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Reviewed 16 January 2012

We were on our 2nd visit and were not disapointed the staff that were there before remembered us and it made it feel like "coming home" We had an upgrade and the rooms were excellent what let them down was the cleaning beds made and thats it. Christmas was a hilarious time with Tim working his socks off as Jack Sparrow and the evening went with a bang to say the least. New Year could not compete with that sadly and was a bit of a let down.Food excellent but drinks pricey. The staff were helpful and very very friendly which makes for a relaxing worryfree holiday. We will certainly re visit in the near future.

Room Tip: Suites at the end of the corridor are best as you do not get trolleys and childrens noise to disturb you.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank Penelope W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2012

My hubbie and I spent 4 nights in Cape Panwa in early January and it really was fantastic. We can highly recommend the Panwa Suite as the jacuzzi on the balcony is just wonderful. However, make sure you request one on the ocean side and not the pool side as you will find yourself overlooked.

The best Thai meal we had was at Cape House. It is a gorgeous restaurant on the beach and the service is brilliant. For a drink in the evening we would go to the Sunset Bar down the hill. The owner Russell is an absolute gem and it really comes alive in the evening.

One of our champagne moments was hiring a long tail from the beach and being taken out to watch the sunset. There was no one else around and it was perfect.

Another tip is to get the hotel bus into Phuket Town and to hire a Tuk Tuk to drive you around. We had a fantastic couple, John & Sue, who showed us around.

I really could go on about this hotel. We stayed in Karon for 4 nights prior to this which is a great area for families and friends but for a good mix of romance & nightlife I cannot speak highly enough of this hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank GreenPoint7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

We have just returned from a 3 stop multi centre holiday in Thailand and the Panwa was our first stop for 8 nights, over the New Year period.

Overall, the time we spent here was OK, it certainly wasn't the best hotel I've ever stayed at and anyone that claims it is, simply haven't been to better hotels. We chose the Panwa as it was away from the busier Western side and it certainly is in a very quiet part of the island.

It has some good things going for it, underminded by some flaws in service and infrastructure so here goes:

Positives -

We had a Cape Suite that is basically what was formally 2 rooms converted in to 1, so a really good size. Looks good, on the surface, big beds (too hard though), double sink, nice sized balcony, reasonable view (we were block S, Room 223), nice walk in wardrobe, ipod docking station, big TV, etc.

Restaurants to choose from (in the Pawa, not its sister hotel the Kantary) included the Panwa House (thai food near the beach), this was well priced, good food and fast. The Andaman Restaurant is their standard restaurant which does A la Carte, buffet or set menu - some nights are themed - this is OK. Breakfast is also served here - OK also. The third restaurant in this hotel is the Top of the Reef - see in next box.

The pool area was good although a little crowded and the beach area was OK, the sunloungers have all been recently repainted but not replaced so some had slats falling from them.

There was a gym that we didn't go to and a games room that has seen better days - needs some investment and a good lick of paint.

The Lighthouse is a great little bar just on the edges of the hotel near the car park. The staff and really friendly there and always happy to have a chat - they serve all sorts of drinks there and popcorn comes with the drinks - nice touch. Not enough people use the bar which is a shame as its a nice feature. Its a little bit more shabby that shabby chic but just gets away with it!

Spa was OK - i'm not a great spa lover though my wife is - I found it OK and relaxing though she said the massages were very average and not hard enough - may be a personal preference though.

Negatives -

We had a lightbulb blown on the balcony that took 5 days and 3 requests to replace - we asked the receptionist on our 2nd day, we asked Tim, the Guest Services Manager, and finally we asked the lady checking the room (housekeeping maybe?). Anyway the bulb was eventually replaced and whilst the lack of lighting didn't ruin our holiday, it is symptomatic of a hotel that could be run better.

Sadly, the ipod docking station that wasn't working and the TV that wasn't fixed to the wall flushly, so that it hung at an angle when you pulled it away from the wall to view were never fixed, despite also asking 3 times to be fixed - we gave up in the end asking and lived with what we had.

Other things that weren't working - the bathplug needed 2 engineers to come and fix, and the rain shower also never worked - i didn't raise this as didn't see the point given how much else didn't seem to work - maybe if the management read this - and I hope they do, as the space provided in the guest feedback comments section didn't allow us to write all of this - they may may choose to get the infrastructure fixed.

