We loved so much the time we spent in Bangkok and northern Thailand in December that it was a must for us to visit some of its islands too. But which of them choose and how to organise? There are too many awesome options, and our time too short! As Romanians, we need a visa to visit Thailand and can only stay for 2 weeks with visa on arrival. Plus that I was a bit worried about island hopping with a toddler (for no reason, of course!), as it was a first time for us too.
In the end, we decided to fly to Phuket and organise our time from there. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and probably the most popular beach destination of the country. Being so touristic can be a good thing, as you’ll find here anything you want and it is significantly more developed than most of the region. Plus there are lots of cheap flight options to get here. But, on the other hand, Phuket is crowded, overpriced and very commercial.
We decided to base ourselves in Patong first, which is the largest and most famous beach resort in Phuket. Then we visited for one week other islands in the Andaman Sea, returning to Phuket in the more quiet Kamala Beach.
Swissotel Resort Phuket Patong Beach
People don’t usually recommend a vacation in Patong with kids, as it is well known for parties and nightlife, a typical destination for young people. But we found great child friendly places here. Considering all the reviews I read, Patong completely exceeded our expectations! This is partly due to Swissotel Resort Phuket Patong Beach, the wonderful hotel where we stayed for 3 nights. Located right in the middle of the action and close to everything in Patong, we enjoyed a very relaxing atmosphere here.
Even from the entrance, Swissotel Patong impressed us with an elegant lobby and a modern bar, with a stunning design. We had a large room facing the interior courtyard, well secluded from the noise on the streets. The Swiss Signature rooms are recently renovated and feature elegant decorations in light colours and hardwood floors. We had a very comfortable stay here and plenty space, including a balcony. This means we were able to work something in the evening, without disturbing the toddler’s sleep or feeling cramped close to him. For larger families, connecting rooms are available, or even family rooms with bunk beds, particularly arranged for kids.
Awesome choice if you visit Patong with kids, Swissotel has lots of facilities for the little guests. The Kid’s World was the perfect place for Eric to hide from heat without getting bored. It features plenty of toys, for all ages, a ball pit and play station for older children. The only problem we faced here was closing time, when we had to leave!
Eric is a huge water lover, so you can imagine we spent enough time at the kids pool too. It has a strategic location at the third floor, between the buildings, to benefit of more shadow. The inflatable water toys make it an even better place for kids. The parents can also relax a bit, at the swim-up bar or in the jacuzzi section, one floor below. For more convenience, you can choose a room with direct access to the pool!
Even though Swissotel Phuket Patong is a family-friendly hotel, adults enjoy their time here too. The hotel features another pool, on the top floor. The elegant design and relaxing sun beds makes the rooftop pool the perfect spot to spend a relaxing day. Add a visit to the luxurious spa center and you’ll have your perfect day in Patong!
We spent great evenings on the terrance at the seventh floor, at On Top Bar, overlooking the sunset. The tasty cocktails are a perfect match to complete this scenery. Even Eric was fascinated about the place and you can’t imagine the face of the bartender when 3-years old Eric asked for a “fruit mocktail”! On the top floor there is also the Swiss Lounge, with restricted access to suite guests only, which guarantees more privacy to work or relax over a complimentary snack or drink.
Specific dinner events are organised on the rooftop terrace, like Italian or seafood night. Unfortunately, the evening we planned to joined was the only time it rained during our whole stay in Thailand, so we had to relocate indoors. Luckily the delicious food, reminding us of our holidays in Italy, paid off and made us forgot this small issue.
Just minutes away from the beach and the food market, there are plenty of options to spend your time around Swissotel Patong. I recommend you to visit the night market just across the main street. It is an experience to be tried when you visit Patong! The food is awesome and prices, even though touristic, are significantly lower than in the restaurants nearby. But, if you miss western food and atmosphere, Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters are right at the ground floor of Swissotel Patong!
