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Amanpuri Resort - Phuket, Thailand | Resort Review

Not the Aman Resort We Were Expecting


Amanpuri Resort Phuket, Thailand: Amanpuri, the very first resort of the Aman chain of resorts, is located about 30 minutes from the Phuket airport. The resort opened in 1988 and even today, some people say it is one of the best resorts in the world. I any other hand, robustly disagree.

I stayed at Amanusa Resort, another Aman property, in Bali about six months ago, and instantly fell in love with the resort and as the lovers of the chain say, the Aman family.

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When I decided to come to Thailand, I knew that Amanpuri was one resort that I just had to visit.

First Impression: I was picked up at the Phuket airport by the Amanpuri representative in their BMW 700 series. From the moment I got in, I could tell this was an Aman property, class and style all in one. When I pulled into the Amanpuri, I had a feeling that my expectations would not only be met, but also surpassed.

Unfortunately, within the first couple of hours, I realized that the resort had forgotten what made the Aman Resort so special, service. At Amanpuri, the service was at the level of a two or three stars hotel.

Reception: Check-in was fast and easy. We received a tour of the property and then were escorted to our room, Ocean Pavilion number 105, where we completed the paperwork. At this point, I was impressed with what I had seen.

The Pavilion: As I got settled into the Pavilion, my disappointment began. Even though the room had been renovated within the past few years, it still felt dark and in need of an update. Between the hardwood floors, and the partially wood-paneled walls, the pavilion had more an upscale cottage feel to it than a luxury resort.

The pavilion had a huge dressing area/bathroom with twin private sinks, private toilet, stand-alone shower and deep soaking tub. Overall, it had a lot of wasted space.

The view out the front of the pavilion was beautiful; however, the overgrown shrubs did block part of the view of the beach and water below. Outside was the salas, a private dining deck. This too was disappointing. We had reserved and paid extra for, the Ocean Villa, which was supposed to give us spectacular views. However, when seated at the sunken dining table, all I could see was the greenery around me, so much for an ocean view!

Room Service: The room service menu at Amanpuri was typical; it had all the basics you find at a five-star, luxury resort. My dissatisfaction came when I tried to ask about some of the dishes. The person answering the phone barely spoke English and after about five minutes of trying to have her explain what Muslim Curry was, I gave up. I would expect a resort like Amanpuri to be better prepared for its English (foreign?) guests.

Housekeeping: Because I was only there one night, I did not get a true picture of what their housekeeping was like, however, from what I saw from the turndown service, I have a feeling it would be on par with the rest of the service at Amanpuri, just average.

Activities: Between the three five-star resorts (Banyan Tree and Trisara were the other two) that I stayed at in Phuket, Amanpuri did have the nicest beach. Unfortunately, service at the beach was poor, that is when you could get service. My first experience at the beach was asking a group of three beach employees if they were still serving lunch. The response I got was a point to the far end of the beach, an 'over there' and then they went back to chatting. Five-star service? Luxury?

Over at the other end of the beach, I had situated in my chair and after a short wait, a different beach employ out over a towel and water. I asked to see the menu, and with a roll of the eyes and a huff, he was off to get it. Again, I ask, five-star service? I got the distinct impression he wished that I was not there, so I made it wish came true and headed back to the pavilion.

In addition to the beautiful but underserved beach are two pools; a 27 m freshwater (main) swimming pool and a 20 m lap pool. Both pools are gorgeous, especially the main pool, but, with a lack of service or poor service, beauty means nothing.

Restaurant: Amanpuri has four restaurants

The Terrace restaurant offers casual, all-day. The Restaurant serves Italian, Naoki, a French and Japanese fusion restaurant and The Bar offers poolside drinks and snacks, and the beach club offers a cocktail bar and lounge seating.

Unfortunately, I was not able to experience any of the restaurants. On the receptionist recommendation, we went to The Restaurant, which serves Italian. However, we arrived about three minutes after they closed for lunch, and the hostess refuse to seat us.

She recommended that we go to Terrace, the Italian and European alfresco, all-day dining restaurant. However, at 3:35 in the afternoon, the only seats were either outside in the blazing sun (no sun umbrellas), or tucked away in the darkness of the restaurant, neither appealed to us.

Overall Impression Based on my experience at Amanusa last summer, I had very high hopes for Amanpuri. Unfortunately, my visit was one of disappointment.

Little things; the telephone not being turned on in the pavilion, the wireless Internet not working, the difficulty placing a room service order, the car transfer being 20 minutes late, even though I called to remind them of my departure time twice, and the overall lack of caring and poor service may not seem like a lot individually. However, when added together, it can make for very poor experience and that is what I had at Amanpuri.

Follow the links below to see our other Aman Resort reviews:
Aman at Summer Palace – Beijing, China
Amanfayun Resort – Hangzhou, China
Amanusa Resort – Bali, Indonesia
Amanpulo Resort – Pamalican Island, Philippines

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