zest but a bit more selection. The JW definitely has a lot more food options and also has a good deli if you get tired of Thai food. Tip: We got 30% off our breakfast at the Marriott Cafe for being guests at the Marriott Mai Khao Beach. No one had told us this before and not sure if our server got it wrong and had thought we were Marriott Vacation Club members (although we were quite clear we were staying at the Marriott Mai Khao Beach, which is known as a property used for complimentary stays for referral guests). In any event, definitely mention it because if we knew, we would have eaten at the JW more.
We had lunch at Sea.Fire.Salt at the Anantara next door (ok but expensive) and in front of the beach of Anantara to the right (next to the massage places) are a few Thai restaurants - no more than 3. We got some takeout from there one night (Andaman Sea) and it was excellent.
Value: We were referral guests of the Marriott Vacation Club so had a complimentary 3 night stay but even if we paid, it's still very good value at $160-200 per night. I won't comment on my thoughts on the MVC.
Service: service was very good overall as is expected for Thailand. Extra credit to Barbie in the Kids Club who offered me a bag of popcorn to take home at night because no one had come to watch movie night. They were a bit stingy on some of the scheduled kids activities. There was a prince/princess crown decorating activity and after my daughter finished decorating her crown and wanted to make one for her little brother, they told her repeatedly that she was only allowed one (and only relented when she was on the verge of tears). We're talking about a photocopied sheet of paper!
Overall it was an excellent stay and would highly recommend for families.
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Mai Khao Beach Hotel Mai Khao
- Marriotts Mai Khao
- Mai Khao Marriotts
- Marriott's Mai Khao Beach - Phuket