Review: Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket, Thailand

Snorkelling in Phuket? At the very last minute we changed hotels and booked at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket... Was our hunch right?

Last year, we spent a lovely week in beautiful Khao Lak.

From there, it was time to go to our next hotel!

Patong is a 2 hour drive from Khao Lak.

After watching some YouTube videos online, we initially booked the 5 star Surin Hotel near Surin beach about 6 months ago.

But then 4 months later, we saw a couple of newly uploaded videos about the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

And just not only about the hotel, but also about the snorkelling at Merlin beach.

That made us change our mind.

So we cancelled the Surin, and booked a swim up room at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

How was it?

Let’s find out!

We paid for our stay at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.

Video

We made a video of our stay at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

You can watch it here:

Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket, Thailand

We grab our luggage and head for exit 2 where an I Can Phuket representative is waiting for us.

We booked a car ride from our Khao Lak hotel to the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket through Booking.com, very reliable and highly recommendable.

Our driver shows up perfectly on time and we hop into a comfortable car, ready to begin the 2 hour ride to our next hotel.

Reception

As we pull up to the hotel entrance, a hotel employee greets us and takes charge of our luggage.

A front desk employee informs us that the reception is quite busy at the moment and she invites us to sit down and enjoy a cold welcome drink.

Another staff member promptly bring us some iced tea and a refreshing cold towel.

We sit back in the lounge, and about 10 minutes later the employee tells us that checkin is ready for us.

Formalities done, we get our room keys and a map of the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket resort plus some extra useful information.

A staff member from the luggage counter accompanies us to our room.

Watch our video from 0:33 onwards to see what the reception and lobby area of the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket look like.

Room 4109

We booked a premium room with pool access, breakfast included.

Total cost for 7 nights is 85.218 bath, which is $2.439 or $348 per night.

We decide to explore our room and the resort first, unpacking is for later.

At first glance our room looks pretty large and very comfortable to be honest.

Watch our video from 2:17 onwards to see what our room looks like exactly.

Bedroom

The high kingsize bed looks very comfortable with fluffy pillows.

Next to the bed is an armchair and footrest.

Between the bedroom and bathroom is a small sofa.

One chair and a round table are near the window.

The wooden bench is the perfect place to pack and unpack luggage, and store it underneath during your holiday.

The room is nicely decorated with beige and white colors – it gives this room a very relaxed, easy and calm hue.

On both sides of the bed is a bedside table, a USB charging port and a power socket (see later which type).

We both can’t help but feel that this room has the same layout and look of a cruise ship cabin we were in last year.

The similarities are truly uncanny!

Swim up terrace

All the swim up rooms in this resort are located in the same jungle like pool area, called zone 4.

People staying in these ground floor rooms have direct access to this swimming pool, however other guests can also enjoy this area. It is not a (shared) private pool like the one we had in Khao Lak.

Our balcony has 2 heavy wooden armchairs, a small coffee table and a wooden rack to dry your clothes.

And again, it was fantastic to be so close to the swimming pool – definitely worth the extra money again.

What a joy to go for a quiet and refreshing swim in the early morning, and just throughout the day to stay cool in the heat.

We absolutely loved it.

Half of our balcony was mostly in the shade.

This swimming pool has a large waterfall at the end. It would be turned on from 11am until 14pm more or less, which is a pity since the sound of falling water is very calming and gives this swimming pool an extra exotic atmosphere!

Watch our video from 4:51 onwards to see what what the swim up balcony looks like exactly.

More about this swimming pool in a later chapter.

Back to the room.

As you step inside, on your left side is the door to the bathroom, next to it is a wardrobe.

It contains an ironing board and iron, an umbrella, flashlight, 2 pairs of soft slippers, 2 pairs of flip-flops, a beach bag, plenty of clothes hangers, a large safe and a laundry bag and price list.

