Mevrouw T and I are not accustomed to staying in up-market resorts, so we’re not sure what such places are supposed to do to earn their extra stars, other than pleating the ends of the toilet rolls.
We’re more used to B&Bs and hostels, but this is a family holiday following a family wedding, so the resort at Thailand’s Phuket with children and grandchildren is the destination. It may be a little unconventional to invite the whole tribe on the honeymoon, but having free babysitters on tap makes the deal attractive. We were happy to accept the invitation.
Our introduction to the Movenpick Hotel and Resort, Phuket, is impressive. The foyer would make an excellent indoor football field, though players would have to skirt around the ladies with fixed smiles playing hammer dulcimer and cymbals.Friendly staff members issue us with small floral garlands, cool towels and sweet tea, then luggage and excited grandsons are loaded into the back of golf buggies to be driven through immaculately manicured tropical gardens to our family cabins.
The rooms are elegant, featuring lots of teak and black tiles in spacious bathrooms, and flat screen TVs showing a selection of the worst programs ever made in many languages (even Dutch, we note). The complimentary bowl of unfamiliar tropical fruit is a nice touch.
The extensive breakfast buffet serves everything from dragon fruit to wholemeal croissants with gruyere cheese to let us know we’re staying in a swish Swiss resort in Thailand.
There’s another reminder that at least some of the friendly staff may have graduated from a Swiss hospitality college. Don’t try sneaking any banana bread from the breakfast buffet for the kids’ morning snack. They’re on to that one and rules are rules in Switzerland.
Families are well catered for here, with play equipment in and around the swimming pools, and a Kids’ Club where parents can leave the rugrats for a little time out. There’s a modest surcharge for under fours, and Grandson 2 has already made sure the staff earned their money by staging a potty-training accident. They were very nice about it.
Our son has checked out the Swedish massage. He reports that his masseuse may have been unusually short and dark for a Swede, but she did know her stuff. Meanwhile there are options for facials and education in the form of Thai cooking courses and Padi diving courses. Let it not be said that the Tulloch family learned nothing during their time away.
Yet we’re well aware that the Movenpick is not Thailand. As we lounge by the pool, the worst floods in a decade are sweeping from the north of the country down into Bangkok, with the government declaring a state of emergency in the central provinces and warning that it is powerless to prevent damage to homes and businesses. Over 250 deaths have already been confirmed.
We have to get out more, and we will over the next few days.