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“3 Star or 4 Star?”

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Centara Karon Resort Phuket
Ranked #19 of 136 Hotels in Karon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 June 2009

If you've booked a holiday to the Centara Karon Resort Hotel and are now looking at Trip Advisor, you're probably wondering why it shows it as a 3 star Hotel, but the Hotel website claims it to be a 4 Star Hotel. Well. having just spent 12 days at this hotel, rest assured, you won't be disappointed.

The Hotel is an oasis of landscaped gardens set back from the main road through Karon Town. The grounds are beautifully maintained and are home to frogs, lizards and birds - nothing to be scared of though as I'm sure they are all harmless. The town of Karon is typically Thai, with a plethora of bars, restaurants, massage parlours and tailors all vying for your custom. The hotel is way more upmarket than the surrounding town, but that's just Thailand for you.

I was holidaying with my wife and two grown-up off-spring, and had booked 2 Tropicale rooms through Gold Medal Travel. I booked the airport transfers via the hotel as this saved a bit of cash too. The transfer was smooth, and check-in was friendly, welcoming and went without a hitch. We were taken to our rooms in the "golf" buggy, given tons of useful information, and left to our own devices. We had two adjoining rooms which were spacious and comfortable, and despite so many other reviews mentioning hard beds, we found them absolutely fine. Our room had an enormous king-size bed, and my off-spring had a large double each in their room.

As other correspondents have reported, there are 3 main pool areas in the hotel. We stuck to the Tropix pool which was quieter - it had fewer kiddie attractions and therefore attracted more adults and couples. The pool is lovely, but the sun loungers desperately need replaced as most if not all can surprise you by giving way when you sit on them. (My off-spring accused me of breaking them all, but honestly, they were like that before I sat on them!). There's also a shortage of staff to wander round the pool taking refreshment orders - this could simply be due to our visit being in low season, but is was a pain to have to walk or swim up to the bar to order a drink.

Most lunchtimes we ate in the Azure Restaurant by the Lagoon Pool. The lunches were the best meals we ate on holiday - a great choice of light, tasty and beautifully presented meals.

As my son has a serious nut allergy, we were wary of eating at restaurants where the menu's weren't clear or the staff struggled with English. We did try "The Two Chefs" but were seriously unimpressed. The "Bamboo Kitchen" was far better and is worth a try.

Back at the hotel, the main Lotus Restaurant serves up a fine breakfast and the dinner menu is extensive, with some great meals, but also some mediocre ones. Ordering drinks was a bit of a hit and miss affair - our G&T's one night were as flat as pancakes, and on another occasion, the wine arrived after we had finished eating.

Another reviewer mentioned the fact that Happy Hours are staggered across various bars at the hotel. In effect, you can enjoy happy hour between 4pm and 11pm, with an hours gap between 9 and 10 to grab something to eat - a great way to work your way through the entire cocktail menu!

At the end of each night we enjoyed a drink in the Mix Bar - cool and tranquil, with no pesky mosquitoes nibbling at your ankles. The staff in the Mix were truly brilliant and made us feel very welcome.

Our visit also coincided with the Hotels Baht Bonanza promotion. By lodging a sum on your room account, say 20,000 Baht, your account was credited with an additional 12,000 Baht. I guess this is a low season promotion and might not be applicable to everyone. Between the Happy Hour ruse and the Baht Bonanza, we had a tremendous holiday that was great value for money.

And is it 3 or 4 star? I would say that the facilities are 4 star, and the service varies between 3 and 4 star. Highly recommended and if life wasn't so short, I would go back to this hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank SnoopD4ve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 June 2009

Stayed at the Centara Karon Resort from June 6th to June 21st 2009, all I can say is I read the reviews here on trip advisor before we booked and took a lot of what people said as good advice and a big thank you to you all, as your reviews were spot on.

