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“Miles and miles...” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa

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JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa
Ranked #5 of 65 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
65 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Miles and miles...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2012

The Marriott is everything a luxe beach resort should be. Casually laid back with superb facilities.

I could feel the stress just melt away through the waft of lemongrass as I entered my room. Thais love using the expression “hi-so”, short for “high society”, and boy, am I ever living it up hi-so this week, with only "happy" problems to weigh me down.

When your happy dilemma is whether to (1) sit on the miles of beach with a cabana boy serving up ice water while staring at the pleasing blue-green ocean or (2) lounge by one of the four huge pools all interconnected creating 3.3 kms of a swim experience (the region’s largest swimming pool), you are definitely hi-so. I mean, who could possibly need 2 miles of swimming pool?

Happy dilemma number two is what to have for breakfast from the huge buffet, complete with Eggs Benedict and Smoothie Bar. Really, Marriott? Having a made-to-order smoothie bar is just asking for trouble. (Go for the Khao Lak Booster, a mix of mango and pineapple juices with ginger and mint leaves. Trust me on this.)

The hotel is situated 2 km from the main road, making the sprawling complex its own community. It’s so far from everything that wifi doesn’t even need a password (but being able to access your email on the beach? Priceless…) So if you tire of the Japanese buffet (I loves me some spicy tuna sushi!), there’s always the cheap beachfront restaurants nearby with killer massaman curry. There’s almost no reason to leave the complex and go into town, really. In the evening, a massage at the blissful spa can while away your hours. (Just watch out for the see-through black mesh underwear. I don't know WHO they're kidding!)

The resort has several restaurants. I only tried the Japanese one on a buffet night (B999) but with Australian steak, tuna sushi and lobster soup, it was worth the splurge. Reserve early for a table inside. Otherwise, there are 5-6 beach restaurants just outside the property. All had similar menus and meals ranged from B60 (for fried rice, noodles or pad thai) to B350 for a whole fish dish. An average meal with a shake might set you back B220 or so. My favorite was Ma-Ma's Greeting, at the very end on the right. They had delicious massaman curry for B80-100. I found that after a massive breakfast at 9 or 10 am, I wasn’t hungry again until almost 7pm. There are also 5-6 beachfront massage places to try. A lot of the restaurants also had tour desks offering competitive pricing.

There are a group of shops just outside the hotel entrance, including two restaurants: one Thai, one Italian. Mains started at around B300. There's also a massage place with foot or Thai massage only B250 before 6pm. Also a small convenience store which stocks drinks, alcohol and snacks at prices just slightly more than you'd pay in Bangkok.

Lots of reviews here are polarizing. Most people love it and a small minority hate it. Yes, with so much wood furniture, there's the inevitable scratch. (Some of the dressers are quite low and it looks like some thoughtless guest may have used them as a luggage rack.) But if you're on your hands and knees looking for flaws and can't find happiness at this gorgeous property, a scratch or two is probably the least of your worries...

If you're reading this and contemplating a vacay at the Marriott Khao Lak, you'll be in for a real treat. Miles of nice beach and golden sand, miles of sparkling pool and a jumping off point for the amazing Similan Islands... What's not to love?

For more tips and photos, feel free to check out my blog:

http://dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/hi-so-in-phuket/

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank jt10s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (938)
Date | Rating
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English first
Bondi, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2012

We enjoyed our time thoroughly, the pool access room was so wonderful. All the staff were incredible they really served and helped everyone and so friendly. The fitness centre and classes were good and individualised, yoga infront of the beach it doesnt get better than that. It's so beautiful we didnt want to go leave. Buffet breakfast had lots variety and fresh fruit juice. The Thai cultural dinner on tuesday felt like we were at a wedding so special and the dances with the young ones was precious. Although it rained sometimes you can still swim in the pool. It's a bit far from the town but found ourselves wanted to stay just in the resort! We are sad to leave and can't wait to come back.

