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“Centara Grand West Sands - its all about expectations”

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Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Mai Khao
Reviewed 5 June 2012

Long review but overall a good experience though the Hotel has the potential to give a great time - and offers really good value too. Borderline 'cheap' for what you get...

We have been to Phuket many a time over the years. The last 2 places we visited were the Centara Karon Resort Phuket and Indigo Pearl (twice). Both places provided great stays that exceeded our expectations.

This year I was looking for an alternative place to stay and finally settled on the Centara Grand West Sands. Overall i think that the Centara web sites for Thailand is one of the poorer ones for hotels when it comes to information and pictures. It can be confusing navigating the site and even selecting the correct note to view before booking.

Nevertheless although reviews here on TripAdvisor seemed pretty poor, i held out some hope after reading a great variety of more positive ones on Agoda's site.

The hotel, as i understand it, is probably about 4 years old and was originally taken over by the Centara group in Oct 2011. The grounds are pretty massive and spread out. Located far away from the 'main' road and about 12-15 minutes from the Airport, the main draw for many (like me) who want something for families is the Splash Jungle water park (more on that later).

This hotel can look like and feel like a condo turned into a hotel or service apartment. Yet the numerous blocks of low rise rooms would tend to argue that notion. No taller than 5 stories in height, a condo would unlikely to be so low rise as not maximize returns based on a small no of units per block. The feel of a service apartment has to be only with the sheer lack of staff manning the hotel. I am sure they could use more people all around, from the people who man and tend to the massive grounds and gardens, to more buggy drivers. The exteriors tend to be the most neglected and give a less than pristine and cared for look.

My booking was for the 'Family Suite' done on Zuji. I hardly use Zuji but found they were the only one that provided this type of accommodation here for my wife and 12 year old son. At this age, hotels charge and treat 12 year old (children as they really are still as far as parents are concerned) as adults and thus the trawling of sites to find value for money hotels.
On Centara's own site which is almost mirrored in their partner booking sites, there is no such room category - the Family suite is termed as a 2 bedroomed family suite. I was looking for a one bedroom family suite - and really there is no such thing.

The "Family Suite' i got was really 2 rooms inter-connected. Not the one-bedroomed one i had envisioned or bargained for. That explains the higher price i had paid on Zuji that I questioned them on but never replied to me. This was housed in Block 8 in the hotel complex. The buggy had dropped us off at the correct block but did not usher us to our room or even the entrance to the building. We took almost 5 minutes to find the main entrance and make our way up. I think it is this initial less than welcoming experience that the Centara group could do so much better in.

Undeterred we found our room and went in. The rooms were different and that explains the 'Suite concept. The main room was a suite in itself with a separate bedroom and living area. New slim LCD TV's in both and a kitchenette as well as living area. Sofa's looked a bit drab but i suspect it was just the color and fabric used. There was a long bath and nice balcony. The other room had 2 single beds, a sofa and a standing shower. It also had a balcony, but neither looked out over anything worth mentioning however all very nicely laid out and spacious.

We quickly called for an alternative room.

Let's be fair here and understand that this 2 bedroomed family suite would be excellent for a slightly larger family. Or if we had 2 more friends to accompany our son this would be ideal.
And for the money it offers - we paid a little more than USD$500 for 3 nights which included breakfast and free wifi. Don't be put off by the wi-fi charges you may see - i don't think they would charge for it as it is pretty much everywhere in this massive hotel property, even extending to the Jungle Splash park.

Settled for a swap (downgrade) to a one bedroom luxury suite which meant our small family could enjoy each other's company without the privacy that the other setup entailed. The 'luxury' is well worth it and this was mirrored in both the fittings, the large jacuzzi and the layout of the room. A lovely counter sits between the living area and kitchen, and the door behind that leads to a nice sized bedroom with a large sized bathroom that houses the jacuzzi and separate standing shower. There are also 2 sinks - a luxury to HDB bred Singaporeans.

