Family Hotel Review: JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Phuket
Positioned on Mai Khao beach overlooking the Andaman sea is this wonderful family-friendly resort that’s widely considered to be one of the best in Phuket.
Best For: Recharging parental batteries and wearing kids out; kids of all ages.
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Positioned on Mai Khao beach overlooking the Andaman sea is this wonderful family-friendly resort that’s widely considered to be one of the best in Phuket. Spread over 27 acres of landscaped gardens, the 5 star JW Marriott offers 265 rooms and suites divided between North and South ‘wings’ with the reception, main pool, kids’ club and a handful of restaurants and bars in the middle. The clever layout – and huge grounds – means that even when we visited during the high season the resort never felt busy.
What we really love about this hotel is just how much there is do for everyone. There are three swimming pools; the main pool (a lap pool) that’s flanked by a diving pool and the kids’ pool, the North pool that’s reserved for guests over 16years old and the South pool that holds a fantastic bar – you have to swim under a waterfall to reach it. There are six restaurants, a Thai cooking school, five bars and an award-winning spa that is truly fantastic. We highly recommend their Thai massage!
Sporting options include yoga, tennis, beach volleyball and Thai boxing. Water sports are available from November to April and the hotel can help arrange myriad excursions from scuba diving and elephant treks in the jungle to game fishing and boat trips to explore the local islands. Perhaps best of all, however, is the beach. This 17km stretch of national park is devoid of restaurants, cafés or any of the other development so common along the coastline meaning that all you have to do is enjoy the beautiful sandy shores.
Why The Kids Will Love It
What is there for kids not to love? The JW Marriott has seemingly thought of everything to keep kids of all ages happy. For little children there’s a wonderful kids’ swimming pool that comes with a water slide, bubble lake and water jets. Kids under 12 years can spend their days in the kids’ club (open 9am – 8pm) where activities include treasure hunts, archaeology digs, fishing, arts and crafts, hair beading, pool games and much, much more.
Kids can swing through the air with the greatest of ease at circus school and children as young as eight can learn to scuba dive in the hotel swimming pool. Bicycles are available to borrow (mountain bikes come with kid seats big enough for 5 year olds) and helmets are provided for children and adults. Tennis courts, boogies boards, sea kayaks, snorkels and more are all available to use.
A friendly baby elephant* wanders the hotel grounds and kids usually delight in helping to feed and bathe him. One of our favourite things about the hotel, however, is the attention to detail. Every restaurant has a kids’ menu offering healthy options as well as the standard chicken nuggets and fries. Our other stand out moment was at check out when housekeeping staff gave each of our children a little toy turtle as a goodbye gift.
One word of caution, depending on what time of year you visit the currents can be strong making the sea unsuitable for novice swimmers (there are no lifeguards on duty).
The JW Marriott has 252 Rooms and 13 Suites divided into seven categories. All rooms enjoy polished wood floors, ridiculously comfortable beds decorated in white linens and colourful silks and enormous bathrooms with large tubs. A sliding window partition separates the bathrooms and bedrooms.
The rooms all come with the following amenities: A/C, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary bottled water, a grocery shopping service, desk, iron and ironing board, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes and slippers. In-room media include free Internet access, TV, DVD player with films to rent, international cable/satellite channels, radio, CD stereo and an iPod dock.
The rooms are divided into the following categories:
Deluxe Garden: These rooms come with balconies overlooking the garden and are furnished with either a king size bed or two double beds. One rollaway bed is permitted in addition to a baby cot.
Deluxe Terrace: These rooms enjoy a private terrace and are furnished with either a king size bed or two double beds. One rollaway bed is permitted in addition to a baby cot.
Deluxe Pool Terrace: Overlooking the swimming pool are these rooms that enjoy a private balcony and come with either a king size bed or two double beds. One rollaway bed is permitted in addition to a baby cot.
Deluxe Sea View: With a private balcony with sea views, these are perfect for listening to the waves at night. The rooms enjoy a king size bed or two double beds. One rollaway bed is permitted in addition to a baby cot.
Ocean Front Suite: There are eight of these one-bedroom suites. They boast a spacious terrace with sun loungers and an outdoor whirlpool that overlooks the ocean. It is furnished with 1 king size bed and a sofa bed. The enormous bathroom enjoys an over-sized tub. One rollaway bed is permitted in addition to a baby cot.
Ocean Front Pool: This one-bedroom suite enjoys a private plunge pool over looking the Andaman Sea. It boasts a king size bed and can accommodate an additional rollaway bed and a baby cot.
Ocean Front Family Pool: This two-bedroom suite can sleep six people making it ideal for families. One bedroom boasts a king size bed and the second bedroom is furnished with two double beds. An additional rollaway bed and baby cot are permitted.
Ocean Front Pool: Located near the north pool is this Royal Suite that comes with two bedrooms, three bathrooms and its own swimming pool. One bedroom boasts a king size bed and the second bedroom is furnished with two double beds. An additional rollaway bed and baby cot are permitted.
