Let me start by saying that I stayed in the Marriott Vacation Club section of this property (it’s all one big property joined together with JW Marriott) which is in the very farthest back section closest to the road. To get from the MVC section to the lobby is about a 10 minute walk or you could wait for 15 minutes for the club car that *might* show up and if it does show up it’s already full. An occasional walk to the lobby wouldn’t be so bad but their front-desk staff is poorly trained and clearly has no desire to work there. We had to get our keys re-programmed twice because they couldn’t figure out how to do it once the right way. This aforementioned 10-minute walk (that’s 20 minutes round-trip + 15 minutes of front-desk fail) made it that much more frustrating. Due to our weird flight arrival time, we paid to stay in a JW Marriott room which was half the price of the MVC rooms, much closer to the beach & pool, and far nicer accommodations overall – but still has the unfortunate problem of having crappy front-desk service.
So, with that out of the way let me dig into some other general stuff about the resort:
* It’s right on a beautiful stretch of beach that’s lovely to walk on but was packed full of jellyfish when we were there so we couldn’t go swimming.
* There are 3 giant pools to use and each had their own aesthetic which was quite nice. Again, the downfall was service – getting a drink requires a lot of patience, and waiting, and some more patience. I recommend ordering the bucket of beers or 2 of whatever their daily specials are so that you don’t have to wait and wait and wait to order another drink.
* So, this one is fun – Their groundskeeping staff was using an UNGROUNDED pump on wheels to vacuum out the pool. My husband leapt to stop the cart from rolling – fully plugged in – to the pool where it likely would have electrocuted the nice lady doing early-morning laps. We explained to 3 different people (making sure at least one of them fully understood what we were saying in English) why this was very dangerous and yet we saw the same thing happen for the next three mornings that we were there. So, yeah, I guess don’t go swimming if you see them cleaning the pools.
* The property has three different vendors offering beach massages – 90 minutes for 500 baht. These ladies work long, hot hours and do an incredible job. Giving them and extra 100 baht ($3) is very much appreciated.
* The breakfast buffet is pretty nice – lots of fresh juices, pastries, fruit, TWO TYPES OF BACON (!) and the daily curry dishes rotated through a yummy selection. The young guy that manages the morning shift runs a tight ship so tables are filled, waited on, and cleaned quickly to accommodate the large number of guests that all show up to eat at pretty much the same time (human nature). He was also super-friendly and clearly had a good rapport with the other staff – he should really be considered for a role retraining the front desk.
* If you want to try any of the other restaurants (especially at sunset) be sure to make a reservation. This goes for pretty much any of the resorts in that area. Couple of things to note here:
a. The Anantara resort (probably where I would stay if I go back to Phuket) to the North has a few great restaurants – check out the Treehouse for tea time.
b. There’s a funky little place that I think is called Sunset Restaurant just at the south border of the Marriott Property. The food is awesome – the wait for food can be either completely reasonable or ridiculously, painfully, long. I recommend not going there if you’re really hungry and being prepared to leave if no one’s come back with your food order after, like, 30-45 minutes.
* Turtle Village also has this cool little breakfast spot, The Coffee Club, that makes phenomenal coffee drinks. You do have to dodge timeshare sales people who swarm the fountain right in front of the restaurant.
* There are a couple of logistical things you’ll want to know:
a. Be sure you know which property you are staying at. The Marriott Phuket Beach Club is NOT the same place as the Marriott Mai Khao Beach Club. Despite the fact that both properties are on Mai Khao beach, they are, in fact, about 1.5 km from each other.
b. If you’re in a taxi just tell them to take you to the JW Marriott – this will eliminate confusion between the two resorts.
c. Don’t bother arranging private transport through the hotel. You can just get an official taxi from the airport and will pay about 1/3 what the hotel charges.
d. When you want to leave the resort just walk down the street to the Turtle Village. There’s a taxi stand there with taxis who will charge you less than half of what the hotel charges.
11. I will also add that we spoke with a few Marriott Vacation Club (MVC) owners about their costs – turns out that a 1-week stay in the MVC section of the property (which are all two-bedroom villas) requires you to use TWO weeks of your MVC time (at an average cost of $1500 per week). I booked using Interval International trading in my timeshare week in Mexico which costs me around $900 a year and then paid a $70 upgrade. So, to recap, I bought a week in a 2-bedroom villa for $970. A MVC timeshare owner must use two weeks @ $1,500 per week for a total of $3,000! Just for fun we looked up what the rate would be to book a 2-bedroom MVC villa outright – $2,600. Yup, that’s right. It’s cheaper for MVC owners to book the room using the regular rack rate by $400 and the people we spoke with who did that ALL had rooms in better locations than the people who were already owners. They sucker you in with nice rooms and then give you the crappy rooms once you’re signed up. That’s pretty much all timeshares in general though. If you’re thinking about buying a timeshare – just don’t. If you really want one you can have mine – I’ve been trying to get rid of it for years.