For the record I looked at the one bedroomed Pool Villa too and whilst the interiors were nice, the outdoor pool looked great and of a good size too, the grounds and outdoor jacuzzi looked jaded. We turned that down and opted for the room mentioned above which is where would choose the next time round.

I think the staff work extra hard meet the expectations of guests. The check in and front office do a wonderful job. They need more buggies and drivers, and people who will walk you to your unit and do the expected song and dance routine.

The restaurants (food and beverage) are a disappointment though. The coffee house set near the beach really could use a makeover or at least more attention to an overall look or cleanness. Not that it was dirty in any way, but the outside are looked as if it could benefit from more attention. The lunch we had was not really good. Spaghetti for my son was really under-whelming, and the Thai fried rice was not nearly as good as the average you could find out on the streets. My wife had a porridge with prawns and it did not go down too well. Needless to say we have looked for alternative food where possible.

Breakfast is pretty decent compared to the ala carte we had.

Do check out "Cinnamon' which is a ten minute walk from the hotel - great place and can't recommend it enough, We were there on the 2nd night and food was great - can't rave enough about the place. The night before we paid 600 baht to engage someone to take us to Kin Dee Restaurant and back. Of the 2 i much preferred Cinnamon. Kin Dee was set in a very jungle like environment, and offers little other than good food. Whilst backed by many glowing reviews on TA, the food is by no means cheap if you consider what has been offered in terms of furniture, plates and what their rental of the place might cost them.

Both my wife and i visited the Spa and found it to be of a high standard - this is the one in the hotel grounds and not the one in the Jungle park which we did not see. The massage was great - so pampered and service was excellent - the spa is due for an upgrade at the end of the year (2012). currently housed in a covered pool villa, that's how i see it. But the room for treatment was very well set up and comfortable - current promotion was 50% off before 2pm which we took advantage of. Therapist was good and overall a super experience!

The gym is set above the main check in building - on the 2nd floor overlooking the place and looks nice enough. Closes very early (like before 5) and I am not sure why...

Finally the Jungle Park - won't delve into much here as one read many other comments about people who have come here for a good outdoor time. Great place for both the kids and grown ups... not crowded at this time of year at all though. Could be bigger but the slides offer a lot of fun and i think the lifeguards seem very vigilant and no shortage of them here.

Yes I have more more thing (like Steve Jobs) the hotel is next to a runway and if you are looking for total peace and quiet this may not be it. One can always hear and see the planes but this is Phuket and they are not taking off and landing every 15 minutes - we did not find it intrusive or in any way annoying. Slept very very well...

We liked the Centara Grand West Sands and I am sure we shall be back - knowing better what to expect and how to better enjoy ourselves this time around.

Room Tip: Go for the one bedroom luxury suite - worth the extra money... and for large families the Family sui...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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10  Thank JoeNg147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 June 2012

The hotel is a very nice property with a water park next door - which is included in the price of the room. The beach is very nice and almost secluded - this is the best part of staying in this hotel. The pool has a basketball net which makes it very nice to relax and play basketball. However, the hotel is very far from the jetty and at least a 20 mins drive to patong - the center of Phuket. Upon check in we were presented with a welcome drink which has become extinct in hotels these days. We were then escorted to a room which turned out to be a twin for a honeymoon couple even when we had informed. When we spoke to the reception, we were quickly moved and upgraded to a suite. Very well for a 5 star to keep a guest happy. The rest of the stay went well but a rented car would have definitely helped. There were shuttles going to different places but they were minimum and often booked in advance.
Overall a nice place to stay if a nice and secluded beach is what you want.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank EventProfessional
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2012

We really had a great time during our stay at this resort. The splash jungle water park is really cool. It's the best water park that we ever visited. And, because we stay at CG West Sands, we can enter the water park for free. The tickets to enter the spash jungle water park is 1150 baht for adult and 750 baht for children. So, if you do not live in Phuket, it's highly recommend to stay at Centara Grand West Sands.
Our room at CG West Sands is very big and very comfortable. All staff are very friendly. Restaurants and kid club are also really nice.
Although this resort is located quite away from Patong beach or Phuket downtown (about 30-40 km), this hotel still a very good place to stay. I suggest you to rent a car. It's very cheap to rent a car in Phuket, in my case only 900 baht per day (brand new Honda City) and only 100-200 baht for GPS. Phuket is not a big island, and the road is good and easy to drive.

