Hyatt Regency Phuket Review: I’m Checking Out Early, This Hotel Should Be Avoided IMHO!

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Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
The landscaping is very well maintained and is a highlight here.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review – Not Up to Standards

Built in 2014, the Hyatt Regency Phuket is beautiful…..from a distance. This hotel (which apparently is owned by the same company as the Park Hyatt Maldives) sits on a cliffside overlooking the Andaman Sea. It’s adult infinity pool, Regency Club and most rooms have sweeping views from high above and its massive main pool is wonderful for families. It’s almost as if it was designed to look like a postcard, except that doesn’t hold up when you look a little closer.

To start, I emailed this property about a month before arrival to ask a few questions about rooms, upgrades, etc. During that first interaction I was told my daughter would receive free Regency Club access as a courtesy, since my Globalist status gave me access for two. That should have set off alarm bells since the terms say you get 2 adults and 2 children, but I let it go and moved on.

Four days before our stay I received an email asking about or arrival and confirming our stay. I had to split my reservation in an effort to secure a suite upgrade, so I replied asking to confirm the suite upgrade cert was applied while also providing the information they requested. Four days passed and I only received an email the morning of arrival that unfortunately did not address my question.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
A lot of people were checking out when we arrived.

So I arrived just after Noon to a chaotic scene as the somewhat busy hotel had a lot of people checking out. Upon our arrival a front desk supervisor was checking us in and upon me inquiring about the suite upgrade he disappeared. He never said whether it was attached, but I suspect it wasn’t. Either way he returned about 20 minutes later saying it was all resolved and our suite 7009 would be ready at 3pm. We also did all of the check-in paperwork. I understood why we had to wait given their occupancy, so this wasn’t an issue at all.

For the next three hours we killed a little time and even took the hotel’s complimentary shuttle into the nearby town for some lunch and shopping. We returned to the Regency Club just before 3pm and were met at 3:11pm by the same supervisor who drove us down to our room. On the way we passed 7009 and eventually ended up at 5009.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
View from the Regency Club

I immediately asked what happened to my room and the guy said, “Don’t worry this room is better.” (They are the same layout.) This involuntary change seemed off to me and immediately I saw why. Instead of the sweeping sea views I had been promised, there was a giant tree outside of the balcony. After pushing I was told the person who was in 7009 extended their stay one night. I asked why I wasn’t given options. It just seemed that he hoped I didn’t notice the original room number.

With no view and without the room we were promised, we headed down to the lobby where I asked to speak to what I believed was the General Manager, but who I now believe was another Front Desk Supervisor. I expressed frustration about the situation and asked why I wasn’t given any options instead of being tricked. He acknowledged he would be upset too and offered for us to stay in 5009 for one night and move to 7009 the next night. He even went above and beyond and comped that first night. 

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
7009 has 180 degree views while 5009 is much lower and has a very small partial view out the right side of a construction site and the ocean plus the tree.

Unfortunately I discovered something that was a bit frustrating. Neither 5009 nor 7009 are considered suites by the hotel. Both rooms are categorized as “Deluxe 2 Bedroom” which is below the “Regency Suite King” the certificate confirms into. That would have been fine, however they charged me the certificate knowing I wasn’t getting a suite. Only after I pressed the General Manager via email twice did he agree to return it.

On the second day we were contacted by the Front Desk Manager and told the new room would be ready around 3pm and asked to pack our things so the hotel could move everything. Indeed the room was done around 3pm and they did move everything. After several requests from my wife as she left for town (they didn’t understand her) they even brought the key to me up in the Regency Club adult pool.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
Patchwork is the norm in the pool. Hundreds of these white patches can be seen and the cool deck is falling apart in areas as well.
Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
Here is a perfect metaphor for the hotel. Looks good from far, but look closely at the deck falling apart with several loose boards. This is just off the lobby. Other areas are even worse.

It was with excitement that I left the pool to head down to my new room for a shower. Upon walking in I noticed some dust and a lot of smudges on the window. Jasmine and Ellie were in town and never entered the room, so I knew these were from the previous guests. I also quickly noticed half of the weather stripping on the back door was missing. Ironically they even have a sticker telling you to keep it closed because of mosquitoes, but without that stripping there was a gap nearly half an inch thick.

