Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thailand Adventure/ Part 1

When we decided to travel for Chinese New Year we knew it would be hectic and crazy at least at the airports and we planned accordingly but I was still so surprised when I walked into the airport the morning of our flight. It was SO packed....very long lines, people and baggage everywhere. We had allowed ourselves a little under 3 hours which would normally be more than enough time.  I often make fun of John and his "status" on the airline.  He takes it pretty seriously, we try and fly United or Star Alliance Partners when we can to get our points.  I will say that this particular morning I was SO happy that he had Gold status because the line for Thai Airlines was super long, but because he was Gold  we waited behind one person prior to checking in.

If you have never flown international, and I assume it's for all international not just if you are flying in Asia, you have to present the credit card you bought the ticket with when you check in.  We planned and purchased these tickets months ago and John rarely carries a credit card except the company card.  SO when we got to the counter we didn't have the card he purchased them with and were not even exactly sure what card he used. He generally uses only one card and they said that was not it.  He convinced the lady behind the counter to tell him the last four digits and through process of elimination we determined that he used a card that we NEVER use and is actually laying on the dresser in Oklahoma.  Luckily she said they just needed the full account number, he located that fairly easily and we were checked in.

We made our way to security with Zane setting in his stroller.  When we got close we noticed again a VERY long line, but they quickly let us bypass the line because of the stroller.  What could have easily been an hour in security was only a few minutes.  Z will look a little silly in his stroller when he is 10, but he may have to continue to ride!

We flew Thai Airlines this trip for the first time.  They were great.  It was clean and organized.  Our only issue, and it was going and coming, was that we wanted the stroller when we had a layover in Bangkok.  We asked several times and several different people if we gate checked it would have it in Bangkok, the whole reason for gate check. We did not on either side of our trip.  But other than that, and that was really no big deal, they were great to fly with.

Our destination was Phuket, Thailand.  We chose our resort based on a recommendation from a friend and it was perfect for us.  We stayed at the JW Marriott.  We had arranged for a driver from the resort to pick us up and he was waiting when we came through baggage claim.  From the moment we arrived at the resort I knew we had made a good choice.  The lobby was open air and beautiful and we were greeted immediately by name and taken to a comfy area and served a fresh fruit drink while they got us checked in.

Our room was amazing, seriously.  We splurged for a bigger room than your standard hotel room because we were going to be there a week and if you have ever traveled with a toddler you know you need a little extra breathing room.  We tend to spend a little more time in the room when Z is with us than if we were alone.  There isn't a lot of laying by the pool sipping fruity cocktails and reading a book when you travel with Tiny. The room had a view of the ocean and a deck that wrapped around the side of our room so there was shade almost all day at some point on the deck. We also had a private covered hot tub that came in handy when Z was tired of the sun but still wanted to play in the water.  We turned the temp way down and he had his own mini pool!  He was in heaven. We actually spent a lot of our time on the deck.

the view from our deck
The view from our deck

Just hanging out 

Loving the "hot" tub!
The first evening we just walked around and got familiar with the property, ordered room service and got ready for the next day!  The resort offers a variety of restaurants and cuisines.  There really was something for everyone. Plenty of Western selections.  We ate poolside for lunch many of the days we were there.  It was convenient and tasty. The Siam deli offered easy carryout and the room service was good. It is resort pricey, but not outrageous. The Siam deli had my daily iced Latte which made for a happy momma. Adults traveling without children or families traveling with older kids would have a very different experience than I will describe, but it is genuinely a resort for everyone.

Checking out the place
Iced Latte and the biggest donuts we have ever seen!

The resort as a whole is very family friendly.  They have a daily calendar full of activities for all ages.  The kids club offers the opportunity for parents to drop their kids, older than 4, off for activities. We arranged a babysitter twice during our stay for Z.  Once so we could do a Thai cooking class and once while we went to dinner.  You can have the sitter take your child to the kids club and watch them there or you can have them come to your room.  We chose to have her come to the room.  It worked out well for us both times.

The resort property is beautiful. And the staff is very friendly, most speak some English, we never struggled to communicate while there.  They arranged any of the offsite activities that we did and they went smoothly. The staff that we interacted with frequently while we were there quickly learned our names, especially Z , and made it a point to call us by name.  I liked that.

We spent the bulk of our time at the kids pool which was awesome.  It was waist deep for Z throughout a big portion.  There were bubbling fountains that erupted from a raised area that he could crawl and play in.  There was a dividing wall made of stone turtles and the coolest water slide.  He liked the slide the first day but then we couldn't get him to go again, not sure why.  but it was shallow enough at the end of the slide that John could wait at the bottom and catch him and not worry about him going under.  There was ample seating with plenty of shade.

We spent time at the beach as well.  The resort has a long stretch of private beach that is beautiful.  early morning and early evening just before sunset were our favorite times to be there.  The sand is nice and the surf while we were there was mild.

I would definitely recommend the JW Marriott to anyone going to Phucket.  I would especially recommend it if you are like our family and want to spend most of your time at the resort.  It is not in the center of activity so it is a bit of drive to go anywhere or do any sightseeing, but that isn't really what we were after on this trip. We were in for relaxing and sunshine and we got that for sure!

In the next few days I will share more details about our activities, specifically our Elephant trekking Excursion and lots of pictures of our boy on the beach.


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