Review: Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa (King Deluxe Plus Seaview)

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Cheapest nightly rate: 2662 THB (3160 after tax)
When to book: One week in advance

This property opened in 1983 as Phuket Arcadia before Hilton took over in 2004. At 75 acres (58 football fields), I could not find another property in Phuket larger than this.

Arrival

I got in touch with the property before my stay and was informed by the General Manager, Markus Kosch, that he has pre-upgraded me to a suite in the Lotus Wing as Diamond-member benefit and to celebrate my birthday. Now that is great news but my research shows that the suites in the Lotus Wing are old and without views of the sea. I was willing to trade the suite for a standard-sized room with sea view. He then went ahead to reserve a room on the highest floor (12th) in Andaman Wing B. He even mentioned that they will be sending me a complimentary cake and even asked for my preferred flavour!

Quite street outside the entrance to the property on the left
Quite street outside the entrance to the property on the left
The parking area
The parking area

We arrived by our rented motorcycle. There is a parking area just beside the Welcome Lobby (yes, there are two lobbies). The experience here was a little strange. We felt lost as there were no one at the desk and there were a number of tour guides around asking me where I am going. Not sure why they are there but their tout-like behaviour made me uncomfortable. After about five minutes, a hotel staff finally came to us and informed us that there will be a shuttle bus to take us into the main lobby.

Welcome Lobby
Welcome Lobby
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Shuttle service from the Welcome Lobby to the Main Lobby
Shuttle service from the Welcome Lobby to the Main Lobby
Drop-off area at the Main Lobby
Drop-off area at the Main Lobby

There is a check-in desk for Gold and Diamond members. The lady who checked me in brought me to my room and that was when I found out that it was on the 7th floor instead of the promised 12th floor room.. The ‘sea view’ from this floor is mostly blocked by the lower building in front (Andaman Wing A). This was quickly sorted out when I showed her my email conversation with the General Manager. I find it hard to understand why front desk staff often play these kind of games to take away from a brilliant experience.

Check-in area at the Main Lobby
Check-in area at the Main Lobby
Another view of the Main Lobby
Another view of the Main Lobby
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Welcome letters for Diamond members
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The room (King Deluxe Plus Seaview)

Room 1237 at Andaman Wing B
Room 1237 at Andaman Wing B
Nice silhouette of palm trees behind the bed
Nice silhouette of palm trees behind the bed
View from the balcony
View from the balcony
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Bathroom with a tub and rain shower
Bathroom with a tub and rain shower
Toiletries in the bathroom
Toiletries in the bathroom
Mini bar with two complimentary bottles of water
Mini bar with two complimentary bottles of water
Refrigerated mini bar
Refrigerated mini bar
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Complimentary chocolate birthday cake
Complimentary chocolate birthday cake

The rooms with the best views are those on the 10th-12th floors of Andaman Wing B and about four sea view rooms in the Lotus Wing on the 10th and 11th floors. Andaman Wing A, Andaman Wing C and Building G are low buildings. You will only get views of the pool or ‘garden’ and not much of the sea. Which would be a shame as the sun sets directly against the horizon of the Andaman Sea.

Map of Hilton Phuket Arcadia (click to enlarge)
Map of Hilton Phuket Arcadia (click to enlarge)
View of the low-rise Building G and a part of Lotus Wing on the right
View of the low-rise Building G and a part of Lotus Wing on the right
Andaman Wing C on the right and the taller Lotus Wing
Andaman Wing C on the right and the taller Lotus Wing

Andaman Lounge

I was given two drink coupons for redemption at Andaman Lounge

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Entrance of Andaman Lounge
Entrance of Andaman Lounge
Andaman Lounge in the evening
Andaman Lounge in the evening
Our complimentary cocktails
Our complimentary cocktails

Executive lounge

The Executive Lounge has a nice panoramic view of the Andaman Sea. It is a great alternative spot to catch the sunset if you do not have a sea view room. Alcoholic drinks are complimentary and the warm food offerings in the evening are of good quality.

Executive Lounge on level 12 of Lotus Wing
Executive Lounge on level 12 of Lotus Wing

Breakfast

I was told that there are three places where I can have my breakfast; Sails Restaurant, Buon Appetito and the Executive Lounge. Sails restaurant is the main restaurant and there tends to be a queue at the entrance all the time. Buon Appetito is an Italian Restaurant but I must say, there was nothing Italian about their breakfast spread. It is much less crowded there. Diamond member recognition is good as both restaurants.

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Queue to enter Sails Restaurant
Queue to enter Sails Restaurant
Outdoor seating of Sails Restaurant
Outdoor seating of Sails Restaurant
Indoor seating at Sails Restaurant
Indoor seating at Sails Restaurant
They made it clear that this table was reserved for a Diamond member
They made it clear that this table was reserved for a Diamond member
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Outdoor seating of Buon Appetito
Outdoor seating of Buon Appetito
Indoor seating at Buon Appetito
Indoor seating at Buon Appetito
Our daily routine; watching the sunset while eating mango sticky rice
Our daily routine; watching the sunset while eating mango sticky rice

Other facilities

Lush, well-maintained greenery around the resort
Lush, well-maintained greenery around the resort
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The Spa
The Spa

The gym is small for a property of this size and it was pretty crowded the few times I was there. I had to wait a long time to get a photo with less people in it. It is also a shame that guests are charged for using the tennis facilities, squash and yoga classes.

The gym
The gym
Price list for activities
Price list for activities
Tennis courts
Tennis courts

There is an unguarded back entrance to the hotel. This is also where you have direct access to Karon Beach. I find the lack of security here strange as the security at the front gate looks tight.

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Worth Noting

Breakfast hours: 0700 – 1100 hours
Executive Lounge opening hours: 0700 – 2100 hours
Happy hour at the Executive Lounge: 1700 – 1830 hours

Conclusion

I like the location of this property compared to the ones in the busy (and noisy) Patong area. Karon beach is just a few steps away and it is a lot less crowded than Patong beach. I disliked the inconvenience of needing to wait for the shuttle just to get from the Welcome Lobby to Main Lobby. It takes about 10 minutes just to wait for a shuttle and get there. If I am staying here again, I will skip the crowd at the restaurants and have my breakfasts in the Executive Lounge. It is a long 10 minutes walk to get from our room in Andaman Wing B to the Executive Lounge in Lotus Wing. Try to request for rooms on the top 3 floors of Andaman Wing B as those room have the best views.

Ratings

Breakfast: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Location: 8/10
Room: 8/10
Facilities: 8/10
Executive lounge: 9/10
Elite member recognition: 9/10

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