As a blogger, I usually have my camera at the ready on a daily basis.
When mealtime rolls around, my family knows not to touch a crumb before I’ve photographed it, lest they risk a slapped wrist and pb&j for dinner instead of whatever I’ve cooked. (Kidding! About the pb&j anyway. ;) )
So when I’m on vacation, I like to take a vacation from absolutely everything work-related, including my camera. Instead I generally give in to the iPhone’s ease of use and portability, which takes pictures decent enough for capturing memories, but typically not blog-worthy.
But on our recent trip to Thailand, I couldn’t help but want to carry around my camera every day, even when we were just walking around the resort, to avoid missing out on capturing a beautiful fleeting moment. It was that stunning there.
The first night we arrived at Thavorn pretty late, so we didn’t have the chance to really see how gorgeous the resort was until the first morning when we woke up to this view from our terrace. I knew then and there that this place was special, and from there on out, I didn’t part with my camera except at night to sleep.
I wanted to share our experience with you, and I thought the best place to start would be the resort where we stayed.
The lobby/reception area at Thavorn is completely serene. The architecture is lovely; it has a finished floor and ceiling, but is open-air on all sides, which really makes you feel like you’re one with nature. The attention to detail and elements of traditional Thai décor really perfect the ambiance.
The grounds are breathtaking (so lush and green!), and I don’t think I’ve seen prettier pools.
You have to take a cable car up to the villas, which really makes it feel like you’re getting away from it all.
And the walkway leading to the villas is lovely and peaceful. I couldn’t hear anything but leaves rustling in the wind.
We stayed in a hill side villa with a partial ocean view, and we loved it. It was quite spacious, with a living area, dining table, wet bar, and a comfy bed that felt even larger than king-sized. (A quick note on the bed though: Be forewarned that beds in Thailand are quite firm. Since living in Kuwait, Mike and I are used to a very firm mattress though, so it wasn’t an issue for us.) There was a Jacuzzi outside on our private terrace that we made use of as we took in the breathtaking views, and there was another Jacuzzi inside the bathroom.
As we all know, the devil is in the details, and I love the little decorative touches all over the villa. The furnishings were traditional Thai style, and I love how there were elements of nature (like teak wood and open, airy spaces) combined with modern additions (like clean, straight lines and other geometric shapes).
We had the opportunity to tour a hill side villa with an ocean view that was decorated for a honeymoon, which was nothing short of magnificent. I can’t imagine a more romantic way to start a marriage. Just take a look…
There are also beach front villas available, if you’d like to literally wake up at the ocean’s doorstep.
And there are pool access villas, which let you hop right into the pool from your terrace.
There’s a beautiful private beach for more swimming fun, and it’s an incredible feeling just to gaze out at the water crashing on shore. Order a drink from the nearby cabana and bring a good book, and you’d be surprised at how relaxed you feel in an hour.
Or for more relaxation, spend a couple hours rejuvenating at the spa, where you’re greeted with an ice-cold towel to cool your face with and chilled butterfly pea tea to sip.
If you’re so inclined, hit up the gym or do laps in the gym pool with an ocean view.
There are plenty of other activities to keep you busy…
And they also offer a Thai cooking class, which I will be sharing more on in a separate post!
We visited Phuket during mid-June, which is monsoon season, and consequently off-season for tourism. (Monsoon season lasts from May through October, and peak season for tourism is from November through April; you can read more about Phuket’s climate here or here.) This had both positive and negative ramifications for us. On the positive side, most tourist places we visited weren’t crowded; actually, until the last day of our stay at the resort, we almost felt like we had the place to ourselves. On the other hand, the weather was not only hot (typically around 90F/32C), but also very humid with rain some evenings while we were there.
The fact that it was off-season and the resort wasn’t as busy may have played a factor, but I have to say, the staff and customer service at Thavorn in general was fabulous. Most staff members were friendly and accommodating, and took extra steps to make sure we were satisfied. For example, when we checked in on the first night, a staff member accompanied us all the way up to our villa; she then showed us around the suite, making sure we had everything we needed before leaving us (thank you, Linda! You were wonderful).
Another example of the high standard of their customer service…on four different occasions we had to ask a staff member where something was. Instead of just pointing and gesturing, two out of the four times, they actually took the time to pause what they were doing and physically take us to our destination, which we really appreciated.
To be completely fair, I wanted to put together a list of pros and cons.
- Standard of excellence in their customer service
- Ambiance, including the traditional Thai style architecture and décor
- Views, including the beach, pools, gardens, and lush green foliage
- Romantic atmosphere
- Beautiful pools and swim-up bars
- Private beach with a cabana close by for ordering drinks
- Various activities available on-site (some of which are free)
- Gym on-site
- Spa on-site
- Breakfast buffet offers eggs cooked to order any way you like them
- The only internet access is the in the lobby/reception area (but we were notified that they’re working on getting internet access throughout the whole hotel, so hopefully this will change soon)
- There is occasional language barrier, as not all staff members speak English; this becomes a real issue if you’re trying to describe a problem or ask for help with something. If that happens, try to ask for another staff member who speaks English to assist you
- The area where the resort is located is secluded, which is great for relaxation purposes, but on the flip side it means that there aren’t any other restaurants or shops nearby (and it’s about a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride into Patong Beach where there is a plethora of restaurants and shops)
- The power in our villa did go out a couple times; one night the outage lasted about 10 minutes, which was enough time to heat up the room (without the AC on) and wake us all up
- Most of the drinks available from the restaurants on-site were wonderful, but the food was sometimes a bit bland (except for the Thai dishes, of course, which were lovely), and in general, both the drinks and food were pricey
Overall, we had an amazing time at Thavorn and can’t wait to return. When we come back to Phuket, I doubt we’ll stay anywhere else. If you’re planning a trip, I highly recommend it!
6/2 Moo6, Nakalay Bay, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket, Thailand 83150
Tel: +66(0)76 290334-40, +66(0)76 618217-24
Fax: +66(0)76 290333, +66(0)76 618231
Please note that this post is NOT sponsored in any way; we paid the normal market price to stay here and I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. My husband and I chose to stay at this resort on our vacation after doing online research for hotels the way most people do (i.e., hello, Expedia); however, I absolutely fell in love with Thavorn and wanted to share it with my readers in case anyone else is planning a trip to Phuket. As always, all opinions stated are my own.