I really appreciate all of the villa suggestions. It is going to be a tough choice deciding between a ground floor villa and an upper floor villa. We usually prefer upper floors, but the ground floor villas at this resort sound exceptional. I'm assuming that 3411, 3412, and 3413 would be a good choice for ground floor villas. Where can I find a map of the resort that shows the layout and various phase/block locations?
If we want to go into Phuket, what is the most economical way to get there?
Really looking forward to this trip! After we leave Phuket, we are going to slowly work our way north to Chiang Mai. This will no doubt be an amazing 3week vacation!!!
PBC has a very simple unit numbering system where each unit has a 4 digit number. Digit one denotes the phase. There were actual 3 build phases. Second digit denotes the block within the phase (Phase 3 has 4 blocks). Third digit denotes the floor level (1 being ground floor and then 2,3 & 4). Fourth digit denotes the actual unit number on the floor - 3 units on each level.
So 3411, 3412 and 3413 are the ground floor units in block 4 of phase 3. This is the block furthest away from the hotel close to the south pool and the Thai Restaurant (Ginja). If you like a high floor then this block units 3441, 3442 and 3443 have the only real sea views of the resort. Personally I think the best sea views are from the top of the beach.
The resort map available on the PBC page on the MVCI website is very out of date since it only shows Phase one units.
Talking of the beach. Mai Khao Beach is one of the quietest in Phuket. It is about 11 kilometers long and stretches from the end of the airport runway to the very northern tip of the island. The whole 11 k of the beach is designated a turtle nesting area by the Thai authorities and so no resort sun beds are allowed onto the beach. In high season (winter) the resort has free water sports on the beach - hobiecats and kayaks.
You will be pleasantly surprised by the levels of service you receive. In the units, each day the housekeeping staff will visit and tidy, make beds and santise the toilets. They will replace towels left on the floor - just like in a hotel. Mid week they will do a full clean. If you call housekeeping they will be happy to agree a time when they will visit your unit, otherwise the times will vary depending on their daily schedule and whether any units are checking in and out. We always ask for them to visit at about 11am - by which time we will be out and not hanging around the unit. We also often eat lunch back in the unit and thus they are finished by the time we want lunch. Housekeeping also wash all dirty dishes left in the kitchen since there is no dishwasher. Staff are cheaper than dishwashers in Thailand.
Pool staff. Each pool is manned by a team of Thai staff. They are there to look after the guests. One will be a trained lifeguard and first aider. The rest of the team will find sun beds and provide pool towels, iced water and take orders for food and drinks etc.
Security. Security at the resort is pretty tight. At the hotel entrance all vehicles are stopped and checked. They will inspect the underside of the vehicle with a mirror. They may ask the driver to pop the trunk to check that also. There are three other vehicle entrances and all are manned by security. The security is 24X7. Security staff also patrol the resort 24X7 and during the day especially the beach area. There is a lifeguard on the beach during the high season. Green, Yellow and Red flags denote whether it is safe to swim in the sea.
Restaurants. The JW has 6 restaurants - Italian, Japanese, Marriott Cafe, Andaman Grill for steak and Seafood, Ginja for Thai and the Deli for all day snacks and light meals and drinks. There are two pool bars - at the South Pool and Main Hotel Pool. There are also several bars in the resort.
Outside the resort there is a small shopping mall that is only a few minutes walk. There you will find a British Pub, Coffee Shop, Ice Cream place, a small supermarket and various tourist type shops as well as the usual tailor and jewelry store.
One word of warning. The next door Hotel - The Anantara is developing its own Timeshare points system to compete with MVCI - they employ touts who roam the shopping mall. if you take the offer of the gift for the presentation be prepared for a hard sell session.
Other places nearby - Mai Khao Beach Club is the sister Timeshare in the MVCI Asia Pacific system and guests there do not have access to the JW pools. So PBC guests do not have access to the pool at MKB however all guests may use the restaurants in the KW and at MKB (which has two restaurants).
There is also a Renaissance a short walk along the beach, There they have two restaurant that you may like to try. Transport to the Renn is easy to find.
Between the JW and the Renaissance there is a small boutique hotel (The Sala) this has a very nice restaurant and they will provide complimentary transport if you wish to reserve and dine there. Also the Spa at the Sala is cheaper than the JW Spa and again they will provide transport if you book a spa session there.
For transport around Phuket from the Marriott there are two options.
1. Hire Car. Avis and Hertz operate out of the airport terminal. I always use one of these - whoever offers the best deal. Driving for Americans can be a challenge. Thailand drives on the left hand side of the road (like in the UK, Australia and Japan). Driving style in Thailand is also a challenge but one gets used to it quickly. Most Thai people cannot afford a car and rely on a moped or small motorcycle and it is not unusual to see a whole family on one motorcycle.
2. Local Taxi. There are several local taxi stands in the Mai Khao area around the hotel and by the shopping mall. These are not metered taxis and so you should negotiate a price before you take a ride. A driver will take you somewhere and then wait for you and bring you back for an agreed price.
Personally I always have a rental car and drive everywhere and just take care.
For good local advice on Phuket try the following link:
Jamie runs a dive school in Phuket and is British and has lived there for 10 years or so.