I haven't seen any reports about this property so I'll provide one. I've stayed at the neighboring vacation club property and had seen this one while it was under construction and during that tour was told that the facilities would be shared with the two Marriott properties next door. While the previous stay was just ok, we decided to try this property and give it another go.
First, the rooms are very nice. Two bedroom apartments that have a nice dining area, living room area and kitchen (though these kitchens also don't have stoves). Master bedroom was spacious and a nice large tub and seperate shower. Part of the trip we had a plunge pool room and it was nice, though they didn't clean it of stones/pebbles at all.
Thats the good. Housekeeping did a nice job with our room, once we established that they should be cleaning it. Our stay was two reservations, one reservation was for 7 nights in a plunge pool using points and the other was a general 2 night reservation that I paid the going rate. When I checked in they informed that they wouldn't put us in the plunge pool room for all nine nights - even though one was available. Ok, so I asked why not. Because we only honor your reservation. Ok, I am a Marriott Platinum member. We don't run the hotel as a marriott, this is seperate. I see, just out of curiosity what is the occupancy rate right now? Oh, its about 40%. Hmm and you won't consider upgrading a Platinum member who has stayed at the Marriott club next door previously? No........Ok, so when we changed rooms two days later the next day no housekeeping shows up. Ok, at about 5 or 6 I venture out and ask why no housekeeping....because you either make your own room or have to pay for it. Ok, thats a new concept to me, and frankly one that I'm not really interested in while on holiday. I guess if your a vacation club owner (which I'm not) then you have to pay extra to get housekeeping. So the next day housekeeping showed up. The following day had to remind them in the afternoon that housekeeping stopping by would be greatly appreciated. After that it was ok. And housekeeping did a nice job each day.
We came understanding that we could freely use the facilities of the next door Marriott & vacation club.....turns out that isn't correct!!! You can use anything that you pay for....anything that might not be paid for you can't use!! Can't use the pools, can't use the gym, can't use the bikes, or the tennis court, etc, etc, etc. This wouldn't be a big deal if they offered comparible facilities. They don't.
The pool is going to be a complaint for many people. It has square islands all through it with ledges - which means that if you actually want to swim you have to swim in straight lines. Its nice for 5 and 7 year old kids. But there is only one pool. And it got crowded....and that was with 40% occupancy!!! During high season I predict some interesting times.
The kids club is a small room and it was really overcrowded to the point they were taking kids outside to try to do activities. My girlfriends daughter actually "disappeared"...we stopped by to pick her up and she wasn't there!!! She had wandered off to the small playground they have. I wasn't really concerned, but what put me off somewhat was that the folks in the center wouldn't go and help us to look for her (it took about 15 minutes).
The staff was generally friendly, but service was really a 50/50 proposition. several times I had to go and follow up on my requests. Mostly small things like salt/pepper, which for whatever reason they provide in the kitchen, but only on request. After twice waiting more than an hour (and each time having to go to the front desk) I went and bought salt/pepper. But the real winner on the service front was when I changed rooms I was told to come at 10:30-11am to get new room keys (when I checked in originally), when the day came they wanted me to wait until 3pm because the room they were going to assign me to had someone checking out late. Ok, I asked if there were other plunge pool rooms available? Yes there are - ok so why not give me one of them.....after much discussion with myself and me pointing out that I had other plans for the day (other than to wait to move my stuff at 3pm), I got a different plunge pool room. When I left, I asked the previous day to check out at 1:30 in the afternoon - the reply...I'm sorry sir but checkout time is 10am. Ok, so for Marriott Platinum members the checkout time is 10 am, but if your in the room I'm assigned to when I check in, then you can check out at 3pm. I simply said that if they wanted to stick to 10am I'd like to speak with the hotel manager as to why platinum members check out at 10, but others check out at 3pm - again the hotel was half full at best the day I checked out. After about 5 minutes they "reluctantly" agreed to 1:30.
But perhaps my two biggest complaints were that 1. The washer/dryer in the room required your attention. If you ran the washer and were at the beach, you would need to wash your clothes again. We ran the washer one morning and in the middle of the afternoon returned and placed everything in the dryer....upon taking the clothes out and putting on a shirt.....I discovered that the clothes reeked.....they literally smelled worse than when I put them in!! We rewashed and then things were fine if you took the clothes out immediately after the washing machine finished. Later the same thing happend one night when we went out for dinner. I asked if this was common or if there was a problem with the water - never got a reply. 2. Security is really lax, twice my girlfriend got up in the middle of the night because she felt someone was outside - and both times she was correct. First time saw someone walking out of the patio area at about 1am - we had closed the gate. A few days later the same thing happened at about midnight. I wasn't overly concerned other than to check the locks on the sliding doors, but she was really concerned. But I can say that it didn't appear that this was a guest just wandering around. When I spoke to the front desk they seemed concerned but I never heard back from them.
Not being able to use the Marriott next door really means this is an apartment complex for rent. The rooms themselves are nice, but you certainly aren't on a resort. There is nothing else there. The apartments, the pool immediately behind the apartments. Right behind the pool is another resort which is fenced off. Across in the other direction is the employee parking lot and assorted buildings. If you want to get to the beach you either walk over through the marriott (took us about 15 minutes) or get a golf cart over.
You had better rent a car if you'll be here more than a few days. Overall I was really disappointed with the attitude that its not a Marriott and just really felt like we had a room and thats it. One thing that will eventually be good is that there should be a grocery store opening next door sometime in the late summer.
So nice apartment room and pool for 5 year olds and you'll be happy. If you want a resort though, I'd stay far, far away. A good way to sum it up...we had stayed the previous week at the Hilton in Karon....about two days before we left I was asked by my girlfriend only half-joking - why did we leave the Hilton again?