We were nervous! Let’s just say that the last time we travelled with our three kids it was a disaster. (But that’s another story.) Now two years on (with 4 year old twins and an almost 6 year old), our travel battle scars had mostly healed and we were ready to tackle a holiday again!
Two planes and several time zones later, we pulled into the magnificent JW Marriott Khao Lak entry. The resort is a 90 minute drive from Phuket Airport and if you book a transfer through the Hotel, it’s a seamless, comfortable trip.
We were welcomed warmly and handed a refreshingly cool cloth and a fruity drink. Check-in took place on the plush couches in the high ceilinged, ornate lobby and within minutes we were shown to our room. So far so AMAZING!
Guests Are Treated Like Royalty
Thailand is famous for its smiles and this is a most deserving accolade. The team at JW Marriott Khao Lak treated us like VIPs and the kids like royalty. We were greeted with warm grins, Sawadee kha (hello in Thai) and the respectful prayer gesture everywhere we went and the kids even learned a few key phrases to answer back. (khob khun khai -thank-you is a useful one).
Never-ending Lazy River Pool
The stand-out feature of this luxurious tropical resort is the unique pool. Well, it’s actually more like a lazy river that winds its way around the resort, passing under bridges and through swim bars and bubbly jacuzzi sun beds.
Pool Access Room Is The Way To Go
My pick of accommodation has to be the pool access room. You can enter the pool from your private balcony. We stayed in the family studio which is enormous and has space for three single beds plus a king-sized bed for the grown-ups. The bathroom was decadent with a massive stone bath, rain shower and a generous supply of amenities.
Our balcony had a gate but there are some pool access rooms with no barrier and some near the kids’ pool have a glass gate. There are four wings – the first one is usually reserved for couples. We stayed in Wing 2 which we loved! Wings 3 and 4 are great for families as they are near the thrilling water slide and shallow toddler pool. You could request your preference with the Hotel team.
A REAL Holiday
For me, a real holiday is one where you don’t have wrangle kids into car seats, cook dinner or do the laundry. At JW Marriott Khao Lak, I didn’t have to lift a finger except maybe to pick up a cocktail. We were thoroughly spoiled by the staff. Our housekeeper Ket charmed the kids with her towel animal creations, the chefs, the restaurant team – everyone made sure that we forgot about our regular mundane routine and just focused on relaxing. Oh how I could get used to this life!
You Don’t Have To Leave The Resort
What we loved about the resort is that you don’t have to leave it for anything. You can be as lazy or active as you want – there are ample banana chairs on the pristine beach, by the pools, and on your balcony for some serious chilling. There are canoes, boogie boards and SUPs which you can hire for free at the beach. There are bikes, tennis and squash courts and a gym. There are also dance classes, Muy Thai (which the kids also did) and various craft activities such as batik t-shirt painting.
If you do want to venture a bit further out, the concierge can recommend a variety of tours. There are shuttle buses to the town only 15 minutes away. We picked an elephant trekking tour with Green Adaman – which was wonderful. We got to ride on top of these majestic Jumbos and then fed them bananas and pineapple.
And of course, there’s the spa which is a tranquil haven of paradise. Each afternoon, our kids enjoyed an activity at kids club while hubby and I were pampered with a traditional Thai Massage followed by hot honey tea and snacks in the relaxation atrium. Bliss!
Kids Club Fun
The kids club is indoors and has a ball pit and soft play, computer/games room, movie room and a craft area. There are activities running throughout the day which you need to book in for (some carry an extra charge). Our kids did plaster painting, bean sprout planting, paper flower making, necklace threading and more. I felt that the kids club could have had a better variety of games and toys for the kids to play with but they always seemed to have fun.
Now let me tell you about the food. Yum! There are 5 main eateries in the resort – Thai, Japanese, Italian as well as the contemporary Waterfront and the casual beach bar, where you can dine right on the sand. Breakfast was SCRUMPTIOUS – I would go so far to say that it’s the best buffet I have had at a resort… ever!!! There was design-your-own Thai soup, stir fries, sushi as well as roasts, an egg station, freshly made pancakes, Nutella crepes, doughnuts and exotic fresh fruit!
The kids loved the Thai Krai restaurant as they got to sit on traditional Thai table (on cushions on the floor). The staff made such a fuss over them, even making a special omelette for my son when he refused to try the foreign flavours.
The sushi restaurant had a teppanyaki theatre starring the colorful chef Banana. He kept his audience in giggles with his magic tricks and his enchanted finger light.
Olive offers authentic Italian cuisine – wood fired pizza, pasta and chicken nuggets and chips for the kids.
Don’t Miss The Themed Feasts
There are also sumptuous themed buffets most nights. We were lucky enough to enjoy kebab night while admiring the sunset on the lawn in front of the beach. The selection was almost overwhelming – curries, kebabs grilled over the coals, salads, mezze and dessert!
Beef lovers night is also a foodie treat with prime cuts of slow roast, fillet, casseroles and more.
We WILL Be Back!
When we go on holiday, we tend to go to places we have never been but JW Marriott Khao Lak is one of those resorts that we will definitely visit again – in fact we’re about to book again for next year! Can’t wait!
- Bring floaties/lilos with you – they’re great for some leisurely floating in the pool
- Laundry – there is a fabulous local laundry service which is so reasonably priced and your washing comes back immaculately clean and folded. Simply walk out the resort boom gate entrance, turn left and walk past the convenience store until you see a restaurant with a laundry sign.
- Hair braiding – on the beach, just outside the resort near Olive is a place that does hair braiding and cheap massages,
- Ice cream – grab a scoop of ice cream at the Deli or beach bar for around 170 baht or you can get a paddle pop from the local cafe just outside the resort on the beach near Olive.
What You Need To Know
What: JW Marriott Khao Lak
Where: 41/12 Moo 3, Khuk Khak, Takuapa, Phang Nga 82220,Thailand
Contact: +66 20 762 0584 20888
Rates: Prices are amazingly reasonable – you really get value-for-money in Thailand. A similar 5-star resort in Australia would cost at least double the price.
For more details and to Book visit: www.marriott.com.au/hotels/travel/hktkl-jw-marriott-khao-lak-resort-and-spa/