Kevin McIntyre checks in to a new hotel just off the main west coast road in Phuket.
Getting there: This six-month-old hotel is 45 minutes from Phuket International Airport, just off the main west coast road. The eye-catching Karon Beach is right across the road.
Check-in experience: I was greeted by the manager and given a cool towel and fruit drink — it was blisteringly hot. I was driven to my room in a golf cart, giving me the opportunity to scope the large complex through the big palms and tall groomed hedges that separate the different blocks. At night the large open-plan foyer is beautifully lit.
Room: A Superior Plunge Pool Suite, bordered by a lush tropical garden. The decor is contemporary and the separate lounge had a sofa bed facing a large flat-screen TV. Best of all is the private plunge pool and spa. The Novotel offers seven different suite types to accommodate all types of travellers.
A room with a view? No, because the plunge pool suites are at ground-level and set back in the resort away from the road noise and beach.
Price: From $93.
Food and drink: There are restaurants and bars on site — Horizon Cafe is your go-to for breakfast and TAi restaurant serves up Southeast Asian food, with a focus on traditional Thai cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients.
The bed: A comfortable king. There's another big TV in the bedroom.
Bathroom: Very large, with twin basins, a bath and a walk-in rain shower.
Free wi-fi? Yes.
Exercise facilities: There's the well-equipped In Balance Fitness by Novotel gym, which is open 24 hours.
Other facilities: If you're not in a suite with a plunge pool there are three communal pools. The biggest is the Lagoon pool, which has a swim-up bar, while the Oasis Pool is a smaller, more secluded spot for adults. The third is a kids' pool, which comes with a waterslide and mushroom water shower.
Time out: There are a range of spa treatments available at the In Balance Spa from traditional Oriental to Western massage. There is even a jetlag package. And if you need a break from the sprogs, send them off to Kids World, which accommodates children from 4-16. It's staffed by the hotel's entertainment team who organise activities to keep the kids happy throughout the day.
Things to do: There are scheduled activities and events every day, such as yoga, kickboxing, fan painting, Thai cooking classes, and swimming lessons.
Would I return? Yes definitely — we really enjoyed the location and service. If you want the peace and tranquillity of the resort experience with tourist spots a stone's throw away, this is for you.
Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa is at 568 Patak Road, Karon, Muang Phuket, Phuket. Phone: +66 76 358 666.