Phuket Day 1
April 9, 2006
Since we'd missed dinner the night before, David wants a "real" breakfast at the Westin. He gets the buffet for 650 baht and it's not worth the money. The pastries are particularly sad. I order a plate of bacon and eggs which I send back because the eggs are not cooked enough. They are returned without my remaining hash brown. 1100 baht total for breakfast, tax and service included.
The hotel gets us a metered taxi to the airport and we arrive with no problems to the Domestic terminal. The line for Air Asia is long and we must check our roll aboard bags as their weight restrictions are notoriously stingy. We watch as other travelers try to redistribute weights in their gigantic, oversized luggage. Really, how much stuff do you need to bring for a 2 week vacation?
Our boarding passes are printed on heat sensitive receipt paper instead of card stock. I think, "this would be easy to lose". We are bussed out to the plane and because the driver refuses to oven the back door to the bus (where we'd boarded) we are the last people on the plane. There is no organized seating, but we manage to find aisle seats one behind the other. The flight is fine, quick and little more than an airborne bus where even water must be paid for.
We can't find the driver for the Andaman White Beach Resort on arrival. He appears with no comment, just a sign with my name on it after about 10 minutes. The resort is 15 minutes South of the airport, 10 of which are off the main road. The hotel is farther from the village of Nai Thon than I expect. We are welcomed with cold towels and fruit juice and then the girl behind the front desk brings us to our room, a beach front bungalow just off the pool, number 103.
I'm not happy with the location. Some people like to be close to the pool, but I don't like people trooping by looking in our room. I ask if there is anything else available, there is not, all beach front rooms are full we are told. The room is smaller than expected, but nicely appointed. But there are little things wrong and over the course of a couple of days they begin the mount up, tarnishing how I feel. There is an outside shower, a lovely concept, but the shower head is so clogged, only about 40% of the nozzle heads work. There's a tiled indoor tub/shower, but it has a window on the front of the room where we must keep the blinds closed or risk really shocking the neighbors. In it, there's a handheld shower which is mounted on the wall, but cannot be used as such because it won't stay in the proper direction. The TV remote does not work, yet all it needs are batteries. The bed is very hard. The air conditioning is really loud and while the rooms face the beach, they also face the public walkways of the resort, so at night become a fishbowl. We have to lower our shades for any privacy. The worst is yet to come...
There are plenty of positives however; many nice amenities in the bathroom, a woven beach bag for our use, and a drying rack for towels and bathing suits outside. We have a big patio with table and chairs, couch, and two padded chaise lounges. The view is stellar, although somewhat obstructed by lush foliage. There's an electric kettle for coffee and tea. and a Sony CD player. Limited TV choices, but as long as I can have CNN I'm happy. Outdoor water fountain which I must adjust lest all the water run out onto the ground. Lots of lighting which is good for reading at night. There are orchids everywhere. Every room has a terra cotta basin of water with coconut dipper to wash off your feet at the entrance.
And then there's the beach. It's truly beautiful and belongs 100% to the hotel, bordered at each end with giant rocks, forming a little cove just for us. There are wonderful padded lounge chairs in pairs with towels waiting and big umbrellas strung along the sand like pearls. In the morning, the beach is crowded only with thousands of tiny crabs scuttling about, dropping suddenly into their burrows in the sand. The sea is gently warm like a big bathtub.
It's lunchtime and we're hungry. We go to check out the restaurants. The two up top are only open for dinner; Thai in an open air pavilion, and Italian in a glass enclosed air conditioned room. Poolside there is a casual restaurant on a multilevel deck, and on the beach, a bar serving pizzas (only during the day). We check out the dive center on the beach and speak at length to Caroline, it's manager. She's an enthusiastic German woman with an infectiously happy way about her. She tells us she's canceled the afternoon dive because conditions are too rough and and she won't dive in anything under 30 degrees with the thermoclines out there. She outlines our options for day trips and we tell her we'll come back later with our decision.
We settle on the poolside restaurant and I order a club sandwich and David, the spicy beef salad. I go up to reception to ask them to help me call to confirm our John Gray sea canoe trip for the next day and the cooking class for Wednesday. When I return to our table the food has still not arrived. It finally appears and my sandwich is good, though I think I've been given precisely 10 short french fries in a little cup. David's spicy beef salad is really tasty. Our waiter is the same kid who picked us up from the airport.
Down on the beach two enterprising Thai women have set up a massage platform with mats on it. For 300 baht each we get a massage under a palm tree with only the sound of the surf pounding to our right and the fountain into the pool to our left. The hotel also has a "Spa" and massages there are 1000 baht and up.
After a rest, we go up for dinner in Thai restaurant. We order pommelo salad with crab, duck with red curry and pineapple, and pad thai with large head-on prawns. Everything is fantastic and I'm really impressed with the food. I can't stop eating the duck curry. All of that with a big bottle of water was 1100 baht including tax and service. A much better deal (and better food I think) than the 850++ each (2000 baht for two inclusive) we could have had at their poolside dinner buffet. The Italian restaurant sits empty.
On odd thing happens however. When we arrive, we are asked if we have a reservation and since we don't, we are seated in an empty room/patio away from the other diners. We are told that the other room is for reservations only. Why, is it special? There are 5 empty tables, 4 of them tables for two which never get sat our entire time there. We discover the next day when asking for a dinner reservation that guests get to pick their actual table when making reservations, and thus it belongs to them until they arrive.
For more Photos of the Andaman White Beach Resort, see the
Phuket Photo Page...