I once again emailed management and told them what happened and attached pictures. For the first time I also decided to post publicly about it. Keep it mind I never use this blog as leverage nor do I ever tell the hotel I am a blogger, etc. before arriving. I felt though that enough had gone wrong and I had given them enough chances to make things right that it was justified. I also didn’t ask for anything other than for the room to be cleaned and the door fixed. (Check out all of the pics below.)

Within 30 minutes of my email a guy showed up and cleaned the numerous surfaces with fingerprints and two men showed up to install temporary weather stripping. It doesn’t look very good, but it does solve the problem! They left and management never followed up. (I did miss one call, but no message was left nor did anyone call back.) Sigh.

Which brings me to why I am leaving this hotel early. It just isn’t up to Hyatt standards. For example, that giant beautiful pool is falling apart. There are literally hundreds of quick patch jobs where the tile has broken off. Their cool deck is also peeling. On the first day Ellie got a pebble lodged deep within her foot while walking on it. While their friendly staff helped to perform first aid and document the situation (Ellie couldn’t walk on it but once the pebble was removed with tweezers she was fine), it just shouldn’t happen. The five year old hotel is falling apart. 

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
Ellie was treated very well by the staff performing first aid on her foot where a pebble was stuck when it came loose from the deck. In fact she has been treated excellently by the staff and is always greeted with hellos and warm smiles.

One other thing I feel I should point out is the staff. To start, all of the staff is incredibly hardworking and friendly. To a point where you notice it. With that said, almost no one speaks fluent English or can understand more than a basic question. For example, at the breakfast buffet if you ask one of the 10 workers for something they will have to get the hostess to translate since she appears to be the only one to speak fluent English.

Everything I have mentioned above is also repeated in reviews on both the Hyatt website and TripAdvisor. Check out the latest review from yesterday by user MSILBERSTEIN for example. Yikes!. Note that like him/her I have also been told the General Manager is on a trip despite his stay happening a month ago. (Come out come out wherever you are!) 🙂 While I normally read reviews like that with a grain of salt, having stayed here I believe it 100%. And no bringing non-alcoholic drinks from the Club? WTF?!? 

Keep in mind and I want to be clear that most (but FAR from a consensus) reviews are positive, but if you look closely you’ll see mention of the deteriorating property, untrained staff and cutbacks including the Regency Club which has among the worst spreads I have seen outside of the United States. 

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
So pretty!

So I have now asked management to let me leave two days early (they responded and agreed after more than 3 hours) so I can stay elsewhere in a hotel I feel more aligns with the standards I have come to expect from Hyatt Regency. Keep in mind I am not judging this hotel by the standards of the Four Seasons, but in relation to other Hyatt beach resorts I have been to. It simply doesn’t stack up. That’s too bad since we were supposed to spend Ellie’s 4th birthday here, making it a very special stay.

Remember how I told you it looks good from far but then has issues when you peak closer? As I mentioned the pool is falling apart, but so are the decks around the resort and even things like our shower has patches. What they did with the weather stripping seems to be what they do everywhere. Slap a quick fix on it and move on.

Hyatt Regency Phuket Review - Not Up to Standards
The rooms when clean are nice, but the materials are cheap. The glass between the bathroom and room is heavily scratched and the wood everywhere is as well.

There are other things I could bring up like areas of our room that look like they haven’t been dusted in a month, or how my wife asked housekeeping to search the other room for a missing Airpod only to be told they couldn’t find it. After pressing the Housekeeping Manager to allow her to look, she found it within a couple of minutes. Clearly the staff just didn’t look hard enough.

Conclusion

I am not saying the Hyatt Regency Phuket is a hellhole, but it isn’t a five star hotel when it comes to build quality, materials, service or just about anything else in my opinion. The views are stunning, but low tide exposes a ton of rocks and that awesome giant pool sits 5 feet from a road so you hear loud tuk tuks, motorbikes and even tour buses pass by all day. I knew those things before going in, but they were concessions I was willing to make. The rest of it is just a bit too far.

Yes, I have stayed in far worse hotels during my travels, but never a worse Hyatt resort. 


