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Reviewed 24 February 2012

This is a fantastic hotel, beautiful quite beach overlooking Friendship bay, just a few feet from a lovely little bar to sit a enjoy some lovely food and drink and watch the sun set, we found the last bar is the best! The rooms are not what sell this hotel however they are nice and clean and large so lots of room. This really is a wonderful place if you like peace and quite.

Date of stay: February 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Kerrylynn186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanwaBeachResort_11, General Manager at Panwa Boutique Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2012

Dear Guests,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review on Tripadvisor.
We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you back to your "Little Oasis"
With warm regards,

Claude Sauter
General Manager
Panwa Beach Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2012

We have just returned from a fantastic 25 night stay at this beautiful boutique hotel whose staff went out of their way to make sure everything was perfect for us. Thank you all.

This hotel is suitable for people who want an escape from the hustle, bustle, noise and pressure of everyday life in a perfect setting with kind, friendly and attentive management and staff. Most of the staff speak numerous languages and have been educated and trained to a high standard. It annoys us to see some guests looking and talking down to the staff, it is these people who get less back from them.

The hotel is not suitable for anyone looking for night clubs, noisy bars, and trashy shops. They should look to the brash Western side of the island but should be aware that the sea is not as safe with dangerous undertows.
The hotel would also not be suitable for anyone in a wheel chair although this could change when the upgrading has taken place.

The hotel is located on northern end of a beautiful bay looking south towards the southern tip of Phuket and a number of small islands. This means that each night the sunset tries to outshine the previous nights show. The sea must be one of the safest and warmest anywhere.

The hotel is currently being upgraded and rebranded to Marco Polo Standards.
The results of this started to became evident during the 25 days we were there and can only improve an already super hotel

The wide range of rooms available means you should be able to find one to suit your pocket and taste. We had a lovely room that gave us direct access to the golden beach across a shady lawn in about 20 steps.
These would be good for anyone with walking problems who liked to spend most of the time on the beach. If however they would prefer to be by the swimming pool the rooms above would be better. The main hotel block would not be good as I do not believe there is a lift.

Able bodied people may prefer the higher floors as the views would be spectacular although we would always choose beach access.

Meals are of a very high standard with charming and helpful staff. It is nice to know that the staff get a chance to try the same food guests get so can comment helpfully if asked to recommend.

We could not speak to highly of the friendly greetings, help and advice from all the staff and management. If you take the trouble to talk to and be nice to them it is repaid a 100 fold.

The hotel is used by a very large range of people from all over the world. We have learnt a lot from talking to so many people including a Engineer from the Canadian oil fields. A Chinese importer and exporter of fish who had travelled extensively, a Russian couple who hope to be working in the forthcoming Olympics in London. And numerous other people including French, Russian, Danish, Dutch and of course British. Greetings to anyone we met who may read this.

As I said before the hotel is being upgraded and rebranded and as a stop gap a number of Chinese tourists on coach trips have been accommodated on 1 night basis to fill rooms. This may explain some of the more negative reviews submitted previously. This appears to be coming to an end as more and more people discover this lovely hotel.

3 nights a week the hotel puts on a theme night with a buffet and entertainment. We where lucky to be there for the Chinese New Year with a gala buffet dinner, lion dancers etc. Meals are to a high standard with a wide choice but we also visted the 2 local beach restaurants who offer good food at very low prices served at tables located directly on the sand. The second one even has a range of reasonable wines by the bottle at fair prices. The first only does it by the glass. Take a torch, wear flat shoes and make sure you use insect repellent.

The breakfast buffet is good for the size of hotel. The boiled eggs on display are hard boiled, if you want a normal egg ask for medium and they will cook it for you.
You can also choose fried, scrambled, poached or an omelette, all done while you wait.

It annoyed us to see a small minority of people at breakfast stealing food from the buffet and stuffing into their handbags; one even made up cheese and ham sandwiches to take out but luckily where spotted by one the staff, I hope they felt suitable ashamed.
They let themselves and their Country down and should realize that even if the staff do not see them other guests will.

The beach is glorious with soft golden sand. In common with a lot of tropical beaches the sea retreats at low tide exposing rocks and coral. The swimming pool is large and attractive and maintained to a very high standard. You can extend the swimming period if you take beach shoes. The shade is provided by mature trees and no umbrellas are needed.

