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.

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Price: From $93.

What's in the neighbourhood? Both Karon Beach and the Karon Centre Plaza are only a five-minute walk from the hotel. Patong Beach's Jungceylon Shopping Centre is 10 minutes away.

The eye-catching Karon Beach is right across the road. Photo / 123RF
The eye-catching Karon Beach is right across the road. Photo / 123RF
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.

The main pool at the Novotel Karon Beach Phuket Resort and Spa in Thailand. Photo / Kevin McIntyre
The main pool at the Novotel Karon Beach Phuket Resort and Spa in Thailand. Photo / Kevin McIntyre
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.

CHECKLIST

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa is at 568 Patak Road, Karon, Muang Phuket, Phuket. Phone: +66 76 358 666.