What’s it like? The first thing you notice when you enter the JW Marriott Khao Lak, which opened in 2009, is the fact that the lobby seems to have hardly any walls. Instead, a soaring wooden roof held up by white pillars surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and archways leading to other parts of the hotel make the lobby feel like a refreshingly fluid and open space.
The rest of the property is as free-flowing as the lobby. Rooms are spread across five wings that are arranged in two U-shaped units sitting next to each other but facing opposite directions, like a stylised number five. This format allows the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, the longest in Southeast Asia, to lazily meander around the entire property like a river, snaking around bars and restaurants, flowing under bridges and walkways and running past every ground-level guestroom.
Where is it? The hotel is located on a stretch of Khuk Kak beach in Khao Lak, which is approximately 60km north of Phuket. International visitors can access the property by flying into Phuket International Airport and then driving for just under two hours.
Room facilities All the rooms are housed within two- or three-storey traditional Thai-style buildings complete with layered roofs and finials and laced with authentic Thai interior features.
There are four room categories starting with the entry-level deluxe room, followed by family rooms, duplex suites and executive suites. Rooms measure from 45 sqm to 115 sqm. While all family rooms are pool access rooms, the deluxe room categories come in two types: its pool access rooms are located on the ground floor enabling guests to plunge into the swimming pool from their room patio, while pool view rooms on the upper floors have outdoor balconies instead. There are 16 duplex suites and three executive suites.
Rooms offer free wired and wifi internet access, work desks with iPod docking stations, DVD players, 40-inch LCD TVs, both a bath tub and rain shower facility and tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Restaurants and bars There are a total of eight F&B outlets scattered around the hotel. Two of the three bars are poolside – Infinity and Aquamarine – while the third, Czar bar, is located in the lobby. The five restaurants offer a range of cuisines from Thai at Ta-Krai to Japanese at Sakura and Mediterranean at Olive, located on the beach. Waterfront is where the buffet breakfast is hosted as well as lunch and dinner, with uninterrupted views of the hotel’s private beach, while the Deli is a small café located below the lobby.
Business and meeting facilities This property places great emphasis on flexible meeting spaces, with the facilities and resources to host functions or conferences anywhere from spa rooms to platforms inside the pool itself. Traditional business features include a business centre equipped with all essentials, as well as a ballroom for up to 150 people and three boardrooms for up to 40.
Leisure facilities Aside from the swimming pool and the private beach, JW Marriott Khao Lak offers plenty of onsite recreational options for all ages. Quan spa, built around an ornate Japanese garden, has 15 treatment rooms and a wide range of therapies.
There is also a gym, two indoor squash courts, two floodlit tennis courts and a Junior Club for kids. The hotel also runs a variety of daily classes throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors, including yoga and aerobics.
Tours of local attractions can be arranged, including Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, the Similan Islands and Khao Lak Elephant Camp.
HOW MANY ROOMS 293, comprising 19 suites and 274 guestrooms
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The pool access rooms are phenomenal not only because guests can jump directly into the pool, but also for the views. All rooms also have extremely comfortable beds.
PRICE Internet rates in October start from THB3,750 (US$125) per night for a deluxe pool access room
CONTACT JW Marriott Khao Lak, 41/12 Moo 3, Khuk Khak, Takuapa, Phang Nga, 82190, Thailand; tel +66 76 584 888;
This property’s swimming pool is its main attraction. Furthermore, being relatively new and located in an untouched area it offers an exceptionally tranquil experience.