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Reviewed December 13, 2012

First off, I have never written a review before, however on returning from 5 sensational nights at the hotel, I felt compelled to tell you, the reader and potential visitor to the hotel what The Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay is really like.

If you are like me, making a decision to spend an awful amount of money going on a hotel entails doing your research before hand to ensure you have made the right choice. So, both my wife and I read many of the reviews listed on Trip Advisor, concentrating on the negative issues highlighted by some of the previous visitors.

So, lets address them head on and I will tell you the real story of what it is like to stay at the Ritz Carlton.

1. The Tanker and Pipeline: Described by one reviewer as a blot on the landscape, yes it does exists however...it is about a mile away, far to the left of the bay that hotel nestles in. Due to the way in which the hotel is orientated, you cannot see any tankers or loading platforms from most of the resort i.e. the pool area and most of the rooms. You can see it from the part of the beach, but once again the sun beds and sitting positions are mainly orientated towards other parts of the bay and as such will not be in your eye line. If you are concerned about the view from the hotel, don't be - it is simply amazing. Your view is a plethora of unique looking islands (think of James Bond "The man with a golden gun") and you will get some idea of the visual treat you are in for - simply beautiful.

2. The Staff: Both my wife have been been to many amazing hotels with superb service (and a few with not so good service) - how does this hotel rate. To say that ALL the staff could do enough for you is perhaps an understatement. It was quite apparent from the outset that there intention is for you to have the time of your life and their job to ensure you do. Most staff spoke very passable English and we never had any issues in communicating what we needed. I was told that the hotel can accommodate about 110 people however there are about 250 staff employed - this gives you some idea as to how attentive they can afford to be - and boy are they!! From our Butler, Bell, to the Resort Director, Carlos, to the pool attendants to the restaurant staff, to a person they couldn't do enough.

3. The Beach: If you are looking to take long daily walks on a soft sandy beach, then the hotel might not be the right place for you. The beach is in fact about half a mile long but there is quite a lot of broken coral on parts of the beach. If you wish to walk, use the "Crocs" shoes that the hotel provides each guest and enjoy the walk. It did not spoil our experience at all.

4. Cleanliness - Due to the size of the property, the nature of the climate and the rainforest like setting, it is a huge place to upkeep. The only issue we had was that the outdoor bath (very nice by the way) had some leaves in it. I asked our butler to arrange for it to be cleaned before we came back to the room that evening and low and behold it was, plus it was run with fab scented bubble bath. The rooms were spotless as were all indoor areas. The outdoor space was superbly groomed and there was a small army of staff maintaining the place.

5. Food: The hotel is small and there are effectively three restaurants, International, Thai and Seafood. Normally, two out of the three restaurants will be open at any one time - it would be difficult to keep all three open for only 100 or so people. Further, I know that we could have ordered Thai Food at the international restaurant should we so desired. Once again, they were there to accommodate you. As to the food quality, simply the best Thai food we had ever eaten - and we eat our fair share of it. How does it compare to the Thai food we ate in the local town, the hotel was way more expensive, but also considerably better. Cost wise, circa £20 for a main course. My one negative is that the wine on offer is very expensive - the cheapest bottle was about £35 - my advice would be to offer a choice of wine at a more reasonable price say £20-25 per bottle.

6. Atmosphere: This is a quiet hotel. If you are looking for a nightly rave, go elsewhere. My wife and I love chatting to one another (or her talking and me listening!!) so we were happy with the sound of our own voices together with that of the local wildlife chirping away. Even around the pool it is quiet and not suitable for young kids. We left our 2 at home and would certainly not bring them here - they would be bored and we would be fretting that they would be making too much noise (and boy would they). The atmosphere is very chilled and serene. Take in the immense beauty that rests before you and it will continue to remind you why you are alive.

7. The rooms: For a few reasons, we experienced 3 rooms, one because we arrived early and we then moved from another room because we felt it did not offer us enough privacy (by the way the management totally understood my issue and bent over backwards to offer us an alternative - we ended up in a Royal Suite - WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). All three rooms are magnificent in their own way and as you would expect, the more you pay the better room you get. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

To sum up, this hotel is simply outstanding. The attention to detail is one to behold and believe it or not, the value for money when compared to others in the class is good. We went to the hotel with the negatives in mind but decided to take a risk. Trust me, there was no risk. Take my word for it, go and enjoy what will be an experience of a lifetime. I have but one problem now, where else can my wife and I go on a special "just the two of us" holiday that will match up to it...the bar has been seriously raised.

