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Tuesday 9 April 2019

Hotel Review: Re-visit Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort

After a long 12-hour flight with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old child from Stockholm, Sweden to Krabi, Thailand you feel a bit tired. However, when met upon the airport with Sofitel car to greet us with water and smiles the experience begins. When our 5-year-old daughter was 2-years-old, we came to this hotel the first time visiting Thailand. Since then we have been traveling to Thailand every year and since our son made 2 years of age, we felt it would be great to re-visit this 5-star resort.
Reviewing this hotel again has been fantastic and we have judged it upon a family perspective with 5 aspects as presented below:

Upon arrival to this large resort next to a fantastic long beach and a short 9-hole golf course (that is part of this hotel), the lobby greats you with a large open area. We love the traditional Thai/French décor of dark wooden furniture and hand-crafted design in the high ceiling details.
We are greeted with cold tea and cool towels to wind down which is a very soft and lovely way to welcome your guests after a long travel in this warm and humid weather.

– tip to Sofitel! Since this is a French hotel brand it would have been nice to been offered a glass of sparkling wine as well. 

After a short and very smooth check in we are shown to our hotel room. We booked a luxury room with pool and ocean view, which we enjoyed very much. Even though we were 2 adults and 2 small children a single room worked at Sofitel since the luxury room was quite large with 54 sqm. The standard and design of the rooms are good however needs some update on décor. It is a shame that there is almost nothing on the walls. It would be nice to have some art or historical paintings on the walls in the room. The bathrooms are a bit unmodern and needs to be upgraded, bits and pieces seems that it is falling apart sometimes and needs to be checked. A rainfall shower would have been great in today’s 5-star standard.
 We enjoyed that they have Loccitane shower and bath products.  The bed is large and very spacious however very hard and not the most comfortable sleep the first 4 nights or so however after a while you get used to it.
The minibar offers standard products. We like that they had a porcelain kettle.

– Tip to Sofitel! Make the mini-bar more interesting and upgrade the offer. There are many hotels today that makes the rooms more interesting with a in room bar experience, with a small mixer, more upgraded glasses and drink menu that you can do yourself from the mini-bar.

Food & Beverage

Maya Restaurant (International)
The all-day dining was also were the breakfast is served, the food delivered a rather good quality, we enjoyed the international cuisine and the level of an all-day dining. We had our lunch most of the time here and not buy the pool because of the service and quality of food. In the evening it was sadly very empty. Very little guests came to their special dinners which was a bit sad because the food was actually very good. However, if you would compare prices with local restaurants on the beach with a 5-star hotel the difference is quite high so I would guess that was the reason.  
We enjoyed the breakfast very much were the waiters knows your name and after only 2 days they could notice your favourite part and what coffee/tea or beverage you preferred.
The staff at this restaurant is very good. We loved the waitress and waiters, they new us buy name after a day or so and gave us very good service. They made an effort to satisfy us and our children needs, and we really enjoyed our family morning, lunch and some evenings here.

The Venezia (Italian)
Great Italian food and fantastic stone oven pizza. The wine list is quite good but as most in Thailand and with its tax system it is very hard to find great value or fair priced wine lists, if you are to compare with Europe. However, we enjoyed the restaurant, its service and quality of delivery.

White Lotus (Thai & Indian)
If I would choose a restaurant in Krabi to dine in I would pic White Lotus many times over. I really enjoy its dishes, level of delivery and its fantastic service. I think it is hard to compete with the restaurants on the beach that costs half the price of this restaurant however the level of quality at White Lotus is much higher than the local Thai restaurants. The spices and the quality of food is fantastic, and we really enjoyed both the Thai and Indian dishes on the menu.

Koh Poda (pool bar & restaurant)
The problem with this restaurant is that the weather is so hot, and the location of this restaurant is were no wind blows. This makes it very warm to dine in the middle of the day, especially if you have young children. So, to be honest we only tried once and cannot provide a fair judgement.

Outside of these 4 f&b outlets there is the swim up pool bar that is connected to Koh Poda and an afternoon/ evening cocktail lounge calls Explorer Bar. They also have a membership area for Accor Premium members that serves drinks and simple food.

Overall, we enjoyed every restaurant we visited. The strong side of all restaurants are its staff and service. We really felt that we could connect with the staff and that they tried to provide us with great service but at the same time not to close or pushy. We visited the cocktail bar everyday and the bartenders are good here. They really make an effort to provide a great cocktail and if you want any suggestion outside the menu, they can surprise you with an even better one.
I must say that both the local Thai staff and the international staff was very good here at Sofitel. The strongest point of this hotel is its working employers and with this makes our stay more personal and pleasant.
We flew with TUI that really could learn from its member hotels on how to treat and work with its customer experience. TUI was unfortunately one day late on their home flight. All I needed to do was to ask this to the hotel senior staff and they helped us with fantastic support. We had to go by Taxi at 5:00 in the morning and our driver that we booked outside the hotel did not show up, in matter of minutes, Sofitel provided us with a car and drove us to the airport.

Other amnesties
On these holiday resorts there is not much you can expect on gym facilities however this gym is quite good and large in space. They also offer complementary yoga sessions in the morning, morning hike and runs and also other physical activities.

The kids club in this hotel is very good and spacious. They have games such as two PlayStation, kids’ corner for all ages and outdoor playground. The teachers are very friendly and good.

Pool area is fantastic. It is the largest pool in Krabi with over 7000 sqm and a swim up bar. They offer a few rooms with swim up access, an adult area with 18+ and a kid’s pool area. Considering the gigantic swimming pool, the kids’ area is very small. They could invest in a better slide for kids and other fun activities in the pool since many guests are family oriented.

The Spa is fantastic with superb service and quality massages. I, Sofie, had two massages and enjoyed both very much. One full body massage and one foot massage. Both made by women and the relaxed, calm and experience is done with great remarks.

Overall, we loved our stay here at Sofitel Krabi. The hotel offers great diversity of activities, fantastic food & beverage offers, and the strongest point of this resort is the staff with superb service. Everyone was very professional, all the way from senior management, lobby, bar & cocktail, cleaning to restaurant management and service.
We enjoyed all restaurants and the bar managers that served us very good cocktails knew us by name and felt like personal service.

The downside of this resort are the rooms that needs to be upgraded to an international 5-star standard. The beds need to be a bit softer, bathroom and shower needs an upgrade and a small aspect of decor on walls could be considered.

Kids pool area could also be thought upon a bit more. There is not that much to do other than swimming for younger kids. A larger slide or more fun activities in the pool could be a great investment for the hotel.

Review from 2015:

Final Grade: 4 out of 5
Comment: It is a very strong 4 however if the rooms were more upgraded it would have been a 4,5.

Reviewed by Alexander Yü and Sofie Yü