Kevin McIntyre checks in to the Grand Mercure Phuket Patong, Thailand.

Getting there:

The Grand Mercure is in the heart of Patong Beach, a 45-minute taxi ride from Phuket International Airport. Only a couple of years old, the hotel has 314 rooms, including suites and pool villas.

Check-in experience:

We arrived during the hottest part of a sweltering day and were greeted by the hotel manager, who invited me to take a refreshing swim after he shook my clammy hand. The impressive lobby entrance resembles a palace, but with modern decor.


Room: We had a Superior King Bed Suite on the seventh floor. The beautifully decorated, modern suite had a walk-in wardrobe, 40-inch LCD TV, coffee machine, well-stocked minibar, and a chic kidney-shaped couch and armchairs. Best of all was the huge balcony overlooking the hotel's lovely pool.


Couples should consider one of the one-bedroom Pool Villas located behind the main hotel buildings. All at ground level and flanked by tropical vegetation with wooden fencing for privacy, the villas have private plunge pools and double massage loungers.

Price: Rooms start from $185. Breakfast is an extra $19pp.

What's so good about this place? This is a lovely hotel - it's seriously luxurious, and is very tranquil and relaxing.

What's in the neighbourhood?

You're within walking distance of Patong's nightlife, just eight minutes from the beach, and close by the Jungceylon shopping centre. You'll find Hooters and the Hard Rock Cafe across the road.

Food and drink: There are four venues to eat and drink on-site, plus the hotel's Grand Mercure Club, so there's plenty to choose from. Main restaurant Bubbles offers authentic Thai, Mediterranean, broader Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. The Craft Beer Lounge claims to have the largest selection of the delicious brown stuff in Phuket and often features live entertainment, while you can kick back and enjoy chilled house music at Bounce Pool Bar. Also, be sure to inspect the delights on offer at the Chou Chou Deli Shop.

The bed:

A very comfortable king with plenty of pillows.

Bathroom: Modern, with separate his and hers basins in front of a large mirror. At the push of a button, an opaque screen descends from the roof of the doorway for privacy.

A pool view and some deck chairs submerged in water Photo / Kevin McIntyre
A pool view and some deck chairs submerged in water Photo / Kevin McIntyre


A good range from a brand called Ryn, also the name of the hotel's opulent spa.

Free wi-fi? Yes.

Facilities: The well-equipped fitness centre is staffed, and there's a creche for the littlies.


Would I return?

This is exactly the type of resort experience I would be willing to pay for to get away from the world and relax.