We have just finished a week’s vacation at the Novotel in Karon Beach. This is our second stay here and the hotel is still as good as it was when we first stayed here 3 years ago. The family was 5 adults, one teenager and 4 children aged between 1 and 6. We booked three rooms and had a great, safe time here. The staff were always helpful – especially when we were dealing with crying infants.
We purchased two ‘ACCOR Advantage plus’ cards (and got a third complimentary one) so the room prices were very good value. The ‘buy one get one’ deals at the restaurants also made it a relatively cheap experience. Staff had no problems dealing with the cards although we had to sign three bills. If you read the conditions for this service and know how it works, it can be very useful when travelling in Asia and the savings with a family of this size really add up over a week.
The location of the hotel is one of its best assets, being a 10 minutes ride from Patong and a 5 minute walk to Karon Beach. We were able to visit the ‘full-on’ life of Patong and return to the safe environment of the hotel, when the kids had had enough. We ended up investing in a baby sitter for the two littlest children which made the two trips to Patong much more enjoyable.
The white colour scheme of the hotel seems designed to emphasise the contrast with the hustle and bustle of Patong. Being so close to Karon Beach is also a bonus as there are lots of shops (for sodas, laundry services and pharmacies). This is a busy tourist area in itself and easier to visit but does not have the same full on atmosphere as Patong and is easier to get around and no where near as crowded which makes it a nice walk when you have had enough time at the pool.
The rooms were set up for the young children with rollout beds, soft toys and chocolates for them on arrival. The food choices in the restaurants always included a kids menu (chips, nuggets, pizza etc) so their eating was not a problem and they really enjoyed the resort as it is really set up for families and caters for them really well.
Unfortunately most of the family, except me and grandson number 2, caught a stomach bug on the second day and over the seven nights, at least one of us was vomiting at any one time. It as also the wet season which meant leaving the hotel was not easy, so most of our time was spent in the hotel. This was not a problem as the kids club and pool kept the children occupied and we all enjoyed having down time with still being able to keep the children entertained and happy.
The only downside to the hotel is the lack of food options for adults once you enjoy the breakfast, which was really good. There appears to be one kitchen for the whole hotel and the same food appears on the menu of all of the restaurants. The nightly buffet was perhaps the worse, as most of the nights it was held indoors due to the rain. The number of food varieties was poor and they had low numbers of staff, which meant that often the food stations were not refilled quickly. The worse was the ‘Italian night’ – which I will not even try to describe because it was poorly created, the food was unimaginative and there was very little choice. We had no option on a number of nights but to partake in the buffet and it was the only negative in our stay at the hotel.
There are a number of beachfront restaurants over the road. These looked good, and we would have eaten here, but with with our stomach bugs it was easier not to and just enjoy the hotel.
Overall this is a good hotel, especially if you have children who would love the kids club, the kids pool and the friendly atmosphere that the staff create. Every morning the breakfast restaurant is visited by a Minion and both Xander and Kyen were over the moon and loved the attention that they received with the visitor. It is these little things the kids loved and made it a great place for the family to be staying at.
We then packed the kids back to Perth and Trevor and I headed to the JW Marriott Hotel on Khao Lak which took us to another level and when comparing things like the buffets, the chefs from the Novotel should jump in a can and take some lessons from the amazing offerings at the Marriott. Although we only did 2 buffet dinners they were top class, great ranges, professional service and amazing value…but more about the Marriott in my next post. But I suppose that is the difference between a 4 star and a 5 star resort you expect and we certainly received amazing service and food options at the Marriott.