Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort

Hotel Stay Details
Hotel: Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort
Dates: February 28-March 7, 2013
Rate Paid: 2,800 SPG Points + $45 /night
Regular Rate: $223 / night (incl. taxes)
Total $ Savings: $1,243
Point Redemption Value: 6.3 cents/pt

Now that you know how my father cleverly booked this 7 night stay using SPG Cash & Points, here's what I thought about the hotel.

To begin, I will say that this resort is like a middle aged divorced mom who was probably very attractive when she was younger, but has succumbed to time and the wear & tear of dirty Europeans having their way with her. Now she was looking for any nickle or dime she could get her hands on.

As we drove up the hotel's driveway around 4:30PM, we were sort of expecting some staff to help with our luggage out of the taxi.

 Perhaps we were getting a bit spoiled and entitled, but after traveling since 10AM that morning, my parents were desperate for any help they could get. But no one came, so we made do and lugged our bags up the ramp to the main lobby area.

We found the lobby to be somewhat crowded for the mid-afternoon, with lots of guests sitting around on their smart phones.  I suppose it was because they charged for WiFi in your room, but it was free in the spacious lobby. So yeah, it was full of cheap Europeans.

The open air layout meant it was humid and muggy. There were strong Russian accents mixed in with the scent of the famous Sheraton white tea shampoo that they pump into the air.  The front desk welcomed my father and asked for our passports as mother chased me around the lobby. After sitting in a stroller or car seat for almost 7 hours, my fat little legs were in need of stretching.

As I mentioned yesterday, they found my father's 1st reservation for 5 nights and he informed them there was another reservation for an additional 2 nights. He also asked if they had any rooms with a king sized bed instead of the 2 queens in the reservation (that was the only option available for Cash & Points).

We had hoped the single king bed request could be accommodated, but apparently they were unable to find anything aside from a smaller non-renovated room. They apologized and encouraged us to take the room with the double bed saying it was a SPG Gold room and renovated (sure it was). But it didn't seem like we had much choice, so we just took what we reserved.

Then they proceeded to make a surprisingly hard push for us to "upgrade our reservation" to include Club Lounge access. Access would give us a place to have breakfast each morning (a smaller spread than in the main breakfast restaurant) as well as free beer/wine in the evenings, but most frugal men (especially my father) will never pay up for an extra option. For him, it's either free/included in the base price or he's not using it. So we passed knowing full well that the "free" club lounge breakfast wasn't worth the price to upgrade.

Our Room
The room they gave us (Room 381) was in Building H, at the far end of the resort.  The property was quite large, and it took a good 10-12 minutes to walk from the lobby to our building/room.

We didn't specifically ask for a room that far away, but we did find that we enjoyed the leisurely stroll everyday and it was probably quieter than the rooms closer to the lobby. Or perhaps, as my father says, I'm just rationalizing a bad outcome.

Nevertheless, here are some photos of Room 381.

In either case, we got into our room and blasted the air conditioning. If they were going to be difficult at every turn, might as well get our $45/night's worth. My parents also pushed the two beds together to make a mega-bed (or as I like to call it, my trampoline).

Hotel Restaurants
The hotel had 3 different sit-down restaurants (Mangosteens, Malati's and Geckos). Given there was a handful of restaurants right outside the front gate, we didn't really eat in any of the Sheraton restaurants except for a failed breakfast one morning at Mangosteens where I threw a huge fit because I didn't want to sit down in the high chair.

The food was decent, but nothing worth paying 2-3x for. Pizzas were about 250-300 THB ($8-10 USD) and sandwiches were about the same. Those prices seem about right for an American restaurant, but of course, the portions weren't US sizes.

Like I said earlier, we mostly ate out of the hotel along the street where they had about 5-7 places at more reasonable (though still inflated) prices (about 120-200 THB per entree, or about $4-7 USD).

Most of the places were Thai restaurants, but we did find a few more international places, including one called Maya that served Swedish meatballs. We mixed it up every day between Thai or Indian for an early lunch (places didn't open until 11-1130AM) and International (or 7-11) for dinner.

Hotel Amenities for Kids
As the Sheraton Krabi was a large Western resort, they attracted a lot of families who wanted some comforts that a guesthouse or lower budget hotel wouldn't have. For example, there were sections of the activity pool that were shallow enough for babies like me to stand and even sit.

And they also had a Kids Club that was stock full of toys, arts & crafts, puzzles and DVDs. The rule was that if you were 4 years or older, you could get signed in and the staff would watch you while your parents were at the pool or beach.

But for babies like me, I needed my mother or father there at all times. I had fun there for a few of the days we were here, but I couldn't imagine spending 7 straight days in there.

So that was our stay at Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort. It was a fine place to stay but nothing amazing. In fact, everything seemed worn and tired, including many of the staff. Very few people seemed to really enjoy working here (or at least fake it well enough), but then again, who does? The beach here at Klong Muang was nice, but not a destination beach worth going out of your way for. They did do a great job keeping all the gardens and landscaping looking pristine though. And the WiFi was pretty consistently stable in the room.

But if I were to come back (with or without my parents), I'd probably prefer to stay on Railay Beach, but for only $45 USD a night using C&P, the Sheraton option was tough to beat.

Here are some photos of the rest of the property if you're into that sorta thing.

By the time you're all reading this, I'll be slowly making my way back to the US via Bangkok (BKK) and Seoul (ICN) for a weekend in San Bernardino county (California) with my new friend Peyton and her parents Hannah and Ivan.  Then, I'm back in NYC on Monday morning.  Prepare your finest baby sized pizzas and burgers!

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