We skipped a visit to the beach in Patong; this is located just a few minutes away from the hotel. It features fine sand and shallow sea, and amenities like sun lounges or umbrellas are available. But we prefer more quiet, wild, less touristic beaches, which we found on smaller islands. Walking around Patong, we paid a visit to Jungceylon Shopping Mall, located nearby the hotel. This is huge and you’ll find here anything you might look for; since we are not so much into shopping we didn’t spend a lot of time here. And of course, if you are not in Patong with a child, don’t miss Soi Bangla, with its famous nightlife.
Swissotel Phuket Resort Kamala Beach
Next week, returning to Phuket after the visit on tiny and laid back islands, we preferred a more relaxed place instead of the vibrant Patong. Since we enjoyed so much our time in Swissotel Resort Phuket Patong Beach, we happily choose the same hotel chain in the more quiet Kamala.
Swissotel Phuket Resort Kamala Beach is the perfect family destination. Located a bit remote from the town, it is spread on a large property, with lots of amenities for children.
A suite-only resort, at Swissotel Kamala you can choose from one up to three bedrooms; some of the rooms are especially designed for kids, with colourful bunk beds, toys and a play station. So, no matter how big your family is, you’ll find the perfect setup for you over here. Each suite has a large living room, where Eric had plenty of space to play, plus a small kitchenette. The living room features a private balcony or terrace overlooking the garden and pool. The soundproofing is very good and we were never bothered by the activities that took place over there.
The lagoon pool area is very large, with plenty sun lounges and not too crowded. The kids pool, a water slider and the sand area were the main attractions for Eric over there. For older kids I saw various games like darts, pool and so on. Right next to the swimming pool is the Kids Club, where we spent a significant amount of time. It is suitable for kids all ages, due to the very friendly environment and the large selection of toys and games available. Open from the morning until late in the evening, it is perfect when the kids got bored from the swimming pool or when it is too hot to stay outside.
An extensive range of activities for children are organised daily, on a predefined schedule. Eric was a bit reluctant to many of them, he might be too young or it was difficult for him to get along, since everybody was speaking different language. But he loved the face painting scheduled each morning. It was a great start of the day for him and a must before having breakfast. Kids aerobics or Thai dance, pizza making and cupcakes decorations seemed the most popular among older kids. Each afternoon there was a special event outside, by the pool; by far, the best was the foam party, enjoyable even by the adults. In the evening, there were games organised for the whole family, like Bingo, or a children movie projection. Can’t wait for Eric to be a bit older, to be able to watch a kids-movie together.
Our breakfasts at Swissotel Kamala were one of the best for the last few months. Not even that the food was great and diverse, but the restaurant featured a kids area too. So we could peacefully enjoy our morning coffee while watching Eric play nearby. He also felt great about being able to pick his own food, at the kids breakfast corner. Cereals, pancakes, milk and fruits, the food options are very good for the young guests.
For lunch and dinner the restaurant features an asian and international menu. There is also a kids menu, with food which the little ones will love due to the original setup. We also tried Baithong Restaurant, just a few meters away from the reception. Baithong restaurant has a Thai menu, specialised in seafood. Apart from the classic Thai dishes, you can choose fresh sea food to be cooked by your order. It has a modern minimalist terrace and very attentive staff. All the three of us are big foodies and we loved dinning over here (Thai cuisine is very high in our worldwide rankings). If you visit, you must try the coconut ice cream, one of our favourite desserts in Thailand!
I have to admit we hardly visited Kamala during our stay at Swissotel. The resort had so many to offer and Eric loved it so much, that we preferred to relax a bit more and take a break. But, from our evening walk we consider Kamala a very good option for a quiet, family holiday. Completely different than the crazy Patong, Kamala is a laid-back place, not that crowded and with a more local feeling. It is also one of the few places in Phuket where you will find beachfront restaurants, mostly specialised in local cuisine.
Disclosure: We were hosted by Swissotel in Patong and Kamala, in exchange for an honest review. As always, all the opinions expressed here are our own.