The well run property had many appealing facilities including handsome common areas, a beach front restaurant and club, a well equipped air conditioned fitness center, a spa, and a hotel restaurant. The Residences building where I stayed had its own reception, concierge staff and a segregated breakfast dining room. Perhaps because it was low season the building common areas felt luxuriously serene and quiet as if I was the only guest even though I wasn’t. If I felt like company it was easy to walk over to the hotel’s main building common areas or the beach club, and if I wanted to relax all I had to do was remain in my suite.
My favorite place to spend time was in my quiet, private, elegantly decorated and comfort oriented three level Residences suite with its own rooftop pool and the cordial attention of Mam, my friendly and helpful concierge. There were many details like scented towels in the hotel vehicle during private transfers, a necklace woven of fresh scented white flowers to welcome me when I arrived, a complimentary bottle of Gosset Champagne on ice in my suite on arrival (and complimentary with breakfast in the Residences dining room), complimentary tiny Toblerone chocolates, a fruit bowl and complimentary Spanish pata negra ham for cocktail hour in the Residences private dining area that appealed to me.
Although the weather was not ideal for beach time while I was in Phuket, there were plenty of activities at Twinpalms to keep me entertained. Between working out at the fitness room, having spa treatments, dining, checking email in the comfort of my suite and going on a day long yachting excursion I barely managed to squeeze in time to swim in the rooftop pool. The Twinpalms Residences, a place to return to, will be on my short list for Phuket.
Class Of Accommodation A Five Star luxury hotel and spa
Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi in my suite, in the common areas and at Catch, the hotel beach club. The service was provided by broadband via cable and wireless with speed varying depending on the provider.
General Manager Olivier Gibaud
Handicapped Access The hotel welcomed wheelchair bound guests.
Length Of Stay Four nights
Location The resort was located on the west coast of Phuket in Surin Beach, 175 meters across a public park from the beach itself. The airport was about 25 minutes away by car.
Owned and managed Carl G. Langenskiold
Pets Allowed No
Size There were 220 employees, 97 rooms and suites and 21 suites with private pools in the property with multi-story buildings.
Year Opened-Renovated In December 2004, Twinpalms Phuket opened the first 76 rooms; in December 3, 2009 it opened 21 pool suites. According to a property spokesperson, a yearly soft renovation takes place at the property.
Past the expansive main entrance beyond a shaded walkway there was a narrow, long and inviting pool, my favorite decorative feature at the property. The Library, an air conditioned staffed room to the left, past reception but before the pool, was home to two computers for guest use, and a selection of DVDs and books. The main pool, a few steps down the walkway past the library, was surrounded by two story buildings with guest rooms. The pool bar was on the left side of the pool. Some of the rooms had direct access to side pools and others had attractive balconies looking over the pool area from the ground and first floors. As I strode by them on the way to my suite I sometimes saw guests going for a night swim or enjoying chilled wine or bubbly.
The entrance to the suite area of the resort was about to thirds of the way around the pool on the right beyond a short bridge and a walkway that snaked between the buildings. It was much quieter in the Residences building. Although I was there in low season half the suites were taken and yet I never once came across guests in the hallways or common areas of the building or heard them from within my suite. Even in the suite Residences dining area at breakfast I had the room to myself. The Residences building had a private entrance and reception desk although most of the time access was through the main entrance. The only time I used the Residence entrance was the day I left; the transfer vehicle picked me up there.
Artwork was original including paintings by Chinese sisters Ning Bin Bin and Dang Dan Dan. Argentinian Martin Palleros, owner of Tierra Design, was responsible for the architecture and architectural landscaping. The interior design for hotel guest rooms, the main lobby, the Library and the Palm Wellness and Spa was the work of Malaysian Peter Tiong from Odja Design, a Chinese company with an office in Bangkok. The Oriental Spoon restaurant, the Wine Room and boardrooms were designed by Australian Robin Lourjvani, owner of Kuppa in Bangkok.
