New Hotel in Old Town
Courtyard By Marriott Phuket Town delivers Southern flair and flavour
The Metropole Hotel, a property synonymous with Phuket's Old Town since 1989, has been given a new lease on life and renamed the Courtyard By Marriott Phuket Town on Soi Surin. An ideal place to stay if accessibility to the city is your first box to tick. Nestled in the heart of Phuket, its location allows guests to explore the city on foot. The hotel opened in November last year and offers stylish and sumptuous rooms and suites with a total of 248 units. Courtyard By Marriott Phuket Town offers a blend of the cultural heritage and the contemporary style of Courtyard's identity.
After a 50-minute ride from the island airport, walking up the marble front stairs took my breath away. An airy double-height ceiling with an indoor balcony with furniture in different shades of blues and a mostly white interior complimented the lobby's ambience. A statement piece, alluring guests to get some selfies before checking-in, is an appealing art piece, which is a wrought-iron globe adorned with a beading pattern from a costume that is worn during a traditional Southern dance-drama known as manora.
The hallway that led to my Deluxe room on the 14th floor was quite serene, with a soft carpet and dim lights. Since the refurbishment is still new, my nose was a bit tickled by the whiff of fresh paint. The 30m² twin-bed Deluxe has a large, square window through which I could see the cityscape. It's a scenic picture of Phuket town with Toh Sae valley as the backdrop. No balcony, no problem. The morning view with golden hour after sunrise is worth getting up early for.
The room feels spacious despite its compact size, thanks to light-coloured walls and the sunlight that shines through the huge window. The bed was very comfy, but you may tumble easily if you're taller than a normal Thai and squirm while sleeping. The bathroom is fully equipped with amenities. With a long washbasin stretching from one side of the bathroom to the other and a glass shower stall that is complemented by a tiled wall.
The fourth floor is where you can enjoy the hotel's facilities. Whether it's taking a refreshing dip in a sparkling swimming pool or quenching your thirst with Thai-inspired cocktails while lying down on a comfortable sunbed. The fitness centre is well-equipped for an invigorating workout, ranging from free weights, cardio machines and a Thai boxing area. You can check a daily schedule for exercise classes, such as yoga and Thai boxing. Now the hotel is gearing up to open a kid's club where your little ones can sink their teeth into fun activities and crafty workshops.
Talung Lounge, a cafe by day and a bar by night next to the lobby, piqued my curiosity simply because I wondered how the Southern shadow puppetry nang talung would be translated into its design. The hotel racks up another point for pulling that off, from small Thai instruments that are displayed all over the room to a wall that shows silhouettes of different puppets. The lounge also connects to an indoor patio that allows guests to indulge in the scenic view of the Surin Circle Clock Tower. Another reason to check it out.
Kolae Pool Bar on the fourth floor continues to convey a sense of Southern culture through interior design. The name isn't just derived from the traditional fishing boat used in the Southern provinces. The ambiance of the pool bar evokes its boat inspiration as its alfresco dining area is decked out with hand-drawn murals and carved wood art inspired by the iconic pattern of a fishing boat. Guests can relish Thai-inspired cocktails while pairing them with savoury finger foods such as Shrimp kua-kling tacos and Around The World sliders (a platter of mini burgers in four styles). The signature drinks here are Kolae knockout, a fruity rum-based cocktail served with a shot of Bangyikhan Thai white spirit and the homemade ginger ale and lemonade.
Courtyard By Marriott Phuket Town doesn't only let you enjoy the cultural heritage of Thailand's South but also let you savour its taste. Showcasing a vibrant culinary marketplace concept with open kitchens, Krua Talad Yai is where you can feast on unique Thai and international buffets. The lunch and dinner rounds stand out with several highlights. The seafood station offers a plethora of fresh fruits of the sea that you can choose and have it cooked how you like. The sous vide corner is a must-visit to enjoy juicy and tender steaks, while umami tastes can be had at the Japanese station, which whips up fresh sashimi, sushi and rolls. Dim sum, artisan pastries and even Thai-style meatball skewers on a charcoal grill are also included in the hotel's breakfast. Definitely don't miss out on the hotel's signature breakfast dishes such as Egg Benedict with nam-ya poo and Moo hong omelette.
I took a walk from the hotel to Phuket's old town, strolling along the streets that are flanked by quaint, colourful Sino-Portuguese shophouses. Pop Espresso Phuket is where coffee snobs can indulge in a cup of specialty coffee while Rosa Sweets & Chocolate shelves an array of homemade chocolate confectionery. If you want to dig deep into the roots of Phuket, stop by the Peranakannitat Museum, which exhibits the life and culture of Peranakans.
Convenience is what Courtyard By Marriott Phuket Town offers guests who want to dwell in Phuket's old town. Whether it's food, history or art, experience them all in one place. Until the end of March, book a stay with the "Earn, Eat, Enjoy" promotion to get daily breakfast for two and B500 hotel credit. More info at fb.com/CourtyardbyMarriottPhuketTown or mariott.com.