Ultimate Thai Paradise: JW Marriott Resort & Spa Khao Lak

W elcome to the Ouffer Travel Blog, where you can read first hand reports from our expert team of travel consultants, jam-packed with photos and real accounts. The blog has been prepared by travel experts who have visited the hotel.

JW Marriott

The Destination

The offer is a luxury spa and meals package at the multi-award winning five star JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Khao Lak (which is situated on a stunning sandy beach strip just north of Phuket). The JW Marriott is one of the most awarded resorts in Thailand, picking up the elite Conde Naste Best New Hotel Award, Quan Spa’s “Spa of the Year” and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award for 2014.

Khoa Lak has been described as how Phuket was twenty years ago – as The Age and Sydney Morning Herald noted, “an hour and a half north of Phuket Airport, Khao Lak feels like a world away from the heaving hedonism of Thailand’s most popular resort island. Quiet, soft and sleepy, with untrimmed grass and unpolished service, Khao Lak’s un-Phuket feel is precisely its appeal. Here, locals stop to chat with you on the beach – “Where you go? You like Khao Lak?” – and appear less concerned about making a quick buck than they do enjoying endless picnics of spicy salad with Chang beer under the shade of palms and catching fish with nets thrown into the breakwaters.” (You can read the entire article here).

What differentiates Khao Lak from neighbouring tourist destinations like Phuket is its up-scale, secluded coastal resorts, quiet, un-crowded beaches, family-friendly night time environment and provincial ordinances prohibiting structures taller than the height of a coconut palm tree. These factors all keep Khao Lak down to earth. It’s the ideal location for couples looking for a relaxing vacation and also fantastic for families, especially with younger children.

Quite simply it is a stunning place to have a vacation! Check out TV travel expert Catriona Rowntree’s video on the resort below.

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The hotel is located directly on a gorgeous beach

Getting There

First up: Getting there is easy…

From Australia, a number of airlines fly directly to Phuket International Airport, where JW Marriott will pick you up for a scenic, one hour drive to the resort.

You can also fly to Phuket airport via KL, Bangkok, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh – so there are lots of other destinations for an exciting layover. The most economical way to get to Phuket is probably by flying Air Asia via KL – or for more luxury, you can go Qantas, Singapore or Thai via Bangkok in premium economy, business or even first class. Flights between Bangkok and Phuket are around $80 each way and take around an hour.

The Rooms

Check-in at the JW Marriott is a quick and professional experience (as you’d expect from a Marriott), with the polite staff super helpful.

Our offer has three different room options to please all tastes. We stayed in the deluxe pool view room, which has its own private balcony.We also spent a couple of nights in the upgraded Deluxe Pool Access Room, where you can literally step out from your doorstep into the lagoon shaped pool for extra luxury and convenience.

All the room options are spacious and complete with all the amenities you would expect of a five star resort. All rooms include 40″ LCD TVs with cable channels and lots of movies available, an evening turn-down service (always a nice touch), as well as free Wi-Fi internet so you can keep in touch with friends back home.

A Foodie’s Heaven

Food and drink is an essential part of any of our travel deals and the JW Marriott is certainly no exception!

JW Marriott

Each and every morning of your stay, you will enjoy a full buffet breakfast. It’s complete with every type of Western and Asian food imaginable, from the egg station, where you can select poached, scrambled, “sunny side up” … to the dim sum and even soup stations.

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Restaurants

There’s definitely no shortage of dining options. JW Marriott has eight onsite dining and lounge options, including Ta Krai, a Thai restaurant alongside the lagoon, Sakura, a modern Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar and live teppanyaki station; Olive, serving Mediterranean delights; and Waterfront, showcasing local, regional and international cuisine, overlooking the Andaman Sea, and featuring live cooking presentations.

Included in the offer (in addition to daily cooked breakfasts) are daily three course dinners and daily two course lunches for two adults.

Enjoy a large selection of entrees, mains and desserts at every restaurant for the delicious dinners. We recommend trying authentic Thai Massaman Gai Chicken at Ta Krai, Mediterranean Garlic Prawns and Tiramisu at Olive, Curry Udon Noodles and Gyoza at Sakura, Khao Lak Seafood Chowder and Norwegian Salmon Steak at the Waterfront Restaurant and many more choices.

