After an 18-month-long expansion and overhaul, the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa now boasts all the necessary hardware and software that a planner needs to organise a successful offsite event
I was provided with the opportunity to test out the 111m2 Two-Bedroom Suite with Pool Access in the new wing. Although it was far too large for me, this space – with two bathrooms, a separate living room and a kitchenette – would be a great option for three or four corporate guests to bunk in together, or a corporate traveller with their family in tow.
I had no complaints about the comfortable bed, and the spacious master bathroom which had a separate shower and toilet, as well as a bathtub.
I personally enjoyed working from the patio area, which despite the bright sun outside was not humid thanks to the ceiling fans above. It was also a treat to be able to go for a dip in South-east Asia’s longest swimming pool a few steps from my living room.
In all, JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa now offers an expanded inventory of 420 keys. Rooms start from 55m2 Deluxe Lagoon Pool View, and go up to the 213m2 Two-Bedroom Villa.
The standalone JW Grand Ballroom provides 758m2 of event space, good for 810 attendees across a range of events such as gala dinners and corporate conventions. Offering an abundance of natural light and fully-equipped with the latest audiovisual technology, the ballroom can be further divided into three separate spaces for smaller events.
On two sides of the ballroom are expansive open-air lawns that will work for evening cocktail sessions, and are able to hold several live stations for an outdoor dinner party, with chefs being able to cook dishes upon order.
In total, the property features over 9,300m2 of indoor and outdoor event meeting space, including seven function rooms, such as the compact 12-pax Griffin Boardroom. Creative set-ups and personalised activities can also be arranged in the resort’s outdoor spaces, including the Infinity Lawn and on the beachfront.
When available, the Two-Bedroom Villa can also be booked out for several hours. This would work for small groups with around 20 pax, where the space is also possible to arrange for an outdoor barbecue with drinks.
The resort is also able to organise corporate suitable activities on-site such as handmade coconut soap workshops, cocktail- or mocktail-making sessions with freshly-picked garden herbs, and Thai cooking classes.
Meanwhile, external activities to explore Khao Lak such as cycling outings to temples and waterfalls, day trips to the town of Takua Pa and a canoe ride in its mangrove forest, as well as snorkelling trips to Similan Islands, can also be added to the agenda.
There is a fitness centre, as well daily exercise classes such as cross fit and yoga. The room rate also offers access to a kids’ club for those with young ones, and usage of the tennis court, squash court, and several non-motorised water activities such as kayaking or stand-up paddling.
The piece de resistance is the 2.4km-long pool, billed as South-east Asia’s longest pool, which includes a water trampoline, large water slide, and wave pool.
The hotel also has several concrete plans in the pipeline, such as a Bamboo Shark nursery. Created in partnership with Oceans For All, the nursery will come online in 1Q2023. It will have trained conservationists onsite, as well as shark eggs, and tanks with adolescent sharks that will be eventually released into the ocean.
Also in the pipeline is the creation of a JW Garden in a plot of land behind the conference centre by 1Q2023. The aim of this garden is to grow as much produce as possible for the hotel’s use, and specialise in southern Thai crops such as rosella, Thai basil, and lemongrass.
As for ensuring one is fed and watered, there are a total of 11 restaurants and bars on-site, with a wide variety of cuisines ranging from Japanese and Thai to Italian and Mediterranean.
JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa takes its F&B seriously. Case in point, they recently hired a director of beverage. While directors of F&B are a common appointment, the former are not.
From what I heard, she has been busy revamping drink lists and developing new concoctions such as a tuna-infused gin, and an equally eyebrow-raising parmesan-infused rum. Even in my Cocomera, a refreshing mocktail made with fresh watermelon cucumber and basil cordial, lime, and soda water, sat a salty chunk of feta cheese. Somehow, the flavours came together beautifully though there was hesitation on my part.
During my 3D2N stay, I got to try all-day dining Sala, Drift Beach Bar & Grill and its towering seafood platter, as well as authentic Thai dishes and desserts at Ta Krai, and Italian-focused Olive Restaurant.
I particularly liked the beachfront Drift Beach Bar & Grill for its laid-back ambience. Open only for dinner, groups can kick back and relax with a cocktail in hand and watch the sun set over the horizon.
Menu-wise, I loved Olive Restaurant’s homemade wagyu ravioli, Chef Enzo’s signature pizza, and tiramisu, all of which reflect the passion of Italian chef de cuisine Vincenzo Sorrentino. The restaurant also boasts an ever-growing collection of monocultivar olive oil, where each oil is made solely from a single variety of olive harvested during Italy’s autumn season. Olive oil tasting is also available for corporate groups if so desired.
I was met with impeccable Thai hospitality at every turn. My housekeeper was such a sweet lady, and always left a handwritten note, a folded animal towel, and bed decoration made with leaves when she cleaned up my room.
Located in the quieter Khao Lak area, an hour away from Phuket International Airport, JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa has everything corporate groups need, and everything that groups didn’t think they needed.
I had a wonderful and memorable respite from the city despite being there for work, and the resort would be my top choice when I return in the future for a leisure dive trip in the Similan Islands.