The thing about travelling in a family of five is it's often necessary to make sacrifices when it come to accommodation, whether it is due to price, availability of connecting rooms or extra beds. Well, there wasn't any sacrifices to be made during our marvelous stay at Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach so you can imagine the immense reluctance when the time came to check out and head to the next leg of our Phuket adventure.
And if the monkies were feeling down when we bade Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach farewell, their disappointment did not last for very long when we arrived at our next accommodation - Holiday Inn Resort Phuket.
Located in the heart of Patong, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket is within walking distance to shopping areas, restaurants, night life and just steps away from the beach. It is a mere 10-minute walk away from Jungeceylon shopping centre, Soi Bangla Nightlife, and with Patong beach is just across the road.
But let's just forget all of that - just take look at the Kids Rooms!
Just when I thought the Kids Room at out previous resort could not get any better, this pirate-themed one came along and blew the monkies away.
The Family Suite consists of 2 connecting rooms - a standard one with a King-sized bed while the other is pirate-themed bedroom just for kids and comes with 2 single beds in the form of pirate ships.
No wonder the monkies let out a little squeal when they first stepped into the room. Okay, me too actually. Especially when everything were kept in accordance with the room's theme, right down to the cupboard door handles.
Not only was the Kids Room decked out in colourful decor, it also came with a big bowl of sweet treats. Pure bliss, if you ask me.
For younger kids, there was a wooden box filled with toys to keep them busy in the room as well.
The highlight for Ash and Ayd though, was the delightful discovery that the Kids Room also came equipped with their personal XBOX game console!
Unlike the bathroom at Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach, there was no huge bathtub to be found in the room. But there were a few notable child-friendly feature in the Kids bathroom - an additional ledge and an animal-shaped shower head. Ours was a frog, in case you are wondering.
Of course, toiletries catered to the children were always a nice and thoughtful touch.
Compared to the Kids Room, our connecting room was rather muted. Bummer.
In fact, I had the mind to swap rooms with the boys! But seeing how much fun they were generating in their own room, I relented. Sigh, the sacrifices a parent makes.
Besides the Family Suite, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket also offers the Kids Suite which essentially has the same concept with the TV, DVD player and game console, but housed within the same room with a bunk bed for the kids.
So after we managed to peel the monkies away - with great difficulty - from the room, it was time to do some exploring around the resort compounds.
Holiday Inn Resort Phuket houses two distinctive wings: the newly renovated Main Wing and the Thai-designed Busakorn Wing. The latter is set amidst tranquil pools and a tropical garden, and offers spacious rooms with pool view or pool access for couples seeking a more intimate resort experience.
The Main Wing, on the other hand, is geared towards families and houses all of the family-friendly amenities. And one doesn't get any family-friendlier than the two pools just for kids.
The bigger pool is for older kids and comes with a gentle slide, as well as a basketball hoop by the pool. For younger kids and toddlers, there is a shallower pool where they will be able to slide into the pool via a green dinosaur's neck.
And should the kiddos get tired of the water slides, there are always the pool activities programs for kids being conducted on a daily basis to keep them entertained!
For all the activities that were on offer, we were not about to miss the Main Pool, which a free-form one and was beautifully landscaped.
The amazing thing about my monkies is they never seem to get tired of being in the water. Ever.
I also had the chance to sneak a peek into a Busakorn Villa Pool Access room.
The villa offers direct access to a private pool that is exclusive to villa guests.
With the Main Wing housing 3 out of the 4 pools that Holiday Inn Resort Phuket boasts, the remaining one can be found at the Busakorn Wing - in the form of a huge deep-blue tiled pool. And as you are probably right to guess, the monkies could not bear to pass up the chance to dipping into yet another pool.
Ok, so this is one pool that I liked thanks to its poolside bar and I was able to see the monkies have fun in the water while I sip away in delight. That, and Happy Hour too when drinks are 1-for-1. The wifey, though has her sights set on another relaxing gem.
Even though there are no lack of choices when it comes to dining given the location of the resort, there are a few restaurants within the resort that are worth checking out.
We dined at at the outdoor Terrazzo for lunch, which offers a spread of flavourful Italian dishes, from pizza to pasta, risotto to ravioli, and succulent seafood to juicy steak.
The aftermath of swimming never fails to make the monkies crazily hungry so it was a good thing that the calzone and pasta managed to fill their tummies adequately and satisfyingly.
One of our dinners was at the Charm Thai restaurant, which serves up a fantastic spread of authentic Thai cuisine.
