June holiday came and went in a flash! With 2 energetic boys, I wondered if a relaxing Phuket holiday will suit them. Surprisingly, none of us has been to Phuket before though it is just a 2 hours+ plane ride from Singapore! With an affordable Silkair promotion, we hesitated no more and booked tickets for the family and invited the in-laws along.
I concluded we need an extremely family-friendly resort so the adults can chill while the kids are in a safe and fun environment. The selection of a resort hotel become easier as I narrowed down to a few criteria:
1) Near to the airport: We need to catch an early morning flight and I don’t want to miss our flight if there is a traffic jam.
2) Kids friendly with a GOOD kids’ club: from research online, it seemed that many hotels in Phuket have kids’ clubs. But I will like a responsible team if we need to drop off the kids and a entertaining one. Who likes boring kids’ club?
3) Something for everyone: If the kids are entertained, they won’t be on our back. And so, if there are some activities (besides relaxing by the pool/beach all day) for the adults, it will be a great bonus.
If you are a first-timer to Phuket, I found this website useful for a general idea of which location suits you/your family: http://www.phuket.com/hotels/where-to-stay.htm
After much research, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao came into the picture.
It ranked high in my selection as I have read good reviews both from fellow bloggers and their guests.
And it was very kind of them to offer a review opportunity for my immediate family. Here’s a look at our honest experience with them.
We took up the airport transfer car to the hotel. Instructions were clear from the email booking to exact location where to find the person waiting with a Holiday Inn signage.
It was a short 15 mins ride to the hotel and we were greeted with chilled rosella drinks during the check-in. Nice touch.
A spacious reception area made it easy for those with kids & old folks in the party. No one will stare weirdly at you even if you have a massive luggage just for kids’ floats?!
Checking-in was swift and the front-desk staff was very helpful throughout our stay. Ann, the sweet receptionist, also helped to organise breakfast boxes for us when she knew that we need to depart on an early morning flight.
At the concierge, you can also book the hotel shuttle bus which runs 2X daily to Phuket Town at a charge per pax. We choose to take one way on our 2nd day to visit the Patong area and took our own taxi back to the hotel so that we have some flexibility on the return timing. It takes about 1hr travel time to the town area.
We were booked a Family Suite which is actually 2 separate rooms connected via a door. A good size at 82sqm, it boost of more than enough space for the entire family and more! Just to put it into perspective, some of our 3 room model HDB flats in Singapore is just 70sqm.
The adult’s room comes with a comfortable King-sized bed, TV, DVD player, mini-bar, kettle, couch, a balcony with a daybed and the usual necessity and complimentary bottled water. Though the rooms showed some age and has its fair wear and tear, we liked the spacious layout, the huge rain shower and 2 separate TVs for the adults and kids! No fighting over the remote controls!
Walking over to the kids’ room, there are 2 single beds completed with kids’ linen, kids’ toiletries, low-rise cupboards and the most “important accessory” – the PSP games console! Once my 2 boys were matriculated with the PS4, they DO NOT want to leave the room at all!
The kids’ room is equally spacious with their own attached bathroom and a huge shower tub! I liked it that the adults have more than sufficient standing room to shower the kids and there is provision of rain shower and hand shower at the same time so that we can reach the younger one comfortably.
My favourite part of the room has to be the immediate pool access from the terraces. The almost-private pool along the entire row of room suites is such a convenient delight that we didn’t even need to go to the common pools in the hotel.
It is a lazy comfort but oh-so-easy to walk in and out of your room and plunge into the 1.2M deep pool. There was a sunny day on our 2nd day and the boys had a great time swimming and waddling across to their grandparents’ room which is just next door. It’s a pity that it drizzled and rained on the 3rd day and we didn’t get to enjoy the pools further.
These pools are great photography spots too. Seize every bit of sunshine to capture some memories!
A quick note that there are access pool terraces from both the kids and adults’ rooms; thus a close eye on young kids is required if they are non-swimmers.
Hotel and it’s surroundings
Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao is a self sufficient resort and one do not need to step out of the hotel grounds if you do not wish to. There are 2 main restaurants – J’s Cafe & Restaurant and Pesto Restaurant. We had daily breakfast at J’s Cafe and most dinners at Pesto.
Breakfast spread was a good variety. Not massive but sufficient choices to cater to most diets and nationality. Quality is reasonably good. The Kids-eat-and-stay-for-Free promotion for Holiday Inn brands provides good savings for parents. With every paying adult, a kid stays for free and get a kids’ meal for free too. Both J’s Cafe and Pesto offers Kids-Eat-For-Free meals now. My oldest boy was happy ordering his own meal and dessert and felt responsible finishing it up since he ordered it.
Breakfast sample spread on our 2 mornings:
|This is my favourite! Pork bacon – on a hot plate! The ceramic pot is lined with carrots, and onions; the constant warming of the bacon made it crisply yummy!|
|Hot eggs station. Always a delight to have such a station in hotels. Eggs done the way you liked it; what more can one ask for?|
|Auto pancakes making machine! I would have prefer my pancakes more fluffy but this is a smart idea to churn out cute pancakes which the kids enjoyed!|
J’s Cafe has a thoughtful buffet laid out just for little ones. Shorter tables and chairs cater to their heights and walls are adorned with happy animals. It is a fun sight to be greeted with in the morning. My 2 boys enjoyed helping themselves at the table; not eating but just “helping” themselves.
