You can tell that we’ve become big fans of Khao Lak – it is quieter than Phuket, with amazing beaches and fairly easy to get to. Three and a half hour on a direct flight from Hong Kong brings us to Thailand. From Phuket airport it is another hour up North and then we are in paradise – almost endless beaches, clear water and fantastic Thai food.
I’ve already been twice to the JW Marriott (and yes, I love it) and so I decided to try a different place. When Travelzoo had an offer for Le Meridien Khao Lak, I bought a voucher and a few days ago Patrick and I left for three nights in paradise.
Overall it was a great experience – the hotel is directly at the beach, the buildings are spread out among lush green vegetation and there are three different pools to choose from. The rooms are big and we had one overlooking the quieter, adult pool, which meant that we could sit outside on the balcony, reading a book or surfing the Internet while relaxing in the shade.
The service is very attentive and friendly, but also unobtrusive which is a big plus! Our stay included breakfast, which was until 10.30 am – so we basically relaxed in the morning, went to the breakfast at 10.25am and ate a lot of fresh fruits. That got us through to the evening, when we explored one of the restaurants at the beach.
If you walked to the left, you had the option of just one restaurant – which was fairly decent. The food was nice and fresh, we ate there twice. We had some great fried fish with garlic and black pepper and we tried some fresh squid too. The portion sizes are a little smaller than at Ma-Ma’s Greeting and overall we felt that Ma-Ma’s Greeting (which is next to the JW Marriott) is still our preferred spot for dinner at the sea.
When we turned right from the resort, and kept walking for 10-15 minutes, past another resort, we reached a range of different restaurants. We picked one right in the middle for dinner on Sunday night. This place had even better seafood (the fish was much better than at the place where we ate the evening before) and I loved that they had candles stuck in glass bottles that were sitting on the beach. They even gave us a free lucky balloon lantern that we let go into the night sky! It was a nice romantic dinner for the two of us!
That’s exactly what our highlight was – we loved the restaurants at the beach. But the downside was that the Le Meridien resort is not as great as the JW Marriott one. For example, the breakfast selection is smaller and in a dark room underneath the lobby – when sitting outside you could only see the pool, but not the sea.
Also the rooms felt older and more used – our bathroom shower door didn’t always want to open, I could not get the rain fall shower turned on and I had none of these problems at the JW Marriott. I also didn’t like that there were three different pools, rather than one big one. But what annoyed me the most was that there was a section at the beach that was for villas, deluxe villas and VIP villas (or whatever the grading was). Big signs told you that you could not got there, the facilities were only for villa guests etc. I felt like a second or third class guest. It was unnecessary.
But overall I can’t fault the hotel – the breakfast selection was good, the service was very friendly and attentive, the rooms were clean and everything in the resort was well-kept. It’s just that I had been to the JW Marriott just down the road, and that’s also where I’m going to be back again. I’m just in love with the big pool there, the great pool view rooms with the big seats overlooking the pool and Ma-Ma’s Greeting on the beach. Plus there were much more and better massage options at the beach (for 300 baht – not for 350 or even 400 baht that I had to pay close to the Le Meridien). Anyway, end of day, it’s just personal choice and for me, the JW Marriott Khao Lak wins.