Review: Le Meridien Khao Lak, Thailand
On my last trip to Phuket, I ended up staying in the beach resorts along the west coast of Phuket. For this trip, we decided to venture further north into the Khao Lak region. The area is known for it’s pristine beaches and quieter pace of life. The Le Meridien Khao Lak property was to be our home for our stay during this journey. It became the perfect location for travellers looking for a peaceful get away.
This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain
- Air Canada Executive Class, Vancouver – Los Angeles
- Star Alliance Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles
- Asiana Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon
- Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge, Seoul Incheon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class, Seoul Incheon – Shanghai Pu Dong
- Renaissance Shanghai Yu Gardens, Shanghai, China
- Shanghai, China
- Air China Domestic Business Lounge, Shanghai, China
- Air China, Shanghai – Beijing
- Swisshotel China Hong Kong Macau Center, Beijing, China
- Beijing, China
- Visiting the Great Wall of China at Miytanyu
- Air China Business Lounge, Beijing Capital Airport
- Air China, Beijing – Shanghai
- Riding the Shanghai Maglev at 430 km/h
- Shanghai Airlines Business Lounge, Shanghai, China
- Thai Airways Royal Silk, Shanghai – Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Domestic Lounge, Bangkok
- Thai Airways, Bangkok – Phuket
- Le Meridien Khao Lak, Thailand
- Ko Phi Phi Don Islands, Thailand
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Domestic Lounge, Phuket
- Thai Airways, Phuket – Bangkok
- Le Meridien Bangkok
- Thirty Six Hours in Bangkok, Thailand
- Thai Airways Royal First Lounge, Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Class, Bangkok – Madrid
- AC Hotel Carlton, Madrid
- Three Days in Madrid, Spain
- Day Tripping to Salamanca, Spain
- Renfe AVE Preferente Business, Madrid – Barcelona
- AC Hotel Barcelona Sants, Barcelona
- Exploring Barrio La Rambla in Barcelona
- Getting into Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain
- Renfe AVE Preferente Business, Barcelona – Madrid
- Puerta del Alcala VIP Lounge, Madrid, Spain
- Lufthansa Business Class, Madrid – Frankfurt
- Novotel Mainz, Germany
- Walking through Mainz, Germany
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt, Germany
- Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt – Seattle
- Air Canada, Seattle – Vancouver
Review: Le Meridien, Khao Lak, Thailand
Booking and Getting there:
We were staying at the Meridien Khao Lak on our second visit to Phuket. I picked this place based on reviews on travel forums and on trip advisor, and also taking into consideration the rate. We booked for 3,440 BHT or $110 USD per night for a standard room including taxes and a breakfast buffet. We were upgraded to a Premium Room on arrival for free. We were doing things on the economical side since the goal of the trip was to complete this trip as economically as possible. The rate was a complete steal for a 4 star resort in my opinion. It would indeed show that apparently the rate was not strong enough to attract people, the resort was pretty much deserted when we got there.
Le Meridien had a nice arrival lounge immediately after the first luggage carousel exit on the secure side of Phuket Airport near all the tour desks and the money exchange counters. This is the only photo that I have of the lounge, and I wasn’t about to tell MsWt73 to beat it while I got an empty photo of the lounge.
I had booked the hotel car, which was offered for 2,000 Thai Bhat ($66 USD). I suppose it would have been a better deal to get a local taxi outside of the airport, but I did notice that the “official” rates listed on the baggage claim for the airport taxis were also 2,000 Bhat. There’s also nothing like the convenience of car service when you’re looking for an easy transfer.
We were given bottle waters while we waited for the car to be brought around. We were bundled into their Toyota Camry and after an hour and ten minutes in the car, we arrived at Le Meridien Khao Lak.
My previous experience of a mega resort in Phuket was staying at JW Marriott Phuket. My initial impression was that the JW Marriott was a much grander place than the Meridien Khao Lak. However, our time spent at Le Meridien made Khao Lak grow on us over the days that we stayed. We arrived to the resort and had a reasonably good first impression. You’ll note that in the photo, the pool surrounding the sculpture was drained, as several maintenance works were in progress while we stayed.
You’ll note that in the photo, the pool surrounding the sculpture was drained, as several maintenance works were in progress while we stayed.
