Sunday, September 30, 2018

Travel: U Zenmaya, Phuket

A couple of months back, Jetstar was having this sale so my friends and i were thinking of doing a short getaway to somewhere nearby. Wanted to explore somewhere new and we narrowed down our destination to Myanmar where we can also visit Bagan for their hot air balloon (i didn't know there's hot air balloon in Asia until then, lol) But after doing some research, we realised the expedition will cost quite a bit and it was also their monsoon season so we decided to postpone the trip and go somewhere else instead. In the end, we decided to get tickets to Phuket. I think the fare was only about $80 per person with tax?
The whole idea of this getaway was to relax and recuperate. So minimal activities, more rest, spend time at the beach etc. Accommodation wise, we initially decided to go for a normal affordable hotel since we will be spending most of the time out of the hotel (as usual) until we saw this particular hotel - U Zenmaya. I recall reading about this hotel when i was doing my research on Phuket a couple of years back and i remember it being quite exclusive and expensive. Each room has it's own jacuzzi and is facing the sea.

This time, we decided to splurge a little and book our 4D3N stay at U Zenmaya. The hotel is located at Kamala area, which is about 15 to 20 mins drive away from touristy Patong. Upon landing at Phuket International Airport, we went to one of the counter at the arrival hall to get a car to bring us to our hotel. If i remember correctly, it cost us 850 baht (SGD36) and the journey took about 45 mins.
Touted as a luxury hotel, U Zenmaya offers several privileges such as 24 hour check in and out policy meaning if you arrive at say 5pm, you get to checkout at 5pm. So you get to spend a full 24 hours a day in the hotel to enjoy the facilities such as the gym and infinity pool. On top of that, upon checking in, you even get to choose your choice of pillow and even the soap scent! This is something that i have never encounter before throughout my travels. Accommodation has never been a priority when i travel so i usually go the affordable and decent ones. I barely utilise the hotel's facilities as i'm out most of the time.
The room we got ourselves is the Premium Deluxe Seaview Room (35sqm) and it features a large personal jacuzzi on a private ocean facing balcony. They replenish the mini bar daily as well so we constantly had drinks to bring around the hotel. There are also another type of rooms which has  a balcony that opens up to an infinity swimming pool. So i guess it's either the jacuzzi or the swimming pool.

If you ask me, i would say go for the jacuzzi because...
The hotel itself already has a gorgeous infinity swimming pool! This is the first time i spent so much time in the holiday on an overseas holiday. Half the time i was sitting by the pool reading my kindle, taking a swim once in awhile and i even dozed off a couple of times while listening to the waves. 
It was so relaxing that we didn't want to step out of the hotel most of the time. There's a pool bar which has 50% off happy hour at a certain timing, the hotel food was pretty decent and affordable (SG cafe prices) so we practically had our meals at the pool for a couple of times.

Part of the reason why we didn't want to step out of the hotel was that it's not located at the main touristy area. There's a shuttle bus/truck which brings you out and back at every hour at just 100 baht ($4), but any other time we would have to call for a cab which would cost at least 400 baht ($17) one way. With that said, we went out a couple of times for meals and to visit Patong beach as well as Bangla street :D
Breakfast is provided at the hotel's restaurant and i would say they offers quite a wide range of food for breakfast. There is the bread and pastries corner with assorted jams, fruits and DIY salad spread, live egg station, buffet style western and local Thai food as well as hot and cold beverages etc. Definitely more than enough variety to cater to everyone. Love a good hotel breakfast spread 
If you have been following my travelogues, you would know that i'm a sucker for buffet breakfast and i would wake up no matter what just to have my breakfast (only when overseas!) What i would do each time would be to firstly, take a stroll to see what are the different kind of food available, then start going to each area to take a bit of each and bring it back to my table. After i'm done, my table will be usually filled with plates and bowls. That's when i will start eating for the next 45 mins before going for the next round.
If you decide not to wake up early and join the crowd downstairs for breakfast, the hotel offers "breakfast anytime, anywhere" which literally means you can have breakfast at any time of the day and anywhere in the hotel. We decided to try the service on the last morning before we check out and decided to have breakfast in the room. (If you have more time and is "daring" enough, try and ask to have breakfast at some ulu corner of the hotel, see what they will do. Maybe they will set  up tables and chairs. LOL) 
I ordered my breakfast through the phone and had to answer a long list of questions because i ordered the "all-in" breakfast so i have to answer how i want my eggs to be cooked, the type of bread, down to the drinks. Both hot and cold. Everything else like fruits and cereals will come along with it. What a sumptuous breakfast on the bed. Perfect to create that pretentious breakfast-on-the-bed shot (which i did, lol)

With that said, this is one of the best hotel i have stayed in and it made me rethink the whole concept about paying more for accommodation and enjoying the facilities, even for local staycations. I guess from now on i will be looking out for hotel perks too! In case you are wondering, it cost me about $200+ a night for my stay at U Zenmaya. This is not a sponsored stay btw.

Till the next post,