Friday, December 1, 2017

Family vacation at the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

The drive from Phuket International Airport to the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach took us through Phuket Town and the famous Patong Beach, with its crowded strip of bars and restaurants fronting a long stretch of beach. 

Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

We climbed up a hill and disappeared into the quiet, and then finally we were at the hotel and checking into the beautiful Merlin Suite directly in front of Tri-Tang Beachone of the best rooms

Our 83-square meter Merlin Suite, decorated in muted colors with traditional Thai furnishings, had a living room and dining room with terracotta floors and wood-paneled doors that opened to a beautiful bedroom. On one side of this bedroom was a walk-in closet and a massive bathroom with a bathtub overlooking the swimming pool; on the other side was a terrace that faced the sea.


Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

THE PERFECT LOCATION

The Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach itself is a fun five-star hotel in Phuket perfect for families, away from the clatter of Phuket’s main entertainment and shopping districts but so near it, should you manage to pull yourself away from the hotel.

It’s smartly designed so that you never really feel the surge of crowds, and divided by three pools — a family pool with a children’s pool, a main pool at the center of the complex, and the more quiet Nam Tok pool to one side with a juice bar — so there’s space for everyone; even when the hotel is on full occupancy, as it was that weekend we were there.

Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

In our section of the hotel, we had the luxury of two swimming pools and a quiet restaurant called the Beach Grill that serves breakfast on the terrace, just below our suite. The main restaurant at the center of the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa serves most of the guests, but those who prefer a more exclusive experience can get a comprehensive healthy breakfast and eggs and waffles made to order here.


Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach



STARTING THE DAY RIGHT

This is what we did every morning, and with great enjoyment. It was wonderful to begin each day with a beautiful view of the Andaman Sea and then to head downstairs for a big brunch on the terrace by the beach. My own favorite corner was the juice stand where the waitstaff patiently made all kinds of fresh juices depending on the season.


Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach


Then our days were filled with a litany of activities. The children headed straight to the children’s activity room immediately after breakfast everyday, where smiling staff awaited them in a brightly-colored playroom with games to play, shirts to tie-dye, and kites to paint. Pretty soon, our hotel suite was filled with their artworks – creations we’ve brought home that serve as wonderful memories of our stay.


Juice Bar at Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach

Meanwhile, my husband caught up on his reading, establishing himself on a lounge chair by the swimming pool for the remainder of the mornings with a pile of books from the New York Times reading list. As for me, I made a bee-line for the spa of the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, conveniently located next to the kids’ activity room, where each day I chose a wellness treatment designed to invigorate the body and mind.





One day, the spa offered a comprehensive package that incorporated local honey into facial and body scrub treatmentsThe Honey Rejuvenating Package at the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach includes a 50-minute body scrub, a 60-minute facial, and a 10-minute foot bath, using honey-based spa productsI booked this and spent a blissful four hours in the spa, having added a foot massage onto the package as well.


Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach


PIZZA AND ITALIAN FOR LUNCH
IN PHUKET

For lunch, we usually met at our favorite breakfast place and simply ordered burgers and pizza from the grill, in addition to big ice creams for dessert. For dinner, it was always a toss-up between the D.O.C.G., the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach Italian restaurant, famous for its cured meat selection, and the Thai Pantry, considered one of the best restaurants in Phuket.



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At the D.O.C.G., we loved starting our evenings with a charcuterie platter sliced to order accompanied by chutney, pecorino cheese, and crostini, followed by roasted pumpkin ravioli and a slow-baked lasagna. As we were by the sea, we always requested for the market fish of the day, seasoned with aromatic herbs and grilled to perfection.

A DELICIOUS THAI DINNER



Seafood and Pad Thai for dinner at Thai Pantry
of the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa 


Meanwhile, the Thai Pantry is not at all your typical hotel Thai restaurant. It serves authentic local favorites like deep-fried fresh fish and chicken with pandan leaves, so we relished our dinners here. It was an added bonus that the game room for children, where kids could watch movies and teenagers could hang out and play video games, was just across the Thai Pantry restaurant, so my husband and I could order and enjoy some quiet time together while the children amused themselves in the game room until our orders arrived.


Tri Tang Beach in Phuket, Thailand


After dinner, just before returning to our suite, we would head out to Tri-Tang Beach just to sit on a ledge, listen to the waves and enjoy the cool breeze. Every day at the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach was wonderful, and this was the perfect way to end our days.

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