REVIEW: Intercontinental hotel Phuket, Thailand – a good value points redemption?

REVIEW: Intercontinental hotel Phuket, Thailand – a good value points redemption?

I stayed in Thailand in January/February and prices were extremely high with average chain 5* hotels being around £350-600 a night. This seemed very high for Thailand so I decided to look for a points redemption. The IC Phuket was available for part pay with points on my balance which took the hotel down to £50 a night versus £600+ per night. So is it worth the cash price and was it a good use of my points?

Location

Having never been to Phuket before, I wasn’t aware of how big the area is, so I’d advise checking how long the transfer from the airport will be. The IC is around 45 minutes to 1 hour from the airport. It is situated in Kamala Bay, a small area with a few hotels, shops and restaurants but nothing like the bustling Phuket Town. 

I used Phuket Shuttle for my transfer. They are not what you would call luxury but they had clean 4×4 cars and were on time and very reasonable. 

 

 

Check-in

Reception

On arrival my luggage was taken and I was shown to one of the desks to sit down. The reception has a wow factor with the view of the Thai pavilion, although the silver chairs were a bit blingy for my taste!

The whole check in took a long time for some reason to do with the computers, although I was given a welcome drink and cold towel to refresh.

View of resort from reception/Devas’ Lounge

As my room wasn’t ready I was offered a drink in their lovely cafe/tearoom, Devas’ Lounge. I had the most wonderful lychee-flavored green tea. They sell a range of teas there for you to take away, but sadly not this one.

 

The room

Once the room was ready I was escorted to my room with my luggage. The hotel is spread out over a number of buildings and there is a buggy that will drive you around since half the hotel is over the busy main road. There is an underpass, but it is a bit of a walk from the furthest rooms. 

I was on the non-beach side. If I stayed again, I would opt for the beachside since the main pool and most of the restaurants are there. 

I was in a pool view room, with no upgrade given despite having status, although I was at least on the top floor. The mountain view is the next category up and basically the same with a marginally better view. They do have “lagoon” pool rooms on this side of the hotel which I would be tempted to go for as a bit of a novelty. The rooms have a separate area of the pool which is just shared by them. 

The room felt modern, although not particularly large. As you enter, there’s a small dressing area with wardrobes and built-in luggage storage, which I much prefer to those wobbly racks!

As seemed to be the case in luxury hotels in Phuket, a nice beach bag was included in the wardrobe to use during your stay as well as an umbrella and a lovely thin silky robe with slippers. 

There were the usual amenities, such as an Illy coffee machine and four bottles of water, which were replenished regularly. It was good to see Singapore premium tea brand TWG as the tea on offer. 

I was at the end of the corridor and found the room pretty quiet. The bed was extremely comfortable, and the air conditioning worked well, if not a bit too well and I had to have it at quite a high temperature not to be too cold. 

The balcony was a nice place to sit. However, there was construction going on opposite the hotel, which could be heard when outside. 

 

The bathroom

The bathroom was an impressive space with its huge oval bath, which you could admire the view from, although with the buildings being laid out in an L shape, it probably isn’t very private in many of the rooms.

The toiletries were Harnn in bergamot and lavender, which had a pleasant neutral fragrance, and in large sizes, although not screwed down. There was also the usual large selection of amenities I’d expect in Asia, such as shaving and dental kits. 


There was a large walk-in shower with a seat, which I always appreciate for shaving your legs or if you wanted to do perhaps a treatment that takes a few minutes to work. 

I liked having the vanity area which had a seat and sockets that was perfect for drying your hair or doping make-up. Oddly, there was no magnifying mirror. 

 

Food and drink

If you don’t want to venture out, there are more than enough dining choices for a week here. However, I found the prices extremely high for Thailand, with an average dinner costing £70+ for one person with just a couple of drinks included. 

 

Breakfast

This was served in Pinto, which is near reception, a floor below. It is not the most attractive place for breakfast as there is not much outdoor space, but the food was pretty good. There was a buffet with plenty of choice. Service for coffee was a little slow and disorganized.

There were lots of local dishes to try, and you got to make your own noodle bowl that was then cooked for you.

The fruit selection was very boring for Thailand, with just the bog-standard watermelon and pineapple plus passion fruit and fruit salad. If you wanted to be healthy, there were lots of options, such as yogurts, seeds, salad, etc. For those wanting to indulge, there were the usual cooked breakfast international items, meats, cheeses, pastries, and even smoked marlin!









 

You could also use the other restaurants with your IHG credit so I went for brunch at 333 At The Beach and much preferred it to the buffet. Sitting outside by the beach was a much nicer start to the day! Here, it was a la carte and had a small selection, such as avocado toast and smoked salmon. 

