I know a lot of people visit this blog to gather information on places they are considering visiting, and hotels they’re thinking about going to, and thankfully, more often than not, every place we go is wonderful, spectacular, and amazing. The JW Marriott Phuket, which you’ll soon learn in my JW Marriott Phuket review, was one of those not as good as we expected hotels. Honestly though, it just falls short when it comes to service, because it shines everywhere else.
I like to focus on the good, so that’s where I’ll start.
The grounds here are great. From water and fire features, gardens, and more, the hotel’s setting is certainly a beautiful one.
There’s also a lot to do – the activities really are endless here, and the pools are something to write home about. There are so many pools to choose from, and each offers something unique – deep pools, pools with water features, quiet pools, a pool with a swim up bar – you name it, they have it – there’s really something for everyone here.
I mean, I think every pool should have water spouting elephants, don’t you?
The beach at the JW Marriott Phuket is clean and beautiful. We visited the Phi Phi islands during our time in Phuket, and thought the hotel’s massive beach was way better than any of the beaches Phi Phi had to offer. The waves are huge, and while there are no chairs, because it’s a turtle sanctuary, it’s still a great place to relax.
The food here was also great. Breakfast at the Marriott Cafe each morning was amazing!!! I am so missing that delicious food! The Siam Deli offers great casual fare, and the steakhouse offers something for those looking to drop a lot on dinner, but sink into some really amazing meat selections. In addition, there’s an Italian restaurant, and you can even dine privately in your room, complete with personal chef. See? Something for everyone. Overall, room service was pretty good too.
However, the best part of our stay, hands down, was our fabulous suite. The bathroom was luxurious, and the private whirlpool on our HUGE balcony, complete with amazing ocean views, was perfect.
However, with the good there also came the bad, and I’ll detail some of the not so good points below.
Upon our arrival in Phuket, we were greeted at the airport by an immediate sales presentation for Marriott timeshare before the hotel’s transportation actually picked us up. This was annoying at best.
Then, check in was surprisingly unsettling for a Marriott, much less a JW. The staff tried the whole towel/drink upon arrival thing, but it didn’t work. At all. We were part of a number. We weren’t lead to the front desk, instead we stood for about 5 minutes looking for it. Of course, we were immediately comparing it to the amazing service we just received at the Four Seasons in Bangkok, so maybe our views were a little flawed as a JW isn’t on the same level, let alone in the same universe as a Four Seasons.
So after walking around trying to find where to check in, we stumbled upon a bunch of desks with wires sticking out and papers scattered. It felt like an office, rather than a luxury hotel. Alas, apparently, this is where we check in, since we had a suite. Again, they tried the whole “sitting down while you check in” thing, which again, didn’t work for them. There were wires practically in my lap. Then, there was actual check in, which was a confusing disaster. I’m not saying if you book one of their suites you should be treated differently, because every guest, no matter which room they book, should be treated amazingly. However, as we did book one of their best rooms, we were disappointed by the check in process. We were escorted to our room and quickly dropped off. I would have liked a run down on how to use the balcony’s whirlpool, as we soon discovered it was overflowing and had controls we weren’t familiar with. We ended up having to call someone, who had to restart it. Had this person toured the suite with us, she would’ve seen it was overflowing and could have taken care of fixing it.
There were other little things that could have been done differently. For example, it would have been nice to have been given an itinerary of the excursions we had pre-booked through the concierge prior to our arrival. A lot of times when we travel, we pre-book tours with the hotel, because we don’t want to lift a finger, or worry about a thing once we arrive. We had to seek out any information we needed – Where do we meet? What time? Do we need tickets? Is our tour actually even booked – we knew nothing! Bottom line, I expected to receive a welcome from the concierge with our tour information, or just a confirmation about our tour. When our excursions were finally confirmed (when we called from our room), we were told we had to pick up our tickets at the concierge desk. The desk we were JUST AT when we checked in. It’s small little details that make for extra special touches. A long walk back to the lobby to pick up something that could have easily been delivered to our suite, or presented to us at check in, is frustrating! We want to relax and not deal with the details, that’s the whole point of vacation.
Another thing we pre-discussed with the concierge ahead of time is the complimentary internet offered to Marriott reward members. We asked for the code and the lady also had to “check on this.” Couldn’t we just have been presented with the code because we are reward members? They obviously saw my card I used during check in. It was another lacking detail.
Furthermore, the entire staff in general was irritating, and I don’t think it was because of the language barrier, as we didn’t experience any problems in Bangkok. We were barely acknowledged. Most had no idea what we were talking about half the time, and the other half seemed endlessly confused, and I really disliked how we always had to be concerned about things, rather than just having them taken care of. I wanted to book a spa appointed, but they made it so difficult that I never did. It wasn’t worth the hassle. Even down to check out. I like how people ask me how my stay was. They didn’t.
At the end of the day, we paid a lot of money for our stay here and overall expected more. Staff at this resort gets a big thumbs down, but the resort itself (the grounds), not to mention our time in Phuket, gets a huge thumbs up!