As promised to document my recent Phuket trip of 4D3N for our 6th Anniversary, so here it is! Because the whole trip was quite fruitful in terms of activities scheduled back to back (all thanks to my bf, although it was damnnnnn tiring!), I decided to divide them into few blog posts.
We took an afternoon flight from Jetstar and arrived Phuket in the evening. Just to highlight, we booked our flight and hotel separately as well as our island-hopping adventure (bf got it off Groupon), so there were loads of homework and research to be done.
Personally, I prefer Jetstar over Tigerair because it is more spacious, especially leg space. Tested and proven by my bf because he’s quite tall, standing at around 1.78m, so his longggg legs usually have limited leg space. The same goes for bus seats… poor boy, HAHAHA!
Unless you are willing to splurge on private villas and private swimming pools and all, located just infront of beaches, which is quite costly, I would recommend cheaper hotels/resorts which are situated a walking distance away from the beach.
And while walking towards the beach, you would also be able to shop along the way….just remember not to spend all your money away even before reaching the beach! HAHA!
The hotel resort which we resided in was none other than… Sawaddi Patong Resort & Spa!
It may not be one of the top-notch hotel resorts available such as Novotel, Holiday Inn etc…but still very satisfactory.
This brings me to my next point.
I may not be a frequent traveller, but planning for your own trip and conducting loads of researches has taught me a few tips or two, which I would like to share with you guys 🙂
How to choose a good hotel?
With the technology at hand, you can find out almost everything and anything!
Google has always been my dearest best friend and review websites such as Tripadvisor/Agoda (although it’s mainly for booking of hotels but they include reviews from customers as well) are the best places to check out reviews!
We actually shortlisted a few such as Mecure Hotel, Patong Resort, Simplitel, Sawaddi…but decided to forgo them mainly due to :
1. Location (especially the distance from the beach) as well as which town in Phuket
2. Cost of accommodation
3. Facilities (Wi-Fi access in rooms is a MUST for me!)
4. Reviews from other customers/travellers
5. Cost of Airport transfer (because we didn’t get a hotel package, we were left to book our own airport transfer – 2 way preferred – although you may consider cabbing to and fro from the hotel)
So these were the main considerations when choosing a hotel, generally speaking I guess.
We had a hard time deciding between Patong or Karon.
Patong is a more exciting and busier place filled with more nightlife there is more intense than Karon. The latter is much quieter and more relaxing.
Both of us had been to Phuket before but without each other and because we thought it might be bored at night without much things to do, we decided to reside in the main tourist resort which is the centre of Phuket’s nightlife and shopping – Patong.
I think the town should be the most important factor and overarching consideration to have in mind before you can settle on which hotel to stay at.
After deciding on which town to reside at, cost of accommodation was the next factor.
Cost of accommodation
I wouldn’t say that we were on a tight budget but to us, because we spend more time outdoors than indoors (especially in resort islands than shopping cities such as Bangkok), it didn’t make much sense if we were to stay in a very expensive hotel that is gorgeously well-furnished with private swimming pools and all.
I mean it is just not that worth it in our opinion.
Our daily routine was like this : Wake up – Headed outdoors for the whole day – Come back all knocked out.
Does it make much sense if we had golden taps and all? Or super king-sized bed filled with the right amount of springs?
The lack of time did not permit us to appreciate intricate heavenly details like that.
Because it was such a tiring event everyday, even if without a bed, I bet we could easily fall asleep on the floor…LOL!
So yes anyway, we got upgraded to Deluxe Room free because of the promotional period! Another plus point in choosing this hotel!
Stylish and harmonious, the 30 m² Deluxe room comes with and without balcony (for those with younger children) and a choice of king size or twin beds. An extra deep bathtub with a built-in shower is the perfect place to ease away your cares and refresh your senses. Choose from city, pool or garden view rooms and delight in the comfort of your own personal sanctuary.
Professional photos :
Our photos :
- Individual air conditioning
- 32″ LCD TV
- DVD player
- Cable TV
- Wireless internet access
- Electronic laptop-size safe
- IDD telephone
- Alarm clock
- Mini bar
- Bottle-opener / Wine-opener
- Laundry bag
- Message pad
- 220V Electricity system
- Iron & iron board on requested
- Hand soap
- Cotton buds
- Bath gel
- Shampoo and conditioner set
- Shower cap
- Wireless Internet access
- Two bottles drinking water
- Welcome drink
- Welcome Phuketien Cookies
So as you can see, the room is well-furnished with all the necessities.
The cost of our accommodation was around SGD$50/pax /night? That is freaking cheap! Really value for money for such awesome hotel!
Reading reviews of other affordable hotels with similar rates was another pulling factor as well as these other hotels, although they suited our budget, unfortunately had very very poor reviews in terms of hygiene, customer service, hotel management and facilities.
As mentioned, the necessary facilities must be there but what was another important factor I considered was the access to internet, even in the rooms.
Okay, it was not so much of a wake up-go out-knock out and sleep kinda thing, at least not immediately. We had some spare time (which we forced ourselves to stay awake) to catch some shows (for a very short while), to have supper and bassically to slack in the room (while connecting back to the social media world).
I am quite a heavy social media-user so Wi-Fi access in rooms is a MUST MUST MUST!
