Summary: Awesome pool, great landscaping and superb kids activities
On a mission to explore more of Phuket in Thailand, our friends at oovotel invited us to experience some of their resort offerings on the island. Our first stop was the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa and after a 40 minute drive along the coastline heading North we reached the 2nd of our Novotel experiences, the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort. Here’s our experience.
You can’t help but be impressed by the grand entrance to the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort. A long driveway leading to an arched entrance with plenty of plush seating and impressive warm decor. Our daughter was greeted with her new best friend, the same Pikachu mascot we met at the Karon Beach Resort just a couple of days before. She was definitely happy to see him (or is it her?) again! Check-in was super easy and we were guided through the impressive dining areas and just a short walk to our “Suite Poolside Terrace“. We were so pleased to see once again that Novotel’s child friendly services were very much evident here. A Mickey Mouse duvet and pillow, cuddly toys and a play-tent for her to enjoy as soon as we arrived in the room. Childhood bliss! A welcome like this sure does set the tone for the rest of your stay and means everything to a little toddler.
I think the name “Suite Poolside Terrace” wasn’t entirely accurate. While it was a generous size with plenty of space for our suitcases and their contents it wasn’t strictly by the side of a pool. Just a short walk to the edge of one I grant you. Aside from that the suite was all you need for a relaxing stay. A huge master bed, a cute and perfectly sized kids bed / sofa in the lounge area. Flat screen TVs in both rooms and a generous sized fridge that you could get stocked with mini-bar goodies or make use of with your own purchases.
The Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort is definitely a bit older than our previous experience at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa. The decor was more your standard hotel room artwork, with earthy colours that seem to compliment the immense greenery just outside the big sliding glass doors (more on that later). The front door to our room wasn’t the most sealed of doors so tended to let in noise from the busy corridor outside. Not too much of an issue in the day but it woke our daughter earlier than usual when people started heading for an early breakfast.
One other oddity is that the play-tent our daughter enjoyed so much on the first day was inexplicably removed by house-keeping the next day. Our daughter wasn’t upset, just a little confused. Still the kids club, pools and food kept her very busy.
First thing of note here at the Novotel Surin Beach Resort is the fantastic landscaping within the grounds. The rooms encircle the pool and outdoor area where there’s a fantastic number of tall trees, hedges, meandering pathways, flowers, and greenery that you can’t help but find relaxing. Considering this is a large hotel complex it never felt too busy or loud, the trees and vegetation doing a fine job of absorbing the noise of activities from some 400 or more guests making use of all the facilities.
The pools here are some of the best on the island for a number of reasons. Firstly shade! I’m constantly surprised how little shade hotels put over their pools considering how hot and intense the sun can be in Thailand. Not a problem at this Novotel! The foliage and winding loop of the pool (with an island in the middle) created plenty of places within the water to swim without being burnt. Very important for parents of a very active toddler who loves to swim for hours. There’s also two fun slides here that were mostly underused. I suspect because you can’t see the end of the slide from the top or the jarring knock on your spine as you slide down.
Safe to say our nearly 3 year old was addicted to the kids club area known as “Kids World“, a multi-level air conditioned kids paradise with an activity area, TV room, ball pool and computers too. With multiple guided activities every day there was plenty for children to do here. Some really interesting and different activities too like learning to tie-dye and also the yummy cookie making class which resulted in us taking away a huge box of cookies that our daughter helped create. Delicious!
The staff here were helpful and attentive, although we did notice someone else had signed our daughter out at reception, presumably while there was nobody manning the door. I’m sure it was just someone signing the wrong row on the sheet but obviously a worry if staff think our daughter left with us when she may have walked off or left with someone else. Anyway all was well and our daughter couldn’t wait to return to the kids club every day. Definitely the highlight of her stay.
While the hotel does offer spa treatments I wouldn’t necessarily call it a spa. You’ll find the treatment areas above the gym on a mezzanine level. The treatment rooms are just a thin partition walls in a larger room with just a curtain separating you from the outside world. So there’s no calm and serene spa experience here. You’ll hear plenty of noise from the gym machines and other guests too. Having said that the massage was very good, I’m definitely too much of a wimp to opt for a Thai massage, I much prefer the essential oils and tamer Swedish style!
There’s plenty of dining options here both poolside and restaurant style. By the pool you can request service by pushing the wireless button next to your sun lounger. The ultimate way to get a tasty lunch! We fell in love with the Pepperoni Pizza which was just 179 TBH (around £4.50) and big enough for the 3 of us to share. All of the dining options at the resort are outdoors but split over multiple levels. With a booth style dining area overlooking the pools, its shaded from the sun with large fans above the tables.
There’s also a sushi bar with reasonably priced sashimi and Novotel’s “Champions” sports bar with plenty of TVs showing everything from Baseball and Aussie rules football to Formula One and monster trucks too. We got to experience the “Asian buffet” one evening at the “Asia Alive” main dining area. Lots to choose from with freshly cooked-to-order meats and noodle dishes from the chef. Plenty of of Sushi, Massaman curries and Asian nibbles too.
The dining areas all run out of one kitchen so the buffet / breakfast area is right next to the Champions Bar too, all of which are at the end of the main entrance building and the back of which has no wall so the entire area is not air conditioned While it was cooler than dining right outside by the pool it would have been nice to have one air conditioned dining option after a hot day in the sunshine. For a quick daytime snack there’s also a small lobby bar and food store selling coffees, cakes and crisps. They also have a very convenient shop here for your poolside essentials like suncream.
Outside of the hotel its just a short walk to the beach across the road. The beach is fairly quiet with plenty of space to yourself. Along the resort road there are a few shops including laundry, a minimart and some great little restaurants worth checking out. There’s even a small wine bar which is unusual to see in Thailand! Along the main road you’ll find a few more dining options. A little further afield you’ll find some fun night markets and also Phuket Adventure Mini Golf which is great for all ages. Its easy to get about here if you walk out of the hotel and flag down a tuk-tuk or taxi driver. Thailand has no shortage of transportation although Phuket’s prices have risen since our last visit.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort mostly because our daughter had so much fun with all the facilities. One of the best pools for families who want shade while swimming, an amazing array of activities for kids, a very warm welcome and plenty of great friendly service from the staff. Our room was well positioned and we really enjoyed sitting outside in the evening and enjoying the lush green vista. If you’re travelling as a couple its worth checking out their Phuket romantic package too.
Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort
106/27 Moo 3, Cherngtalay, Talang, Surin Beach, 83110 Phuket, Thailand
Tel: +66 76 303 300
Fax: +66 76 300 303