The Hotel & resort are absolutely bang on for the money, this was our first trip to Thailand and booked the Centara resort as a B&B package, we opted for the CABANA, YES the CABANA, its a must if you stay here as the cost quite simply for traveling that far is minimal. The CABANA it self was modern, spacious and the plunge pool you get in your garden is a blessing having spent hours on the beach.

They do have a habit of upgrading you as you arrive and then moving you back to your original booked accomodation, myself and my wife had a nice suprise with three days in the penthouse cabana before we moved to our one bed cabana.

With a cabana booking you get free complimentary cocktails every night worth £4 each based on the hotel price, they also do some great special offers limited to cabana guests, fruit bowl on arrival, discounted meals, spa treatments, they will even send a chef round to do a BBQ for you, how cool!!!

The rest of the hotel is as other reviews stated nice pools, lovely manicured gardens, pool bars and a few different restaurants. I agree with other reviews its not a 4 star resort, more like a 3.5 really, they were doing a few upgrades around the place when we were there, no inconvenience caused either? The staff are really friendly as all people in Thai resorts and will try to do anything for you.

We ate at the hotel a couple of times, it is more expensive than in Karon centre, but you would expect that anywhere, the quality of the food is quite high, breakfast is a buffet affair with everything from Asian to European tastes, the fried eggs are fab and they also have a guy making fresh pancakes. It does get quite busy between 8.30am to 9.30am, although breakfast does run from 6.30am to 11am, or just have it in your room. The Thai evening (Thursday night) is a must, and a Steak on the Terrace restaurant (Tuesday night) was the best steak I've ever had.

You can also go round the hotel bars from 6pm to 10pm, picking up all the different happy hours, from the pool to the Mix bar to the lobby, if you time it right you save a fortune?

We stayed in June which is supposed to be the Monsoon season or low season, let me just say we had one day when it p***ed it down all day, the other 13 days were glorious with a fantastic light breeze, although humidity and heat were still +87 during the day and +80 at night.

Karon itself is typical Phuket, you'll be asked if you want a suit, massage or a Tuk-tuk about 1000 times before you leave, best thing to do is have a little banter with the locals, they'll soon get to know you and back off, the beach at Karon is a 5 minute walk from the hotel, its a fab beach, great for a tan. However please be aware that the tidal current can be dangerous during the low season so take the advice of any locals or local notices.

We hooked up with a sunbed guy directly opposite the traffic island as you cross the main road to the beach, his beds are marked ARM or XXAXX. This guy did everything for us during our stay, he got us beers food, gave advice on sea conditions, took photo's of us and moved our beds when needed. All this for 200 BHT for the Sunbeds and umbrella's 90 BHT a beer and 80 BHT for various lunchtime food offerings, Thai Chicken with rice or Phad Thai were my favourites.

Karon at night is a mix of bars, seafood/Thai & European restaurants, massage parlors & shops, our favourite restaurants were RED ONION and THE BAMBOO, both situated about 2 min walk from the hotel, go left and left again by the pancake street seller (you must try those too at 30 BHT) the food is cheap and of fantastic quality at both, and I never spent over 800 BHT at both for myself and my wife, that included drinks?

There are a few good trips to take, white water rafting and elephant trekking are a must, Phi Phi island where the film The Beach was shot and Phananga bay where they filmed James Bond - Goldfinger its best if you barter with one tour company like SIM'S or SIMBA as they will do a buy 2 get third trip free deal.

Would I go again, absolutely loved every minute of it..........:-)

Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
1  Thank 4550Deve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2009

We (family of three) stayed four nights in Centara Karon Beach Resort Phuket during the second week of June and I must say the experience was really good. The resort -located in Karon part of Phuket is five mins walk to the beach- and is quite sprawling with lots of trees and greenery - in the quite end of the street lined with restaurants, a supermarket, a couple of massage place, tailors, etc.