Okay, so Hot Dog isn't exactly authentic Thai cuisine.
Ahh, this is more like it.
The steamed fish was the standout of all the dishes we tried. It was so fresh that even the wifey - who is not a big fan of fish - loved it. Of course, Ale had to have the final word... which is essentially GOOD!
Our other dinner was at Sea Breeze Cafe & Terrace, which serves both breakfast and dinner buffets.
While we were there, it was Seafood Buffet Night so it was probably understandable that we left the place feeling so bloated and satisfied. Heh.
For the monkies though, dessert was always going to be the make-or-break factor when it comes to rating buffets.
So I guess it was safe to say the buffet was a hit with them.
After pampering our stomachs, it felt only right that we showed our bodies the same care and concern. So off to the spa we went!
The Tea Tree Spa experience is all about relaxation and for the monkies, this marked the first time they were going for a spa treatment. Frankly, I didn't know they catered to kids and families too. There was even a 'My First Package with Mom' where both could experience an express facial, mini massage, and manicure or pedicure together.
No prizes for guessing which package the ladies went for then.
The boys went for the 'My First Massage' while I chose a Traditional Thai Massage. And how was the boys' first massage experience? Judging from their dreamy post-massage faces (and hair), it was definitely heaven. In fact, both even fell asleep during the massage!
Of course, what is a family resort without the presence of a Kid's Club?
Newly renovated, the Kid's Club featured a refreshing underwater theme and offered a great variety of activities to keep the little ones happy and safely entertained in its 4 zones; TV, Xbox 360, Arts & Crafts and Games.
Parents of kids aged between 5 and 10 years old will be able to leave them in the care of the Kid's Club staff while heading off to enjoy the resort's other facilities.
Coming right after an awesome Kid's Club at Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach, I have to say this one felt a tad underwhelming. Perhaps I was missing the absence of a huge ball pool and slides. Did I say I? I meant the monkies.
But there are tons of kids activities being organised throughout the day - just take a look at the Kid's Club's schedule HERE.
So yes, it was enough to keep the boys and Diva happy as well.
Young guests from the age of 10 years old can enjoy their "parent-free" time at Club 12+, with internet access, Xbox 360, pool table and TV corner with DVD movies. Do note while the Kid's Club is free for hotel guests, Club 12+ is chargeable at 120 Baht for a 24 hour pass, and 600 Baht for a week pass.
And as you can also guess, the other highlight that the monkies never fail to get out of bed early every morning is the resort's buffet breakfast at Sea Breeze Cafe and Terrace.
The breakfast selection was pretty standard, the seating area was well-lit and breezy and there was also a dedicated buffet spread at the appropriate height for kids.
And since we were staying in the heart of Patong, it would be criminal if we did not step out to explore the area. And so we did.
The famed public Patong Beach was just across the road but we didn't spend much time on the beach though as the monkies were kept rather busy with the pools and Kid's Club within the resort.
And when we did step out, we headed for the massive Jungeceylon shopping centre which was a comfortable 10-minute walk away from the resort. The shopping centre has everything that one will find in a shopping centre here in Singapore - from numerous shops, restaurants to a supermarket.
But the hidden gem - as we found out - laid behind the shopping centre. We walked through the centre and we found ourselves at Banzaan Market.
Banzaan is a fresh market by day and sells fresh produce at reasonable prices. But come nightfall, the surroundings convert to a street food market where one can buy food, sweets or drink from dozen of food carts.
The monkies had a field day identifying the wide array of seafood on offer, both common and uncommon. Customers are able to pick the seafood they want and it will be cooked on the spot.
Oh, and the Thai Orange Juice is a definite must-try!
The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket is in a great location as the south end of Patong is pretty family-friendly and away from most of the bars, ruckus and noise. Of course, who can argue with its stupendous Kids Rooms?
All in, we had fantastic a fantastic 4 nights with Holiday Inn Resorts. Both resorts cater to different holiday preferences. If you prefer a somewhat more centralised location with ample shopping and food options, then you will not go wrong with Holiday Inn Resort Phuket. If you want a more relaxing holiday with a less crowded beach and do not mind chilling the entire day within the resort, then Holiday Inn Resort Mai Khao Beach will be your best bet.
But whatever you choose, you can be certain there is always a common theme in place - plenty of kids-friendly activities to keep the little ones entertained.
P.S. Again, I cannot possibly include every photo of our stay in this blog post, so do head over to our photo album on Facebook for more photos.
Holiday Inn Resort Phuket
52 Thaweewong Rd., Patong Beach, 83150, Thailand
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