How do you know which hotel is the best in town? Do you believe Google and its pay-for-play style of marketing? TripAdvisor, similarly, will up your rating for a few shekels. Do you go by ratings? What if luxury and comfort is different to you than their raters? It's quite likely it is. My advice is to take an aggregate of all of them. Study the pictures on their website, but also check out hashtags on social media for less filtered images. When you put the Grand Mercure Phuket through these paces what you see is near universal adoration, shimmering rooms, posh villas and fantastic amenities. The Grand Mercure is the best hotel in Phuket!
When you enter the grand, open air lobby your eyes are immediately drawn to the classic Thai atrium surrounded by water which overlooks the spacious pool. The ceilings are 60 feet high if they're an inch and are covered in rich woods that contrast perfectly with the gorgeous marble floors. The birdcage benches dotted along the perimeter of the great entryway offer a comfortable spot to take it all in. It is impressive.
Patong Beach is to Australia and Eastern Europe what Mexico is to Canada and the USA; a hedonistic beach paradise in the sun. The beach stretches for 3.5 KMs and the gorgeous white sand feels like flour between your toes. There are vendors selling locally made goods, parasailers gliding through the air and ice cold beer flows like water. It shows no signs of the devastation it has incurred in recent years. My heart goes out to all my Thai brothers and sisters who lost their lives in 2004 when a mighty tsunami hit the area, gone, but not forgotten!
The rooms are well appointed and each faces into the pool which is a sparkling blue. Deep soaker tubs gaze out into the soft beds and the air conditioning is an oasis in an otherwise hot and humid atmosphere. The rooms are very well appointed and the villas, which we toured but didn't get a chance to enjoy, looked to provide some quiet in the bustling metropolis that is Patong. 1 and 2 bedroom cottages nestled amongst thick palm trees with their own private pools. Yes, please!
The breakfast buffets were immense and certainly had a dish anyone and everyone could enjoy. The Bubbles Restaurant is staffed by very competent professional from the front to the back. We partook in a lovely brunch and dinner there and were very well taken care of. Our brunch started out with the Long Phuket Island which is Bubbles Restaurant's take on the (in)famous Long Island Ice Tea: gin, run, Vodka, tequila, Triple Sec, lime and coke. It was our introduction to the Grand Mercure's mixology program and it was a good one! How and why the original recipe added every liquor in the cabinet to this drink I'll never know and I don't really care; it's good! Jennifer indulged in the Grand Piña Colada in a Young Coconut: rum, Malibu, pineapple juice and coconut milk. She called it "the fire extinguisher for the Mee Hoo Gaeng Poo", a spicy crab and yellow curry dish, sublime, that will make your nose run like a faucet and I mean that in the most positive way! But we'll get into that more a bit later. Rounding out our pre meal cocktail session was the Patong Libre, their take, of course, on the Cuba Libre which consists of rum, coke, vanilla syrup and cranberry juice. Delicious!
It is hard to go wrong when ice cream is involved and Bubbles stayed fast to that tried and true rule. In all a very pleasurable experience. The dinner buffet, a once per week extravaganza dubbed Phuket Night, was incredible. Seafood, Thai food, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, pasta, etc... so much of everything I deigned to not describe anything because I would leave something out. If you are in Phuket, and your budget doesn't necessitate a shared room with a dozen grubby strangers, I could not recommend the Grand Mercure higher. We stayed at another location afterwards, which will go unnamed, and to say it was 1/10 the hotel GM is would be an understatement. Tell them we sent you and get at least a high five, possibly an upgrade lol!