A flight of stairs and a few steps to the right led to the entrance to my suite, one of three in that corner of the building. Access was via an electronic key card. After taking off my shoes at the entrance I walked on gleaming white tiled floors through a short entrance hallway which led to a living area with a double high ceiling. In other words, the center of the room reached up to the next level of the suite. A dark wood fixture in the middle of the large area served as a soft divider between the living and dining areas of the suite. The living area, to the left, housed a khaki cloth sofa, two wicker armchairs, and a square dark wood coffee table. Hanging on the dark wood divider there was an extra large Sony flatscreen Bravia television with separate Sony speakers on either side of the television as well as two upright speakers in the rear of the room and one on the floor. There was also a Sony DVD player.
There was a two story window on one side and a wall facing built-in desk with a two-line wireless phone, pre-programmed iPod nano, electricity and ethernet cable connections on top. I appreciated that there were two armless chairs next to the desk, making it convenient for two people to sit side by side at the desk. I especially liked that the DVD/CD player was integrated with the television. With the remote control I could adjust the television as well as music on the pre-programmed iPod Nano (or my personal Nano which I was able to dock during my stay) connected to the system while I was seated at the desk checking emails and reading the news online. These were just two of the many details I liked at Twinpalms.
On the wall behind the cloth couch an impossible-to-miss pretty 2008 oversize frameless oil painting by Ning Dan Dan and Ning Bin Bin occupied a large portion of the wall and commanded attention from anywhere in the room. Behind the fixture and to the right there was a dining area with a dark wood rectangular table in the middle and four wicker armless chairs in the center. Against the wall a rectangular table housed a fruit bowl and fresh flowers. A very large window took up most of the rear wall.
On the opposite side of the room there was a white Corian counter with two stools, fresh lilies in a vase as a welcome amenity and two mini refrigerators with complimentary beverages and snacks. Against that wall a floor-to-ceiling closet housed dinnerware and glassware while another housed a refrigerator with full size bottles of Voss bottled water, wine and Champagne. Next to the refrigerator there was a second room temperature open mini bar area with full size bottles of name brand whiskey, cognac, gin, vodka, rum, grappa, and liqueurs on display. In the same cabinet there was a Nespresso machine and four Nespresso capsules as well as a tea service (in a drawer) with three types of Ronnefeldt tea and a water heater pitcher. There was a full bathroom on this floor divided into three areas: a water closet, a sink and a shower.
The sleeping area with an en suite bathroom was one flight of stairs up and to the right. A comfortable oversize king bed with a built-in padded beige head board and identical night tables occupied the center of the space. I especially liked the light and curtain controls set on the wall next to the night table that allowed me to turn the lights on and off while in bed. A second Sony flatscreen television (smaller than the one downstairs) and a Sony DVD player were on a rectangular wood cabinet facing the bed. There were also floor-to-ceiling dark wood closets on either side of the bed one of which housed an electronic safe. A bench the width of the room, where I placed my luggage, stood next to an oversize window and a wicker bench stood at the foot of the bed. The entrance to the bathroom was across the room.
Within my suite the temperature was controlled via central air conditioning, with a digital wall display, and fans. The Contemporary Tropical design by Martin Palleros emphasized strong simple lines, minimalist features, light and space. In addition to the sunlight streaming in from the very large windows on both floors and the rooftop area of course, there were many recessed lights and lamps. The overall feel was pleasing to the contemporary decor favoring eye including mine.
A private infinity swimming pool, two loungers and an assortment of towels occupied the rooftop area, one of my favorite areas of the suite.
For breakfast the first morning in the Residences Lounge I had an a la carte breakfast of fresh squeezed watermelon juice, looseleaf jasmine tea, Chinese dim sum and Jamon Iberico pata negra with a little French bread. In the evening, I visited the Oriental Spoon for a side salad and an order of spring rolls which were delicious.
For breakfast the second day at the Residences Lounge I ordered homemade yogurt with pineapple, macadamia nut and sunflower seeds, Bonne Maman honey, and dried figs and apricots; as well as potatoes, tomatoes, ham, Canadian bacon, sausage, French bread, jasmine tea and a glass of Nicolas Feuillante Champagne.
At lunch at Catch Beach Club (smoking was permitted) I had Som Tam , a spicy papaya salad for an appetizer. The salad, made with young green papaya, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, tiny shrimp and peanuts and served with a sweet, spicy and tangy sauce, was delicious. For the main course my server recommended Gai Yang , a half roasted chicken served with steamed rice (usually it was served with sticky rice but they only had steamed rice that day) and two sauces, a tamarind and chili sauce and a sweet chili sauce.
