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“Gorgeous location but the poor service ruined it all”

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Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Nong Thale
Certificate of Excellence
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
75 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“Gorgeous location but the poor service ruined it all”
Reviewed 2 January 2014

Pros:
- Location is very scenic, facing Phang Nga bay. Very scenic and convenient for visit to Ko Hong, eventhough there is no beach to swim to. Careful though, there is nothing around, so you're stuck with the hotel.
- Some areas of the resort architecture are memorable (entry pavilion, spa). Some are horrible. A strange mix In between Aladdin's house and Dubai...

Cons:
- Service is absolutely not to the standards you would expect from a 5 stars which costs between 450-800 euros per room: butler was intrusive, giving false information, and not helpful (was not made aware that it was possible to have buggy pick up and drop off), pool staff was unhelpful (had to walk to them several times to order, or get serviced), ...
- Some areas are dodgy and not walking-friendly (some path had moving stones which made walking at night hazardous).
- In general, the resort is surprisingly in bad conditions for being only 5 or 6 years old (paint peeling, signage falling apart, broken walls,...)
- Everything is priced like the fancier spots in Europe.

Overall:
Phulay Bay is priced like Aman resort, or Alila Villas in Bali, for a service of a mediocre chain branded 5 stars. You are entitled to expect excellency in service, and they are far from it, as it is pretentious and unfriendly.
I do not recommend Phulay Bay. Save your money for other resorts in Thailand which are more worth it (in the area, go for the Nakamanda a little bit south).

Room Tip: Avoid pavilion 50, it has horrible views on a dull half dead grass plot.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank Richard N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Europe
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2013

This is a review of the buffet dinner we had there on christmas eve, not the hotel itself, not the villas or any other facilities. Yet I find publishing a review on just the dinner here is worth it - please read for yourself.
I've had the Ritz on my short-list before but never actually stayed there for one of my Thailand trips. This time I met friends for christmas in the Krabi area and decided to invite them to a decent dinner, have ourselves a great night and get away from the crowds. Plus for me I wanted to check out the property with regards to a fututre stay.
So we made a reservation for their buffet by the beach, were warmly welcomed and guided through their zen paviliions and took a ride with a golf cart across the property to their restaurant. Staff very friendly and professional.
But the buffet:
1. First, the quality of the food served was good.
2. Choice: I've seen a greater choice and variety of foods at every breakfast buffet in this country at the likes of the Sheraton Grande or Okura Prestige in Bangkok or the Santhiya Koh Phangan. Here, selection for startes ok, they had a selection of meats and fish (Steak from NZ, Chicken from Thailand, Barramundi from Bali..) but other mains? Where were the local dishes, the Thai curries for example? And also the desert selection was moderate.

All that would have been acceptable, given the setting of the buffet outside and right by the beach without proper kitchen facilities and so on - if the food served was WARM, adequately HEATED.
3. But no, the mains didn't have the right temperature. The steaks were half warm, we had to ask twice to put our steaks back on the grill, then they got it right. So was the veggies, some of the sides...just not well-heated. Very disappointing for a christmas eve. The setting and the attentive service didn't save it.

So, this is a 5* property and the dinner was around 120€ a person (with 2 choices of wine). This amount will buy you a 4-5 course menu at a Michelin-star rated restaurant in europe. Their F&B management needs to invest in proper buffet equipment. Their tajine style pots and jars all looked nice but surely didn't fulfil the purpose.
So we thought this was definitely NOT worth the money.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CharKoeyTeow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,374 reviews
152 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 451 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2013 via mobile

My husband and I are sitting in the airport reminiscing about how lucky we are to have spent the past 5 days at Phulay Bay. It is a 5 star resort and we could not be more pleased. From the moment we were greeted at Krabi airport and whisked away to paradise, everything was amazing. The entryway is stunning and it was the perfect gateway to enter the honeymoon of our dreams. We were greeted by Carlos and Sabai, our Butler, both of which were extremely friendly and helpful the entire time we were there. After a refreshing cup of tea , we were off to our stunning Ocean Pavilion. Although we didn't have one of the villas with a private pool or expansive view of the ocean (although they looked nice if you can afford it), we could see the ocean through the trees and the room was amazing so I would recommend saving your money for food, drinks and excursions and go with the pavilions. We spent a lot of time out on the patio just sitting and relaxing in the morning with breakfast or a glass of wine before dinner or bed...that gets us to the bed (AMAZING). The bed is at least twice the size of a normal King bed and is incredibly comfortable. The bathroom and bathtub are spacious and the skylights in the bathroom are a perfect touch. Otherwise, we spent most of our time at the infinity pool. The view from there is world class and there is a wonderful small pool at the front where you can sit and read, listening to the water falling behind your shoulders. The swim up bar and the food/drink selection at the pool was very nice as well. The service at the pool was a bit spotty as it was sometimes difficult to get someone unless we went up to the bar/food area (although this could have been where we were sitting. They were very pleasant and especially great when we first arrived in the mornings, always knowing which 2 chairs we wanted and opening the umbrella...also, the cold young coconuts in the afternoon were a wonderful touch (so refreshing). I agree with other reviews that things here are very expensive but it is not more than I though it would be or than what could be expected at a resort of this quality. We tried and enjoyed both the seafood and Thai restaurants but by far, the highlight was the Dining Beyond "Sritang by the Sea" which consisted of a stunning setup with candles, flowers and a wonderful view of the sunset and beach followed by delicious Thai food (and a lot of it). I would highly recommend it for couples or a family, and it would also be a great option if it were raining as it covered and has glass sides you could close if needed. Another highlight was Hong Island, which we waited to go to until the last day and it was stunning. The beach was beautiful, the water crystal clear and we took out the kayaks and although the waves made it quite a tough ride, it was well worth the great pictures and private lagoons we were able to explore (if you don't want a hard paddle, get kayaks and go out of the lagoon to the left as both small lagoons are about 1/4 around the island so you can go back without hitting the bigger waves). The last major highlight was Sabai...her smile lit up our day every morning and she was incredibly sweet. She made sure we did everything we want and experienced all the wonderful resort has to offer. We can only hope we are lucky enough to come back someday!!!