Best for Families: All rooms can accommodate one extra bed and a baby cot although depending on the ages of the children an additional rollaway bed may be accommodated. All rooms boast a corner window with a couple of futon cushions, this area can double up as a sleeping area for little kids. The suites, in particular the Ocean Front Family Pool, work very well for families. Both the Ocean Front Family Pool and Ocean Front Pool can sleep six people.
There are 30 sets of inter-connecting rooms are available in the Deluxe Garden and Deluxe Terrace categories. Baby cots are complimentary and available upon request.
There’s no chance of anyone going hungry here as the JW Marriott boasts no fewer than six restaurants and five bars. Every restaurant specialises in a different cuisine and they all offer a range of light, healthy meals as well.
Choose from the following restaurants:
Marriot Café: This is the all-day dining restaurant and serves international cuisine. The daily breakfast buffet is served here and includes Thai and Japanese specialities in addition to eggs, toast, fruit and more.
Ginja Taste: Open for dinner only is the Marriott’s Thai restaurant boasting local specialities and tried-and-tested favourites including Pad Thai and curries.
Cucina: Voted best Italian food in Asia by Condé Nast Traveller is the Marriott’s answer to La Dolce Vita. It’s open for dinner only but offers pizza delivery during the day. The pizzas and pastas are excellent.
Andaman Grill: One of our favourites when we visited is the hotel’s steak and seafood restaurant. Enjoy dinner, including incredible tuna steaks, and the views over the Andaman Sea.
Kabuki: Another favourite during our time here, this Japanese restaurant is located next to the Siam Deli. The Teppanyaki is excellent and they provide cute aprons for kids too. Open for dinner.
Siam Deli: Serving gourmet sandwiches (on freshly baked breads), pastries and light snacks this deli is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Picnic hampers, including a mat and blanket, are available for private dining. Smoothies and ice creams are also available – great for kids!
Ginja Cook Cooking School: Learn to create your favourite Thai dishes at the resort’s very own cooking school. Classes include a trip to the local market. Open for lunch only. Reservations are required.
For Kids: The JW Marriott excels in looking after kids and every restaurant boasts a dedicated kids’ menu that offers healthy alternatives in addition to the usual chicken nuggets and chips. The quality is also excellent with not a soggy vegetable or over-cooked sausage in sight! All the kids’ menus double up as activity sheets and younger children are given Hello Kitty or Disney-themed cups and cutlery as well as aprons and bibs. We were very impressed! Highchairs are available.
Activities for Parents: Swimming pool, golf courses, amazing Mandara Spa or beachside massage, Thai cooking, language and dancing classes, organised activities including Thai boxing, batik painting, Thai leaf origami and fruit carving. Beach volleyball, tennis, mountain bikes, Pilates’ lessons, meditation sessions, excursions including speedboat trips to local islands and rock climbing in Krabi.
Activities for Kids: Kids’ pool with water slides, bubble lake and water jets. beach, family Thai cooking lesson, kids’ club (for children under 12 yrs) home to toys, computer games and back-to-back activities including pool games, hair beading, arts and crafts, fishing, treasure hunts, archaeology digs and more. Learn circus tricks including trapeze, juggling and super stilts, feed the resident baby elephant, search for Nemo on a snorkelling trip, visit Phuket aquarium, learn to scuba dive and help release baby turtles back into the ocean; the resort is adjacent to the Sirinath Marine National Park, a protected sea turtle nesting area.
AC, babysitting, common rooms, cots, doctors & hospitals, eco-friendly, extra beds, inter-connecting rooms, kids’ activities, kids’ club, kids’ dining facilities, kids’ swimming pool, laundry service, private sit out, pushchair friendly, shops, spa, swimming pool, travel desk & excursions, wheelchair access, WiFi.
Please contact the hotel for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
Disclaimer: At the time of reviewing JW Marriott Phuket the baby elephant was present. However, animals do grow and move on! As outlined in our Terms & Conditions, globetotting.com cannot be responsible for any information that is out of date. We recommend checking the elephant’s availability directly with JW Marriott at time of booking.
When to go:
Phuket is at its best from December to March when daytime temperatures hover around 27C. This is also peak season, however, so expect to pay more for your hotel. The rainy season usually falls from July through to October. Don’t let the rains put you off though, the temperatures are cooler during these months, the beaches are less crowded and you can often get good hotel deals. April and May are the hottest months with temperatures reaching 40C.
Location & Travel:
JW Marriott is located in Phuket, 17 km north of the International Airport (approximately 25 minutes by car). The hotel can arrange transfers for an additional fee.
Contact This Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) My thoughts on where to splurge and save in Phuket.
2) We found this KidsGo Phuket guide book very handy.
3) I really wanted to do this but ran out of time. Will someone do it for me, and let me know if it’s as fun as it sounds?!
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