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“Seriously disappointing”

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JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Mai Khao
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Seriously disappointing”
Reviewed 28 May 2007

I was at the resort for four full days. I didn't have such a good image of Marriott, because I kept conjuring up the cheap motels along the interstate highway in the U.S. in the 80s. But I decided on this hotel upon my wife's insistence, who knew of Marriott as the five star J.W. Marriott in Seoul. Here's what I felt.

The Goods. The room was fabulous. It was probably the best of all the resorts I've been to. The pool was great with water slides for kids. My son, 2 at the time, loved the baby pool.

The Bads. The food was just way too Western. For those who love the REAL THAI FOOD will be seriously disappointed. The bathroom behind the kids pool was so filthy and reeked of urine that I momentarily thought that I was in a public bathroom in a local town. The kids club was seriously wanting. It smelled of rags that haven't been washed for weeks. I found spoons with streaks of food remnants in my room, on two occassions. It was just too darned far away from anything. It took two full hours to get to Patong Beach and come back. My check-in experience was exasperating.

Great resorts are not made overnight, by acquiring other hotel and resort chains, which Marriott did. It's the software that matters and that's what touches the customers' hearts.

  • Stayed July 2006, travelled with family
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8 Thank AragornSeoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2007

A five star hotel with all the luxury you would expect. Very clean and staff friendly and helpful. The best restaurant is the Thai one one the new side of the complex, very reasonable and excellent food. Has all you need for a relaxing holiday with a base to explore the rest of Phuket. Also the spa was a great experience, dont be afraid to have a massage by one of the beach staff.

  • Liked — Very Clean and comfortable
  • Disliked — Nothing all was perfect
  • Stayed December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1 Thank Ianandamanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level 4 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2007

Our family stayed at the JW during the first week of April and had a terrific time. In most respects the JW exceeded our expectations and we will likely return which, for us, is a big vote of approval - especially since we traveled half way around the world to get there, from NYC.

The JW is a beautiful resort. The landscaping is truly impressive. Walking around the grounds you really see the planning that went into the hotel's design. Upkeep of the grounds seems constant. Every day we saw many people watering, pruning and otherwise tending to the vegetation. The room we had, on the ground floor, was large, well appointed, very comfortable and had a good sized bathroom. All rooms have a fridge and complimentary bottled water is left by housekeeping.

The pools are terrific. I think there are about four or five, depending on how you count them. The new infinity pool at the southern part of the hotel is very impressive, overlooking the beach. Likewise, the pool at the northern end of the property is also relaxing and beautiful. Service at the pools was very good, with staff anticipating where you were heading and laying down towels and bringing over ice water. During the day staff came around to spritz you with water and/or hand out cold fruit snacks. The staff was, across the board, very helpful and couldn't be nicer. Language is a problem at times but, that is certainly to be expected. The hotel has a many staff from around the world and, across the board, they were great. Very welcoming, knowlegeable and friendly. Guests too were very polyglot, with many Aussies, Brits, Swedes, Chinese, Indians and expat Americans.

The food at the JW was good, not outstanding. Frankly, I think at any large sized resort food is usually an issue, particularly where so many different nationalities arrive expecting so many different things. Thus, while we really wanted "authentic" and spicy Thai, that was rather difficult to find at the hotel. For others, I imagine, the Thai food was spot on. The bkfst buffet is excellent, one of the best we've ever encountered anywhere. It offered dozens of options, was consistently replenished and was fresh. Options ran the gamut from a banana pancake/waffle station, fresh eggs, dim sum, grilled fish, Singapore noodles, fried rice, porridges, much fruit and yogurt, breads, meats, cheeses, smoothies (which were great), fresh fruit juices, you get the picture. Generally, bkfst was so filling that none of us was ever very hungry for lunch. Each of the pools have a somewhat different food menu but, you can order anything on any menu at any pool and they will get it to you. The lunch food was good, if a bit bland. Many salad and Thai options. The pool menus all had kids options, as did the restaurants, I believe. For dinner we only really ate at the upscale Thai spot, at the south of the hotel, and that was the best meal at the hotel. It is located in a newly built, very pretty wood and glass restaurant. The Thai cooking school the hotel offers is in a separate Sala right next door. It too was lovely. Service at the restaruant was very good and the food was well presented and excellent. We asked for "very spicy" and the dishes came spicy, but no more. Some soft shell crab and penang curry we had was outstanding. One evening they had a few dancers performing in the restaurant. We also had pizzas one night at the Italian spot and those too were good.

