Summary: Amazing restaurant, modern rooms and friendly staff
Phuket islands in Thailand is an eternally popular tourist destination which seems to be going from strength to strength. With a modern international airport, plenty of competing airlines and no end to the tourist attractions, its easy to see why so many come here (numbers were up some 15% in 2016).
So its no surprise that there are plenty of new hotel developments and we were recently invited to experience one new accommodation option, The Twin Sands Resort & Spa from Absolute Resorts. If you’re looking to book online you can do so here.
With a week in the Thai sunshine ahead of us we were keen to see just what they could offer the international traveller. Here’s how we go on.
First of all its worth pointing out that while 2 major phases of the entire property are complete, The Twin Sands Resort & Spa is currently undergoing phase 3 development, adding many new rooms as well as swimming pools, waterfalls and more facilities including a kids club. This is due to be finished around March 2018 so depending on when you’re reading this the work may have been completed or may well still be ongoing. During the day the work was fairly noisy but you’ll likely be out some of that time, the view from pool facing rooms and the pool is somewhat interrupted by a large building site. On the whole the construction work didn’t distract or annoy too much. There’s also another luxury hotel being built nearby where worked finishes around 10pm so if this is an issue to you it may be worth waiting until 2018 before visiting.
Our airport transfer ride was smooth and easy with a friendly driver who was happy to chat with us. Phuket is a fairly hilly island right up to the coastline. Pulling in to the driveway of the The Twin Sands Resort & Spa there’s an instant sense of style and purpose about the place. Opting for a super modern look the architecture compliments the interior and general style of everything at the property. Lots of friendly Thai smiles as we checked in and were shown to our room. I really like the modern styling here, with well lit outside areas and well thought-out indoor areas too. More on that later
We had a studio apartment for a week, again a super modern and coordinated interior design where everything from the wardrobes and tables to the beds and curtains were perfectly matched and complementing. Its surprising how some hotels get this wrong but here at the Twin Sands I can safely say they got it right. Modern and stylish yet cosy enough to call home for 7 days.
The bathroom is ultra modern with a fantastic waterfall shower, perfect for a tall guy like me and made showering our daughter too super easy. The kitchen was equipped with just enough cutlery and crockery for the 3 of us, plenty of utensils to cook with and a very generously sized fridge freezer which we made great use of. While eating out is often the preference when in Thailand its great to have the option of cooking for ourselves and having a lazy breakfast in the mornings.
Our room overlooked the main road and newly built (and ongoing) luxury hotel which thankfully is low-rise and doesn’t obscure the view too much. The coastal vista is very pleasant, once you filter out the construction site below. The balcony was a generous size although the all glass wall may be a little scary for some.
There’s a big flat screen TV in the apartment with a very comfortable L shaped sofa and coffee table, plenty of drawers to empty out our suitcases in to and really feel at home. An extra single bed was added for our daughter which did take up some room but once we re-arranged the furniture a little it fitted right in.
After a week living here I can definitely say we felt full at home in our studio apartment. With the room cleaned once a day by the staff it always felt clean and orderly, which is saying something when you have a toddler!
The pool area is situated over two levels, just a few steps apart. The main pool is up top with a straightforward rectangular shape, a shallow kids area separated from the rest of the pool and some steps to climb in. A comfortable underwater seat runs almost the length of the pool making it a pleasant place to jump in and cool off.
There’s very little shade here which is a bit of an issue in the intense heat of the day, much better around 5pm onwards when things start to cloud over and cool off a little. The lower level offers more sunbathing beds and plunge pool with bubble jets. Both pools have the distinctively modern infinity style which I do like. There’s also a swim-up bar where the very friendly bar tender can whip up a mean cocktail or two, as well as reasonably priced beers. The bass-heavy playlist on his bar sound system gives the pool area a fun and active atmosphere that is surprisingly inviting. There’s happy hour here every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with many drinks at reduced prices, its just a shame it wasn’t every day like most places, we often forgot which day it was and whether it was happy hour today.
There’s a well equipped gym here which proved popular, situated in part of the spa area. It overlooks the pool and has all the modern equipment you would expect. Towels are usually provided but weren’t available on a couple of days during our stay. There’s also a large TV which you can use yourself to help make your gym workout go that little bit faster.
Thailand is known for its massage treatments and spa therapies so no resort would be seen dead without some offering. The treatments available were varied so there’s likely to be something for everyone. I would say they are quite expensive, certainly the most expensive I’ve seen so far during our time in Thailand so you may want to compare prices with spas in nearby Patong.
Situated right on site in block 1 is the Blue Mango restaurant and bar. The menu seemed reasonably priced so we thought we’d check it out on our first night. Wow, I have to say one of the best meals I’ve had on the island, possibly in the country! On the menu I discovered “Massaman Nong Gae”, a popular sweet and mildly spicy curry with braised lamb shank. It sounded great but tasted incredible! So good in fact we made sure we visited again during our stay and had it again. The staff here were all very friendly and made our daughter feel very welcome. She also enjoyed watching the kitchen at work through a cleverly designed glass window. There’s a great atmosphere here often with visitors from outside the resort clearly coming for the exceptionally good food. You can even order food to be delivered to your room if you’re feeling super lazy.
One strange quirk about the restaurant and bar is that they are not part of the Twin Sands resort company so its not possible to put anything on your room and pay during checkout. You do however get a 15% discount if you are a guest so do make sure you give the your room number. This quirk caught us out a couple of times when ordering drinks at the pool. Forgetting to bring any sort of cash to the poolside it made paying for our refreshments a little more awkward than it needed to be. It wouldn’t be that difficult for the restaurant and resorts businesses to organise a credit arrangement so guests could pay at checkout.
What to do nearby
As the name “Twin Sands” suggests, the resort is just a short walk from two beaches and a quick tuk-tuk ride to a third. Walking to the beaches is a bit confusing, especially as Merlin beach is hidden down a rather rocky track road and quick jump over what I hope is just drainage water from the hotels. Your best bet to get to this beach is to walk to the Marriott hotel entrance and easily make your way through their resort to the sandy beach beyond. The beaches are cute with some great views out of the Andaman sea, but for more amenities and nightlife you’ll want to head over to Patong.
The resort offers a free shuttle bus service to Patong, dropping people off along the bay or at the main shopping mall in town. This minibus service proved invaluable and gave us a chance not only to explore more and find entertainment for our daughter but also buy all the ingredients to cook in our apartment and purchase the toddler essentials like nappies. With Patong just 15 minutes away its more likely you’ll spend time over there than at the peninsula but as more hotel and resorts appear I’m sure there will be more amenities and attractions available nearby.
We really enjoyed our stay at The Twin Sands, despite the construction work going on around the resort is well staffed, well catered and very well designed. It was great to have more space to ourselves and have the option of eating in and borrowing a DVD movie from reception for a night. Its an interesting property that is set to get much bigger and more luxurious in the next 12 months or so. The continuity of styling inside and out presents a very well thought out and well managed property that I can see growing from strength to strength as the peninsula gains more notoriety.
Get 7 nights complimentary at Twin sands
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This review was sponsored by Absolute Resorts. All opinions are my own