We have been expats in Hong Kong and Singapore, since 2010. As most long term expats will attest, escaping the big smoke for R and R is essential to maintaining sanity and Thailand is our special place. We’ve explored The Land of Smiles on many occasions over the years, sans kids and other times with all three of our small companions. We have enjoyed the beaches from Koh Samui, Krabi, Phi Phi and further south to Koh Lipe. Of these spots, Phuket is our long-trusted preferred getaway destination.
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In Phuket we have sampled a wide range of options from posh hotels to large resorts and no-frills family run bolt holes. Having had a very busy second half of the year which included the arrival of child number three, last weekend we visited the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach. I packed the family kit, complete with new-born accessories and picked up the eldest two from school at lunchtime on Wednesday. My husband jumped off the corporate treadmill a few hours earlier than normal and we all embarked Silk Air from Singapore to Phuket. Having tried to save money on budget airlines over the years, we have reconciled the additional fare cost as a small price to pay for a moderately sane experience. Our journey to the Pullman was less than 3.5 hours from door to door which meant we were pulling into the hotel driveway just before our four year old entered melt down zone.
It’s an eco-conscious hotel
The Pullman is perched above one of Phuket’s sandy beaches and the grounds are spacious with glorious views of the ocean. The hotel has three pools, friendly staff and a variety of room designs including five Family Deluxe rooms with a separate bunk bed area and large balcony. We were pleased with their policy against sun lounge hogging and the hotel is conscious of wellbeing and sustainability, defined by an absence of plastic straws and an abundance of healthy food and exercise choices.
On Thursday, we were delighted to wake to sunshine and blue skies. November is a touch and go time for Phuket weather and we got lucky. Our kids had no appreciation of the one-hour time difference, so we were some of the first visitors to hit up the breakfast buffet. This was a blessing in hindsight as our four-year-old only had a small audience when she choked on her bacon then emptied her breakfast on my husband’s feet. The staff responded quickly and efficiently and despite the small embarrassment, breakfast was delicious. The spread of fruit, eggs and pastries complemented by the traditional Thai foods put us all in a good mood. Breakfasts was a great start to each day and my daughter steered clear of bacon.
Let’s hit the gym!
Our weekend Pullman late morning routine saw us tag team for the gym. The gym equipment, like the rest of the hotel, is new. My husband likes to lift heavy things and I am trying to tone my tummy post baby number three. We were both more than satisfied with the array of equipment, the cool Pullman workout tunes, the floor to ceiling windows and fresh workout room. The kids club is directly under the gym. It’s bright, well supervised for children over four years, with fun activities, an outdoor playground and a 6pm movie highly rated by our big kids (four and seven years old).
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All of our lunches were spent poolside and for sunset we mixed it up. On Thursdays, Pullman offers free Managers drinks from 5pm until 7pm in the Sunset Lounge which of course we tested. Whilst the view was exquisite the cocktails were light on alcohol. We are, after all, parents of three young kids! Thankfully the wine list was passable.
We spent the next evening swimming in the Andaman Sea then sitting on sandy beach towels below the Pullman, drinking local Chang Beer and Lipton Tea (the girls). Saturday sunset was fun at the bar where Happy Hour started at 4 pm along with our girls’ argument over colouring pencils. I confess the half price G&Ts and utilisation of the iNanny secured us 45 minutes of serenity.
Dinner highlight was our family meal at the Italian Restaurant VERO where the food is homely. Roberto, the head waiter, helped our kids make their own pizza which he didn’t charge us for! Another night we left the girls in the room with a babysitter whom we later learnt took orders from our children thus failed to clean their teeth or put them to sleep.
When we checked out and closed the bill, my husband was agitated partly because the lobby has no fans or aircon and also because we were enlightened that our seven year old had been raiding Toblerone from the minibar! We were otherwise content with the tab. The Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach is good value and a convenient pleasure when travelling with a young family.
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