Otherwise we mostly took taxis out for dinner and think that was the wiser decision. A taxi was 1200 baht for three hours, which is enough time to get to a restaurant, eat leisurely and return. The food outside the hotel is better than in the hotel, and that is not surprising. We highly recommend the restaurants: Silk, Watermark and the restaurant at the Trisara hotel. All had great food and were located in great spaces. Even with the cost of the taxi, eating off the property costs no more than eating at the hotel. The restaurant at Trisara, a very luxe all-suite hotel not far from the JW is located in a picture perfect setting and the food was some of the best we had anywher in Thailand. It is expensive but, some dishes were equal to or less than the prices at the JW. Service there was above and beyond (when the staff saw my son nodding off they brought over another chair for him to stretch out on; when they must have overheard one of us say, in a very low voice, that they thought there were bugs around, they brought over bug spray), and the entire setting and structure of the hotel is one of the prettiest we've seen anywhere in the world. If we return without kids that might be the place we choose to stay. It is also smack on a very nice and what looked to be mostly private beach.

As for prices at the JW, we mostly found them entirely in line with the quality of the hotel, though the bottled water at dinner is way too high. Also, I think the buffet theme night dinners seemed expensive. Certainly, we had a better meal at the hotel's Thai restaurant for less money. While prices were way more expensive than "off property," that is true everywhere in the world. Certainly, prices at the JW are much less than you pay at a similar resort in the Carribbean or in Europe. Wine was expensive everywhere in Thailand, beer is cheap.

We hired the driver "Sam," recommended elsewhere on this board, and he worked out great. He couldn't be nicer and was very informative. We had him drive us around the island for the day and saw and learned a lot. The elephant rides were a blast. We stopped in both Phuket city and Patong and neither was very impressive. Patong reminded distinctly of Acapulco, Mexico, and not in a good way.

The JW has gobs of activities. Everything from batik making, intro to Thai neck masage, Thai boxing, photo tours, tennis, bike tours, flower arraning, etc. You can keep busy all day or simply loaf around by the pool and beach, which was mostly what we opted for. The hotel also has a circus school. Our ten and twelve year old children did the trapeze lessons and we highly recommend those. It is well run by "Mr. G," profeesional and a lot of fun. The whole trapeze class took an hour. Also, tennis lessons were well run by some great instructors. There is a baby elephant that walks around in the morning and afternoon and the kids went gaga over him, as did we. Great photos and a really sweet animal.

The weather we had in early April was terrific. Picture perfect. The sun is strong yet, usually there was a nice breeze off the ocean.

We were at the hotel over Easter, more or less, and the hotel was filled with families, as was to be expected. I imagine that, at any holiday time, there will always be families and many kids present. Thus, if kids aren't your thing, this is likely not the place for you. On that point, there seemed to be a great kids club. While ours did not participate, the club had a very nice room with a large flat screen TV and videogames/play station setup which my son found and where he played with some other kids from Scotland and Australia. The hotel was at 100% capacity a couple of nights we weree there (I asked) but, even so, everything ran smoothly. There were still pool lounges always available but, as in other parts of the world, the nasty habit of "claiming chairs" by leaving towels, etc., on them is present here. Yet, I don't think it is a place where you need to run down at 8 a.m. to claim a chair. Certainly we never did.

As for downsides, the only one really is the JW's location, and maybe the beach. The hotel really is far from most everything, save the airport, and getting to restaurants or shopping required a trip. Yet, that was entirely doable and something you just need to take account of. A rental car may be a good idea, certainly during the day. Taxis are plentiful. The beach is excellent also, very long and mostly desserted. However, it is open ocean. Although while we were there the ocean was calm as a lake, and very clear, we still were very cognizant that this was open ocean. With a strong undertow we would not go in. In contrast, we saw some other beaches on the south of the island, Nai Harn for example, which were picture perfect as far as turquoise water, soft sand and small lapping waves. We generally prefer those types of beaches.

Thailand is a fantastic destination. Combine a few days (or week(s)) in Phuket with a few days in BKK and you have a memorable vacation, hard to match anywhere else in the world. The Thai people are so incredibly welcoming that it is hard to believe such a place exists. Thai food is outstanding, the shopping in BKK is great and prices are inexpensive for those with dollars, Euros or pounds. We will return to Phuket and likely to the JW. For those with kids seeking an upscale and beautiful resort destination it can't be beat.