Dinner at the Oriental Spoon the night before my departure was delicious. I had a mixed appetizer followed by sea bass cooked to perfection in a citrus sauce with cilantro. The manager selected a Chardonnay to accompany my meal.
Any place that has a Nespresso machine and complimentary capsules wins my husband’s heart and any place that has red tea wins mine. Twinpalms had both in addition to two mini refrigerators with complimentary beverages including house brand artesian water, two small bottles of milk, one small bottle of orange juice, two cans each of Coca-Cola and Schweppes Soda Water, five types of beer (four imported) fresh flowers and a fruit bowl. There was a Cuban Cigar Humidor.
The night of my arrival there were welcome canapes (shrimp and avocado, olives, aged ham and melon, tuna with sesame seeds), in my suite.
There was an 8 gigabyte iPod Nano in my suite for my use while at the hotel. It was set on a docking station connected to the sound system and television. It had six music playlists, 100 images of Phuket island and a video of the property (I was able to dock my personal iPod Nano to listen to music in the integrated sound system). Identical iPod Nanos were available for purchase through the Residence concierge for 12,500 bhat.
Facilities There was spa, library, hotel pool, fitness center, hotel restaurant, gift shop selling branded merchandise, clothing boutique and beach club and restaurant. The Residences building had a separate staffed lobby and a breakfast and happy hour dining room.
Fitness Center And Spa The 120 square meter fitness center was well equipped with free weights and Life Fitness treadmills, elliptical and other machines. The Palm Spa, a floor above the fitness center, was 600 squares large. I enjoyed two visits to the spa and three treatments in total: the 90-minute Palm Spa Herbal Luxury massage designed to blend Swedish massage and a hot herbal compress to warm the muscles. Later that same day, I had the 55-minute Nature’s Dream Facial. Another day I tried the Surin Massage, a 55-minute treatment mixing Swedish, Thai and sports techniques. My masseuse was Mrs. Pennipa also known as “Pook.”
Pool The hotel had 1,600 square meters of pool area open 24 hours (I saw guests and their children in the pool area in the early evening). The popular hotel pool was 50 meters long and an average of 1.50 meters deep. There was an ample supply of lounge chairs and umbrellas scattered around the pool. My suite rooftop pool was 9 meters by 3 meters and 1.70 meters deep. There were two wide and comfortable lounge chairs by my suite pool and a scented flowering tree on the edge of the pool.
After 45 minutes we reached Nok island, recommended by the staff for snorkeling. We remained there for about 90 minutes after being taken by tender in several groups. The white sand beaches and turquoise waters near the shore were tempting although the many large jelly fish kept most of us on shore. On our return to the boat we had a cold buffet lunch before heading out to Rang Yai Island, a second island with pretty beaches and a pearl farm store. After we anchored of the beach of Rang Yai Island, a handful of us went for a ride, one by one, on an inflated doughnut. Another group went to the island, walked on the beach and visited the Phuket Pearl Farm Co. Ltd. store (the pearl farm was on the island) which, according to the saleswoman, was government regulated. Some of my fellow guests thought the prices were on the high side in the air conditioned and well stocked store. The customers before me purchased necklaces which the staff were stringing and promised to deliver that afternoon to the guests’ hotel.
Other The tap water at Twin Palms was from a property well 60 meters below the surface. Although it was filtered and chlorinated it was not recommended for drinking. There were four complimentary 500 milliliter bottles of house brand artesian water in the room which were were advised to use in lieu of tap water. There were mosquitoes at night. To go out in the evening to dinner at Catch Beach Club or the Oriental Spoon it was necessary to spray mosquito repellent.
There were refresher towels in the transfer vehicle and house brand Artesian bottled water. The hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World since 2006, had received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2009 and 2010.
Date Of Review September 2010
Reviewers Article and photographs by Elena del Valle
Service The suite was serviced twice daily. In addition, I shared a hostess with another suite in the building. Mam, my suite hostess was cheerful, helpful and efficient. She came to pick me up the day I arrived (and the day I left went with me to the airport) and escorted me through the property, showing me the facilities and even translating when we encountered a local vendor on the beach.
Would You Stay There Again? Yes