Room Tip: choose pool access worth the price
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ChristineGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2012

Original plan was to stay 6 nights, as a gap-fill in a 2 week Thailand vacation but decided to stay the full 2 weeks with our family of 5 including kids 2, 7 and 13. Can only recommend the resort

+++
The pool system is as fantastic as described in all the reviews. Several KMs of canals and pools, 2 great poolbars, a huge main pool - with the added benefit for families w. small children that the flanks of the main pool offers shallow waters for the youngest to play in while the parents can relax in the chic sunloungers placed in the water!

Beach is beautiful, spotless clean, wide and stretches for miles both sides of the hotel. Great for swimming. Absolutely the best we have experienced in Thailand

Hotel choice of food good, with an excellent Japanese restaurant. solid Italian and good barbecue/buffet events on the hotel grounds. And yes, the smoothie bar for breakfast is a treat.
But of course you also want to enjoy the authentic Thai food in the restaurants on the beach. Everyone in the family favored the one on the left, as you leave the hotel - excellent food, fresh fish, friendly people and happy hour allways...

Staff all very friendly, helpful, competent and smiling - from booking to departure. We had a couple of minor things that needed repair and in both instances 'engineering' showed up in 5 minutes and fixed the issue quickly

Gym, tennis, squash, bikes, kayaks - all high standards

Kids club - normally not exactly something to rave about at asian resorts - in this case was very good, our 7 year old really wanted to go and join creative activities, and staff was great and doing their utmost to take care of the children and overcoming language barriers.

%%
Really hard to find anything to complain about, except two annoying points

Hotel list and quote all prices (including when you book) exclusive of service charge and taxes. Like Southern Europe in the 60ties. While one accepts prices to be high in a 5* resort, it is ridiculous that you need a calculator to figure out what things actually cost (and a magnifying glass to see the small print advertizing the 'extras')

Lunch food choice at poolbar uninteresting, bland and expensive for what it is. Make the effort and eat on the beach

-----------------

We'll be back!

Room Tip: Pool access - anything else would be a shame. There are pool access rooms available with glass safet...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank CDJ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
191 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2012

We stayed in this property in December 2011 for Christmas & New Year. We took a standard room for our Adult kids and an Executive Suite for myself and my wife. The Resort is gorgeous and is everything that has been written previously.

There were a several power cuts whilst we were there which apparently were caused by EGAT (the local electrical utility and thus outside the control of the resort). This made me think that a battery operated emergency light in the upstairs bedroom and bathroom of the executive suite would be a good idea in the event of an emergency as using the suite staircase in the dark would be extremely dangerous. We also found the floor of the shower stall slippery when wet.

I wrote to the GM of the property on these points as I manage the construction of hotels professionally and such matters can and should have been addressed either during design or after opening.

We enjoyed the restaurants on the beach and also explored the locality using a hire car which we picked up from Phuket Airport which was about 1.5 hours drive to the south. The beach was beautiful and we intend to return.

I would certainly like to try a pool access room next time.

Room Tip: Although all rooms appear to be nice, we liked being at the Beach end of the Resort
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SteveHK_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
97 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2012

I am writing this review whilst sat on the terrace of room 3024 at the JW Marriott Khao Lak and whilst I reflect on my six days here I can say that I have enjoyed my time in Khao Lak but the JW Marriott has very little to do with my time in this region of Thailand.

We travel 3 or 4 times a year and always stay where possible in genuine 4 or 5 star resorts/hotels. This hotel can in no way be classed as 5 star and to be honest it is barely a 4 star in my opinion.

It has the facilities to suggest it should be but it severely lacks in service and attitude.

Now then, one thing I should say to be fair to the Marriott is that whilst we stayed here for 6 days we actually only dabbled in the facilities on offer however, whenever we did we found them letting themselves down in pretty much every which way they could. I will try and surmise my findings as briefly as possible:

Check In: we were greeted with the welcome drink and cold towell as you would expect at about 2:30 in the afternoon after a 2 hr drive from Krabi. We were dealt with fairly promptly and offered an upgrade to a Pool Access Room in Block 3 at an additional 1170THB (inc taxes) per night. We went for it but really shouldn't have bothered. It's a silly novelty although I can see it working for some. We were then told your room will be ready in half an hour (not sure why it wasn't ready already. We were left to find our room with a resort map which I was surprised at. A proper 5 star would never leave new guests to find their own room. A proper 5 star would take you there and explain the amenities in the room. Still, no big deal, we found it and worked things out for ourselves. Luggage took a further 45 minutes to arrive.

