Review of beachside resort The Nai Harn in Phuket.

The more we save money, the more we travel. But a pinch of luxury now and then is always exciting. A comfortable and unique stay is a deviation from our budget travelling style. Luxury is subjective. So whenever we call something luxury, we look for something special from the usual luxury. Either the location with a fantastic view or extraordinary architecture. We want to do nothing, but experience every bit of the place where we stay.

In Phuket, you find hundreds of expensive/luxury resorts to stay. We shortlisted two of them – Keemala and The Nai Harn. Keemala was way out of my budget, so we chose the Nai Harn with a beautiful beach right in front of it.

HEADS UP – This post is more like a review than a story.

Excitedly, we land in Phuket to spend a day on the private beach right in front of the resort. Evening showers are regular during June; So we were mentally prepared for not seeing enough. Making our way through the traffic by taxi, we went towards the Nai Harn. We could see a white building on an elevated area and the beach onto our left from afar. Even with slight showers, people at the beach seemed to enjoy both – Seawater and Sky water.

I wondered how a private beach could have so many people on its coast in a non-tourist season. The Nai Harn hotel website portrayed it to be a private beach. We got to know that it isn’t a private beach but a public one during checking in. Little disappointed by rain, more by the public beach-we went to our room on the upper floor with our butler. After staying in budget homestays, having your own butler and a phone to contact them was more than we could ask for.

The so-called Royal ocean view suite I had paid 9500 baht/ night didn’t have the ocean view! It was a massive suite with a living, dining and a bedroom. The most crucial part was missing. – open terrace with the beach view. The tiny balcony with parapet wall and some creepers was blocking the view of infinity. I was so angry that I wanted to check out with a full refund and go to some cheaper place! Controlling my anger, I requested our butler to get a change of room with a better view. Luckily, that was doable.

One more disappointment was waiting for us at the passage – There is a lift only till the 5th floor. The last two floors are accessible by walk from 5th the floor. A person like my Mom with Arthritis is made to suffer here. Public beach, no view, no lift and rain – Not a hotel you should be staying even in summers.

Though this room’s price is lesser than that bad suite with no views, a large open terrace is what I wanted. Finally, some peace! This room terrace was large and open enough. The white building on the cliffside, pink bougainvillaea and the green turquoise beach reminded me of Dana Villas at Santorini, and I whined how beautiful that was. And how mediocre this is.

The rain showed some mercy on us the next day morning. After a bit of drizzle, the sky was clear. Though you can’t see the sun rising, it was nice to watch the sky changing colours and the sea waves getting calmer.

The Best and Worsts of the Nai Harn Resort –

A few Bests apart from the typical things you find in any luxury resort-

  • Locality: The Nai Harn beach is away from the main road. When you compare crowded Patong beach to this, Nai Harn feels like heaven.
  • The breakfast spread is excellent. From continental to Traditional Thai cuisines, the food is fantastic here. There are multiple restaurants you can choose from – An open place, one with the bar, the other one sitting on the floor. Due to rain, all I could try was Cosmo restaurant. The rest were closed.
  • The In-House Spa: After too many disappointments, one thing that cheered us was the Spa. A complimentary one-hour entire body was truly rejuvenating.
  • You get your butler – This may be common for luxury travellers; for me, it was new. Even at Dana Villas, no private butler was assigned. She helped us in changing the room, booking a taxi and recommended an excellent dish to eat.

The worsts of Nai Harn

  • It isn’t a private beach – Period! Like the pictures on their website show, the beach isn’t at the foot of the hotel. When you see their restaurants, many pictures make you feel like “Dine by the beach”, which isn’t the reality.
  • Elevators – Top two floors are accessible by stairways only. Come on, which star hotel does this kind of inappropriate arrangements. It is a struggle for people with walking disabilities. Forget differently-abled. If you are tired at the end of the day, you get bugged up climbing those steps.
  • The staffs lack coordination – From Spa to the waiter, all are confused. They don’t communicate with each other when you place a request.
  • Ugly views from the costly rooms – I pay 275 USD to see the endless beach, not their parapet walls. Don’t book a Royal suite with an ocean view. Be sure of the terrace and sunbed you get

My verdict: Leaving the rain apart, this resort wasn’t worth the money. Neither the building is unique like Heritance Kandalama, nor historic like Saraye Ameriha. It isn’t as exotic as Dana Villas. I know what to expect when you pay a relatively large amount of money. I wish we had opted for another resort over this! 

Which is a place that looked fancy, but you were disappointed later in reality. Let us know in the comment section below. 

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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