Swimming pool was another aspect we considered.
We hardly frequent the swimming pools back in Singapore so we thought it would be good to have some good chilling swimming bonding session! HAHAHA!
The swimming pool was not crowded and thankfully, they had reasonable depths which I could survive in. I am not a fantastic swimmer so security in reaching the ground is a MUST. I suspect I have some ‘water-phobia’ all along. 😦
The swimming pool had awesome chairs and tents and the splendid pool bar side!
Professional photos :
Our photos :
Because it was so appealing, we couldn’t resist but to order icy cold beer and fries to chill by the pool side. I wished I didn’t have to come back.
Oh wait, that sounds kinda off.
Correction, I wished I could this the same back in Singapore without having to work…study…basically just chill my life away without any worries…
Reviews from other customers/travellers (and ours)
Just read here!
Oh wait, did I just see very recent bad reviews?
But to be fair, let me share with you our experience.
Apart from the location, cost, facilities…I place great importance on customer service etiquette.
The staff were generally very polite, smiley and helpful except for one incident.
Let’s talk about the plus points first.
We managed to get them to reschedule their airport transfer timing due to some delay by the flight and initially, they informed us that their staff were already on the way to the airport which is approx 1 hr from the hotel, but then later told us that a reschedule can be arranged and acceded to our request. So everything was settled.
Even on our last day, we requested for earlier departure from the hotel, taking into consideration that the roads would be jammed during a Saturday night (which was true). The driver arrived 15mins earlier than expected and yes, we got to the airport with ample time to check-in, grab a small bite, walk around a little (nothing much compared to our Changi Airport).
Both car rides were great. Drivers were not reckless.
Since we are on the topic of Thai drivers and road courtesy, I want to share with you guys on the differences between them and our local drivers back in our sunny island.
Thai drivers, although their road infrastructure is not that well-furnished as evident where roads are not cemented with bitumen/tartar (whatever material they use?) and where there are no directions on the road grounds…and where they don’t even have traffic lights at certain junctions….Thai drivers’ road etiquette is better than our local drivers’.
As a Singaporean, I feel kinda ashamed because our road infrastructure is so much better equipped but our drivers are…
Thai drivers seldom horn at other road users and they know how to give way, although not always. However, it is true that it seems more dangerous when using the road compared to our local counterparts due to the lack of infrastructure.
Okay, point made. Heh.
And because our flight back was late at night, we requested for a late check-out on the last day. The usual check-out time is 12pm and while I have read that late check-out can mean 2pm, the hotel staff told us that 1pm would be the latest. Compromising, we agreed. But we were 10 to 15mins late (rushing after our morning swim, to bathe and pack up) and they weren’t calculative as to charge us for that. So for that, kudos for the customer service at the reception and as well as hotel room service where most importantly, nothing was stolen from us (of course, please be smart to lock up all valuable belongings and don’t take it for granted that it is 100% safe – there is a safe provided in the wardrobe as well).
Further on that, customer service at dining area on our 2nd bfast experience annoyed me.
We thought bfast operates from 6.30am to 11am but little did we know it actually ends at 10.30am.
So we reached at 10.30am at the restaurant and the staff at the entrance was blatantly RUDE!
I mean yes we are sorry that we made a mistake of the operating hours, but his attitude was totally uncalled for. I felt we were chided as if we were little kid. As the mini open kitchen area for individual orders for eggs (sunny side up, scrambled, hard/half boiled) were located at the entrance of the restaurant as well, we hurriedly requested for sunny side up eggs when we were told that bfast is ending.
But the staff and chef were plain reluctant to even fry 2 eggs for us. Their expressions and body languages said so.
Hello? How long does it take to fry 2 eggs, especially since you have more than 1 wok and stove?
Nevertheless, they did fry those eggs but when served to us, it wasn’t well done at all.
It was not sunny side up but this.
Don’t try and say I’m being difficult but correct if I’m wrong. I thought sunny side up should look like this?
Maybe it doesn’t matter to some of you, but it does to people like us who opt for sunny side up for a reason – to sense the ‘shiokness’ when the yolk oozes out…it’s the same feeling with eggs benny/poached eggs, no?
And although we were the last customers to step in, we weren’t the last to step out. There were still many other customers in the restaurant, still serving themselves with food (buffet style)…and others who were still eating when we left.
I thought the staff at the restaurant could do better than this.
Next, another minus point would be mozzies.
There were a handful of mozzies in our hotel room and although we used the electric mozzie plug, it didn’t work. We got stung the next morning when we woke up, but nothing serious. I hadn’t read anything regarding mozzies in the reviews I have gone through though.
Cost of Airport Transfer (2-way)
You need to factor this in when deciding and travelling. You may consider hiring a cab which quoted us 800baht to the airport from our hotel but we paid 950baht for each journey. It may be more pricey (150baht more which is equivalent to SGD$6 for 2 pax) but I guess comfort and safety justify themselves.
Anyway, car rides as mentioned above, were okay. Seats were comfortable and spacious. Car model was Toyota Altis (if I recalled correctly). Although the car ride was kinda long, especially on the way back when traffic was heavy, I slept and woke up many times (I hate sleeping while sitting).
So I guess that’s about all on hotel reviews, stay tuned for my next post on where to go in Phuket for our fun-filled activities!