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Hotel Review: The Pullman Phuket Arcadia

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Jetlag & Mayhem are seasoned visitors to the Thai isle of Phuket.  It has become our Christmas destination of choice due to the guaranteed sunny weather, exceptional food and abundance of accommodation.  We usually stay in a private villa as it works out far cheaper than a luxury hotel stay.  Plus you can’t beat the extravagance of having your own chef (trust me, in a large group it’s cheaper than dining out!)

This Christmas we had 3 nights to play with before our villa booking.  In Feb 2015 we had stayed at the JW Marriott which I highly recommend for family friendly fun.  Unfortunately this was way over budget for Christmas stay and I took to Agoda to find somewhere that would be luxurious yet affordable. I chanced upon a gem, the Pullman Phuket Arcadia, offering a ‘Family Room’ for USD 250 including breakfast.  After trawling through the outstanding Tripadvisor reviews, I went ahead and booked it.  So how did it stack up to the numerous five-star players on the island?

Location

The Pullman Arcadia is part of AccorHotels, a French hotel group.  They operate properties including the Sofitel and Novotel and Pullman is considered one of their upscale brands. The hotel is located on Naithon Beach, a mere 10 minutes from the airport.  It is perched on a headland set slightly above the beach.  Access to the sand involves a bit of a clamber down some steps but my 4yo managed it just fine.  

First Impressions

The lobby has a sleek entrance and is designed in a shabby chic contemporary style.  Staff are extremely friendly and the welcome drinks and teddy bears for the girls were a nice touch.  The resort is fairly hilly and you do have hike up and down to get from your room to the main pool. However, there’s always a car you can call for if you’re feeling lazy.

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Our room

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I was hugely impressed by the ‘Family Deluxe Room’.  There are only 5 available so book quick!  At 60sqm it is spacious and airy.  At one end you have a huge king bed and sofa.  In the middle is a large bathroom with separate bath and shower.  

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Then at the other end is a separate room with bunk beds!  

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The room has been designed perfectly for kids with a bean bag, huge teddy bear and even a playstation.  We also had a balcony with a daybed and table & chairs, which was perfect for a room service dinner.  The Family Rooms are located near to the kids club and smaller kids pool.

This is exactly the sort of room that makes you smile.  As a family of 4, I don’t want to have to pay for two connecting rooms and I’m a strong believer that more hotels should provide accommodation like this.

Facilities

The hotel has three pools.  The largest pool is outside the main building and is a huge winding infinity affair, overlooking the beautiful Naithon Beach.  

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There’s a great shallow area for splashing around.  There is a smaller pool near the kids club for those seeking something a bit quieter and then a small children’s pool (although I think the kids preferred to play in the main pool).

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The gym is well equipped and they do offer free fitness classes although when I turned up for one, there was nobody there!  There is also a spa but sadly I never made it.

As mentioned earlier, the hotel is set above Naithon Beach which is one of Phuket’s quieter sandy bays.  Access to the beach involves a steep set of stairs but perfectly manageable for most.  Along the beach you’ll find the usual food  and drink vendors.

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Dining

The buffet breakfast was included in our room rate and was excellent.  Top quality produce with a decent selection although not so vast you felt they scrimped on quality.  The breakfast is at Elements, which offers all-day dining.  We had a delicious lunch there every day and also enjoyed the Thai buffet one evening.

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AZUR is a chilled out pool bar where the attentive bar staff will whip up a smoothie according to your 4yo’s latest whim.  IMG_2020We had a few happy hour cocktails at C Bar, the lobby lounge where they often have live music. Be sure to nab one of the cool sunken seating areas to watch the sunset.

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We didn’t eat at the hotel’s other restaurant, Vero as it was closed both nights for functions. However, when you’re in Thailand, you really don’t need to feel bad you’re missing out on Italian food!

Kids Club

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If you’re expecting something along the lines of the JW Marriott you may be disappointed. The Kids Club is housed below the fitness centre and consists of a medium sized, colourful room with toys, games & play stations.  They offer a mix of complimentary and paid activities.  Whilst the staff seemed very nice, there was no registering of the kids in and out and I didn’t really feel that comfortable about leaving my kids in there unattended. Outside there is an excellent playground with sandpit, climbing wall etc.

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Overall

For me, the Pullman Phuket offered fantastic value for money, especially during Peak Season.  For the price I paid for a family room, I doubt I would even have got one basic room at somewhere like the JW Marriott.  It’s not the easiest of resorts to navigate as there’s quite a few steps up and down so be prepared for this.  If you are a beach lover, you also need to be aware that the hotel does not sit directly on the beach (although it’s not that many steps down).  If you are looking for a five star resort that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, I would highly recommend the Pullman Phuket Arcadia.

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