My husband and I spent a week at the Cape Panwa Hotel (5-12 February 2012), there to attend a family wedding. We had booked a Cape Suite and stayed in C410, which was the room on the top left corner overlooking the swimming pool (and above the restaurant) with a jacuzzi, and with a partial view (obscured by the building in front) to the beach and ocean. The rooms with odd numbers (ie C409 etc) looked to have lovely views back across the port. The rooms themselves are very nice. They are large, with contemporary decor and look exactly as they do on the hotel website. The bathroom was immaculate and modern too (perhaps recently updated based on some other comments?), and there's lots of storage in the entry/kitchen area. Even though we were above the restaurant, where there is a band most evenings, we had no noise problems. And it was convenient being so close to the restaurant and reception. Our balcony was bathed in sun most of the day, so I didn't use it. I noticed that the rooms in the floor below lost the sun much sooner, and so saw a lot of people relaxing and enjoying their balconies in the afternoon.
The grounds are nice and spacious, and the beach is not crowded, and has nice white sand. After visiting Patong one day, the private beach at Cape Panwa is secluded bliss in comparison! When the tide is out, there are lots of rocks and you can't really swim (though there is a path out over the rocks), but the hotel provides details in your room of the times it is best to swim. Once we figured that out, we enjoyed the sea, in between relaxing in the garden under the palms with a drink. If you're going to do this, you really need to get to the garden by 11 am or before, as the guests from the Kantary Bay all arrive and claim the loungers, as do other guests, and so there are often very few left. The pool was a good place to relax later in the afternoon/evening, when the sun had left it. Although it heats up so much it actually wasn't always that refreshing! The frozen drinks available there - the mango smoothies were delicious - make up for that.
We used the Spa services a couple of times, and found the service to be very friendly, and the Spa to be pleasant, with nice-sized rooms, and double rooms available if you wanted them. My husband (an self-proclaimed expert on traditional Thai massages) enjoyed the Thai massage he had, and I had a foot massage and aromatherapy massage, both enjoyable, but nothing spectacular. They were reasonably priced.
The overall property is a little dated, and although it is supposed to be 5 star, it is definitely at the lower end of 5 star properties I've stayed at. That said, the size of the rooms and the extent of the facilities are extremely good value for the price.
We ate mainly at the main restaurant (Andaman), as the menu appeared little different from Baan Panwa, or Panwa House (the Thai restaurant). It was okay, and the service was prompt and friendly. But I felt the Thai food menu was limited and unimaginative - pretty much what you see in any Thai restaurant anywhere in the world. (We've lived in Thailand in the past, and so know Thai food) We also ate at the Sawasdee restaurant at the bottom of the hill in the small shopping area, and the food there is similar, a bit better, and definitely cheaper. In the little shopping area (the shuttle takes you over the hill, or you can walk if you're keen!), there is a trading post where you can buy drinks and snacks and basic supplies, a night market, and during the day you can get barbecued chicken skewers and sticky rice, and also somdum (which is always good) in the afternoons/evening. Didn't get a chance to eat at Top of the Reef, though we had hoped we would - the views looked wonderful and the air-conditioning would have been a relief at times!
We had rented a car from the airport for the week, and this gave us added freedom, but it isn't necessary, and if you've never driven in Thailand before, we probably wouldn't recommend it. Phuket roads are not well sign-posted, the maps are generally poor, and there are so many taxis available it's just as easy not to drive.
The wedding was delightful - with the exception of all the almost-naked-tourists standing gawking, and getting in our shots of the happy couple! The hotel did a great job of organising it, and the setting in front of Panwa House was lovely. The baby elephant visit was a novelty, and the fireworks and dinner under the moonlight in the evening were a highlight. We all had a great time.
The weekend midnight markets in Phuket Town were busy, but if you hadn't been into Patong, and enjoy shopping, these are fun. I loved them simply for the array of Thai food they had available.
Cape Panwa is a long way from any night life, but if you want a relaxing holiday in pleasant surroundings, for a (in my view) very reasonable price, this is a very good choice.
I've just read the review titled "Peaceful setting, amid a manic nation" of January 2 2012, and have to agree with pretty much everything they said.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cape Panwa Hotel embodies tropical luxury in one of the world's most desirable destinations. Tucked away in a quiet corner of southeast Phuket, the villa is renowned for its excellent service, stylish rooms and exclusive swimming pool. Blending superbly with the natural beauty of the area, the hotel is comprised of a selection tastefully decorated suites and pool villas. Thailand's premier luxury chain of Villa and Serviced Apartments. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cape Panwa Phuket
- Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket