IC Phuket (Master Thread)

Old Jan 11, 20, 1:23 pm
  #31  
 
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Wow after I read all the info I am hesitating you stay there now... booked an award stay, having no IC status (only Spire status), I guess I will be treated to the bottom of the guests...
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Old Jan 11, 20, 2:42 pm
  #32  
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My experience there for 6 nights in early December was great. I think it has LESS to do on your IC / IHG status and MORE about what type of room you book.

If you book one of the cheapest rooms on the mountain side, prepare to be underwhelmed... even if it's one of the so-called lagoon-view rooms. There's too much construction going on over on that side of the territory.

If you book a Club room (with Lounge access) on the beach side of the highway (see map below), then you will probably have an excellent experience.

That's what it all comes down to... Just a reminder of the setup of the hotel:
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Old Jan 14, 20, 6:22 pm
  #33  
 
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Angry Horrible experience

Originally Posted by palermo View Post
Unterwegs- I should have listened to you!

The hotel is a car crash. Checked in on the 6th and still here. I cancelled the last night. Now that the hotel is more occupied, it shows it is a hot mess.

It seems to cater to the Russian crowds and noisy children.

Booked points stay upgraded to lagoon view. Rooms are nice but nothing spectacular.

Food and service at pine bar in the beach is an unmitigated disaster.

Food at pinto is overpriced and unremarkable.

Sea Front area is way too small for the hotel and it looks and feels extremely crowded. There is no enough personal space. It is like being at a cheap resort fighting for sun beds type of situation.

Adult only pool is not enforced.

The mountain side pools are not serviced and that includes shortage of towels! No water and no possibility to order foods and drinks. Cleaning of the pools has room for improvement and that includes employees walking in and out of the pool barefoot.

Lots of constructions going on in the mountain side.

Service from staff has significant room for improvement.

Staying in the mountain side is a long way to the beach.

Kamala beach is nice but the area is not. Beach is public as in the rest of Pukhet

I have not availed of breakfast but the queue situation seems to be very bad. At check in, they suggest going early to avoid the crowds.

Overall, a disappointing new I/C which at the current rates is overpriced. On a positive side, the general areas of the hotel including lobby and walk-way to the spa is very scenic.

I stayed in the 2 bedroom pool villa from the 28th of Dec to the 3rd of Jan. The last time I felt so relieved to be leaving an IC resort was Fiji which was also a terrible experience.

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowU...hu_Phuket.html

This above is my review and I can't amend it without TA removing the management response but the hotel eventually gave us 2 nights free. On the day of our check out, the resort manageress (ex-IC Koh Samui staff) came to offer her apologies. And we received an apologetic email from the GM after we left. I thought that was a good laugh since we bumped into him a few times on the grounds (evidently he was on the property) but he never thought it would make sense to find out about complaints and soothe some feathers. The man does not greet guests (somewhere in the TA reviews there is a comment about management being racist but I would hate to think that is true since there about 1.4 billion Chinese people in this world) and I find that strange for a hospitality guy. Been to many hotels where uniformed staff greet us (and we do so in reply) even if we don't know each other. Anyway, the email is the typical "So sorry" email which I think would have been better delivered in person. Maybe he was afraid to listen to more complaints but the irony of this is that his surname is Courage. Lol.

We paid USD1200 per night for a villa with so many faults. Even after the free nights, it averaged USD800. Reasonable for the high season but truly, the stress and lack of relaxation was not worth it. Nobody wants to go on holiday and be stressed out. Due to the high season, we did not attempt to find alternative lodgings and we also could not change our flights. So the only option was to stay on.

Every single day that we were at the resort, a guest would be complaining. Food that was ordered did not arrive, housekeeping did not come despite being called multiple times on many days (guest had a baby who had a nap routine), guests only getting their rooms at 5pm when check in time is 3pm. It became even funnier when other guests started asking us about our experience at the club cabanas and if there was any service. We told her we had been there 5 nights and she would be lucky to have the club staff even come out to look at her. She marched into the club lounge and gave them a good bollocking. I guess you can say it was quite fun watching all these.

The food options were v boring. To me, a noodle station at a Thai breakfast spread is a must, IC BKK, HH and KSM all have a noodle station. The Asian food is not displayed well (hunting for a chinese soup spoon and chopsticks after getting my food is tiresome) and the selection did not change at all in the 6 days we were there. The executive chef walks around with his phone and little notebook and I think he just doodles in there since there is no improvement after all that walking. They started offering breakfast at the Thai restaurant (perhaps due to the crowd) but the offerings were dismal. We stuck to eating breakfast at Pinto or the club lounge. We went out regularly for our meals in the area and I even managed to get food delivery so that helped. Tea and cocktail hours were nothing exciting and I don't get how some reviews rave about the food on TA (same goes for the good reviews?!?).

Overall an EXTREMELY disappointing experience. I actually have little confidence this hotel will learn. They are very quick to reply to favourable reviews on TA but slow to the ones like mine. GM used to be the GM of the IC Okinawa resort so perhaps he is used to having ruthlessly efficient Japanese staff work for him and the Thais, while being v hospitable themselves, move to a different rhythm. In any case, I will not visit any property he is GM of in future and waste my time.

The property was open too early to catch the high season but they just could not cope with the volume. Terrible for an IC. Do not waste your money here folks.

Last edited by fern76; Jan 14, 20 at 6:29 pm Reason: grammar errors
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Old Jan 15, 20, 2:07 am
  #34  
 
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German Adventurer - While i understand your experience was different, my review is based on my belief that a good hotel should be defined by the experience in all the room types rather than just by the club rooms/suites. The rate for standard rooms were 550 euro during the xmas/post new years period and club rooms were closer to 900. Crazy for the quality of the hotel and the location within Phuket. We are talking Kamala, Phuket not a secluded beach in an exotic island or even in Koh Samui. I am fully aware peak season prices for Phuket are high but still....

If i had been in club (and pay the regular rates), I 'd venture to say that my review given what I have seen ( and the price tag) would have been equally critical. The club pool (which is not directly on the beach but on top of the Thai restaurant overlooking the sea) was overcrowded and small. The sun beds are placed in an odd position as there is no room besides the club pool. The beach area is the same for club and non club members.

I also fully understand you get a different experience when it is less busy. For instance I have been in Danang and Bali at a period when they were fully booked. But the overcrowding of the pools/beach area and the service shortcomings was just not acceptable. The latter may improve with time (with it being a new property) but the overcrowding issue at a time when the rates are at their highest will not.

I am not sure if it is your case but while they were in soft opening period, I understand they were upgrading everybody to club. This and the low occupancy explains, in my view, some of the initial positive reviews in TA. The current reviews in TA are more of a mixed bag and I side with the negative ones.

My experience would have been different if there was very low occupancy as my main problem was the chaos and over-crowding.

The hotel is very overpriced for what you get. The size of the sea front area vs the hotel is a fundamental flaw. I wish I had taken a picture the first day - although the one I posted gives a fair representation of the hotel not at its peak.

I did not see the GM or senior management walking around the hotel at any stage. I was never asked how my stay was or if I had any feed back - not even at check out. Very odd for a new hotel. While the constant feedback requests in other properties (Danang) is a bit over the top. Not asking anything even at check out is not the right approach for a new property.

As Fern76 mentioned, I also have little hope they are going to be proactive to fix the issues. The small sea front area vs number of rooms cannot be fixed in any case.

I would also add that rats are a problem. I encountered them running in public areas in 3 occasions. Mosquitos are also a problem as it has been widely reported in TA and I did not see any active fumigation going on.

To complete the review, I would say that the hotel was bearable and calmer on the 9th but the craziness started again as they were setting up the hotel for some wedding or event the next day. Luckily I was ready to leave.

Check in and check out staff were nice. Night-time cocktails and service are Pine were good. Kudos to those staff members.

Last edited by palermo; Jan 15, 20 at 1:54 pm Reason: to add a clarification
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Old Jan 15, 20, 9:48 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by palermo View Post
German Adventurer - While i understand your experience was different, my review is based on my belief that a good hotel should be defined by the experience in all the room types rather than just by the club rooms/suites. The rate for standard rooms were 550 euro during the xmas/post new years period and club rooms were closer to 900. Crazy for the quality of the hotel and the location within Phuket. We are talking Kamala, Phuket not a secluded beach in an exotic island or even in Koh Samui. I am fully aware peak season prices for Phuket are high but still....
Fair enough, @palermo. Sorry to hear your stay at the hotel was so different from mine. I tend to base my reviews on my own experience and the room category I stayed in, facilities I personally used, etc. But of course mileage will vary and you get what you pay for... speaking of that, I do indeed agree with you that in terms of VALUE, this hotel is pricier than it should fairly be. It's not an exclusive region and the small beach is not even private.

Originally Posted by palermo View Post
The club pool (which is not directly on the beach but on top of the Thai restaurant overlooking the sea) was overcrowded and small.
Wow. In the 6-day period that we were at the hotel we were almost always the ONLY ones at the Club Pool. Max one other couple. It was amazing and felt like we had our own private infinity pool.

Originally Posted by palermo View Post
I am not sure if it is your case but while they were in soft opening period, I understand they were upgrading everybody to club. This and the low occupancy explains, in my view, some of the initial positive reviews in TA. The current reviews in TA are more of a mixed bag and I side with the negative ones.
We paid for our Club room / access, but we also had the impression that they were randomly upgrading people on the mountain side to compensate for the loud construction that was underway next door.

Originally Posted by palermo View Post
I did not see the GM or senior management walking around the hotel at any stage. I was never asked how my stay was or if I had any feed back - not even at check out. Very odd for a new hotel. While the constant feedback requests in other properties (Danang) is a bit over the top. Not asking anything even at check out is not the right approach for a new property.
Totally agree on this one. As Ambassadors who often stay with Club access for extended stays, we almost always get a visit from the GM at least once. Sometimes they are even very attentive to us at other ICs (for example, in China), but here it seemed like the GM was hiding out...
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Old Jan 18, 20, 7:33 am
  #36  
 
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I had a fantastic stay here. They assign one person dedicated to serving my table at breakfast in Thai restaurant where I had a la carte and fresh juices. When I had breakfast at club terrace, as I thought to myself, the ocean is sometimes blue sometimes green, the staff would chat with me and said, the ocean is sometimes blue sometime green!
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Old Jan 19, 20, 5:45 am
  #37  
 
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some more pics of the 9th which was the less busy day during my stay



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Old Jan 19, 20, 5:53 am
  #38  
 
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the pics were taken around 11am. That was the less crowded day during my stay as at least you could find a free sunbed in the last row as it can be seen from the first pic. The amount of sunbeds doesn't make a pleasant experience for me so I just sat by the beach in front of the Montazzure complex towards the Novotel.

As a point of reference, the beach front of the hotel in the second picture (the pic of the beach) is the part with the most people . Most are non hotel guest (As hotels guests get a brown pad and brown and white towels). The reason for the crowds to choose that part of the beach is the protection from the trees and the fact that there is a marked part of the sea where boats are not allowed (so safer for children).

Last edited by palermo; Jan 20, 20 at 10:22 pm
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Old Jan 19, 20, 1:33 pm
  #39  
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Thumbs up

Ok, so here's the review I've been meaning to post for a while. Also available here: https://gentadventurer.com/icphuket/

The InterContinental Phuket had its soft launch in November 2019 and its official grand opening in January 2020. My wife and I have had our eyes on this stylish new hotel since it was announced a few years ago and computer-generated images of the hotel started appearing in InterContinental promotional materials. The hotel even made CNN Travel's list of most anticipated luxury hotels in Asia.

So, was it worth the wait? For us, yes. We spent six nights at the hotel in December 2019 and absolutely loved it. I would definitely consider going back again someday if I have some R&R time in the region. I'd also recommend it to others, but with a few caveats.

The main check-in area is in a fancy lobby with high ceilings and an open view looking out at the rustic rainforest-covered mountains.



The mountain-side lobby area at InterContinental Phuket hotel.



The view from the lobby after some afternoon rain.

We booked a King Club Intercontinental Pool View room and were upgraded to a King Club Intercontinental Ocean View room thanks to our InterContinental Ambassador status.