  • Stayed April 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
28 Thank tengohambre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2007

My wife and I went to Marriott for our honeymoon, and loved it. Since I am in the Navy, I have stayed in hotels and resorts all over the US and worldwide and this is the best hotel I have ever stayed. The service is top notch. I remember saying that every time I asked for assistance, the hotel staff would already be nodding yes before I even finished asking. The resort is pristine clean and for the first time my wife did not get eaten by mosquitos. We were able to use the on site dive center to organize our dives to Similan, one of the best dive sites in Thailand. Water shown in picture. The hotel is close to the airport which is nice after a long flight from California. The pools were amazing and the staff continued to treat every guest as royalty. The only down side is the location is far from anywhere else. This for some may be a plus, however, it does limit you on where to go for dinner. The restaurants were absolutely amazing, crossing all boundries from American, Japanese, Italian, and Thai food to mention a few. The spa was amazing, and peaceful. We had a couples massage in our own private secluded garden room. When we checked out, the personel from the spa came up to see us off. The tennis courts were amazing although we did not use them this time. We are planning on going back next year since we purchased
a timeshare there before leaving.

Stayed January 2006
2 Thank Flip07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2007

Stayed here in October 2006 for the first part of our honeymoon, thhe hotel is fabulous - probably one of the nicest we have stayed in. The staff were great and very friendly, service was really efficient but the staff were always ready to stop and chat which added to the enjoyment of our stay. The downside is that the hotel is so isolated and as such, eating at the hotel for the whole stay was not only very expensive but also felt a bit like you were missing out on the true flavour of Thailand.
The breakfast buffet was the most comprehensive and best I have ever tasted.
Whilst we had the best time here, we would probably not return to the hotel due to its location.

  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank pkjt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2007

We chose the hotel following a set of positive reviews on this site and also as it was closed to a wedding venue we were attending. We thought the facilities were good, but for a 5* they seem to run out of sun loungers too early in the day. Also, the food was just ok - the Thai food in the restaurants was not much different from the Thai food we eat in London take aways. The rooms were spacious, with luxurious bathrooms. They give you bottled water daily to hydrate you. The lobby is beautiful with great views to the sea. They have a great gym & tennis courts. The spa was a bit of a let down, not nearly as good as the Banyan tree. Good for families though as they have a good kids club.

  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3 Thank AimeG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
75 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2007

We had done a lot of research before deciding on this property so here is what our opinion of our week here :

The lobby and public areas are lovely, check in is fine (though we noticed the commotion at the beach club check in counter which is located closer to the arrival causeway), nothing usual or superb for a Marriott resort.

Terrace rooms - we have a lovely room though still small (see attached photos), the terrace is nice but even with the provided mosquito coils, the bugs are nasty in the evenings

Kids' club - one of the best one I had come across, kids below 4 needs an adult supervision (your own nanny or hired babysitter or parent), an option to have lunch there (for a price), older kids (teens) have a different room (separated by glass doors and partition) with a huge flat panel (for games) another huge TV for movies, two computers and a pool table. for the little ones, there are computer terminals (5 including the two small ones in the little kids' room), a small indoor playground, and lots of toys everywhere. Kids have other fun options/programs they can sign up (for a fee) eg. circus, etc

Playground - great playground with sand, next to the closet bathroom (single) to the pool

Pool - best part of this for the kids is the kids' slide and pool area (very shallow with turtles all over, little fountains, etc) but the most annoying factor is also this pool area -> by breakfast time (8.30 a.m.) u may find it hard to get a lounge chair by this area as everyone else seemed to think that it is ok to place a slipper or a hat on each of these (usually a family of 4 or more chairs are taken !) and when these people do show up, it is 11 am and they leave by 1 pm but still hanging onto those chairs !!! This had happened throughout the week even with a complaint, nothing was done (note : due to the fact that the water is so shallow and there is hardly any shade next to the pool, the water is very hot, felt like warm bath water, u dont feel refreshed after a swim coz the water temp. is just too warm even if u swim to the far end of the pool. When u swim back to the shallow end, u can feel the difference, like entering into a very warm bath) U get free popsicles (3 flavors/colors, i can only say the yellow taste a bit like pineapple while the other two - red and green tasted like sugar water wtih coloring) at one of the the kids' pool so the kids love this. (Tip : to get a breeze, it is better to be away from the pool area and get closer to the beach)

Restaurants : u r advised to reserve (at the reception area) a table which I didnt understand until I was at the restaurant, even if the restaurant is not filled up, they dont put u at the table unless u have a reservation, i had seen people waiting and annoyed seeing empty tables waiting for the reservations to show up !

