Just a short ride from Phuket, the beachside town of Khao Lak offers stunning beaches and world-class resorts that are equally ideal for a couple’s weekend away, or busy families with active kids
Do you sometimes feel like you might need a weekend away…without the kids? I’ll bet all mamas could use this; some of us even make this a must at least once a year! Following a recent 2-week summer vacation with my little one, it was time for a shorter break for my significant other and me, just the two of us. I’m sure you know the feeling: you just want to enjoy a quiet vacation with each other where you can actually wake up naturally for a couple of days!
We packed our bags and headed to Khao Lak, Thailand, a little over an hour’s drive north of Phuket International Airport. We were greeted at the airport by friendly staff from the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort, who whisked us away in a private car to the resort. We couldn’t wait to arrive!
When we arrived, Hanna received us warmly and we were led to a beautiful, spacious reception area. Hanna was kind enough to take us on a tour around the hotel grounds to get us familiarized before leaving us to enjoy it by ourselves.
We were led through the pathways between the pool and the rooms, and I noticed something that really stood out – the pool was everywhere! No matter where we turned on the pathways, there was the pool. It wasn’t just a body or two of water amongst the hotel buildings – it actually winds through the entire hotel grounds! How unique, and truly gorgeous! At 3 kilometers long, it’s actually one of the longest pools in Southeast Asia.
The hotel seemed pretty quiet. After all, it was the rainy season. But there were quite a few families with children on one side of the hotel. Hanna explained that the hotel rooms are divided into 4 rows; the hotel usually puts families with kids in the first two rows, nearer to the kids’ pool, while guests without kids can enjoy a more serene stay in the other two rows of rooms. That’s good thinking!
We stayed in the popular Deluxe Lagoon Pool Access room, which has a balcony providing direct access to the pool. All we had to do was get into our swimsuits, open the little balcony gate and jump right in. We could swim around the entire resort via the “canal-like” pool, end up in a larger open pool area, swim up to the pool bar for a cocktail, then swim right back up to our own doorstep. No need to walk up and down the hallways wrapped in towels and shivering, leaving wet footprints all the way to our room door! Just perfect! And that’s exactly what we did, right after a quick and light lunch at The Deli, which offers fresh salads, signature sandwiches, lovely pastries and lots of other options for quick bites.
OK, I’ll admit, we did manage to sneak in a nap first – I just can’t resist huge king-sized hotel beds and their crisp sheets! It unfortunately rained a lot throughout the weekend, but that means I got in a lot of quality napping, plus we got to enjoy the resort’s amenities to the fullest!
We loved the long stretch of beach; you could just walk and walk (and then get caught in the rain) and there seemed to be no one around us. We did make friends with few stray (but friendly) doggies that were frolicking in the rain with us. My partner Claudio shared a scone with them that he had nicked from the breakfast buffet. Oh, that reminds me of the huge (and delicious!) breakfast spread. I’m a complete sucker for breakfast buffets – I have just got to try everything and I ended up so full at breakfast time, I didn’t have any room for lunch at all.
Yoga lessons are offered at the fitness centre, and I signed up for a private class that took place right by the beach. I love looking as far as my eye can see when I’m standing in the warrior one pose – beats looking at my own reflection at the gym, or worse, at the wall at home. Claudio really enjoyed working out at their well-equipped gym while I was at yoga.
We had dinner both nights at the hotel restaurants. Huge thumbs up for their Japanese restaurant Sakura, and double thumbs up for their Thai restaurant, Ta-Krai, where we had the most memorable Thai dish ever – a crab yellow curry served with crispy rice noodles. Just amazing.
We also enjoyed a lovely massage at Quan Spa. Not only were the rooms lovely, quiet and relaxing, but the area outside the rooms was also so beautifully landscaped. It’s the perfect place to feel pampered. And is there anything for rejuvenating than a good Thai massage?!
On our third and final day, we felt a little adventurous and frankly, tired of the rain. So we decided it was time to venture out of the resort. The resort offered bicycles to rent by the hour, so we enjoyed an afternoon exploring shopping and food in Khao Lak village. We, of course, came back drenched but to my delight, the resort had brought some night market shops into the compound – more shopping! This was the time to get all my souvenirs for the family back home.
Despite the rain, the resort’s amazing facilities made our stay wonderful, and if you do decide to come with kids, there’s an awesome-looking kids club just around the corner from the fitness centre! Families might also want to opt for their bigger family rooms, 1- or 2-Bedroom suites or a duplex suite. The high season (that is, much sunnier weather) runs from November through March, so book those tickets, mama!
JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa, 41/12 Moo 3, Khuk Khak Takuapa, Phang Nga, 82190 Thailand, www.marriott.com
Pool and spa images courtesy of the author.