We reached around mid day from Bangkok after an overnight flight and the lady at the reception ushered us to the lounge sofa, gave us cold towels and drinks to freshen up and completed the check in process efficiently. We were also given a complementary 20 min jet lag massage voucher at the Cenvaree Spa – part of the resort facilities.

We had reserved the Pool view Lagoon villa and it was quite spacious. Our daughter liked the room especially because the rear door opened straight to the pool and she had good time in the pool throughout our stay though she felt the pool wasn’t deep enough for a teenager. There are two other pools in the resort – one at the Tropical Wing and other at the Tower wing. The pool at the Tropical is bit bigger and deeper.

Unfortunately the room doesn't have an internet connection. I was told that only the Tropicale rooms have this facility. I honestly think that thses days internet is a must for every one - budget or luxury travellers.

The first night we had our dinner at the Terrace Grill restaurant of the resort, which offers seafood specialities. I really liked the grilled Lobster - tasty and good value for money.

The buffet breakfast next morning at the Lotus Restaurant was quite a spread that would satisfy people of every region- Asians, Japanese, Europeans and, of course Thais as well. We ordered some Indian food that night from the restaurant menu but unfortunately it wasn’t upto the mark.

We didn’t book any tours at the hotel travel desk as know they were expensive and in any case they will book us to another tour operator. So we went down the road to a tour operator just opposite the resort and the girl at the counter was quite pleasant and gave us details of several tour options.

Overall our experience was very good. Staff are friendly and polite. The only minus side is that if you want a room with beach view or facing the beach – this is not for you.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank karan3842Bahrain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
local77, General Manager at Centara Karon Resort Phuket, responded to this reviewResponded 23 June 2009

Dear Karan3842Bahrain

thank you very mcuh for your review for your review of Centara Karon beach Resort that you posted accidently under Park Plaza Sukhumvit.

You may want to ask tripadvisor to remove it here and post in under Centara Karon.

We wish you many more nice trips to Thailand.

Marco Seiler
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2009

I stayed at the Centara Karon with my husband on our honeymoon in April. We arrived at the Centara Karon only to be told straight up that we needed THB7000 ($250 AUD) security deposit ... we had been rushed at the airport. did not have a credit card and hadn't yet had time to exchange any money. Prior to leaving Brisbane the exchange places at the airport had run out of THB! We were happy to pay the deposit but it would have been nice to know that we needed this prior to our arrival.

I should add that they were very lenient with letting us not pay the deposit straight up which was nice.

They then told us that our room wasn't ready yet and that we should come back in 2 hours... they told us we were free to use the pool at the resort, however they did not allow us to access our checked luggage (which contained our togs and towels). So we went for a walk... BRILLIANT LOCATION!!! Awesome beach just down the road.

We then came back 2h later to be told that the room would be another hour for the "special honeymoon decoration". We then asked if we could access our checked luggage- they said we could but it had to remain in the main foyer (public area) unlocked. At this point I was getting really tired so I had a sleep on the chairs in the foyer (had been awake now for over 24h and just wanted to get into A room for a sleep).

Another hour went by and my husband asked if our room was ready. They said it would be ANOTHER half an hour (we have now waited 3h for our room). He then asked if we could have a different room, or to go to another room to change and shower, the staff said no. (it wasn't peak season either). Hubby asked what the hold up was and the reply again came that they needed to set up the "special honeymoon decoration". Hubby asked them politely to forget the honeymoon decorations and if our room is clean please take us there.

Another half hour went by, I was over tired at this stage and starting to get upset. A staff member came over and stated that the rooom was STILL not ready. We said it wasn't good enough, we don't want the decorations and would like to go to our room. So we were led to a room and made to sit outside on the footpath while they did the decorations anyway. When we went into the room all it was was a few flowers on the bed. Bitterly disappointed that it had taken nearly 4h just to do this.

