Staff doesn't enforce no-kids-allowed policy in the adults-only pool
Nothing of interest within walking distance
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is one of the most luxurious resorts (with a price tag to match) in Phuket. The tropical grounds and friendly service are almost impeccable. A location near Phuket International Airport is convenient for flights, but less so for those who want to explore Phuket. There are three upscale swimming pools, a luxe spa, and 12 distinct restaurants and bars. Contemporary rooms include balconies and mini-fridges, while the Villa has a private pool. Downsides are that the beach isn't suitable for swimming and past guests have reported that kids have a run of the place. It may be worth comparing rates at the nearby Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa for the same services and amenities, but a quieter vibe.
The JW Marriott Phuket is a chain hotel but there's nothing generic or boring about the beautifully landscaped property which has views of the Andaman Sea, reflection pools, and Asian touches throughout. Guests are greeted under a massive white pagoda-style porte cochere with a huge water fountain and pool in front of it. Three steps lead up to the semi-open-air lobby which includes one-of-a-kind, hand-carved wooden furniture topped with colorful pillows. Exposed wooden beams and enormous blue wicker light fixtures add interest overhead. The back of the lobby looks out onto a massive reflection pool that draws the eye toward the ocean in the near distance. Luxurious hanging swings with thick cushions are a cozy spot to enjoy the views.
Outside, the tropical theme continues with an expansive pool deck, water fountains, and lush gardens. Tall palm trees sway in the breeze and rock-lined paved paths meander from rooms to restaurants. Even the restaurants are designed with luxe touches and high style. Out of the Blue Splash Bar includes a wall made of bright blue liquor bottles and has a wooden patio over a pool of water. Oversize wicker chairs are large enough for two. Andaman Grill displays fresh seafood on ice in front of quaint chalkboards listing the day's catch. Elegant indoor and outdoor seating are available.
For those who want to feel secluded from the insanity that can be found in Phuket, the JW Marriott Phuket has an excellent location on Mai Khao Beach, about a 10-minute drive from the Phuket International Airport. There isn't anything of interest within walking distance, aside from other luxury resorts like SALA Phuket and Anantara Phuket. Those wanting to explore Phuket should bring a car, or pay to take the shuttle to Patong Beach. Parking at the hotel is free.
Contemporary rooms, suites, and a two-bedroom villa; views are of either the ocean, pool, or garden
There are 265 different room options at JW Marriott Phuket, and each is luxe and contemporary with high ceilings, marble bathrooms, balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The most affordable option is the Deluxe Garden, with over 500 square feet of space (it sleeps three with an additional rollaway bed or crib) and the most over-the-top (and priciest) option is the Royal Villa. It has two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a private pool, plus a separate living room and dining room. At 3,658 square feet, it sleeps six people.
Suites land somewhere in the middle: they sleep three people and have more space, but aren't as luxurious or large as the Villa. A mini-fridge, minibar, coffeemaker, flat-screen TV, and DVD player comes standard in each room, though there's a fee for Wi-Fi. Decor includes carved wooden headboards, tile floors, and paintings of Asian landscapes. Aromatherapy toiletries in the bathrooms are a nice touch. Housekeeping folds towels into elaborate swan shapes decorated with flowers. Views range in most categories, though the least expensive rooms generally overlook the garden grounds while the most expensive have views of the ocean or pools.
Cooking school, fitness center, kids' club, and a spa
Though the swimming pools are often overrun with little ones (see the pools section below), there are some top-quality features for couples and adults at this property, too. Cooking schools are super popular in Thailand, and the on-site Ginga Cook cooking school is a fun way to spend a few hours. Guests learn to cook a traditional Thai meal, and then get to eat it for lunch. Mandara Spa has 16 treatment suites for couples and five outdoor Thai massage rooms. Wellness workshops are regular occurrences and there are indoor pools, a sauna, and outdoor day beds at the facility. The fitness center is loaded with modern equipment like Life Fitness cardio machines with individual screens and up-to-date strength-training machines. Nike fitness gear is available for purchase. Guests can also borrow bikes for kids and adults.
The kids' club is a fun option with supervised activities for little kids and a pool table, video games, and air hockey for tweens. The resort has a full calendar of entertainment: everything from batik painting, to yoga, to hair-braiding. If you love those folded swan towels, there's a class for that too. Laundry and shoe shine services are available for a fee. Guests can change money on-site and there's a car rental desk.
Guests have private access to sandy Mai Khao Beach, but the water (though blue and beautiful) can be rough and there aren't flags or lifeguards. In fact, there isn't much more than the brown sand as the resort doesn't provide sun loungers or service at all. There is a sand volleyball court and sailboats for the experienced. Most guests use the beach for walking, but choose to swim in the three pools instead. If an ocean swim is a must, check rates at Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket; it has calm water and sun loungers, but still no drink service on the sand.
There are three amazing pools at the JW Marriott Phuket, but past guests have reported lots of splashing and screaming from little ones (even in the adults-only pool). Towels are free and there's drinks service; fresh coconuts are popular orders as well.
The Main Pool faces the ocean and is flanked by red cushioned sun loungers with matching umbrellas. There's a pagoda-style hut in the center of the pool, with small waterslides cascading into the water. A lifeguard keeps an eye from the top of the slide. Statues of turtles, elephants, and artificial rocks add a little whimsy. Bubbling fountains are fun for kids in the shallow end.
The North Pool is more subdued as it's smaller, with right angles that add a sense of privacy. This pool also faces the ocean and is surrounded by white sun loungers and umbrellas. Statues of fish shoot streams of water and palm trees add a tropical vibe.
The stand-out feature at the adults-only South Pool is the swim-up bar with a waterfall spilling over the roof. One corner of the pool includes underwater jets to make a free flowing hot tub. Blue sun loungers and umbrellas are nestled under palm trees and lush landscaping.
The JW Marriott Phuket is designed so that guests don't have to leave the property for anything, including food and booze. There's a huge variety of options here.
Marriott Cafe serves an international buffet with an emphasis on Japanese foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ginja Taste does a casual Thai dinner and has a chef's table for a culinary treat; Cucina has won awards for the best Italian food in Asia (it's open for dinner only); Andaman Grill does seafood and steak with ocean views for dinner; Kabuki is a fun option for Japanese food with a traditional show (it also offers a unique Japanese brunch on Sundays); and Siam Deli offers to-go foods plus a picnic basket and a blanket for meals on the beach. Lotus Pavilion is the spot for outdoor themed buffets.
Sala Sawasdee Lobby Bar does casual tapas and cocktails overlooking the reflection pool, Out of the Blue Drink is all about fine wines, Rim Nam Pool Bar does casual lunch and dinner next to the pool, Out of the Blue Splash is the swim-up bar, and Beside the Sea Pool Bar serves snacks and smoothies. Room service is available 24 hours a day.
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