We had a scrumptious dinner at Pesto on our first night as well. Situated next to the sea, you get to enjoy the mesmerising sunset if you dine around 6 to 7pm. A causal setting with an open concept kitchen, you can see your food being prepared while you wait. The food was authentic though some taste adjustment seemed to have been done to cater to the variety of tourists dining here. Recommendations: In particular, we liked the Beef Striploin, Duck Leg Confit and Spaghetti with Pork Bacon.
|In between dusk and dark with a live band.|
|All Italian restaurants have to have good crusty warm bread. We enjoyed the peppercorn and olive oil dips. I am a bread addict.|
|One of the appetizer dishes recommended by the waitress – Quesadillas minced pork with mashed avocado, jalapeno, tomato salsa and Monterey Jack Cheddar and lime-cilantro sour cream. Good sharing dish.|
Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao has a lovely clean beach which is surrounded by the Anadaman Sea. The beach was almost deserted when we were there and a red flag was visibly noted for warning on the condition of the sea waves for the day. Nevertheless, how can we conclude a resort holiday without experiencing the beach, sand and sea? On our 3rd day, Eizac and I set off to the beach with beach towels supplied by the hotel staff and had some relaxing time taking photos, playing with sand, collecting sea shells and simply lazing around. But silly me decided to venture near the shore to scoop some sea water for Eizac’s sand tunnels. I lost a slipper to the great ocean as a result of the choppy waves. Thus, I won’t recommend going into the sea if the red flag is on.
At the corner of the beach are some external vendors selling drinks, fruits, cooked food and providing alternative outdoor massages. There is an idyllic feel if you enjoy balmy massages complete with coconut juices on the side.
The hotel grounds have activities corners strategically placed near the heart of the resort thus making it easier for the whole family to interact together. There are human sized chess boards, connect-4s, dart boards, an awesome trampoline and more. On selected nights, there are free screening of movies-under-the-stars with free popcorns. It’s a pity that it rained periodically during our stay thus hampering outdoor activities for us. But that’s when the indoor options are life savers!
Kids’ Club and Tea Tree Spa
The Kids’ Club is a winsome place. It won the kids over.
A ball pool is the centrepiece for the younger ones while the PSP and Wii machines attract the older kids on the side lines. There are toys, reading nooks, board games, activities sheets and more. Basically once your kids enter, they won’t want to leave. The guest officers here are friendly and I watched them hit-it-off easily with the “regulars”. They played, entertained and watched over the children. By the 3rd day, my 2 boys were almost zipping over to the kids’ club on their own as our rooms were just a few steps away from the kids’ club.
There were organised free or paid activities such as wind mill making, Thai umbrella painting, pizza making and etc. The boys took part in 2 of the activities – Pizza Making and Sand Footprints.
Pizza Making was so much fun for them as they were led to J’s Cafe and they get to use gigantic roller pins to roll and knead the dough; complete their toppings and eat of their labour! This is a worth-while paid activity in my opinion. You get to play and eat at the same time.
Sand Footprints is basically getting footprints on sand and then casting them into moulds to be brought home as souvenirs. I applaud the guest officers’ effort not to cancel this activity even though it rained in the midst of getting footprints from the children. They dug sand, brought them in pails to a sheltered place so to allow each kid to imprint a footprint and cast a mould thereafter. Though we were leaving early the next day, they rushed the moulds and drying off and gave them to the kids on the night itself. Kudos for great customer service!
For the adults, there are no lack of activities too. We were too comfortable to wake up for the morning yogas, workout etc. Instead we decided to have a spa massage at their in-house Tea Tree Spa .
Xi En joined his Daddy for a “My First Massage” which is a 30 mins oil massage with gentle strokes especially cater to little guests. Kim and I had our full 60 mins massages. It was extremely relaxing with the right strengths and soothing music. I dozed off unknowingly. That’s how good it was. Highly recommended for a complete resort experience. Prices are affordable though not exactly cheap by local standards; the clean environment and professional masseurs are definitely worth every dime.
We liked the laid-back feel of the resort. It makes one feel isolated from the hustle and bustle of city life. That’s what a beach holiday is meant to be? In the beginning I was worry if the kids would be bored, but my worries are unnecessary. They were happier in the resort than being dragged to shop with us in the malls. I liked it that there is a good mix of indoor vs outdoor activities so that wet weather plans are available as well. There is also free Wi-fi in the resort thus you can stay connected if you prefer to.
Overall, Phuket Holiday Inn Mai Khao checked the boxes for a relaxing short family resort stay. If you do not need to stay near the town, the Mai Khao beach is an ideal option for it’s quiet and cozy ambience. And Phuket Holiday Inn Mai Khao makes an affordable and comfortable family choice.
If you are considering an Holiday Inn hotel in the near future, do not forget to sign up for free as an IHG Rewards Club Member. You get to enjoy special member rates when you book directly with Holiday Inn. There is no need to look for a 3rd party provider as they promised the best rates when you book direct.
Furthermore, there is a current promotion to “Accelerate” with bonus points rewarded for each tier of “Acceleration” offers you cleared. Eg, you get 500 point just be downloading and signing in to the IHG App. Extra bonus points will be awarded for a completion of all “Accelerate Offers”. That is an initiative to allow faster points accumulation and thereafter rewards! More details on their IHG Rewards Club website.
For more photos and special offers that Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao is running, do check out their comprehensive website on this link.
N.B: This blog post is in conjunction of a review of Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao via a sponsored stay. All opinions and viewpoints are writer’s own. For any clarification of rates and information, please refer their official website: http://www.phuketmaikhaobeach.holidayinnresorts.com/