As an aside, we had originally booked a Club Ocean View room counting on being upgraded to a Club Ocean View Suite, but when I contacted the hotel a few days prior to arrival, they informed me all the Ocean View Suites were already booked and an Ambassador upgrade wouldn't be possible... So I downgraded the actual booking one level to the Club Pool View in order to get the initially-booked Club Ocean View for a lower price.

This is the upgrade path for the hotel, in case you are curious. Ambassadors get a one-category upgrade, while Royal Ambassadors are entitled to a two-category upgrade.





King Club Intercontinental Ocean View room.



A nice welcome amenity for InterContinental Ambassadors.

At 46 sqm (495 sqft) the room was just the right size. Our room featured stylish furniture that really added to the relaxing, luxury atmosphere. The layout of the room was a bit odd though, as it was effectively one large square open space with a corner that could be closed off by floor-to-ceiling wooden sliding doors to create privacy for the bathroom and toilet. When the sliding doors are open, the bathtub is practically in the center of the room. Guess some people like that, but I don't think it offers enough privacy.

It had a decent espresso capsule machine for that obligatory first-thing espresso shot each morning.

I do wish they would have outfitted the rooms with more closet space – there wasn’t much room at all to hang clothes and there were only a few drawers. I guess they expect you to be in your swimming suit all the time and not need too many changes of clothes… We were on a 2-week trip across multiple countries and had a fair amount to unpack. They provided us with extra hangers, but there wasn't enough closet rod to hang our clothes in the end.

The ‘wow!’ factors

Impeccably designed and brand new – everything is still in excellent shape. The grounds are well-kept and the furniture hasn't single scuff. Not sure how long that will hold, but it's noticeable now! The overall décor of the hotel was inspired by a 14th century Thai text called Traibhumikatha, a story of three planes of existence. The hotel property is designed to convey these three zones through the use of shapes and colors.

The Lounge is great for breakfast, afternoon tea, evening canapés and signature cocktails. Try the lily fleur cocktail – it’s amazing. The evening canapés are delectable, bite-sized gourmet appetizers, with a new roster of four canapés each evening – much better than the evening canapés at many other IC hotels, and I attribute this to the chef at IC Phuket.

The hotel has several amazing pools, but in particular I enjoyed the private infinity pool reserved just for Club Lounge guests. During our stay, we were almost always the only ones there, except for a few occasions when there may have been one other couple.



The infinity pool reserved for Club Lounge guests.

The hotel has direct access to Kamala Beach. You should note, though, that it is a public beach and they share the beachfront with quite a few other hotels and clubs, so it can get busy at certain times of the day. There were 20-some beach chairs for guests of IC Phuket and we never had any issue getting one. The staff and security posted at the beach were very attentive and helpful; they would bring you a glass of water and a towel right as you arrived and they also generally kept an eye out to make sure the outsiders didn’t get close to guests beach bags while the guests were out in the water.

Speaking of the water, I was surprised by how warm the Andaman Sea was in December.



The section of Kamala Beach directly in front of InterContinental Phuket.



Great, restful place to read. Just be mindful of the sun.

I was really impressed with the breakfast at Pinto restaurant. They have a plethora of delicious fresh fruits, as well as a wide selection of both western and Asian options in addition to the obligatory pastries and omelet station. The fresh mango and passion fruit were like nothing I had ever tried before. The fresh-squeezed juices were more creative than just, fresh-squeezed orange juice; for example, they had orange, carrot and celery several of the mornings. And of utmost importance, they serve remarkably good espresso and cappuccino.

Breakfast at the Club Lounge was also fine, but I preferred to have a heartier meal at Pinto.



Fresh fruits for breakfast at Pinto.

The amenities at IC Phuket are excellent. The guest rooms feature Harnn luxury shampoo and soaps. It was also a nice touch for them to have a beach bag and two beach hats in the room.





Little touches of design – balsa wood room keys were cool.

With the Club Lounge and multiple restaurant options (Pinto and Jaras), 5 pools, direct beach access and spa facilities, you don’t even have to leave the hotel territory to have a supremely relaxing vacation. While there are plenty of island excursions, most of them are full day trips and the seas were choppy, so we opted to just chill at the hotel the whole time.

The hotel has a nice fitness centre as well, but I never made it there despite my best laid plans.