The bathroom was dirty, splash marks on the mirror, the toilet seat was dirty and the shower recess looked so feral that I wore thongs while showering. There was the previous tenant's hair and hair ties everywhere.

apart from the first day the rest of our stay was wonderful. The staff were very firendly and helpful for the rest of the trip. The location is great- out of the hustle and bustle of patong but still beautiful. We hired a moped for THB200 ($8) per day and drove wherever we wanted. The breakfast is SOOOOO yummy!!! HUGE variety to choose from. And the grounds are well maintained.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank emergency_holiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2009

We spent two weeks in the Centara Karon Beach in early June, the resort is medium sized with three swimming pools set in well kept gardens, the location is very good, set in a quiet cul de sac about five minutes walk from the beach.

We had a Lagoon de luxe room, luckily on the ground floor as we could walk out of our room across the lawn and straight into the pool, the room was fine , spotlessly clean, serviced daily and complimentary drinking water provided daily ( do not dispose of the empty bottles).

There are numerous bars and restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel, most of which are a lot less expensive than the hotel, two worth a mention are the Red Onion, excellent food reasonable prices , very popular with tourists and the Nok Noi, excellent spit roasted chicken, look for the pink doll cranking the spit.

The Thursday night buffet and Thai dancing show in the hotel is excellent.

Local buses run every 30 minutes to Phuket Town and Kata Beach, fare 30 baht ( £0.55) each way per person. Taxis / Tuk Tuks in Karon / Patong are a rip off 300 baht each way to Patong Beach. about 10 mintes away , very expensive by Thai standards( Tuk Tuks in Phuket town charge about 50 baht per hour ).

The beach looks lovely but is extremely dangerous, three tourists drowned in our first week at the resort, there are permanent looking no swimming signs along the beach,but they are not very conspicuous, the red flags on the beach did not appear until after the drownings. If you are into sea swimming Karon is NOT the place for you.

The hard beds complained of in some reviews are better described as firm, if too firm for you the hotel will provide mattress toppers. The tap water does have a rusty brown tinge, but your not drinking it so why worry. The beakfast is very good with a wide selection of both Thai and western options, at busy times there may be a short wait for a table.

Overall this hotel represents excellent value for money.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Centara Karon Resort Phuket

Address: 502/3 Patak Road | Karon Beach, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand (Formerly Central Karon Beach Resort)
Region: Thailand > Phuket > Karon
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Karon
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Karon
#10 Spa Hotel in Karon
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Karon
#12 Family Hotel in Karon
#17 Luxury Hotel in Karon
#18 Romantic Hotel in Karon
Price Range: €41 - €228 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Centara Karon Resort Phuket 4*
Number of rooms: 335
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At the heart of Karon Town, with an abundance of eateries and entertainment options at its doorstep and Karon Beach a short stroll away, the resort is perfectly located to experience the many facets of Phuket. As a destination in its own right, Centara Karon Resort Phuket fulfils every holiday aspiration, from pure bliss at Spa Cenvaree to active holidays and family fun with activities galore, yoga sessions, three swimming pools, waterslides and a kids’ club. This four-star resort, laid out within beautiful gardens backed by green hills, is comprised of four very distinctive residential zones. Couples and small families will find the rooms and Honeymoon Suites at the Terraces a comfortable retreat, and enjoy the option of ocean view or a private outdoor Jacuzzi; while families and groups of friends are spoilt for choice with spacious guestrooms set moments away from the waterslide and games of the Lagoon pool. The generously-sized one- and two-bedroom Cabanas feature a private terrace with a plunge Jacuzzi. As a fun place for families, the resort has a kids’ club with daily activities and three expansive swimming pool areas complete with three children’s pools for the younger ones to splash in, two waterslides and pool games. Pool parties are held regularly, and other activities include tennis and football. The resort also has two restaurants, a sports bar, and three swim-up pool bars A scheduled shuttle service takes guests from the resort to Patong, and Phuket International Airport is reached in less than one hour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Karon Resort Phuket Hotel Karon
Centara Karon Hotel Phuket
Centara Hotel Karon

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