Top 3 Positives: Dining Beyond "Sritang by the Sea" (incredible Thai food, scenery and ambiance), Hong Island & Kayaking (stunning water, cliffs & lagoons), Infinity pool (beautiful, serene and swim up bar)

Small details to that could be better (although the resort definitely still deserves 5 stars or more): Christmas Eve dinner celebration was overpriced for what it was and service by the pool could have been a bit more attentive

Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Shelliu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2013

We chose to go to Phulay bay as part of our honeymoon package for 5 days of rest and relaxation over Christmas before heading off to Bangkok. Overall our impression of Phulay Bay has been a positive one however a few things (specifically the pool service and equipment were disappointing and 100% sub standard)

On our arrival we were met by the hotel manager which was a nice touch, Carlos seemed to be everywhere and always chatting with guests which was good. We were taken to our room (ocean reserve Vila) by our butler and check in was quick and easy. The rooms at this place are magnificent, the bathrooms amazing and bath tub like a private pool.....my wife was v happy here...not to mention the bed and the duvet etc all were above expectations, the balcony and terrace were great and had stunning views and a table if you ordered room service and a day bed for just lounging around on. The TV and sound system were excellent. In all I cannot rave enough about the quality of the rooms, you actually could just hang out in it all week if you wanted to.

The resort feels quite new with some lovely architecture and I understand was actually featured in the film the hangover 2. We found the staff excellent and our butler beek was so kind and friendly, I don't think we used him enough as I saw most guests getting ferried about in their golf buggies but after meals I quite enjoyed the stroll up the slight hill to my room to stretch put a bit. Breakfast were excellent, the evening meals lovely and the beach bar offering 2 4 1 cocktails every night superb.

My only negative comment about this place comes from my experiences at the pool. Overall I believe this is probably due to a poor manager or something like that as everything else is superb. I know I am being picky here but for the cost of this place per night I feel I am entitled to. There was no evidence the pool area was swept every day and there we're leaves all over the decking and in the pool, the pool tenders weren't particularly attentive and I often had to get my own towels, ask for the free water, when people left for the day towels were left scattered on loungers and plates, drinks and rubbish were left out, as we walked home after dinner one night it looked half closed half open, lights left on and disco music on, a punctured yellow inflatable air bed remained in the pool for the duration of our stay and the furniture was good but starting to show it's age, stained beds, ripped mattresses etc - all this combined gave an overall impression of poor management backed up by the only bit of poor service we found throughout our 2 week honeymoon. my biggest grumble about the pool came on our penultimate day, as the resort got busier pre Xmas there were not enough loungers which meant I had to go to the "beach" and enjoy a panoramic view of a container ship unloading. I expected more based on the price I was paying and don't feel it is an unrealistic expectation to want a lounger by the pool. All in all a great resort significantly let down by one key aspect for winter sun holiday - I would advise Carlos to look into this area of his resort management quickly before anymore reviews like this creep in...

I would come back but and recommend this place to friends as I'm sure the pool could be sorted out really easily. Everything else works so I fail to see why this should be the anomaly.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Stephen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2013

The hotel feels like a maze; built to impress and to give the illusion of being in a ultra modern middle eastern palace in a futuristic movie. if you are looking to be at one with nature, this is not the place. Potential guests beware: there is no access to a direct beach. You will have to take a 25 min boat ride to hong island that departs at 930 am on a daily basis, and hang with all the others tourists that are day tripping there. With the low tide, there are lots of rocks exposed and you need to look pretty far out to get that "krabi island" view. They should make it clear there is no direct beach access. But i suppose this may not matter to the well heeled clientele that are constantly on their cell phone.

To be fair, the service is very good, rooms are new and well maintained but you need to embrace the high purple walls, steep slopes and over manicured gardens. Facilities for kids are very good with a playroom and a nice gym for the parents.