You’ll also get to feast in the afternoon with a mouth-watering daily lunch for two adults at the scenic Waterfront Restaurant. Enjoy a choice of authentic Thai or international cuisine like Phad Thai Goong, Satay Gai, Moo and Nua skewers, the signature Marriott Burger, pizza and more gourmet delights.

When the sun sets, enjoy cocktails by the stunning lagoon pool (nothing says “paradise” like a pina colada). The Infinity Pool Bar was our favourite spot, it also serves appetisers in case you get peckish at 6pm. For a more classy affair, make sure to enjoy a few martinis at the Czar Lobby Bar.

Also enjoy an authentic JW Marriott ‘Eat What You Create’ Thai Cooking Class for two people. Learn the art of traditional Thai cooking from professional local chefs and the best part is you can feast on the dishes you make at the end!

Indulgence

An important part of any trip to a luxury South East Asian resort is pampering.

The JW Marriott Spa is truly one of the best we’ve ever visited. It’s no surprise the Spa was recently awarded the prestigious Thai Ministry of Health and the Thai Tourism Board’s ‘Spa of the Year’ awards.

Included in the offer is eight amazing spa treatments to share between two adults throughout the stay. The treatments include soothing Thai massages, rejuvenating facials, aroma therapy and foot massages. There are the usual massage therapists located outside the resort as well, which are excellent value but aren’t quite as luxurious as the in-house spa.

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 Activities

There’s plenty to do at the JW Marriott, even when you’re not at the pool. The hotel has a fully equipped gym and fitness center with free weights as well as the usual running and bike machines. Other activities include bike riding, sailing, tennis, volleyball, table tennis and kayaking. Scuba diving is also plentiful with dive shops nearby.

The Marriott also has a huge pool, one of the biggest in all of Asia, and an amazing pool bar.

There’s also 25% off babysitting services included for parents, so you can enjoy a well-deserved day off or night out. Last but not least, the little ones can take part in the free kids’ club with a range of fun, supervised activities on offer throughout the stay.

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TripAdvisor Reviews

‘Just Fantastic, a Gorgeous Gem!’

5 out of 5 stars – Reviewed 10 January 2015

“I stayed at the JW Marriott Kho Lak Jan 2nd – 6th 2015. The whole design of the resort’s architecture is very Thai influenced and it really makes you feel like you are staying at a hotel that truly wants to make you feel like you’re in Thailand, just not some hotel that could be anywhere in the world. I stayed in a standard pool verandah room, which was spacious and had a huge bathroom with a double “his and hers” sink. The wooden floors and furniture were beautiful and the bed was extremely comfortable. The hotel sits on a beautiful stretch of sandy beach with great swimming. If you’re not an ocean swimmer then the extensive pool network, more like canals actually, that seem to go on for miles, is simply astounding. The morning breakfast buffet was exceptional, one of the best I’ve seen at any hotel anywhere. The staff was incredibly warm and always helpful and just made the whole experience that much better, they were fantastic! A wonderful hotel, that I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to in an instant.”

‘Stunning…’

5 out of 5 stars – Reviewed 4 January 2015

“Unquestionably one of the best places you will ever stay. This hotel is magnificent. Huge, but somehow unintimidating for all that. The pool areas are spectacular, as is the beach. At night time they often have a singer songwriter performing at the beach bar, with a campfire behind them – which is quite magical. That said, breakfast was great, with every taste covered for, and if you are on a “breakfast included” ticket – you will enjoy it, with breakfast going on until a relaxed 11am (which is what all “holiday” hotels should do, in my opinion). A really fantastic hotel. Fully recommended for couples and families alike.”

‘Wow, wow, wow’

5 out of 5 stars – Reviewed 3 January 2015

“Goodness where to start. This is an absolutely amazing resort. From the moment we set foot in the gorgeous reception area and were greeted with ice cold towels and drinks to cool us down and refresh us from the long journey we knew we had made the best decision to stay here. It’s darn right gorgeous! The room was gorgeous, the bed was huge! And the bathroom is ace. Look out for the super gifts they leave you during the turn down service. Great touch! The breakfast: superb. What a choice from traditional Thai, through to continental. The staff: are absolutely amazing. Everyone is so polite, happy and totally at your disposal to make your stay as wonderful as possible. We always received great service with a smile. The pool: the best pool ever! Wow. Super warm and well maintained. The beach: impeccable. Plenty of space and loungers and the team come round with ice cold drinks regularly. Altogether a wonderful experience, worth every penny and we’d definitely go back without hesitation! Loved it!”

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