The ‘meh!’ factors:

A highway runs through it. Quite literally! The hotel territory is divided by a highway, with the main reception area, many of the standard guest rooms, deluxe villas and the spa located on the non-beach side of the campus. Of course they don't publicize this fact, and I was a bit shocked to learn about it not long before the trip from FlyerTalk Forums.





Noise factor – there is a club next door that sometimes hosts loud events that go into the wee hours of the night. Additionally, there is some major construction taking place right next to the main reception building. Again, if you stay here, you should ONLY consider booking a room on the beach side (in the Apo Building).

Some of the staff is still in training and I have to admit there were a few irritating screwups on day 2 of our stay. We brought them to the attention of the Club Lounge manager and they were promptly remedied.

Most importantly, there is the value factor. Overall, I would say the hotel is a bit overpriced now that prices have one up since the grand opening. If you don't have a guaranteed one-category or two-category upgrade and you aren't willing to shell out for a beachside room, then I'm not sure you'll get your money's worth out of this hotel.

Conclusion

I know some people who absolutely love Phuket and others who despise it. To be sure, there are indeed some really seedy hotels in Phuket and areas that should be avoided at all costs, so it’s worth shelling out the extra budget to find a place where you know you’ll have a safe, relaxing and pampered holiday. I've also seen mixed reviews of this hotel on FlyerTalk Forum. To be clear, I would only recommend staying at this hotel if you are willing to pay for the beach-side rooms with Club Lounge access – staying on the mountain side (at least at the time of writing this in January 2020) is a recipe for disaster due to the noise, construction and lower standards of service applied to the rooms over there.

InterContinental is by far not the cheapest hotel in Phuket or Kamala Beach area, but, if you book an ocean-view room, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I give it a rating of 4.2 out of 5.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 12:23 am
  #40  
 
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Very nice data points here. I want to thank all posters, really. This is namely very little to my liking in almost all aspects so these posts helped me to choose
away from this property and losing well deserved points and voucher
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Old Jan 20, 20, 2:19 am
  #41  
 
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Some quite polarising reports there, certainly food for thought for anyone thinking of staying.

Thanks for the updates ^
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Old Jan 20, 20, 9:09 am
  #42  
 
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Gentleman Aventurer Congrats on the quality of the pics. I was wondering what time of the day (based on the sun seems early evening)/day of the week were the pics taken as I am amazed at how empty the place looks. I would have loved that the place looked like that during my stay.

The "swimming sea area" does not seem to be marked either so I guess that was quite early in December before they set it up?

Do you have a sense of the occupancy.

My pics are of the hotel up and running, not at full capacity by any means but with decent occupancy. My issue is that I don't see the place looking like that after it is fully operational other than in very low season and I just couldn't get over the crowding issue.

When I was there, even the club pool area was crowded.

I was reading some subsequent reviews and apparently the hotel had a wedding that was quite disrupting.

On an unrelated note and for general information. I was charged 700THB from the airport- not through the hotel

To go to Patong, I was charged 500THB (Euro 15) with GRAB and again 500THB in the way back by hiring a car directly in Patong. It is a 15 minutes ride to Patong but that is the general situation with taxis in Phuket. You could not walk to Patong or Surin Beach.

Kamala "town" (essentially to stock things from the 7Eleven) is an easy 10/15 minutes walk. I understand taxis are 200 or 300 THB to the "centre" of Kamala but most people could very easily walk.

Last edited by palermo; Jan 20, 20 at 10:25 pm
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Old Jan 21, 20, 8:28 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by palermo View Post
I was wondering what time of the day (based on the sun seems early evening)/day of the week were the pics taken as I am amazed at how empty the place looks. I would have loved that the place looked like that during my stay. The "swimming sea area" does not seem to be marked either so I guess that was quite early in December before they set it up?
These photos were probably all taken mid to late afternoon. Our stay at IC Phuket was from 6-12 December.

Originally Posted by palermo View Post
Do you have a sense of the occupancy.
Hard to say for sure... I know all the suites were totally booked (thus the reason why they were unable to upgrade my initial booking and why I downgraded my booking to still get an upgrade for a lower price). I think the beach-side rooms where nearly at full occupancy and the mountain-side rooms were fairly full too, based on the amount of people at Pinto and roaming around the premises.
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