Not all tourists who’ve been to Phuket have visited the island’s historical municipality. I — a lifelong beach buff and somewhat culturally ignorant — was also one of them.
Well, that was the case until recently.
My first visit to Phuket Old Town last month revealed that this world-famous destination is more than just a turquoise ocean and gorgeous beaches. The island, which has Siamese, Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian influence, is enriched with awe-inspiring architecture, a unique culinary hodgepodge and lovely small-town hospitality.
Staying at Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town, I was provided all-out convenience as an explorer on foot or by car while also having 5-star comfort.
The hotel just opened its door a few weeks prior to my stay. It is certified under the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration Plus programme. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the hotel upholds the highest levels of health and safety standards as part of Marriott International’s “Commitment To Clean” programme, which is redefining hygiene protocols. Fellow guests during my stay were a mix of Thai and Western holidaymakers.
The hotel is situated in the historic centre of Phuket’s old town and across the Surin clock tower roundabout.
Within 15 minutes on foot, guests can discover the best Phuket has to offer from shops and restaurants to cafes, local markets and tourist and cultural attractions in the lively yet humble neighbourhood.
Nearby highlights include the Thai Hua Museum, Baan Chinpracha Sino-Colonial Peranakan Mansion, Saeng Tham Shrine, Phuket Art Gallery and Sunday Walking Street Market, which is located on the Sino-Portuguese style Thalang street.
Meanwhile, Patong Beach and Kata Beach are less than half-an-hour’s drive from the hotel while Khao Rang viewpoint is just a 10-minute drive.
The hotel is approximately 40 minutes from Phuket International Airport.
Design and Facilities
Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town took over a building that was once home to the top-tier Metropole hotel.
The meticulously renovated interior of the new hotel is the work of design company PIA, which showcases contemporary flair while accentuating the rich culture and heritage of southern Thailand.
To help establish a connection with the local community, elements of traditional Thai arts and crafts such as nang talung (shadow puppet theatre of the South) and nora (a traditional dance drama just named by Unesco as a Intangible Cultural Heritage) are used as inspirations for design.
The hotel features 248 guestrooms, including 30m² deluxe rooms, 40m² family rooms, junior suites and two 140m² presidential suites.
There is also a state-of-the-art fitness centre and outdoor swimming pool overlooking the city and right next to it is a dynamic kids’ club.
For meetings, business conferences and social events, there’s a collection of function rooms and event spaces, including a 660m² pillarless grand ballroom accommodating up to 600 guests.
My deluxe room had a king-sized bed and it was a comfortable size. The room had a brand-new look and had a cosy vibe of fresh clean linen scent. The extensive window allowed lots of natural lighting as well as a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding hills.
The well-lit bathroom, which I really loved, was spacious and equipped with a large walk-in shower and high-quality showerhead and faucets. Water pressure was high and the water temperature was always constant. Toiletries and amenities were also of good quality.
For me, food was another great selling point of Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town.
Under the helm of high experience, the Thai executive chef whose career profile includes many 5-star hotels throughout Thailand ensures the cuisine here is committed to suit the palate of both local and international guests.
The hotel’s all-day dining restaurant Krua Talad Yai offers a sweeping variety of authentic southern Thai cuisine dishes, including the super-soft, springy and delicious moo hong (stewed pork belly southern style) and international favourites. The 200-seater is also the venue for buffet breakfast and value-for-money seafood and BBQ buffet dinner on Saturdays (990 baht per person).
For light meals, pastries, afternoon tea and gourmet caffeine fix, guests can indulge at Talung Lounge’s tasty offerings. The menu is designed for individuals or social dining and also features a grab and go option. Meanwhile, Kolae Pool Bar, the only rooftop pool bar in town, is a place for guests to unwind and relax over cocktails and light bites.
1 Soi Surin, Tambon Talat Yai, Muang District, Phuket 83000Call 076-643-555 or visit courtyardphukettown.com