The Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort is located in Kamala Bay, on a stretch of road sometimes called ‘Millionaires Mile’. The Hyatt opened with a soft launch in December 2013, before it formally opened in January 2014. Prior to the 2004 Tsunami, this property was formerly known as the Kamala Bay Terrace Hotel. It is Hyatt’s third property in Thailand behind the Grand Hyatt Erawan in Bangkok and the Hyatt Regency in Hua Hin.
About 350,000 Australians visit Phuket every year, lured by a holiday slightly more exotic than visiting Bali. We tend to find Phuket to be over-run with tourists and as a result prices are high and the service levels are low.
What you are looking for in a resort stay is an excellent all-round experience. Ordinarily when pushed our preference of beaches to stay at on Phuket is the peaceful Mai Khao beach. We were interested to try out somewhere else and looking on their website, this Hyatt looked to fit the bill. We were looking forward to a relaxing stay: a slow-paced island vacation with delightful surprises at every turn.
A single public road runs along the front of the resort hotel between it and the beach. As we approached we noticed out the window that the beach out front didn’t look like a swimming beach. As our driver pulled into the resort complex, the guard quickly pushed aside the flimsy wooden barrier to let us through.
Staff came rushing out to greet and usher us into the hotel’s expansive open air lobby. The staff promptly sat us down and checked us in, thanking us profusely for being a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member. While the formalities were taken care of, a welcome drink and refresher towel were brought out.
Given the layout of the property, which is built on a very steep hill, guests aren’t likely to spend much time in the lobby. Which is a pity because it is new construction and certainly is a very nice lobby.
The hotel’s main pool is located at the front of the resort. It is elevated so that it looks over the top of the road out at the bay. We found this massive pool to be never crowded and the water to be plenty warm.
There is a bar and restaurant adjacent.
There is also another bar up a level, slightly removed from the pool.
Golf carts are used to transport guests around the hotel . The property is built on the side of a steep hill, with blocks of rooms scattered around. We were to be escorted to our room by golf cart, but (in a sign of things to come) there was a wait for one.
We’d been allocated a room high up on the hill and so there were sweeping views of the property as we were shuttled to our room by golf buggy. You wouldn’t want to walk this…
Our Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond upgrade was to a regular Club room. The hotel’s website claims this is a ’46-square-metre guestroom’ (~500 sqft). It felt smaller than that, even if you included the balcony.
The design of the room encouraged you to sit on the balcony because the only other place to perch was an odd seat at the end of the bed or the seat at the desk. The room didn’t exactly make for a relaxing escape from the heat outside. Moreover, the room felt tired even though the resort has only been open after renovation for 18 months.
The bathroom certainly has a large footprint. It has floor to ceiling glass on one side making it an open-concept bathroom (according to the hotel’s website). While the tub looks massive, we found that it was in fact quite shallow.
The shower was spacious and had good water pressure.
From the room we had a nice view down over the resort and the Andaman Sea. At one point during our stay the circuit breaker in our room tripped and we waited out on the balcony while maintenance came to restore the electricity.
Its worth noting that the balcony of the room didn’t offer much privacy from adjacent rooms.
The hotel has limited transportation options to get out and see the surrounding area.
The hotel runs a complimentary tuk tuk to Kamala. The hotel also has a one way shuttle to Patong. Yes, that’s right: one way. Getting back, guests need to pay a taxi driver the standard cartel price. When we visited, the one way shuttle was free for Gold Passport Diamond members.
No footpath runs alongside most of the road to the resort so you wouldn’t want to go for a walk. You might make it as far as the luxurious Andara Phuket located nearby, but perhaps then you wouldn’t want to come back.
Uber claim to be in Phuket, but the app can never find any cars so you are really left in the hands of the local taxi mafia.
The hotel’s gym is the floor below the Regency Club. We often found kids playing unsupervised in the gym.
Regency Club lounge
We were in a block of rooms located slightly down the hill from the Club. It was always tempting to get a golf cart given how steep the hill was, even though it wasn’t far. The difficulty with calling for a buggy from your room was that you would be standing by the roadside for an uncertain amount of time as the hotel operator wouldn’t be able to provide an indication of how long it would be (and sometimes it would be a while). A building even higher up the hill contains the hotel’s spa and another restaurant, but we never made it up there for this reason.
No keycard is required to open the door to the Club, just head straight on in.
The Club can also be accessed through a very elaborate staircase from the gym.
As the Club is just one big room the behaviour of the other guests is very noticeable. At times this could have easily been mistaken for the greater extended family lounge rather than Regency Club.
It is really handy in these hot climes to have a fridge of cold water and soft drinks that you can help yourself to all day. Most other resorts on Phuket don’t have club lounges, so this is a real differentiator in terms of Phuket resorts.
The selection during the breakfast and in the evening was very solid.
The lounge also has a BBQ, which is used by a chef in the morning to cook eggs to order and at night to make a couple of dishes. Bruschetta seemed to be a daily staple.
The Regency Club serves drinks and snacks from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. We did find the wine they offer to be truly undrinkable, so made do with beer and spirits.
We noticed each night that hotel management made themselves known in the club in the evening. Some awkwardly barged into conversation, others cleverly read the body language and moved on.
The Club has its own infinity pool. The club pool closes at 5pm. Presumably this is so people are not swimming while they are serving alcohol.
Hotel restaurant breakfast
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant. As Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member you can eat breakfast at either restaurant or Club.
Top tip: do both. Start with breakfast in the morning and then have a snack a bit later in the Club.
The pancakes and waffles were unfortunately not all that warm, despite the heat lamps.
Its worth noting that we found service at breakfast in the main restaurant to be extremely poor. Even getting a napkin was an extreme mission sometimes.
While it is clear that the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort is trying hard with what it has, we find the property is let down by its location and the fit-out of its rooms. The resort has the same ultimate owner as the Park Hyatt Siem Reap and the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, but you certainly wouldn’t know that staying here.