The Naka Phuket Hotel
The average rating of four out of five stars and being ranked number 15 of 34 hotels in Kamala, Phuket on TripAdvisor do not automatically mean you will enjoy your stay at The Naka Phuket Hotel. This five-star, luxury hotel is plagued with poor maintenance in it’s older villas and guest experience is dogged by a number of poorly trained staff, whom lack the ability to deliver five-star service and converse in basic English. However, the hotel and it’s surroundings are truly stunning. If you’re keen to stay in this hotel, you can improve your chances of having a better stay by booking one of their newer ‘poolside’ villas (further up the mountainside) and avoid the ‘beachfront’ villas. The higher up the mountainside, the higher the reward. You’ll bask in a glorious panoramic view of the hotel grounds, the forested mountains and the stunning Andaman Sea. Unfortunately, I have no solution for the poorly trained staff.
You can find Essential Tips and Advice at the bottom of this post.
Please read on for our full review of The Naka Phuket Hotel.
The Naka Phuket Hotel, a Member of the Design Hotel Group
The Naka Phuket Hotel would have been one of the top luxury hotels in it’s heydays. A member of the Design Hotels group, the hotel comprises 94 modern villas, each with it’s own swimming pool and bedroom cantilevering out over the landscape. Each villa was designed to complement it’s surroundings – sporting glass and stone walls, wood balconies and a green rooftop. The glass walls maximise viewpoints across the establishment and is particular effective for poolside villas further up the mountainside. Guests also have access to a private beach, laced with soft sand and waves rushing in from the sparkling Andaman Sea. The rocks are abundant with sealife, including crustaceans and small fish. Without a doubt, the design of the villas and the hotel grounds are genuinely stunning.
Beware When Booking a Beachfront Villa at the The Naka Phuket Hotel
My girlfriend and I booked a three-night stay, in a beachfront villa, at The Naka Phuket Hotel.
We arrived at the Front Desk at around 4pm and we were told by a member of staff that our beachfront villa was not yet ready. They told us it would take 30 minutes, so we took the opportunity to have some food at the main restaurant. We finished our food after one hour and immediately requested a member of staff to take us to our beachfront villa. At this point, we were told it would take another 30 minutes. To our dismay, they kept pushing the time back and we ended up waiting one and a half hours before we were taken to our beachfront villa. We waited two and a half hours in total! This was not a good start.
We booked a beachfront villa assuming we would have views of, and maybe even direct access to, the private beach. When we checked-in, we could not even glimpse the beach from our garden and pool area. As you can imagine, we felt cheated so we confronted a member of the Front Desk. We were told the ‘beachfront’ description referred to the area where the villa is located and doesn’t guarantee a view of or access to the beach. At this point, we were quite upset as we felt misled by the description on the hotel’s website. We asked for a different villa but the hotel was at full occupancy and we were only able to move into a poolside villa the next day.
Our beachfront villa was one of the older buildings. Inside, the wooden floorboards were warped and the thick varnish made walking around like skating on ice. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows were filthy in places and the black curtains were faded and dusty. There was no privacy with the curtains open, as we were surrounded by numerous other villas. The furniture was very basic and comprised mainly dark wooden furniture. We noticed the L-shaped sofa was dusty and stained, which made it very uncomfortable to sit on. When showering, the monsoon shower behaved more like a drive-thru car wash than a monsoon rain. Jets of water were spraying in all directions, which made washing very difficult and far from relaxing. It didn’t get any better with the bathtub, which was located outside and filled with leaves and dust. The lock on the patio door was broken, which caused a security concerns. A member of staff informed us that someone would come to clean our pool later on but they left it filled with leaves and tiny bugs. It became apparent to us that we weren’t receiving five-star service or accomodation.
Fortunately, we moved into a poolside villa the next day and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay over the next two nights.
Planning the Perfect Stay at the The Naka Phuket Hotel
When we moved into a poolside villa, we could immediately tell the difference. We stayed in #464, which was further up the mountainside and one of the highest poolside villas. In comparison to the beachfront villa, the poolside villa was newer, more luxurious and more impressive. Although the poolside villa was more compact, it felt more comfortable and secure to say in. The smaller swimming pool and deck area was perfectly sized, with an amazing view of the hotel grounds, the forested mountains and the Andaman Sea. We didn’t encounter any of the problems from the beachfront villa. The interior was new and much improved. Everything worked as they should have. I’m not throwing them a lifeline but The Naka Phuket Hotel has the potential to be an amazing stay but you have to stay in one of the newer poolside villas further up the mountainside.
For more tips and advice on improving your stay, please read the bullet points below.
Essential Tips and Advice
- When booking a beachfront villa, don’t expect all of them to have direct access or even a view of the beach. If it’s a must, make sure you ask for one with direct access or view of the beach when making your reservation.
- The best villas are the poolside villas that are located higher up the mountainside, even when compared to the more expensive beachfront villas. You’ll have a panoramic view of the hotel grounds, the forested mountains and the stunning Andaman Sea. Try sleeping with the curtains open!
- The villas can lack privacy, especially those further down from the mountainside. Each villa has been constructed with wrap-around, floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Drapery sheers and blackout curtains are available if you don’t mind missing out on the view and sunshine.
- The outdoor bathtub is not practical or enticing to use. When you’re there, it’s more of an outdoor sculpture that’s been poorly maintained.
- The best way to get around the hotel grounds is by calling for one of the hotel buggies. If a buggy doesn’t show up within 10 minutes, make sure you chase the Front Desk!
- Food and drink is mediocre by Thai standards. Don’t expect anything special when ordering at their main restaurant or when having in-room dining.
- During the mayfly season, the hotel grounds swarm with thousands, if not millions, of South East Asian Mayflies. Although they are harmless, the sheer numbers can make people squeamish and generally be a nuisance.