Room: straight forward standard room. Furniture on its last legs, scratched, dented, wood stain faded all in all you would never believe these rooms were only refurbed 2-3 years ago. Beds are super king size and amazingly comfortable with lovely bedding. Big 40 inch TV on wall and a big bathroom. Annoying sliding doors to bathroom that kept coming off their runners which is dangerous when you consider they have full length mirrors on one side of the door. Tons of storage and hanging space in room. Decked terrace leading to pool. Decking is in terrible condition. Cracked, screws sticking out and in need of replacing. I did see maintenance replacing some decking on a room nearby 2 days ago.

Pools: Huge but dirty and there are lots of granite steps that obviously get extremely slippery when wet. I slipped and fell down steps into pool once and as I type this a lady has just slipped on some granite steps just outside our room. The granite is stupidly black and therefore gets red hot in this heat so unwalkable without shoes by daytime.

Sun Loungers: in this day and age what 5 star hotel would have sun loungers without mattresses ? There are plenty of them. If you want peace and quiet though use the deserted but huge pool by blocks 3 and 4.

Bars and restaurants: breakfast is in the waterfront restaurant and is like breakfasting in a motorway service station. Noisy, no one to welcome you or check you in to breakfast or lead you to a table. Dirty uncleared tables everywhere and huge queues for eggs. This morning there were two egg stations with about a dozen people queuing at each, no cooked items on counters (as they had run out of bacon etc). If I knew about this I would have gone room only and eaten breakfast at one of the superb little restaurants dotted along the beach where your custom is truly appreciated.

We didn't eat or drink at the rest of the resorts restaurants or bars as there are real authentic rustic Thai beachside restaurants and bars dotted along the beach within a 2 minute walk of the Marriott. Go here instead. These people really appreciate your custom and why come to Thailand to stay in the Marriotts Restaurants every waking hour? What would be the point of that ? Put your money into the pockets of the real Thai people still recovering from the Tsunami.

Overall, this has been a great base for our time in Khao Lak and whilst being dissapointed with the Marriott I am glad we chose it as we were able to interact daily with the locals and eat in their fantastic beach front restaurants serving proper authentic Thai food at a quarter of the price of The Marriott.

My honest feeling is that this hotel is too big for its own good. Maintenance issues are clearly running away from them and I do not believe they have the staff or skills in place to run a resort of this size. Far too many customers for them to deal with and when you consider that at present it is running at 50% occupancy levels it makes you shudder to think what it would be like to stay here when fully booked.

I MAY return but only because of what the resort has to offer on its door step rather than what the resort itself has to offer.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MikeyM1Ke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Property: JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa
Address: 41/12 Moo 3 | Khuk Khak Beach, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection 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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Khao Lak
#4 Spa Hotel in Khao Lak
#4 Family Hotel in Khao Lak
#5 Luxury Hotel in Khao Lak
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Khao Lak
#6 Romantic Hotel in Khao Lak
Price range (per night): $137 - $576
Hotel Class:5 star — JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 297
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the treasures of Khao Lak at JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa. The pristine white sand beach stretches for miles, melting into the exquisite azure waters of the Andaman Sea. This is Khao Lak, Thailand - a hidden paradise of sun, sea and sand, as well as lush tropical greenery, granite mountains and stunning waterfalls. The vast landscaped area within the resort grounds makes the resort an ideal outdoor venue for incentives or themed events, weddings or product launches. At Marriott Hotels and Resorts®, it's our mission to make every business trip a pleasure and every vacation a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy amenity-filled guest rooms, superb dining, and exemplary meeting facilities. ... more   less 
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TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Marriott, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Sawasdee, Asiatravel.com Holdings, Agoda and Odigeo so you can book your JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Khao Lak Hotel Khao Lak
Jw Marriott Khao Lak Resort And Spa
Cher Fah Hotel
Cher Fah Resort

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