I stumbled upon the JW Marriott Phuket when I googled for best “kid friendly” resorts in South-East Asia. I went through the whole list of things that were great about the place and what activities they had for kids there.
The one thing that stood out in all the reviews though was it’s service. Review after review talked about top notch service from the receptionist down to the housekeeping staff who greet you every time they see you walk past.
I thought that was interesting because service is something everyone generally has high expectations about. We expect to be treated well as customers of the hotel. The only way people go above and beyond to praise service is if they give you a WOW experience. That’s gotta be hard to do.
In any case I decided to try it out anyway. I booked it a week before and this week was the trip. The hotel is some 15 minutes away from the airport but some 45 minutes or so away from Phuket Town. It didn’t matter though. It was the kind of holiday where we didn’t intend to leave the resort. All day and night was to be spent eating great food, having good massages, laying by the beach and bringing the kids swimming.
We arrived that day to some bad luck. The hotel had a power outage. There was no electricity apart from the lights that were being powered by a generator. It was 12PM when we arrived and we were told that this would last till 3PM. We didn’t make a fuss but we asked if they had a fan of some sort because we had a two-year old and a nine-month old who both needed to take their afternoon naps. If it’s so hot I wasn’t sure if they could do it. They agreed.
We had a quick lunch and then brought both Fighter and Penny to the rooms to sleep. Shortly after there was a knock on our door. We opened the door to the very same person who checked us in at the front desk. Her name was Piyawan. She explained to me how she was going to get a fan when she realised all the fans the hotel had required electricity. No battery operated ones. And since there was no electricity in the rooms, it wasn’t going to be any use.
Disappointed I just thanked her and closed the door. Fortunately we managed to put both kids to sleep and I myself fell asleep too on the couch in the increasingly hot hotel room. When I opened my eyes again the time was around 4.30PM. The power was not back yet.
Shorty and I decided to take a walk to get some air. We walked around the hotel and somehow managed to find ourselves back at the front desk. I went up and saw Piyawan who then greeted us.
She apologized and she said the new time was 7PM. I was getting frustrated but I reminded myself we were on holiday and I didn’t want to spoil anyone’s day by taking my frustration out on someone else who really wasn’t to blame for the power outage. I calmed myself down.
Shorty though was concerned. She had intended to cook dinner for Penny but wouldn’t be able to do it if the electricity only came back only at 7PM. Piyawan then offered to lend us use of their 2 bedroom villa that was located on another block thad had power.
She walked us over there to show us the villa. It was nice. 2 bedrooms with a living room, kitchen, we would all fit in here instead of having 2 separate hotel rooms. Space for Fighter to walk around too.
I asked if we could just move here for the duration of this stay. To our surprise Piyawan agreed to give it to us. The cost of us renting the villa for 3 nights would be more than the cost of us renting the 2 rooms we did, but Piyawan agreed to give it to us at no extra cost.
So we moved in. And had a wonderful next 3 days. In those next 3 days I witnessed the great service from everyone in the hotel.
When the Thai restaurant we went to was fully booked, the waitress didn’t just turn me away. She helped me book a table at another restaurant at the resort.
When Shorty wanted to bring back some buns from a buffet dinner, a waiter saw it and gave her a tissue box to help.
Whenever we walked past any hotel staff from house keeping to the gardener, they would all smile and greet us.
When we asked for 10 more complimentary bottled water for our villa, they brought us 15.
When we sat at the lounge for a while a waitress asked us if we wanted to order anything. We said no thanks we’re just here for a few minutes enjoying the view. She came back later with two glasses of iced water and two fresh towels to wipe our faces with.
When we wanted to go cycling and wanted to rent bicycles from the health center, we learned that they lend them and safety helmets at no cost. On top of that they provide you with a free bottled water and a banana if you like.
They even paid us a visit and wrote us a personal note to see if everything was okay.
One of the greatest gestures was what Piyawan did for us on the day we checked out. Checkout time was 10AM but we requested for a late checkout. They could only do 12PM because there was someone else moving into our room later that day.
When we checked out, Piyawan learned that our flight was 5.20PM. That’s a long way to go and she somehow understood that our kids both needed to nap in the afternoon. So she offered to let us use an empty room they had for free. We didn’t even ask for it.
That gesture allowed both Fighter and Penny to have a good nap that afternoon. It’s hard to explain the value of a much needed afternoon nap for babies or toddlers. Without a nap, they get cranky or difficult and are generally harder to take care of. So what Piyawan did not just gave our kids more comfort but it gave us a better day ahead as we traveled home.
The JW Marriott is a great resort. Not just for the rooms, not just for the activities, not just for how kid-friendly it is but because of its service.
I’ve stayed in many hotels in my 31 years of life. This one tops it all when it comes to service.
Thank you Piyawan and to the rest of the JW Marriott Phuket crew who gave me an experience I will remember. My wife and I agreed that we will go back again.
Here’s a picture of the us and Khun Piyawan.
I realize I never posted pictures of the villa or anything like that but if you’re interested to see how the rooms look like you can check out their website.