From our experience the rooms are equipped, furnished and cleaned to a very high standard but we understand this is being raised to an even higher level as part of the rebranding process. We had to stop the lovely maids changing our huge duvet, sheets and towels every day which we considered unnecessary.

Having stayed on Phuket many times before we have seen most of the landmarks but still took a taxi for a morning to tour around a bit and to visit a large Tesco to stock up with Wine, Beer, Crisps etc.

We did visit the new Siam Niramit show north of Phuket town. This was superb and we would strongly recommend that to everyone. The optional buffet was very good value and offered a huge range of foods from around the world. The gift shop was well stocked and we found the prices competitive. The “Thai Village” was more of a rural open air museum with houses and agricultural implements and equipment brought from all over Thailand and put in appropriate settings such as paddy fields etc. We wished we had allowed more time to walk round before the buffet and show.
We booked through the hotel and at no extra cost.

Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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8  Thank tonykf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanwaBeachResort_11, General Manager at Panwa Boutique Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2012

Dear Tony,

This must be the nicest Tripadvisor review I have ever read :-) Thank you so very much for giving so details information about the resort but also about activities outside the hotel.
I am sure this is going to help other travelers to make their choice.
We are looking forward to welcome you back soon.

With kind regards,
Claude Sauter
General Manager
Panwa Beach Resort

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Reviewed 4 February 2012

during my recent stay at novotel phuket, i was amazed to see the hospitality and careness of each and every staff member, they pamper you like and king, otherwise also amazing propertty with an amazing location, i would just say wveryone should stay in novotel when visiting phuket

Date of stay: January 2012
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3  Thank shobhitbansal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanwaBeachResort_11, General Manager at Panwa Boutique Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2012

Dear Guests,

Thank you very much for posting a review on Tripadvisor.
We are looking forward to welcome you back to your Heaven on earth.

With kind regards,
Claude Sauter
General Manager
Panwa Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

My grown-up daughter and I just returned from the hotel on January 28th. Now we are dreaming of going back to the same place next July! From the fourth floor one can see the magnificent view of the Chalong bay, including the statue of Big Buddha in the distance. The sunset looks different every day. The rooms are clean, the bed sheets and the towels are changed every day. The breakfast is good - you can ask the cooks in the second dining hall (which also has fans unlike the first one) to cook eggs for you - sunny side up, omelette, scrambled eggs or boiled eggs. The restaurant is absolutely clean, not a single stain or insect anywhere - and for me as a doctor this was especially pleasant. The dishes and the furniture are beautiful (so are waitresses :)) ) You can have lunch here (try the delicious Thai curries) or go to another hotel restaurant Cloud 19 (when you get to the beach turn left and walk until you see the sign, apprx after half a kilometer - beautiful sea view, large portions and good cocktails). On the way you will also see two extremely popular beach cafes that serve cheap food and beer. We were never brave enough to venture there because they look pretty run-down and not particularly sanitary (everyone else seemed to dine there every day without problems and the guides say that the best Thai food is found in such places, but we are fanatics of cleanliness and were very happy with the food at the two "touristy" restaurants mentioned above).
For my birthday, the staff brought a delicious fruit platter to our room, which was very pleasant! Also, because when we arrived our room was not yet made up, we were offered a complimentary lunch at the restaurant.
The staff is extremely helpful and polite, and the managers are always around and available.
Speaking of entertainment, three nights of the week are thematic - there is a Thai, a BBQ and a seafood night, during which you can enjoy a special buffet (plus, during a Thai night, there is a show with music and Thai dancing). We were also lucky to be in the hotel during the celebration of the Chinese New year that featured a Chinese buffet and a show, plus a cocktail with delicious snacks and drinks. The manager even cared to approach every visitor and ask how things were.
A tip for the travelers: google "phuket tide timetable" before going, because when the water recedes for several hours each day (at a different time) it is impossible to swim. There is a little timetable hanging next to the pool, but it is better to have your own beforehand and plan accordingly. During the highest tides, the water reaches the beach beds, during the low tides it recedes and you can see the rocks for many meters ahead. It is an interesting sight, by the way. You can walk along the beach at this time or relax in the hotel pool or jakuzzi (a little hut next to the pool). Check out the list of transfer opportunities at the taxi/minibus stand next to the entrance. It is strange to read the reviews that call the taxi service "expensive" - the price is the same as everywhere else on Phuket. Plus you are going to one of the best islands in South-East Asia, what exactly are you expecting? I can also see that tourists coming from the most well-off countries with high prices (such as Australia or the US) are the first to complain about "expensive taxi service". Funny!
There is no free wifi in the room, but you can go down to the main lobby, the restaurant or bar and browse the net there. I only did that once during the whole vacation - who needs Internet in paradise anyway? This hotel is a perfect location for treatment of Internet addiction.
What would need some improvement: the quality of tea and coffee during the breakfast (it would be good if the tea the way it is served now would be replaced with distribution of a variety of tea bags). The beds could be a bit softer, and it would be nice if instead of two large pillows there were a large and a small one, or a bolster. The tide timetable should be for a month (maybe in the hotel lobby?), not just for one day (I know some people unfamiliar with the phenomenon of tides get scared and write reviews such as "this hotel is impossible to live in because that beach is not fit for swimming"). We would also appreciate it if there were a later minibus return time from Phuket town and Central Festival - e.g. at 7 pm or 9 pm. (the current time is 5 pm - not so comfie). Add some more beach beds during the high season, too :)
If you are looking for partying, red light districts, night life etc, stay away from this hotel. This one is meant for escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city - and for us who come from Saint-Petersburg, a 6-million people city, this was perfect.
All in all, as I have said, we are looking forward to returning to this little paradize.

Room tip: If you do not want to go up the stairs, pick the Beach view rooms (standing right there near the beach). For the ocean view rooms, you will have to climb about 70 stairs, but I assure you that if you are in good health the view is absolutely worth it (and a little work out has never hurt anyone)
Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank MariaP13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanwaBeachResort_11, General Manager at Panwa Boutique Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 February 2012

Dear Maria,

Greetings from Phuket! and we hope the weather is not too cold in St-Petesburg (beautiful city), otherwise just take the first flight available to Phuket, we send you the limo :-)
Thank you so much for sharing with the rest of the world your wonderful experience at the resort, and here are the good news for you. We are currently upgrading the quality of tea served for breakfast. Starting March, we will put the tide timetable in every guest room. By May 2012, we are starting renovating the rooms by upgrading the bathroom, install flat screen TV, improve the lighting in the bedroom and bathroom and we are changing all the mattresses.
So now give me a reason not to come back :-)
We hope to see you in July and please do contact us for some special offer.
Again, thank you for sharing and stay warm! :-)
Kind regards,
Claude Sauter
General Manager

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Reviewed 27 January 2012

Booked this hotel online for a 2 night stat before we moved on to Kata Noi beach. The staff were extremely unhelpful and bordering on rude. Room was ok, but for an ocean view room we had to climb over 70 stairs (definately not suitable for young families or elderly). On the second night, we had a scare when the conjoining door (to the next room, which should have been locked) opened & someone stuck their head in!!! Not happy... Fortunately it happened when we were there and nothing was stolen. Breakfast is nothing special. 'Beach' is more of a bay. Oh... And don't bother asking the staff to book you a taxi, they have a contract and pocket a %. The hotel is no longer Novotel, so they really need to get rid of all the branding. Would not recommend... Too far from Everything!!!!

Date of stay: December 2011
    • Value
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6  Thank Chickamac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PanwaBeachResort_11, General Manager at Panwa Boutique Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 February 2012

Dear Guests,

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor.
I am sincerely sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the location of the resort and the service. Please feel free to email me (claude.sauter@marcopolohotels.com) with more details about the unhelful service you received. This would greatly help us to identify the areas were improvement is needed.
Thank you for making us aware of the problem with the lock on the connecting door, our maintenance staff already fixed that and we have checked all connecting rooms to ensure the locks are working properly.
You are absolutely right to mention that we are in a bay and because of this we are protected from the monsoon winds and swimming is safe and enjoyable year round.
The hotel is no longer managed by Novotel and we are part of the Marco Polo Hotels group.

Thank you for your feedback and who knows, maybe you will give us a second chance in which case we would be delighted to welcome you back.

With kind regards,
Claude Sauter
General Manager

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