 

Pine

This is the beachside restaurant which has tables actually on the sand, which is lovely. Unfortunately it seemed to attract a lot of noisy children which spoilt the ambiance. It would be nice to have a family section and an adults-only part for those trying to have a romantic evening. Food is a mix of Mediterranean and Thai classic dishes. I went for steamed Thai fish, which was excellent.

 

Tengoku

This is hidden at the back of Pinto and has a counter and booths to choose from. It serves classic Japanese cuisine.

I went for the Seafood Kushikatsu, which was skewers of seafood deep fried in bread crumbs with
red shiso tartar sauce and also the chicken skin yakitori. The seafood was lovely with a crispy coating and moist fish inside, but the chicken skin was disappointing as it was flabby instead of crisp as I expected. I then had the chicken ramen with sweetcorn which was a little bland for my taste but well cooked. The cocktails were good here. 

 

Jaras

This was my favourite meal of the trip and stood up to its reputation being recommended in the 2023 Michelin Guide. I started with the Andaman Prawns, which were beautifully presented and full of flavor with large juicy prawns.

Next came one of my favourite local dishes, gaeng poo mee hoon which is blue crab meat with Southern yellow curry served with rice noodles. It is mildly spiced with beautiful sweet crab meat. The menu is a mix of traditional Thai with a fine dining edge. 

To finish, I had the traditional sticky rice with mango. I enjoyed this, but I prefer the more traditional version. The restaurant also offers a tasting menu.

 

Hom

For a fine dining experience or special occasion, Hom is the show case restaurant of the hotel with a Michelin-starred Portuguese chef. The focus is on fermentation and local produce. The restaurant is on the upper floor of the Thai pavilion, which is a stunning setting.

 

Pool and beach

There were a number of pools in the hotel, including a children’s pool, a rooftop pool, which was adults only, two small pools on the reception side, which were quite shady, and then the main infinity pool by the beach. The problem with the two small pools is that there were not enough loungers, and one of the two had a lot of bean bags, which were very low to the ground and not very comfortable. 

I did enjoy the rooftop pool as it was nice to get some peace and quiet and it was lovely at sunset. It was a shame there was not much of a view as the hotel and trees blocked any view of the sea and beach. 

The beach itself appeared to be only accessible by two lots of steps or one set if you tried to cross the busy main road instead of the underpass, so be aware if you have young children or mobility issues. It was a pain if you forgot something as it was a long trek back to the room.

The beach itself was nice with golden sand, warm, clear water, and a gentle slope into the sea. However, when I was there, the sea was full of jellyfish, which I did not realize until I got in, as signs were not noticeable.

Service at the beach was very good with one delightful guy who would always recognize me whether there or in the restaurant and chat with other guests and me. He was extremely attentive. There was a QR code for ordering which worked well in principle, but sometimes, loungers were missing them or had been moved to the wrong place. There were plenty of loungers in the shade so it was never an issue finding one.

The menu at the pool could have been a bit better. As it was the restaurant menu, it was lacking in what I would call traditional pool food, such as lighter options and snacks.

I did enjoy swimming in the infinity pool here as it was a lovely temperature and rarely had many people in it. It was also ideal for lounging in to cool off around the edge.

 

Spa and facilities

The spa is in the Thai pavilion on the ground floor and feels tranquil and luxurious as you go in.

Language proved to be quite an issue as I had booked a massage but also asked about having one nail done as I had broken one. It took a very long time and several false starts before I could make it known what I wanted, which was frustrating.

However, the massage was good, and I was given tea, fruit, and a hand towel after my treatment. Prices were not bad, certainly cheaper than you would pay in the UK but a lot more than if you went to one of the local places.

There is also a modern gym open 24/7 and classes such as yoga or pilates.

 

Conclusion

The resort has a lot going for it, with plenty of pools and restaurants to choose from. I loved the Thai pavilion building as the focal point and the grounds were lovely. There were plenty of loungers and good service on the beach. 

The room was less distinctive than others I have stayed in within Thailand and the hotel felt less “Thai” inside. I did not like the hotel being spread across the road, so if I returned I would stay on the beach side where the Club lounge is also situated. The room was comfortable, and the food was generally very good, but I am not sure I would rush back. I also stayed at the JW Marriott Khao Lak (review to follow) which would be my preference of the two. 

 

Booking

I paid 47,666 points per night plus a total of $186 in cash for 3 nights. 

There is currently a sale for IHG with 20% off when you book a getaway by 21 May and stay 24 May – 2 September 2024 at IHG hotels. Prices start from around £170 in the low season to £370+ in the high season. 

If you book with our partners GTC you will get:

  • Guaranteed late check-out
  • $100 hotel amenity
  • Complimentary breakfast for 2

You can check prices and find more information on the official hotel page here.

The post REVIEW: Intercontinental hotel Phuket, Thailand – a good value points redemption? appeared first on Turning left for less.