The JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is a decent hotel for Phuket. In my opinion, this is a 4 star hotel on a 5 star property in a 1 star location. In this post, I review the property with specific details for the one bedroom suite with jacuzzi and patio that I stayed in during my trip. I ended up leaving Phuket early and going to Singapore as there is. quite. literally. nothing. to. do. that is less than an hour or 90 minutes from the resort. That said, they do have quite a collection of restaurants and other options to choose from. After the first couple of nights, it’s bland and boring and very expensive for Thailand. Be sure to check out my Singapore travel guide.
I came to the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in May, a relatively quiet time in Thailand as it’s the start of Monsoon season. The hotel is quite close to the airport. Since I find many airports are generally within 20 or 30 minutes of a downtown area, I deceived myself into thinking this hotel was close to cities and things to do. It is not – if you stay here, be prepared to spend about 1100BAHT to travel to any city or town – each way. If you are expecting the organization and “cleanliness” (it’s all relative) of Bangkok, you will be disappointed in Phuket!
To put my review into perspective, I am a Grand Hyatt, Ritz and JW frequent traveler. I don’t give five stars unless a hotel or resort is truly amazing. The JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is a 4 star hotel on a 5 star property in a 1 star location. I had very high expectations for a $390/night hotel in off-season, which is very expensive in Thailand. Check out my Bangkok Hyatt review for perspective on that!
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa Review: Check-In
Check in was easy and friendly.
Here are a two taxi travel tips when staying at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa:
- Befriend your taxi driver. Ask for their phone number and add them to WhatsApp. They’ll come back to get you on your schedule for 1000 to 1100 BAHT, more or less, for each city. The convenience of essentially having your own personal driver is helpful.
- I learned later that taxi drivers have “territories” in this region of Asia. If one taxi driver “steps on the toes” of another, it means trouble … intimidation and very angry town locals will be the least of their worries. Don’t be surprised if you see the same cab driver repeatedly, or if one refuses to take you into a specific part of town. It’s likely another’s territory.
Some of the great things about the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa:
The poolside service is fast and efficient and the range of foods is excellent. The cuisine is very tasty for poolside food.
Housekeeping is efficient and very quiet. I have some concerns over their methods however after finding a lot of dead bugs and dust in the room.
Robes and pillows! They’re soft, plush and so comfortable that I found the company that makes them (very specific to the region)!
Internet access is reasonably quick, though the power was hit and miss during storms.
You will have fast LTE access through Verizon if you need to work on trips like I do. Sometimes I connected the laptop to my phone as it was faster than the internet provided.
The television entertainment center is great if you bring your own technology. I recommend an HDMI cable that connects to your iPad Lightning port to watch your own movies on the TV. There are also a lot of power outlets and charging stations at the television (and only at the television).
I drank the water in the room no problem (but that does not mean I recommend you do it)!
1 bedroom suite
Downsides to staying at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa:
The food at the resort lacks in flavor at most restaurants and is very bland. The tastiest food is at the pool. After 2 nights, I was exceptionally bored with the cuisine. The only area to walk to also has terrible food and expensive (for Thailand) massage.
The rooms are old, there are no USB ports in the rooms other than by the television and many of the outlets simply do not work.
The outside patio is completely a waste of money. It’s full of bugs, dirt, and obviously is not part of housekeeping’s routine cleaning. The spa on the balcony was disgusting, literally not usable. The view was obstructed by a tree so again – waste of money.
The pools aren’t good for folks who don’t know how to swim or just want to float. Other than one small area to lounge, it’s a poorly designed (albeit beautiful) pool.
The rooms are outdated and uninviting. They are not at JW standards.
The beach! Ugh. It’s not usable or swimmable. I did not see even one person out there during my stay. They are beautiful to look at, but that’s it.
The beds are incredibly hard. It’s not unbearable if you have housekeeping put a feather bed or two on top of the mattress.
It is ridiculously far from everywhere you will want to go. Be prepared to kill 2 hours a day, at least, just driving to the fun stuff.
Monsoon season rains
The bottom line in my JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa Review: This is a 5 star resort with 4 star rooms in a 1 star location. It’s a lovely resort in a terrible location with so-so rooms. Skip the suite that provides a small pool or jacuzzi – the views are obstructed and the jacuzzi is not usable. This is a great location if you really want to get away and do absolutely nothing and be bored out of your mind. Everything at this hotel is highly overpriced for Thailand and unfortunately they don’t make it up with the room quality or service. There are not many other good options in the area, though several new hotels are being built that show promise.