Situated only 20 minutes away from the airport, Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach resort is actually a Marriott vacation club ownership resort. However, it is also open to the public and you do not need to be a member to stay there. All their rooms here are 2-bedroom apartments – ideal for families like ours. The apartments are super spacious and comes with a fully equipped kitchen (loved this as we had a young baby), a washer/dryer (godsent if you are staying for many days!), a separate living and dining area and a nice huge furnished balcony. The master bedroom came with a massive bathroom with bathtub, it felt like an extra room itself.
The apartment provided ample room for the kids to freely move around and play, and boy was I glad we had this space as we encountered a few rainy occasions during our stay there, but the kids were perfectly content staying indoors.
Just a minute down the road is the sister hotel, JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa. It does get a bit confusing with the names because both are Marriott resorts and under the same group, but the JW Marriott have hotel rooms as opposed to apartments and houses more restaurants and facilities. You can easily go between these two places via the resort buggy or shuttle.
Activities available at Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach, Phuket
Swimming – while the main pool here is not a huge one, it is sufficient, with many deck chairs and cabanas around. For the little ones, there is a shallow wading pool where they can mess around in the water. There is also a smaller pool where the kids can play on the water slide and wet playground. My kids spent many hours each day between pools.
The beach – To get to the beach, you will need to take the resort buggy (only a 2 minutes ride) but once you get there, you will be greeted by a nice sandy beach and clear blue waters. Unlike the party area of Patong, Mai Khao beach is way less crowded, and no one will be hassling you to buy any souvenirs. Sadly, there were red flags on the days we were there as the sea was very rough due to the rain, so we could not swim. There were no lifeguards around as well. I can only imagine how nice it would be on a calm day!
Fire show – depending on the schedule for the week, there are different activities available at the resort. When we were there, we were lucky enough to catch the fire show at night. It was truly amazing to see up close fire being spat out from someone’s mouth. Needless to say, the kids were left in awe.
Kids Club – There are activities arranged for kids every day, ranging from sushi and waffle making to nail painting and movie nights. Although the kids club is not very big, it still provided a nice space for the kids to enjoy, and the staff were all super friendly.
Mini golf – There is a 9-hole mini-golf course just right by the pool. Although the course is simple, it effortlessly provides an hour of enjoyable and competitive entertainment for all ages.
Turtle conservation centre – Over at JW Marriott, there is a turtle conservation centre set up as Mai Khao beach is so pristine that turtles come to this beach to lay their eggs every year. Turtles are nurtured at the centre from a few months old and it was very nice to see and learn all about turtles and the conservation efforts. The girls even got to feed the turtles as well!
Elephants – Just a few minutes down the road, we spotted an area with elephants. They are there every evening, coming from MaiKhao Elephant Home. The animal handlers sold buckets of sugarcane so you get to buy and feed the elephants and at the end of the session, get some photos taken with them. You could definitely not ride them, which was a good thing to know. My girls loved it!
Food and the surroundings
The resort itself only has one restaurant on site that serves up a blend of Western and Eastern cuisine. We tried their breakfast buffet twice and enjoyed the variety of food on offer. Some days, we took the resort buggy over to JW Marriott as there are more restaurants there. We had a good Italian dinner at Cucina and a very entertaining and delicious Teppanyaki dinner at Benihana. I highly recommend Benihana as not only is the food scrumptious, but you will also be in for a performance at the teppanyaki table too. Please book in advance as it is very popular!
Right outside of the resort, you can find Turtle Village, a small square that houses a few restaurants (a good variety of food), a pub, retail outlets, a pharmacy, and a well-stocked supermarket. We would head to Turtle Village everyday either to stock up on snacks or grab some coffee and food. It was so convenient! I loved this little square.
Monsoon season in Phuket starts from May to October. We were there at the end of May, and we encountered rain every day, but it wasn’t continuous. There were always bouts of sun throughout the day which allowed us to enjoy the pools and other activities. Rainy season means less tourists too, so you get to avoid the crowds.
Although JW Marriott is the sister hotel, guests at Marriott Mai Khao are not allowed to use the pools and kids club over there and vice versa. However, the turtle conservation centre is open to guests from Marriot Mai Khao. If you prefer a more hotel feel and want more amenities, it is definitely better to stay at the JW Marriott.
The restaurants at JW Marriott are rather popular so it is best to book in advance. The staff at Marriott Mai Khao can handle the reservations for you.
Phuket town is an hour plus away from Mai Khao. As we wanted to just chill and relax, we didn’t bother venturing out with the kids. However, day trips or taxis can easily be arranged by reception.
There isn’t a lot going on in the area besides the few resorts and Turtle Village, but hey, we were there for a relaxing holiday, and we sure got one! We all had a great time and the kids are already wanting to go back again!
If you’re looking to get out more, head to Chiang Mai!
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