What didn't work that was more concerning was the jacuzzi - it leaked all over the balcony and when I aked the engineer who was fixing the broken bathplug to take a look he explained that he wasn't qualified to do that and would ask the jacuzzi engineer to take a look - thankfully I never held my breath...I decided to have a look as the cover on the back was loose and what I saw worried me - the hot water line in was leaking all over the electric motor that powered the jacuzzi - a unit that I am sure is designed to get splashed and wet from time to time but it makes you wonder how well the whole thing was designed and put together. I thought the leak might explain why the jacuzzi never had enough hot water to fill it up - it was always on the colder side of lukewarm. I decided to use the shower attachment to fill it up as this hose wasn't leaking all over the electrics behind but this sadly wasn't enough either - why provide a jacuzzi (albeit a dangerous leaking one) that you then can't fill up? Such a shame as the intention was good, but the execution was poor.

Final thing (and I know I'm being picky here) was the fridge door should have opened when the outer cupboard door was pulled open - the wooden runner had broken and hadn't been fixed - minor but again indicative of a hotel that can't get the basics right.

So apart from the infrastructure, other other gripe was the service - we went to the Top of the Reef restaurant one night for a fine dining experience, we arrived at 19:45, had a quick drink in the Otters bar (indifferent sort of a place really) and then sat down at 20:00. After having sat down for nearly 2 hours and only having eaten our starter, we had lost our appetites and told the unfriendly maitre d' that we wanted the bill and no longer required our main course. He then brought us the bill with the mains on and 10% service charge! We very politely told him we expected to pay neither and he eventually removed the items.

Beach was dirty - I walked on it one morning and removed a broken brown glass bottle myself - I only was one person cleaning the beach in the time we were there.

The inconsistency in the Andaman was a shame as it was basically quite an OK place but one lunchtime we ordered 2 baguettes and they took 45 minutes to come and another time we went for dinner and ordered and the food was there in less than 10.

Final gripe was the cost of the New Years Gala - we had no option other than to pay for it, though to be fair you'd have very little else to do in this part of Phuket if nothing else had been booked. Tim did a good job of putting us on a table with like minded other people - 6 of us in total, all from London, all similar ages with no kids. It cost £125 each and the free bar was open for about half an hour, so we managed to get 2 drinks in, after that you had to pay. The dinner was essentially a buffet - had lots of choice but we only had a main course and small dessert - it hardly seemed representative of what we had spent. The entertainment was good and the compere (Tim again) did well to hold the whole night but it did get a little tiresome towards the end.

We did venture to the Kantary and I'm pleased we chose where we did - we were told to venture to their new roof top pool as it has a bar there where you can watch the sunset - all sounded very nice - what actually greets you is a small pool, next to about 20 air con units blasting away and no bar (OK, we didn't actually stay up there long enought to find the bar, so it may be up there but we didn't see it).

We both kind of wished we could write a better review and some of the staff did try and some of them just didn't really seem to care or know what they are doing. The hotel is investing in the upgrade of rooms and the new block next to the spa further demonstrates this but they need to fix some of the basics first around the service, reponsiveness to customers and the infrastructure.

Small local tip - the restaurant to the very left of the Kantary is excellent - cheap and great food - don't be put off by the large plastic menus with pictures of the food all over, it really is worth trying.

We then went to The Racha on Koh Racha Yai - see seperate report for that!

Room Tip: Ask for a room where everything works!
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank essjay2730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2012

My Husband (gosh that feels weird saying that) and I stayed in Cape Panwa in early December (2011) for our honeymoon. We had never been to Thailand before so choose this hotel on the recommendation of the travel agent (Kuoni)

The Good:
-Our first morning and lie in (after nearly 24 hours travelling) at the hotel was rudely interrupted by the restraurant staff setting up loudly and playing music (our room wasn’t well situated) However when we mentioned this to our rep the next day we were swiftly upgraded to an amazing suite, with no extra charge.
-Free water every day left in your room, perfect to take down to the beach.
-Clean room and the staff are clearly very honest as we left money out on the side on a number of occasions and each time we returned to the room it had not been touched.
-The Jacuzzi on our balcony worked really well and was a nice added bonus of an evening.
-The Bamboo bar staff were very efficient and our lunch always arrived promptly after ordering. The waitress Sandi always knew what we wanted to drink, it was a nice touch and made us feel like our needs where being met.
-The beach was relatively quiet, a nice place to relax and the staff always helped you set up your loungers where ever you wanted them on the beach.
-Swimming in the sea was lovely, very warm. Although the rocks made it a little more difficult at low tide.
-Breakfast staff always very friendly and lots of food choices.
-The pool next to the restaurant is perfect in the afternoon as the sun disappears from the beach.
-Lighthouse has a nice relaxed atmosphere and they serve you nuts and popcorn with your drinks, yum!