The Room: A Premier Room
On check in, we received a complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest Gold upgrade to a Premier room (room 269). We were also offered a late checkout but our departing flight was at 10 am so we didn’t take advantage of it. We also received a wrist lea with flowers at the lobby on check in. There was also free wifi in the lobby of the hotel, which attracted many families there in the evenings.
Around the Resort:
During our visit in May, the resort was totally empty – there were maybe about 50 couples staying here. As a result, of all the five restaurants on the property, only two or three were open on any given evening.
The Beach and Shore line:
These photos are of the beach area in front of the resort – curiously missing from the hotel website. Similar to other Thai resorts, the beach was not swept or raked. We found some debris and garbage on the shores sadly. Despite this, the beaches at the Le Meridien Khao Lak were actual beaches and not artificial man made beaches that you can find at some Phuket resorts. The sand was quite pleasant and better than at some other Thai resorts.
The resort has it’s own baby elephant. Say what you want about the animal interests of captive wild animals but it’s a bizarre experience after an afternoon nap and waking up on a beach lounger with an elephant waving it’s trunk in front of you. Once I finally wiped the sleep out of my eyes, the elephant was hanging out on the beach.
Around the Resort in Khao Lak:
After several years of self funded travel, I find the task of laundry in the hotel room sink getting a little old as I approach my forties. Since this was the mid point of our travels, I had my laundry done just off the resort by a family down the street at the entrance of the resort (well signed). It was 80 baht a kilo (2.5 kilos). A bit expensive but I didn’t mind paying since it was a working family and they gladly interrupted their dinner to help me out at 6 PM. It was a 24 hour turnaround for the wash, press and dry.
Missing from the resort was a regular convenience store. Given the high taxes on alcohol in Thailand, we had picked up Duty Free in Shanghai. The only self stock options on the hotel property itself were 900 baht ($3 USD) for a Tonic Water in the mini bar. Next to the family with the laundry (just off the resort again) was a family house / restaurant with all the sundries and cold drinks you could need- 15 baht ($0.50 USD) for a tonic water at the family store at the end of the walkway. I was hoofing it down there frequently (2 km), although I did get a ride to the edge of the property from the elephant trainer on his motorcycle side car one day. As you can see, the Khao Lak and the resort are in a more rural part of Thailand – way off the touristed strips of Patong.
There were many signs on the resort were pointing towards beach massage. One day at 3:30 PM I went hunting for one. There was a signed stand “off the property” (but on the beach) featuring Thai massage for 300 baht but it was totally deserted, likely because it was low season. I retraced my steps to the on property beach massage post but it was empty. I asked at the pool hut, who politely referred me to the front desk, who called the spa, and discovered that the massage was “fully booked” for today. I made an appointment for the next day.
The next day we turned up for our massages, we were treated to a “beach massage” in the indoor spa building. The bonus was that we paid the beach spa price of 9,000 Baht ($30 USD) instead of the regular Spa Massage price of $100 USD. The Meridien Spa was lovely and the private cabana that we used for our massage was a nice peaceful retreat.
The food cost was reasonable for a resort. The Westernized Thai dishes from the themed restaurant was about 360 baht ($10 USD plus 10% service + 7% tax) which I found to be okay compared to European or American standards. Wines, as in Indonesia and the rest of Thailand were rather exorbitant due to the taxes imposed by the government.
I had mixed feelings about the Le Meridien Khao Lak resort with most feelings leading towards the positive side. On the plus side, it’s excellent value for money and the resort is quite isolated and away from the tourist trails of Patong and Phuket (at least one hour and twenty minutes of travel time). There’s no annoying on command movie screen when you turn on the tv; it goes straight to tv – excellent! There are also full Thai massages in the spa for the price of a beach massage in off season.
In terms of some disadvantages, there’s no on site convenience store. It’s a two kilometer walk in the heat to get to one. The resort seemed a little disorganized – more so than at other Thai locations. This was a bit surprising considering how few people were staying there. It’s quite isolated and remote, although this also an advantage depending on your perspective. The nearby Similan Islands which are a major tourist attraction were closed during our visit due to government regulations.
The Bottom Line:
I would return if I was in the area, but I would likely try a different resort if returning to Khao Lak. Most memorably, it was a very peaceful experience.
At the time of publishing this report, this property is now operating as the Robinson Club Khao Lak.