Screenshot taken from Aspasia’s website.
Phuket’s main attraction is its beaches, and one of its main sources of revenues is tourism. In our opinion, tourism drove up a lot of the prices in Phuket — with the influx of tourist, the local entrepreneurs (i.e.: taxi operators, restaurants, etc.) have put a premium on basic necessities such as transportation and food. However, tourism dictates the price quite a bit.
To illustrate, below are the taxi fares that we paid per kilometer for each city we visited — Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket:
The distance between Chiang Mai International Airport and Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa is 7.5km and we paid only THB150 (negotiated from THB200), this gives us THB20 per kilometer.
Here, the distance between Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) and Grand Swiss Sukhumvit is 27.5km and we paid only THB400, giving us THB14.5 per kilometer.
In Phuket, the taxi rates going from the Phuket International Airport to the different areas are regulated. Ours was at THB900 for a 47.5km ride, which makes it THB19 per kilometer. Not so bad. However, once you take a taxi from within Phuket to somewhere else, that’s when they start jacking up the price and you can’t even negotiate with them. For example, the distance from our hotel, The Aspasia, to Central Festival (one of their more popular shopping malls) is just 16km away but we were quoted with a THB600 rate. That makes it a whopping THB37.5 per kilometer. Which makes it 87.5% more expensive than Chiang Mai’s per kilometer!
At the beginning, our factors for choosing Aspasia were based on: 1) budget, 2) availability, 3) accessibility.
So when booking a hotel in Phuket, I have budgeted myself to find one for less than US$150 with the following criteria: 1) large room at least 50sqm big, 2) seaview from a cliff or beach front, 3) includes breakfast for 2, and 4) located in a quieter and more relaxing area, not near a party place such as Patong Beach. All these to be met on a peak season (February). I wasn’t expecting much, and true enough, there weren’t anything available that met our requirements until we found Aspasia. We chose Aspasia’s deluxe grand room with seaview from a hill, breakfast for 2, and just a flight of stairs’ walk to the beach. We got everything we wanted!
Not only that, upon checking in, we were lucky enough to have been upgraded to their 1 bedroom suite with seaview. And we were given complimentary dinner for 2 during our stay, and complimentary 30 minute massage at their spa. Pretty sweet deal for only $145 per night!
Overall, we were very happy with Aspasia… except for one thing, which I will talk about below.
Going to the hotel from the airport is not a problem because you will most likely be traveling by car. Just expect to pay at a most THB1,000 (government regulated price I guess) since it is 47.5km away from the airport.
The location of the hotel itself is in a quieter area of the beach. If you seek that privacy, you will definitely get it in Aspasia. 🙂
We were greeted by a male receptionist by the entrance, who also happens to be their bellboy. He welcomed us with a smile, took our luggages and gestured us towards the front desk. He placed our luggages on one side and rushed behind the front desk to assist us. He asked us to sit by the lounge area overlooking the sea while he checks our booking.
Screenshot taken from Aspasia’s website.
We had to wait for a little longer than 10 minutes but we didn’t mind, the view was beautiful and they brought each of us a large local coconut. Who could resist coconuts?!
Once our room was ready, we were assisted by the same receptionist to our room. Mind you though, Aspasia isn’t your typical hotel. We had to walk all the way from the front desk, up a few flights of stairs, down a few more, cross Aspasia’s 2 small private parking garages (where we saw an orange Lamborghini), walk down the hill on the road before reaching our room. Poor receptionist! He had to lug our large American-sized baggages through that obstacle course! Obviously, walking from the front desk to our room was tiring, let alone having to carry 2 large luggages all the way there. But he didn’t mind, I guess. His face didn’t show it. 🙂
Our 1 bedroom suite with seaview was large! Really, it’s 75 square meters in size, which includes a private bedroom, a small walk in closet, a bathroom, a kitchen, a very spacious living room, and a balcony overlooking the sea.
Hallway of 1 bedroom suite from the front door.
Kitchen, living room and balcony.
Kitchen and living room.
Walk in closets and bathroom.
While talking to one of their staff, we’ve been told that the owner of the Lamborghini loved the place so much that he insisted on buying a suite in their hotel. Another thing we noticed during our stay there was that outside a suite room, there were a lot of shoes and slippers of different sizes outside it. It looks like it housed a family of 5 in there. I can only imagine how humongous their 3 bedroom Presidential columns, penthouse and suite are!
3 BEDROOM PRESIDENTIAL SUITE
3 BEDROOM PRESIDENTIAL PENTHOUSE
3 BEDROOM PRESIDENTIAL COLUMNS
All screenshots above taken from Aspasia’s website.
Our room was also very clean and tidy. We had no complaints about it except for the kitchen. It looks like none of their guests cook so the stove, sink, dishes utensils in their kitchen remain stained with age (not food). Be ready to do a general cleaning of the kitchen before you cook something.
FOOD & SERVICE
Aspasia serves a variety of food for breakfast such as vegetable salads, omelettes, cereals, pastries, yogurt, a variety of cheese, smoked salmon, fried rice, fried noodles, Chinese buns, etc. And a selection of juices and brewed black coffee.
Screenshot taken from Aspasia’s website.
Their restaurant is open air and overlooks the sea, or sometimes when the upper floor is full, you will be seated below, at the pool area, which, to us, is nicer especially in the cooler mornings.
ACCESS TO AND FROM THE HOTEL BY FOOT
WALKING TO THE HOTEL
When you are in the Karon area, your car will turn to the right and start climbing up a hill, pass by a few more hotels on your left and right until you reach Aspasia.
No doubt the scenery is beautiful when your reach the top. However, once you decide to leave your hotel to go to the market by foot, prepare your body for some intense cardio — going down the hill and up — because its steepness is probably between 45 and 90 degree angle, we’re not kidding.
One time, Hubby and I were done having late dinner at Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, we decided to go on a leisurely stroll along the shore. We’ve reached the end of the line allowable at that time and had to go back to the street in order to return to our hotel. We were faced with the dilemma of climbing up that steep hill while we were a bit tipsy. We climbed and we made it, much to our exhaustion.
GOING TO THE BEACH FROM ASPASIA
We were told by the front desk that we can go directly to the beach by going down the stairs from the pool area. Those flights of stairs would lead us to the beach. We were excited! Little did we know that those flights of stairs would lead us a short muddy road and to climbing human-sized rocks before reaching the shore of Karon and Kata Beaches (I think our hotel was at the border of those 2 beaches).
It was exhausting and confusing at first. Then we got used to it. It now seemed like a fun obstacle course. If you’re not into sports or working out, try to ask if there are any alternate routes going to the beach. It should be much farther, but at least you won’t feel tired when you reach the shore.
Overall, Aspasia is an interesting choice. Our only complaint in this hotel is that because of its location and accessibility, the hotel needs to offer free shuttle service to its customers who are going to and from downtown. Otherwise, this hotel is a good choice for those looking to relax and is also ideal for families.
THE ASPASIA PHUKET
1/3 Laem Sai Road, Kata Beach, Karon Sub-District, Muang,
Phuket 83100 Thailand
Tel.: +66 (0) 76 284 430, Fax: +66 (0) 76 333 035
Rev.: +66 (0) 76 333 033 Ext. 1650