As always, I think it is important to do your research about what you are looking for in a hotel or vacation spot. My girlfriend and I needed a place to stay for a few days both before and after a week on a live aboard dive trip. Knowing that we would be 'roughing it' a bit on the boat we elected to spend a bit more in order to have a comfortable room before and after the main part of our trip.
We stayed at the AVC- Anantara vacation club hotel facility (as opposed to the villas which are larger, more expensive, absolutely luxurious, and closer to the beach). If you have a family with small children, and are looking for a 'contained' beach vacation, and can afford the Villas, I would absolutely look into it. On the hotel side, our room was large, clean, and had a nice balcony with a view of the ocean. We ate at the large buffet every morning and used the fitness facility before heading down to the beach each day. The beach is one of the most beautiful, quiet beaches in this area of Thailand. There is a stand set up right beside the resort (not affiliated with the resort) where you can get a one hour massage for about $12 Canadian. We did this pretty much every day and I can tell you these ladies are talented therapists. We arranged a car for the day (through mr. Chang- he can be found on the phuket forum) and his driver took us for the tourist 'day trip' around old Phuket and the various temples and beaches. As expected, it was a bit of a 'tourist trap' type of service where they offer to sell you elephant rides and tiger encounters etc, but they were not pushy at all when we indicates that we were not interested. Again, if you are looking to venture outside of the resort, this is a good way to get the lay of the land, in addition to stopping at the 7-11 for some supplies (beer, coke, snacks etc) for the in-room fridge.
In reading other reviews I have seen critiques about not being able to use the beach front pool as well as being harassed about timeshare sales. We mentioned at the time of booking that we would not be interested in vacation club ownership, as we only travel to Asia occasionally. They took a photo of us for the staff and we were not approached at all on our stay.
Yes, the beach front pool is for Villa guests only, but the beach is wide open including stand up paddle boards and kayaks (which we used almost daily). There is a perfectly nice pool available within the hotel complex (which we did not use as we preferred the beach). The walk to the beach takes about 5-7 minutes and they thoughtfully include a beach bag for you to use to haul your books, sunscreen etc along.
The manager, Lyndon Ellis, was very helpful when we needed to alter our stay slightly due to a booking error on my part. Also although they could not offer us late check-out on one day, they were able to let us use a hospitality suite to freshen up before our afternoon departure on the boat.
My only other comment would be yes, this resort is far from the 'action'. If you are looking for the bright lights and debauchery of Patong Beach then this is not the area for you to stay. Also, if it bothers you that you pay the same price for 1 beer as you would pay for 4 beer at the 7-11, then this type of resort is not for you.
Otherwise I would highly recommend this resort for a romantic couples getaway, a contained, relaxing family trip, or, as in our case, a stopover to and from a similan island dive trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Anantara Vacation Club’s brand new signature resort in northwest Phuket offers a truly indulgent tropical escape, yet is only 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport and a short drive from the bustling beaches of the south. The resort’s luxurious choice of Apartment Suites and Pool Villas are designed with couples, families and friends in mind. All feature an incredibly generous living space, with sizes ranging from 94 sqm for a One Bedroom Apartment to over 250 sqm for a Two Bedroom Pool Villa. Each apartment and villa is equipped with a kitchen, large refrigerator, cook top and utensils, as well as a clothes washing machine and dryer, to create a convenient home away from home. Just a few minutes’ walk away are the tranquil sun kissed sands of Mai Khao – Phuket’s longest beach. While Sirinath National Park that fringes our resort is your gateway to an impressive natural playground of sea caves, mangroves, coral reefs and dazzling islands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Anantara Vacation Club Mai Khao Phuket