- Marriott Cafe is our favorite - due to variety and quality (u pay 900 baht each for buffet, kids under a certain age is free, mine are 5 and 3 and they are free), their tables have a lovely sunset view if u r there at the right time

- Thai Restaurant - we didnt realized it was not at the hotel (it was at the beach club side) so make sure u have ample time to walk (a long walk of 20 mins) to dinner, food is ok (the omelette is the best and I dont even like eggs), nothing unique (for those who complained that this is not real Thai food, this is only coz they r put a modern twist to it to justify the price they are charging)

- Blu - their bar club is really nice (esp. the outdoor seating overlooking the beach area but beware of bugs if u didnt have any spray on) and is next to the thai restaurant

- Japanese (must be the worse !) coz it is open (chef preparing raw fish at room temp, the only time the fish is in any protected cold environment is when the fish is in the little sushi fridge along the counter), u have to dine outdoor as it is under the roof but open air restaurant. Be prepared to keep shooing flies off your food !!! It was just a nightmare

- deli is a good breakfast choice at 450 baht, kids half price or free depending on the age, their pastries are good

Boutiques/Shops - Jim Thompson shop is quite reasonable (was expecting a hike in prices when comparing it to the bangkok shop), the other shops have things u might want to browse around, if u forget to bring beach toys, u can buy them in one of the shop

Spa - For an average 4000 baht, u get a very good massage or facial which for the quality u r getting, it is a bargain ! This is definitely the highlight for me (others had mentioned about the beach massage which I did try before I made my appointment at the spa. The beach massages are for those who just want a rub down, not a proper massage. These beach massages are not done by professionally trained personnel, they dont ease your tension bags etc, and to top it off, u r asked to lie down in a hut with a bunch of total strangers, trying to get flies and other black bugs off your body, lying down on a sarong that smells even though it had been air dried on top of an umbrella, the only upside of the beach massages is the price)

Gym and other sport facilities - great gym !!! this is also the place to rent movies (not cheap, US$8/24 hour rental), rent their bikes (3 kids bikes are available too but all bikes are allowed for off property rides only), tennis court is right out the door (too hot and humid to play as it is outdoor court).

General impression - quality of hotel is good, the hard sell of time share is really annoying, way overcrowded as it is time share (beach club) and hotel 2 in one to share hotel's facilities (the gym though a good size and great new equipment can be packed during 8.30 am thru 10 am, pool side is hard to find any lounging chairs, restaurants decent hours for dinner are usually fully booked, etc), rooms not cleaned by 4 pm sometimes (unless u make a call and the staff ends their day by 5 pm), room service quality of food isnt bad (if u order a side order of fries, beware, they bring a whole big plate filled to the top with fries so order only one, i had to throw out one plate as I thought it was a side order, i had ordered two !). The worst of my trip (so far it was ok) is that only my last day, we had discovered that cash was stolen from our traveler bag (which was hidden in one of our computer bag that was placed in the closet, the safe was not big so we had filled it up with our video cam and passport with our jewelry, the US$ was left in the wallet in the computer bag in the closet all put away hidden nicely). It was just disappointing that a 5* luxury Marriott cant be depended on.

Would I return ? No. For others, it could be just my bad luck to lose the cash (US$120 which was 6 $20 notes, what was left behind was the 3 $1 notes which I guess they didnt fancy) and I was there during Easter week (there are tons of europeans as well as Singapore internation schools' families on vacation) which is why it was way too crowded. U may have a better time than me if u plan it properly, the hotel itself is nice enough.

Tips :

the outdoor dining at the thai restuarant is pretty but bugs are annoying (they are attacking your food all the time !) and service is slow outside (one table had to get up and walk inside to ask about their food 3 times !)

Pool side dining is ok but beware of flies ! The best option is to go to the poolside cafe and dine (the satay option of 10 sticks is a good appetizer or light lunch, go for all shrimp coz the other meat isnt very good)

u can ask for a golf cart to take u to the Thai restaurant or Blu bar if u r staying at the hotel rather than the beach club.

marriott cafe works out to be the same price as dining elsewhere for dinner (coz kids r free) and the food is ok.

Look into the drawer for the map of the property (u will need it !)

17 Thank _de_last_one
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

Property: JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Address: 231 Moo 3, Mai Khao, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Phuket > Thalang District > Mai Khao
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Mai Khao
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Mai Khao
#3 Spa Hotel in Mai Khao
#3 Luxury Hotel in Mai Khao
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Mai Khao
#4 Family Hotel in Mai Khao
#5 Romantic Hotel in Mai Khao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 265
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is set in lush tropical gardens, with 17 kms of natural beachfront. Twenty minutes north of the airport, our Phuket resort's grounds comprise 265 spacious rooms including 13 suites, all facing towards the Andaman Sea. Facilities include eleven restaurants and bars, Thai cooking school, three magnificent pools, full-service Mandara Spa, on-site turtle shelter, shopping arcade, activities-packed kids club including on-site turtle shelter. The fitness center includes two tennis courts, yoga sala. Golf available nearby. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Phuket Hotel Mai Khao
Jw Marriott Phuket Resort And Spa
Jw Marriott Mai Khao
Marriott Phuket
Phuket Marriott
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa Mai Khao

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