What I am comparing isn't, "Was it absolutely good or not?" - in fact it was absolutely very good - but, "How does it rate given the price?" In other words, how did it measure up to the promise of a US$700 per night hotel?
The best-built resort hotel I have ever stayed in. The quality of the design and construction is superb. Especially in remote tropical locations, typically the construction is a bit rough and relies somewhat on rustic charm to overlay what is actually poor work or lack of quality material supply. However, not here. The quality would be on par with ANY luxury hotel in any major city. For Phuket, this is a triumph.
In addition, all the rooms have all the bells and whistles - electric curtains, top-notch appliances, TV's, iPod capability, digital a/c control, different nifty LED lighting schemes, etc. The full kitchen is totally stacked out with all modern appliances, including a huge USA-size stainless fridge, 2 ovens, dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc. Bose sound everywhere. Lovely Gaggia one-touch grind and brew coffeemaker (bring your own beans!). Abundant tableware, including different glassware for 3 types of wine plus even pilsener glasses. Rice cooker and blender. It all works perfectly. Nothing is missing.
Wifi works great in the rooms and common areas of the resort. They even have it in the car on the way from the airport. Great.
Hands down the largest hotel room I have ever stayed in. The 1-bedroom suite is easily 2500 sq ft, not including terrace or pool. It's giant. The dining room table would seat 12 (and has place settings for it too!).
So, 10+/10 for hardware. We also didn't have the mosquito problems some others spoke of.
OK, so where were the flat spots that left me with an average experience?
Kamala itself is pretty horrible. Kudos to the resort for providing a nifty free open-air shuttle car to take you there and back at whim, but there's nothing there. A small collection of the usual basic split-bamboo joints with red tablecloths serving generic Euro-fare with a Thai menu thrown in - like any beach town in Thailand. A giant open-air drain full of trash and brackish water separates the town from the beach. And, it's deserted. We saw maybe 20 people total in the whole town. Half the shops and all were closed.
VERY contrary to what you may have read , Silk restaurant is not good. Maybe others that praised it have little experience of Thai food. Silk is average, at best. Also the most expensive Thai meal I have ever eaten @ US$150 for 2 people without wine. The "charcoal grilled" dishes had no blackening and no grill marks, no smoke or charcoal flavor. The grilled pork neck - a staple - was astonishingly served cut into chunks instead of the de rigeur thin cross-grain slices, making it more or less inedible. The red curry of blue crab - which sounds great - had TONS of crab in it (lovely) but was so spicy as to be inedible. This isn't 60 Baht street food. It's in theory a Michelin experience selling US$2,000 bottles of wine, which would be ruined after such a dish. (The hotel BTW only has this one one restaurant, so you are eating ALL your meals there - we sat in the same table for dinner at night then breakfast the next morning. I guess like holiday camp, or the army.)
Breakfast has no buffet. It's a la carte and the selection is extremely limited. There are NO creative or different items on the menu. Usual breakfast fare of various eggs, sides, etc. Utterly mundane.
There was NO ONE else at the resort. We saw exactly 4 other guests in 3 days. We never saw anyone at the pool, or walking around. 2 at dinner and 2 at breakfast. That's it. There is no hotel bar or any conviviality of any kind. You are utterly on your own.
The "Beach Club" and the "Beach Lounge" are nowhere near the resort - the resort isn't anywhere near a beach so be clear on this - and they are pretty average for $700 per night - the wifi was "broken" when we were there. Also, deserted.
Housekeeping showed up to do turn down service at 4:30 pm on the first day - when there was still about 3 hours of daylight left - and then doggedly did so for the next 3 days even though we repeatedly told them not till dark, please. Our private pool was on our roof - up a steep spiral staircase - and they did not go up there to tidy the pool area even once in the 4 days we stayed. So, the collected detritus of 4 days poolside accumulated.
The private pool itself was lovely, although it must be pointed out that the resort is built in blocks marching down a hill-slope, so everyone higher up can see everyone lower down. You can swim or sunbathe nude, but a keen observer up above would indeed be able to see you, if only from afar. It isn't completely private, in other words. Oddly, the garden surrounding our pool wasn't particularly well-kept - the grass needed cutting and the flower beds were overgrown with weeds. Of 4 spotlights that picked out statuary for mood lighting 2 were burned out. This is out of character with the rest of the resort, but along with the lack of housekeeping attention, suggests that they forget about these rooftop spaces. Even the wifi didn't work up there.
MY CONCLUSION after all this is that Andara would be a great place to have a family reunion, or a wedding, or any sort of convivial family or group event where you bring your own people and party. The rooms appear to be designed for you to cook yourself - there is a good Big C supermarket in town and a nice Italian deli over in Surin, so you could stock up, and in the process avoid both Kamala and Silk - both good things. The 3-6 bedroom villas would be ideal for a big group and with the large living rooms I think would be excellent. Provided you have the budget of course, and you don't really want to go to the beach or interact with the town, it's perfect. For sociable couples or people wanting exposure to Thailand, there are certainly better options.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC