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Reviewed 6 January 2013

We highly recommend this hotel to people who want a quiet and relaxing holiday in Phuket.

Rooms: The room is very spacious. Excellent facilities. New and modern. The jacucci in balcony is good. Nice bed and we had a good sleep. Big sofa which is excellent for you to lay and watch TV or DVD. Bathroom is clean and spacious too.

Service: Very good service. Originally we were allocated a room right above the cafe where breakfast is served. However, on the next morning, there's a lot of bird in our balcony and we felt that the waste left by the birds were very unhygienic. We requested change in room and they arranged another room for us swiftly. High appreciated!

Location: There's shuttle bus between the hotel and nearby area. Very convenient.

Breakfast: Good quality of food and a nice variety for you to choose from.

Private beach: There's tram from the hotel to the private beach. Clean and quiet.

The free island trip: Not bad if you do not want to pay for a trip to other islands.

Swimming pool: It's a bit small though.
Tips: 1. Buy more snacks and drinks with you before you check in. We got snacks and drinks from Big C before checking in.
2. Bring DVDs with you so you can enjoy doing nothing and watching DVD apart from sun bathing!

Room Tip: Avoid rooms right above the cafe where breakfast is served. The roof of the cafe attracts a lot of birds which will stay at the balcony of your room. More importantly, they left waste there in the balcony and jacucci.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Eva L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kasemkij_Group, General Manager at Cape Panwa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2013

The Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket, thanks you for your positive endorsement: “We highly recommend this hotel to people who want a quiet and relaxing holiday In Phuket.” Your list of pros and cons should be appreciated by other readers thinking of a quiet and relaxing stay in Phuket.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2013

We stayed over Christmas 2012.
This is one of Phuket's oldest resort hotels, a rambling, white-painted colony of over a dozen buildings of various ages and configurations. We stayed at one of the newest suite blocks near the Spa. There was no ongoing construction activity at the hotel.

Pros:
The Junior Suite room was beautifully designed, comfortable and spacious, exactly like their promo photos. The private beach and beachside pool is definitely a plus - clean and just the right size. The view at sunrise is marvelous. Some of the older architecture here is very charming and picturesque - the Cape House restaurant on the beach, the pier, the Lighthouse pub, and the hotel yacht.
Security is good. I left my iPad in my room and only realized three days later after leaving. The hotel retrieved it and sent it to me.

Cons:
For some reason, the place is overrun with British tourists. To be fair, they were very well behaved.
Staff manners and attitude everywhere around the hotel was poor. Except for the gregarious Thai-British? woman at concierge, not once during my stay did I get a smiling "thank you" or even a "good morning". Gardeners, housekeeping, and even waiters just walked by without a word. Is it because I'm Asian? Everything was efficient and orderly, but the impression was that staff were just doing their jobs and it wasn't a pleasure to serve you.
Also, the hotel also needs to cover up its back of house. Guests don't need to see the staff entrance, workshop sheds, etc. because they detract from the experience.
The hotel brochure and website photos showing the location are a bit old. There are two neighboring hotels - Radisson Blu on the north, and Sri Panwa villas on the hillside opposite from the hotel's beach - which are not depicted.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank aritokyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kasemkij_Group, General Manager at Cape Panwa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 January 2013

Thank you for your review of the pros and cons of your stay with us over Christmas 2012, at the Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket. Your endorsement of it as a “Charming, classic hotel,” is appreciated. The shortcomings you have mentioned have been discussed and actions taken by the relevant departments. We look forward to your next stay with us.

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Reviewed 5 January 2013

We’d had a long night of travel from Bangkok via train and bus, and so when we pulled into the hotel, we were exhausted and ready for our holiday to begin. The first impression was welcoming. The reception area is open, clean and bright, and the employees are cheerful. We are a family of four, with two children under 12 years of age, and so we’d only booked for the two adults, knowing that our kids could sleep on the sofa and with us on the king size. The hotel was very accommodating to this, just charging us 200 baht per child per day for breakfast and not for staying in the room, which was very generous considering the quality and choice of the breakfast!

We were given our room key, and went to the room, which was on the top floor of building C. When we opened the door, we were greeted with exactly the view I had been hoping for – enormous windows looking out over the waters around the cape. We live in the middle of China, far away from any water, and so my first priority had been that we be able to sit out on the balcony and see the sea. Cape Panwa boasts that all the rooms are sea view, and we so had sent a special request to that effect. There also was a Jacuzzi on the balcony, which was a nice touch. The room was lovely, with a nice combination of wood and white, clean and bright, with a large flat screen television with USB and HDML ports so we could watch movies at night from my laptop.

Of course, the kids immediately wanted to swim, so we threw on our bathing suits and ran to the pool. The pool area was fantastic! The pool is big enough for kids and adults to both enjoy swimming at the same time. The restaurant is located beside the pool, so you can eat in your wet bathing suits. Also, there are multiple sun chairs around the pool, but we quickly realized that we needed to claim ours early as they fill up in the heat of the day. The wireless signal is good at the pool, too, if you are so inclined to be plugged in at the pool.

To get to the private beach, you either walk a tree-covered pathway down the hill or ride a little tram. At the beach, there are a plethora of sun chairs, so you don’t have to rush to get there. There is a beach café run by the hotel, and while we never ate there, it looked fine. There is also a nice little swimming pool at the beach where you can lounge and watch the sea. We enjoyed walking out on the private pier, watching the crabs on the rocks, and taking family pictures.

We spent the day playing at the pool, and as the day wore on, we decided to find some food. The hotel is located in a very hilly area, so to walk to the little market area, it’s a bit steep. So, they run a free shuttle every fifteen minutes or so. The shuttle runs past a dozen or so reasonably priced massage places, and down to the water.

We chose to eat at Sawasdee, which we ended up patronizing several times over the course of our weeklong stay. It was also fun to shop at the little stalls set up along the waterfront. The prices were decent, although you could probably do better in town. We did try to eat at the Hilltop Restaurant one night to shake things up, but we weren’t impressed. The food was extremely salty, to the point where it was not pleasant to eat.

The days blurred together as we enjoyed staying at Cape Panwa. We had friends staying over in Karon beach, and so went to visit them one day, and while their hotel was impressive, we realized that we were happy to be away from the madness and bustle of the western side of the island. Cape Panwa seemed like a refuge from all of that, and wanting to be in a more secluded area, it fit the bill for us.

The staff was always helpful and friendly, although the breakfast staff seemed to be a bit overworked on the busier days. Also, since we were there over Christmas, we requested a palm or plant of some sort be brought to our room so we could wrap it in lights for Christmas morning. Thoughtfully, they brought us two tiny little pre-decorated Christmas trees, which we wrapped and it made for a cheerful Christmas morning.

Taking the advice of Tim, the incredibly helpful and friendly Brit who worked in reception area, we decided to book the hotel’s Coral Beach daytrip for Christmas day. This was, quite simply, the best thing we could have done. The hotel has a boat, which they used to shuttle about thirty of us the thirty minutes to Coral Island, and then they provided us with snorkel gear so we could paddle around. There was also an option to pay extra to do some scuba diving, which we didn’t do. The island isn’t nearly as crazy as Phi Phi, although it did get fairly busy by day’s end, and there are several small cafes and shops on the island to service the tourists. On the way back to the hotel, the boat circled around the island and stopped off for forty-five minutes to give everyone a chance to snorkel just off the island where there were tons of beautiful fish.

We were sad when the day came to pack up and move on from Cape Panwa, and unfortunately our final memory wasn’t so positive. Two days before we left, I’d asked one of the reception staff members about buying bus/ferry tickets to Koh Samui (our next destination). She very kindly offered to go to the bus station for us to get our tickets, which I thought was above and beyond the call of duty. The next day, however, she said that she’d gone to the bus station and they told her to tell us to just come the day we were leaving and buy tickets ourselves, that they couldn’t sell tickets early. I was still grateful that she’d taken the time and trouble to go, but she assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem if we went the next morning.

The next morning, we left the hotel early to get to the bus station in time, but when we got there we found there was only one Phuket/Koh Samui bus that day, and it was fully sold out. We asked some people who were taking that bus, and they said they’d come the day before and bought tickets, no problem. We ended up on an eight hour bus ride from hell to Sumat Thani because we didn’t get the bus that went straight to Samui. In retrospect, I wish I had just taken the time to go to the bus station myself!

We do have a few suggestions that the Cape Panwa administration should consider to make their fantastic hotel even better:

First, the hotel is not cheap, and yet they only have free wifi in the public areas. I was looking forward to having my morning cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking the sea, reading the news and Skyping with family. Instead, I had to take my laptop with me down to breakfast. Loosen those purse strings, Cape Panwa, and provide free internet campus-wide!

Second, for some reason, there is a charge to use the sauna. This was a big surprise to us, as saunas are typically free in hotels. They should – at least – provide guests with a couple of free sauna visits if they stay for extended periods. To the hotel’s benefit, when we mentioned this concern to Phillip, the manager, he offered to give us a complementary visit to the sauna, and we appreciated the gesture.

Third, taxi prices in Phuket are outrageous, and the taxis are not metered. This is obviously not something that the hotel can do anything about, but it’s good for visitors to be aware of this fact before visiting.

Fourth, it would have been nice to have some sort of "kid's club" so the kids can meet other children. The game room was a nice idea, but at the end was pretty unimpressive. It should be air conditioned, and the games should all be free. Nickel and diming to play billiards or air hockey is crazy when the rooms are so expensive!

We had to think hard to think of cons for Cape Panwa, as we had a fully delightful time, and an amazing Christmas. The staff was always smiling and helpful, the location is amazing, the design of the hotel bright and cheerful. We especially appreciated Tim’s friendliness and help, and enjoyed the time spent talking with him about his perspective as an expat in Thailand.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Nate F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kasemkij_Group, General Manager at Cape Panwa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2013

The Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket, is delighted you found us to be a “. . . slice of paradise” and thank you for your descriptive review of paradise which will be helpful to other readers planning a trip to Phuket. We look forward to your next stay with us.

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Reviewed 4 January 2013

My husband and I stayed here for our Honeymoon in Sept 2012 and it certainly was a holiday we will never forget. On arrival the receptionist was extreamly helpful, showed us to our room and settled us in. The room was stunning with with most beautiful view of the beach. We stayed in one of the larger suites with jacuzzi on the balcony.

My husband and I own a pub/Restaurant in Kent so we are real "Foodies". We ate out 4-5 times in the 2 week period we were there but we have to say the hotel was actually our favourite place to eat. The menu was varied, and the quality was better than any of the local establishments. Service fantastic, couldnt do enough for us.

The beach was beautiful, the only thing that slightly put me off were a few bites in the water, which I think may have been jellyfish. This only happened twice.

Considering we visited during rainy season we had 5 days of sunshine and blue skys, even when it did rain it didnt really bother us as it was warm rain and soon cleared up.

All in all we had a superb stay and it made out first trip to Thailand even more special. We will def be returning. Thank you so much to all the staff for making our stay so special.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Thewheelwrightsarms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kasemkij_Group, General Manager at Cape Panwa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2013

The Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket is pleased to learn that you had a “Perfect Honeymoon” during your stay with us in September 2012, and that “it certainly was a holiday we will never forget.” Your thanking “all the staff for making (your) stay so special” is appreciated. Thank you for your positive review and we look forward to your soonest return.

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Reviewed 3 January 2013

I chose this hotel on the strength of the the travel agent recommendation and the majority of very positive reviews on here. Whilst not a bad hotel, I cannot agree with all of the 5 star ratings, or indeed the 4.5 star rating the agent gives it in the brochure.

This is by no means a bad hotel, however if you have travelled widely in Thailand or SE Asia prepare to be underwhelmed when compared to other 4/5 star hotels.

The location is quiet and on a peninsula so it overlooks a tranquil bay, although the view is oil tanker and freight ships rather than fishing boats (not hotel's fault obviously). Initial impressions on arrival were depressing - walk through a car park direct into the reception which looks directly onto the main pool area, private it is not! The whole place feels like a 1970s hotel that has been expanded but not restyled or updated, it has none of the sense of style, space or chic thoughtful design I have come to expect from good Thai hotels.

We had to wait for an hour for our room to be prepared, in the "by invitation only" guest lounge, a shabby, poorly furnished area with some unappetising snacks and a view of the gym. The first junior suite room we were shown was in a new block up by the spa. This looked out onto a neighbouring hotel with construction work, so we asked to be moved. The next option was higher up on the same block - to be fair the room was very nice but they were still completing construction literally at the end of end of the same corridor and our booked "ocean view" was now inland. Neither was equipped with a 2nd bed despite booking as a couple with child!

Eventually we were given a cape suite in block F, room was very spacious and comfortable with a nice bathroom and a balcony, so a plus point there. The balcony has a jacuzzi, a huge plastic thing that was peeling - we used it once just to try it but filling it felt pretty environmentally wasteful. A newer hotel would have a plunge pool instead. Our balcony looked directly down on to a couple of "private pool villas" - very glad we didn't pay a huge premium for those as there is nothing private about them!

Food - the buffet breakfast is very good,although the restaurant itself is nothing to look at, service is friendly but pretty clueless, with staff having no idea what quality hotel service is, wrong cutlery, in attentive, not much menu knowledge,wine list a bit of a minefield - we managed to find one ok white and stuck with it but ask for a taste before ordering a bottle.

The beach area is very pleasant although heavily wooded, so the only place for a decent sunbathe is on the beach - don't expect any if the staff to help you drag over the heavy wooden sunbeds though. I like to swim in the ocean but could only do so one day because of the tide, other days the water was too shallow and rocky.

The small pool at the end of the beach was nice and quiet though, the main pool area was tired and very overlooked by the lobby and restaurant, with poor beds and naff sunshades, pool was a good size and clean though.

On the plus side the spa was good and not too overpriced and otters bar was nice for a drink, and the evening BBQ was good value.

Perhaps we have just been lucky in the past but Cape Panwa was disappointing, easily the worst of the 10 or so similarly priced Thai 4/5 star hotels we have stayed in - just one example the Evason Hua Hin. This was our first stay in Phuket so we thought it might be an area thing, until we had dinner in the (admittedly much pricier) Sri Panwa - proper style and luxury.

Overall if you expect 3 star service and facilities, with a 4.5 star spa and room (if you are lucky to get a good one) you won't be as disappointed as us.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms in wings by the spa, not sure about S L J wings. F and D wing were much better, the junior suite was nice, don't pay extra for the naff jacuzzi of the panwa suites though rooms are much bigger with a sitting area. I really would not pay a big premium for the unprivate private pool villas.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank cityboy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kasemkij_Group, General Manager at Cape Panwa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2013

Thank you for your feedback of your recent stay with us at the Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket.
We were pleased to hear your positive feedback regarding the suites and the Cape Spa but we were sorry to hear that we did not meet all of your expectations during your stay. We have shared your feedback with the relevant departments in order to improve our service standards and facilities. Regarding some of your comments, we will be updating the lobby area and also the pool furniture soon as part of our ongoing maintenance programme. The guest lounge service is offered free of charge to guests who are checking out late due to a late flight, and we also offer the lounge to guests when an early check-in is not available due to high occupancy.
We thank you again for your feedback and hope to welcome you back again.

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