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22 COMMENTS

  1. aww sorry hear your awful experience , this gives me a bad vibe staying there next week….
    i do not have any status , but was told will be upgraded to deluxe as complimentary , which i dont complain about it but i do have two toddlers and with hotel in such bad shape, little concern…thou it is too late to change it now since im staying using free cert getting expire

  2. This kind of hurts my heart as I’m in Japan at the Hyatt regency Kyoto (currently blown away by the service and quality) and was hoping for at least a little of the same for my stay in 5 days. I hold no status, don’t intend to use the club lounge and don’t really have any special requests but I suppose there’s no way of getting around the outdatedness. Is it pretty easy to leave the hotel to find food? And do you have any other suggestions to help mitigate issues I might have ?

    • There is a restaurant just outside to the left and Kamala Beach is a 15 minute walk (has a ton of restaurants and shops) or they have a shuttle hourly during the day so you don’t have to walk. Plenty to do outside of the hotel. Let us know how it goes. I am open to hearing other’s experiences both good and bad.

  3. What you’ve dealt with is completely unacceptable for the caliber of hotel. That said, having spent many months in Thailand (and loved it), what you’ve described screams Thai culture. Super friendly people, but the things westerners consider necessary just don’t get done. General maintenance isn’t done until something is REALLY broken, and even then it might not.

    • Yeah I spent a lot of time in Thailand years ago backpacking and know this to some extent, but this property is marketed as upscale and five stars so I do expect a little better. Despite all of the issues, the friendliness of the Thai people shines even when things aren’t going well. It’s why Thailand is one of my favorite countries.

  4. It’s interesting that folks might think of Hyatt Regency resorts as ‘five star’ properties. Don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a Regency that was better than four star quality. Also actually glad that I’m a mere Discoverist. I assume the room will be plain with a view of nothing much and so can only be impressed, and thankful, if it’s better than that. Not a criticism or anything, just seems like status, upgrades, etc result in increased expectations. I wouldn’t have thought twice about most of the things complained of here—including an earbud that I lost but housekeeping failed to find.

    • Hey Gus. The star system is so flawed and a 5 star hotel in one country or region could be a 3 star property somewhere else. So when I call it a five star property, that is because that is what it is considered here and how they market it. They market themselves as a luxury property, so I mention it, but more importantly as I said above I am only comparing them to other Regency resorts. Stars don’t matter.

      I agree that no Regency is 5 stars by U.S. standards (except maybe in China). Many are 3 stars in fact with the nicer ones being 4 stars.

      Thanks Gus. Enjoy and report back to tell everyone how wrong I am! 🙂

  5. Hyatt Regencies are all over the place. I’ve stayed at the one in Hong Kong, and the the one in Kyoto which are both absolutely top notch quality in both service and hardware. Then there are the Regencies in the US which are….well….generally large convention hotels that are nothing to write home about.
    If it’s any consolation, the Park Hyatt in Maldives is fantastic (service, hardware, house reef, diving staff) so it’s unfortunate that the same company couldn’t manage to get this property right.

    • Yeah I have heard great things about the Park Hyatt in Maldives which is why I was so surprised. In my mind I separate the Hyatt Regency city hotels and resorts since I feel they are almost different brands. As you say though the quality is all over the place, with this hotel being close to the bottom in my opinion.

      Thanks!

    • In the bed at the HR Kyoto right now, couldn’t agree more, this place is amazing!! And on top of that this is the only hotel I’ve ever been able to get as much complimentary water as a want and I’m only a discoverist though it seems to be for everyone.

      Headed to HR TST in a week or so, now I’m really excited!

  6. Just to play devil’s advocate, is it possible that, short of actual perfection, you were never going to be happy because you were too busy making sure that you got every little perk that you were entitled to as an elite and viewing every detail with a critical eye?

    Some/most of your concerns are valid. But the lost earbud? That’s on you. The loose boards? That sounds like the kind of thing you notice if you are roaming the property with a critical eye, not if you are trying to relax. The patch job? Did it hurt the view?

    I’m not trying to be unpleasant … but I think there is danger for all of us in falling into the trap of forgetting to enjoy the destination because we are too busy managing the details. How much hassle did you put yourself through by constantly escalating issues to the general manager, changing rooms, then changing hotels — and is that time that would have been better spent by a pool? Pick your battles (like getting your suite certificate back) and enjoy your time.