Improvements:
-The staff could be a little curt at times and sometimes it was hard for them to understand our English, which lead to a couple of slip ups.
-The Bamboo bar (for a better atmosphere) should play some music during the day.
-A couple of minor fixes around the hotel, such as a few loose concrete slabs (this is only if your being picky)
-Although the rooms were well cleaned we didn’t have a refresh (very often) of our toiletries which meant we had to go and buy some, although if we had asked I am sure they would have refreshed.
-Constantly being asked (by the locals) if we want a taxi or Thai massage did start to grate after a while, don’t feel obliged to answer them every time.

Recommendations:
-If you are not all inclusive (at this hotel it would be a waste of money, local food is much better and cheaper) then head down to Sea Breeze, it’s the best little restaurant for Thai food in Panwa. The staff are brilliant, very friendly and can speak good English. For a break from Thai food try the Indian, again the owners are very welcoming and the food is delicious.
-The Sunset Bar is great for an evening drink/cocktail, the owner is English, a very nice and chatty guy called Russell. My husband and I would recommend highly.
Overall we had an amazing honeymoon at this hotel. There are improvements that should be made, our first room wasn’t great in terms of the bathroom, it was a little shabby but we were upgraded to a beautiful suite (as I have said) so we didn’t really experience the bathroom in our old room for long, our suite had a great bathroom, rainfall shower, his and hers sink and a great big deep bath. I would totally go back to cape Panwa, but I would pay for the suite and not the room we originally booked. The villas look amazing too, particularly if you have a family.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the main lobby are quieter, the cape suite is of great quality and the best option by far, the rooms below are a little more shabby and need updating (mainly in terms of bathroom) Rooms close to the lighthouse can be disturbed a little by noise when the band is playing, although ours was quite close and we always slept very well. Rooms over looking the Cape Panwa beach have a better veiw than those that oiverlook the beach on the other side of the hotel, it's a little shabby looking.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MrsBramley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2012

My husband and I stayed here for 1 week Jan 5-12. It was our first visit to Phuket. The hotel is on a hill and has magnificent views over the ocean. I enjoyed waking up each morning to see the sunrise without even having to get out of bed!
The hotel is quiet and relaxed. It was quite a long walk from the lobby/restaurant to our room but I didn't mind as it was basically the only exercise I got. The street along the ocean where there are restaurants, taxi services, roadside stalls etc is at the bottom of a very steep hill so there is a frequent shuttle that most people use unless you are very keen to get some cardio exercise!
Our room was a suite and very clean and comfortable. The bathroom was particularly nice with huge overhead shower rose, plus a second shower hose. I liked that the shower had a large shelf space. There was also a bath and jacuzzi on the balcony but we didn't use either of these. The bed was huge and very comfortable. There was a large walk in robe. The bathroom had no power outlet so my husband had to use his electric shaver in the walk in robe but other than that the facilities were great.
The pool was beautiful and not crowded at all. The breakfasts were of a good standard. Hotel desk staff were helpful but not overly friendly. The room service staff though were lovely and always greeted you with a smile.
If you feel the need to be part of the crowded action, it's about a 30 min taxi ride to Patong beach on the west side of the island. If you want to hire a taxi for the day to drive you around Phuket city, the main tourist beaches on the west side and wait for you while you have lunch, go for a swim etc then return you to your hotel in the evening, it will cost you around 1400 baht (you will need to negotiate the price) which we felt was very reasonable considering we saw and did so much in one day.
Overall I think the hotel is perfect for couples and those with young children but young singles may find it a bit too quiet and far away from all the shops, water sports, crowds, bars and night life. Best for those who want to get away from all that and just laze by the pool, eat at nice little restaurants and have massages! Definitely the place to indulge in all the little luxuries.

Room Tip: Ask to stay on level J if you want to avoid taking the elevator to your room. Ask for a room nearer the lobby if you don't want to walk too far from the restaurant pool area to your room. Our room was around 300m away so if you plan to go back and forth from your room a lot with small children for example, it may seem a bit far.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank cargo999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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