After a short stay, we moved over to Tubkaak which is the polar opposite of this resort. More expensive there but the crowd was much more down to earth, and they have an actual beach!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank A B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 December 2013

This would have to be the most amazing resort I have ever stayed at so far on my travels. It is definately my idea of heaven on earth and it has raised the bar for me! It's going to be hard to beat. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave (which was so hard to do) you are treated like royalty, but there is no feeling of it being pretentious or pompous. The feeling you have at this resort is really relaxed, tranquil and serene. You don't need to get all dressed up and be all fancy shmancy at this resort which is what I loved about it.

We stayed in a Pool Villa, the room was beautiful, airy, well laid out with an indoor and outdoor bath as well as a private swimming pool and outdoor daybed. Although what it lacked were deck chairs by the private pool so there wasn't really anywhere to lie out in the sun. The 4 meter long bed in the room was like sleeping on a cloud. It's the most comfortable sleep I have had in a very long time, maybe ever. The bathroom was huge and a pleasure to spend time in. A girl loves a nice bathroom. Everything has been thought of. The rain shower was great and the his and hers sinks shaped like shells were a great touch. I would describe the villa as feeling like I was living in a Moroccan temple as it has a lot of Moroccan touches. I loved the big doors between the room and the bathroom.

Now to my ultimate favourite part of this resort.....the infinity swimming pool. WOW was the first thought that entered my mind when I saw it. The pool is huge and has the most beautiful tranquil view of the ocean and the limestone cliffs scattered around the sea. Every once in a while a long tail boat passes by and you really feel like you have died and gone to heaven. There are plenty of sun loungers and day beds around the pool and great big umbrellas to keep you out of the sun. Next to each sunlounger are eskys filled with ice and bottled water which the lovely pool boys refill for you all day. I probably spent 90% of my time at the infinity pool as I couldn't keep away from it. The longer I stayed there the longer I wanted to stay. I didn't want the sun to go down. Some days we had the whole pool to ourselves, I don't know where everyone else was. The staff around the pool were very friendly and attentive and the food and cocktails were fantastic. There is no real beach at this resort but the pool more than makes up for the lack of beach.

Speaking of food, I loved every bite. Everything I tried was delicious. The breakfast was beautiful, I love that its part buffet and part al a carte, it was hard to choose what to have as all the choices were so tempting. I tried something different everyday. For dinner the food was delicious and the room service was also great. No complaints from me. It isn't cheap for Thai standards but if you're staying at a resort of this standard and price range you don't expect it to be cheap.

The location of this resort is very secluded, you are not walking distance to anything, not even a convenience store so if you want snacks that aren't provided in the minibar then think ahead and buy some on your way there or when you're out. They do provide a free minibar which is restocked each day with drinks but there is nowhere at the resort to buy chocolates or snacks etc so maybe they should stock some in their gift shop. It's about a 20min drive to Ao Nang which is where you find all the action of Krabi. If you feel like getting out of the tranquility of the resort you can go into Ao Nang for some shopping, cheap foot massages and lots of restaurants to choose from.

On a whole, I LOVED my stay at the Ritz Carlton. Thank you to all the staff for making my holiday so memorable. I can't stop thinking about it, whenever the weather it not so nice at home i close my eyes and remember my time there and feel so much better. I will DEFINATELY return one day as I have to experience it again. That's a must.

Room Tip: The Pool Villas are beautiful and if you are the type of person that needs a private pool then it...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LoveToTravel195
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
115 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 December 2013

Undoubtedly the best Ritz Carlton we have ever stayed in and definitely up there as one of the best hotels.
This place only has a small number of rooms and a very personalized service, Our children had a great time (they tailor the kids activities to suit you).
The apartments are spacious, the outdoor bath is fun and the butler service great, always with a smile and nothing too much trouble.
Food in the resort is expensive, but given the luxurious settling and the quiet laidback atmosphere it is worth every penny.
Will definitely be returning.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank English_Expat_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Property: Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Address: 111 Moo 3, Nong Thale, Krabi Town 81180, Thailand
Phone Number:
Region: Thailand > Krabi Province > Krabi Town > Nong Thale
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Nong Thale
#1 Spa Hotel in Nong Thale
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Nong Thale
#3 Family Hotel in Nong Thale
#3 Romantic Hotel in Nong Thale
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 54
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, invites you to experience your own secluded oasis at our luxury resort in Krabi, Thailand. Beyond the limestone mountains that rise from Thailand’s Andaman Sea, the virgin rainforests, and the ethereal beaches and crystal clear waterfalls, you will find a paradise that awaits - Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Our luxury waterfront hotel is one of the world’s most spellbinding destinations and one of the most glorious resorts in Thailand. Stay with us and embark on a voyage of discovery, at our retreat in Krabi, where the natural splendor and charm of the island blends blissfully with an aura of luxury and serenity. Guests access our luxurious sanctuary from Krabi or Phuket Airports, and they at once experience the thrill and convenience of our exotic Phulay Bay waterfront resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Phulay Bay, a Ritz Carlton Reserve Hotel Nong Thale
Ritz Carlton Krabi
Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve Krabi, Thailand

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