To all the management and staff, thank-you; you made a special occasion very very special.

Until the next time.

Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 21, 2012

My husband and I are both seasoned travelers. Neither one of us has ever experienced such a magnificent amazing experience. Please keep this in mind, no pictures or words can do this resort any justice. One only has to experience it to truly understand the wonder of it. The beauty, serenity, service which is above and beyond amazing. The staff, especially the director Anna and Carlos, made us feel like we are royalty. You feel like you are the most important guests that ever visited the hotel. It happened to be my husband's birthday, and without me mentioning it, our butler suggested a private dinner for two under the stars on the rooftop of one of the restaurants set up with candles all over. It could not be any more beautiful. Every single meal we had was amazing, better than any 5 star restaurant and the drinks were to die for such as chili lemongrass or kafir leaves or cilantro mojitos! The staff had noticed that I like tamarinds and as we were leaving they had prepared a beautiful box of tamarinds for me, besides surprising us and treating us to a speedboat transfer to phuket!! How many resorts you think would do that? We were on our honeymoon, which had taken a lot of research. We are just so greatful that we had this incredible experience which we will never forget.

Date of stay: November 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Golie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 6, 2012

The property is an ideal one for honeymooners - amazing sunsets, a breathtaking infinity pool, very large rooms and very large bathrooms. The stay was one of the highlights of our Thailand trip especially the bathroom and shower area. There were issues regarding squeaky doors, lights, etc. but were addressed promptly by the Management who are keen to ensure that the clients have a wonderful experience. You can take a transfer to Hong Island in less than 20 minutes for Snorkelling although the communication levels are questionable as no one was there to inform us that getting into the water around mid-May is not a good idea as you will find Jellyfish as it is the outset of monsoon. The directions to the rooms and restaurants were not well marked and it can get confusing.

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank david t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 2, 2012

We stayed in the reserve villas and had two of them booked for a weekend. The rooms are nice and the four meter beds fun. The baths are generally very well appointed.

Quality of the Thai Food was very good (I am a Thai resident for the past five years) and not expensive by the Hotel Standards.

The butler (Khun Tanya) was nice - but the butler was simply too busy.... (She was probably handling just too many clients) so being in the buggy with her was like being in a call centre (her phone ringing all the time! - not something you want to experience in a hotel of this standard).

We took a boat to the Hong Island which was managed well and the hotel staff took good care. The sunset bar is very nice too. The swimming pool is "average" and this is not a white sand beach.

So overall good stay - but overall 'service' feel is what needs to be the differentiation - and this where this place needs so more work.

Room tip: Stay in the reserve villas - give a good sense of space. Look for a villa which completely faces the greens. Do try the Hong Island visit. Eat at the Thai Restaurant
Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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Thank SANBAT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 28, 2012

As a seasoned traveler and being based out of SE Asia, I have to say that the Phulay Bay was a disappointment. We stayed in two villas and got "upgraded" from the reserve pavillion villas to the beachfront villas despite asking not to be upgraded since the reserve pavillion villas are in fact, newer, more chic and what we wanted. The beachfront villas are older, and more poorly maintained, e.g. broken pool in front of our villa, older feel and design, not the cutting edge we were looking for. Our butler although a nice touch was generally late for our meetings and when we needed him e.g. during a 45 minute downpour when we were stuck by the pool he was not able to come and bring us our umbrellas.

The food choices, extremely limited as only 2 restaurants were open, and the food was ok, nothing spectacular. What really ruined the whole stay for us was the check-out process which took an hour, meaning we had to drive dangerously fast to the airport, and where the staff were completed incapable of managing our bills. I had to personally do the calculations and double check bills as other guests' receipts had been included into ours. Not something you expect from a Ritz-Carlton and completely unacceptable in this day and age with great competition of quality hotel options in SE Asia!!

We will definitely be returning to Krabi as it is a beautiful place, but I would not recommend Phulay Bay as a destination given our experience, and for the amount paid there are other hotels which I would recommend way ahead of this one.

Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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9  Thank SixtyDays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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