Room Tip: Request for the building near Jungle Deli restaurant if you want to play the jungle splash water par...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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7  Thank akepunlop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2012

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
4  Thank Gary G
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed 23 May 2012

We just spent 3 days 2 nights in this resort, as part of our Phuket trip. We were fetched by hotel taxi driver from Patong. The check-in is fast and we got a room upgrade to 2 bedroom Luxury Suite. The room is so spacious and well-decorated. There is a Jacuzzi in the bathroom of master room. There are also very complete kitchen utility. Microwave, oven and intruduction heating. 3 big LED TV and to our surprise there is also a washing machine and dryer! The wifi in the room works perfectly.

The environment is also very pleasant. The hotel looks like a park. Amazing landscape and greens. I especially like the waterwheel on the lagoon. The swimming pool and beach is also nice. You will not be much disturbed by airplane noise in the room. Actually my son loves to see the big plane pass the window. However, in the swimming pool, it's a bit annoying.

Breakfast got a lot of options, mostly thai style and western style. However, the egg station chief is not very nice, I request for omelette, he passes me a made omelette (probably rejected by other customer) which nothing is wrapped inside. Plain egg and totally no taste.

The location of the resort is very very isolated. It's almost impossible to reach any shop by walk. The choice is very limited and expensive. The SPA in the resort is over-priced after 50% discount still 882.76 (incl 10% + 7%VAT). Much higher than the average price in Phuket.

The situation is much better after we rented a car through reception with daily rate 1300bah. The staff help us is very nice and tells us a lot info regarding traveling Phuket by self-driving.

The driving in Phuket is quite straightforward. Go though the drive way and enter the 402 main road. Turn left is Turtle village, where there are several Branded Outlet, Coffee Club and small and expensive supermarket. After a U-turn, there is a petrol station with a mid-size supermarket. The goods are cheap. Another 30 minutes drive towards Phuket direction, there is Tesco Lotus. There are several nice restaurants, pharmacy, shops, banks and big supermarket.

The transport inside the resort is an issue. The resort is very big. Most road inside the resort is designed only allow buggy to pass. However, there are not enough buggies, so you have to either wait for 10-20 minutes for buggy to come or walk 10-20 minutes under big sun to reach the place. Both is unpleasant.

The hotel allows us to late check-out until 4:00pm. The check-out after 4:00pm will incur a 1500bah charge. The reception staff are very friendly during our stay in the lobby.

Overall, our stay at the hotel is still pleasant. However, the hotel has room to improve.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank SmileKitten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket

Address: 65 Moo 4, Mai Khao Soi 4, Mai Khao, Phuket 83110, Thailand (Formerly Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket)
Region: Thailand > Phuket > Thalang District > Mai Khao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Mai Khao
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Mai Khao
#7 Spa Hotel in Mai Khao
#9 Luxury Hotel in Mai Khao
Price Range: $113 - $446 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket 5*
Number of rooms: 556
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket is located on the west coast of Phuket and set in 47 acres of land with 500 metres of pristine beach frontage on Mai Khao Beach, the longest and quietest stretch of beach on this side of the island. The resort has been designed to blend in with its ecologically sensitive environment, and has its own green systems that ensure the natural resources of the area are conserved.The design focus of the resort is an extensive water park with swimming pools, a lazy river and waterslides, including a huge Super Bowl slide. All rooms, suites and villas are of modern design and are carefully sited to take advantage of the stunning views of the Andaman Sea and Phuket's dramatic hinterland.Although this part of Phuket is renowned for its extensive areas of natural and undisturbed beauty, the resort is only 15 minutes away from Phuket International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
West Sands Hotel Phuket
Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket Mai Khao

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