Beware Beware Beware.

The Marriott in Phukhet is beautiful. Undeniably one of the most sumptuous, visually appealing and gorgeous places I’ve ever been to. Everywhere you walk, (and the grounds are huge… we kept getting lost for the first few days), there was yet another photo opportunity. Everything was obviously planned for maximum beauty, serenity and bliss. The service was impeccable, and the apartment was more luxurious than my own house. DON”T EVER STAY THERE. Seriously.
My tale of woe begins with the location of the resort. It’s about 15 minutes from the airport, further up the coast than everything else. Practically on the mainland. That’s fine in itself I guess. It’s located on an empty beach which is a turtle reserve, so there’s no vendors hassling you to buy their cheap watches or anything. That’s great, right?
I thought so until I started getting the bills for food. There’s nothing near this resort… no markets, shops or restaurants. You can’t pop out for a cheap Thai meal at the little place down the road…. you’re trapped at the resort. And the Marriott knows it. The first night I took the boys to a buffet meal. It was beautiful. We all ate up big, and when I signed for the bill I asked them how much I’d spent.
5,000 baht. Tom’s eyebrows nearly disappeared around to the back of his head. I ‘m not as quick at Maths as he is, so it took a little longer before I started to have my coronary. Who goes to Thailand expecting to pay $200 for dinner?

I thought back to the lunch we’d had by the pool. We weren’t all that hungry, so we all had child-sized servings of fried rice. I did the maths, and 5 scoops of rice had cost us $60. I was in big trouble.
We wanted to go shopping the next day, so I planned to find a supermarket and cook as much as I could. We were in a two bedroom apartment that had a kitchen (thank God) so that was do-able. Bye bye to my holiday….
We went down to the desk and asked how much their shuttle bus was to get to Patong. Patong turned out to be an hour away, and the hotel was charging 700 baht ($28) per person for a round trip. Hmm… 28×5=$140. You’ve got to be kidding.
After this trip, we found out from other disgruntled patrons that if you ask for a LOCAL taxi you can get to Patong for 700 baht. So we all squeezed in taxis for the rest of the holiday. It still cost us $56 every time we left the resort. It kind of takes away the bargain part of the cheap shopping….

Anyway…. that first day we came back from Patong loaded up with dvds, woodcarvings, cheap t-shirts and breakfast cereals, noodles, pasta sauces, vegemite, peanut butter and the biggest bag of rice I’ve ever bought. Breakfast every day was cereal and a couple of $4 breadsticks bought from the deli at the resort the day before. Lunch was either a boring noodle or rice dish if we were at the resort, or if we were out I was saying “Eat, eat! This is your main meal for the day!!” Dinner was always back at the resort, yet another boring meal. It was so disappointing.
No one goes to a country like Thailand expecting to stress out over the cost of food!!! I got this accommodation through the holiday club I bought into (to make holidays affordable… well, the jokes on me!) My up-front cost for accommodation that would normally cost $750 was $169. What a bargain. My bill at the end of the week was almost $1000. That’s with me doing everything as cheaply as I could. Imagine what some people’s bills would be.
But the real kicker came on the last day.
By then I knew we could have one resort day and we could afford it. Check out was at 11am, we didn’t have to be at the airport till 8.30pm, so I planned a relaxing resort day by the pool. I had sat through a 2 hour Marriott Holiday Timeshare presentation to get the 4,000 baht free resort voucher, so I planned a ‘free’ 90 minute massage (which was pure indulgent bliss) and lunch and dinner at the deli…. hang the expense!! I was tired of waking up every day and stressing over how and where and what I was going to feed the kids. This day was a day for living like a decadent rich tourist family. Whoopee!
We had a lovely day. We ate beautiful meals… $14 for a subway-type sandwich, but who cares???… the kids played in the pools, I sipped a Pimms cocktail by the infinity pool after my massage…. so very relaxing. Then Evan and I went for a look at the shops.
In the jewelry shop was a diamond and emerald ring. The deepest green emerald I think I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful. Ever since I was twenty I’ve wanted an emerald ring… it’s been a dream. This ring wasn’t cheap… I’m not going to document how much it cost me. But I hadn’t bought anything much for myself while we were there, and I knew I’d have this ring for life. So I bought it. Used my credit card for the first and only time in Thailand.
Yesterday the bank rang. My credit card had been skimmed.
The Marriott is going to get a vitriolic email today. All my bills are direct debited to that card. What a pain in the proverbial. Don’t stay at the Marriott in Phuket unless you are very rich, don’t mind getting ripped off and have a credit card that you use that is completely unencumbered by pesky direct debits. If those criteria fit you… then go for your life!
On another note… Lightening from ‘Lightening’s thoughts, musings and happenings’ has given me an award… the ‘you make me smile award’.
After reading this post, she’ll probably take it back again…
Thanks Lightening. It certainly made ME smile when I got it!
(And a big thanks to Caitlin at work, who showed me how to get it on this blog.)

3 thoughts on “Beware Beware Beware.

  1. Your photos look great Lisa! I think that despite the painful purse moments you are going to have some great memories from your trip (even the painful purse moments will, given time and healing, become wonderfully entertaining anecdotes!).

  2. thanks for popping by my blog. We just came back from Kota Kinabalu and I can totally relate to the big hotal rip off!!! Especially when the local food is a tenth of the price! Well apart from that hope you had a good stay with your boys – are you like the coolest mum ever to take them to thailand!!?? Thanks for the encouragement with saf – she will get there!

  3. Pingback: Frugal Friday: A holiday every morning! - Burning Desire For FIRE

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