    • Hey Jim,

      It’s always hard to get every bit of context into a post so I understand the confusion. I have spent thousands of nights in hotels over the past 13 years and have been reviewing hotels for awhile. I wasn’t trying to squeeze anything from them.

      As someone who stayed 60 nights last year I was given 4 tier suite upgrades. When I use one of these Hyatt pays the hotel extra money for me to be in a suite. This is something that was supposed to be confirmed ahead of time, but wasn’t for some reason. If that is the perk you are talking about then this is a case of them charging for something I didn’t receive. Think of it as me actually paying for the suite. A form of currency is changing hands. I didn’t ask for anything else as a Globalist. No special treatment.

      When it comes to the rest, I wasn’t upset about anything until he tried to switch my room. Again, I was checked in to a specific room and then given another room without explanation. Has that ever happened to you? It has NEVER happened to me. Then we had the discussion in the lobby and agreed on me moving the next day. Everything from then on was handled via email and I purposely didn’t take time out of my family’s stay to go complain. I also never asked for anything. For example when my second room was dirty I emailed the managers to send someone to clean it and that was it. I didn’t berate them or ask for more compensation. I didn’t even say another word about it.

      What is hard to see is that I actually did try to enjoy the resort. Sure after all of the negatives did I probably notice more things that were off? Absolutely, but that didn’t sour my enjoyment of the pools or view. Again, I stay in a lot of hotels so I can both be critical of huge mistakes and have some perspective. I didn’t rate this hotel a 1 and made sure to emphasize that others have had mostly good but mixed experiences. I also posted pictures that show the beauty. This is far from a hellhole as I say in my conclusion.

      I also didn’t seek out any of the maintenance things. I saw the loose boards when I was walking and felt them moving beneath my feet like I was going to fall through. My phone has a camera so I snapped a pic. Took 15 seconds. Again I probably wouldn’t have had such an eye for this stuff had all of the other stuff not gone wrong, but hey it happened. I’m quite sure you have had a similar situation where something happens that opens your eyes wider to a lot of other stuff.

      Sure the earbud thing is on us, but when you make a mistake like that wouldn’t you like to know that they actually looked for it? Have you never left anything behind?

      Finally, as I said I didn’t waste any time on issues once I moved rooms and I did enjoy the pool and the resort as much as I could. The pool is missing lights and has exposed wiring (see @milestomemories Twitter) and even the manager acknowledged to me as I left today that they have a lot of renovations needed that they are working on.

      As for switching hotels, it ain’t even a thing. Gives us a chance to stay and see a different area before we leave. We pack light and are on a trip where we will stay in a ton of hotels so we are mobile. Were closer to the airport now as well. My experience at that hotel was death by a thousand cuts. My vacation wasn’t ruined. It isn’t the end of the world. I just moved on. My job is to write reviews. This one is as honest as it gets.

      • Well said, Shawn. Thanks for the thoughtful and candid response.

        (btw, I didn’t mean to imply that you were trying to squeeze anything from them. I don’t think I did, but I apologize if you got that impression.)

  7. Wow, I am really nervous about our stay in November. I will be closely watching reviews moving forward and decide if a hotel change is necessary. We are booked and confirmed for a king club with plunge pool. Should I be looking for alternative hotel now?

    • I’m currently as this hotel and can say many of the issues mentioned I have not experienced. I will say that I’m discoverist so wasn’t expecting much but I’ve had no issues with the shower or any problems with my room. I would warn though that this hotel is at least a 15 min walk from anything and if you take a taxi even a mile they’ll charge you 300 bhat. I’d say the hotel is beautiful for the most part but your experience will be based on what you desire to do. If you wanna sit around the hotel then the pool, even the main pool which is all I could access was really nice but as someone who likes to explore and not sit around this hotel was a terrible choice. I’ve realized in part though that is due to me further understanding I’m not a resort person. If you are I’d guess you’ll have a decent experience. If your a globalist I doubt you’ll get anywhere near the treatment I received even as a discoverist at the Hyatt regency Kyoto which is hands down the best hotel experience and service wise I’ve ever experienced.

  8. Reminds me of the Hilton there….a big resort that looked and felt run down, mediocre quality breakfast buffet, worn down rooms (I was upgraded as a HH Diamond member), big crowds and an less-than-efficient arrival and check-in process. Wouldn’t go back.

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