Also available is a mosquito repellent plug in: and yes, there were mosquitos here. The sliding glass door between the room and the balcony even has a separate mosquito screen sliding door.

On the opposite side of the wardrobe is a little tea and coffee corner.

Here you can find a kettle, instant coffee, tea bags, sugar and 2 coffee cups.

Also available are 4 glasses, a bottle opener, 2 reusable water bottles (you can take these home with you after your holiday) and complimentary bottles of still water. These bottles will be restocked daily.

The fridge is empty, no minibar here.

Bathroom

The bathroom is comfortable and well thought out if you ask us.

Again the same type of layout and colors you find on a cruise ship!

It has a separate shower and bath.

The vanity has one large sink.

A bunch of amenities are available: hand soap, body lotion, shower cap, hair band, sanitary bag, cotton buds and cotton pads, nail file, 2 dental kits, a shave kit, sewing kit, bath salts, mouth wash, a comb and a box of Kleenex.

The bottles of complimentary water here are also restocked daily.

The towels were soft and fluffy and changed daily when you put them on the floor.

You can find bathrobes behind the door, they were light and very comfortable.

The rain shower in the corner was absolutely great, instant hot or cold water and the water pressure was excellent. The 3 bath products were very fragrant and enjoyable.

Watch our video from 3:05 onwards to see what the bathroom looks like exactly.

Power sockets

All the power sockets in the bedroom and bathroom are suitable for 2 round pin plugs.

The 2 round pin plug (also called the Europlug) is a flat, two-pole, round-pin domestic AC power plug, rated for voltages up to 250 V and currents up to 2.5 A.

Restaurants and bars

Merchant Kitchen

Breakfast at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket is served daily in 2 buffet restaurants: the Merchant Kitchen restaurant (7am until 11am) next to the main pool, and the Beach Grill (7am until 10:30) near the beach.

There is plenty of inside and outside seating in both restaurants.

We tried both, and preferred the Merchant Kitchen by far.

Why?

The breakfast buffet and choice was much larger. What the Beach Grill has to offer was only a third of what you can find at the Merchant Kitchen.

One thing we did like at the Beach Grill was that the terrace was never overcrowded and therefore much quieter, that and the sea view.

Watch our video from 8:30 onwards to see what the Beach Grill and its breakfast buffet look like.

And let’s talk about what you get for breakfast at the Merchant Kitchen now.

As soon as you get there, a staff member will greet you, and ask you to fill in a breakfast voucher with your name and room number.

He or she will ask you if you want to sit inside or outside, find you the perfect table and get you coffee or tea in a flash.

Even though the place looked quite busy most mornings, we never had trouble getting a table within minutes. The staff works very hard to keep the place up and running at high speed, you can feel that it is very well managed.

So what about the breakfast, did we like it?

No doubt about it, we loved it!

We always looked forward to breakfast here at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

The variety and choice of the breakfast buffet and the live cooking stations was outstanding. A healthy mixture or European and Western flavors and treats.

The freshness of the ingredients was excellent.

So what can you expect for breakfast?

Fresh fruits, a salad bar, charcuterie and cheese, yogurt, breakfast cereal, jams.

The bread counter has a selection of bread rolls, Danish pastries, croissants, muffins, colorful donuts, cakes and toast. There is even a wide choice of gluten-free breads.

Next to it is a to station where pancakes and waffles are being made on the spot. Two types of hot sweet treats are also available: treats such as bread pudding with custard, or sticky date pudding with caramel sauce.

The hot buffet have items such as fried rice, fried noodles, vegetables in oyster sauce, steamed dumplings, a Thai soup, chicken or pork sausages, tomatoes, deep fried potatoes, fried eggs, waffles, French toast and pancakes.

At the live cooking station you can order eggs any style: omelettes with whatever vegetables or protein you like, poached eggs, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, soft boiled eggs, fried eggs, sunny side up… you name it. The omelet special is a treat: omelet with panang prawn curry, yum!

The queue at the egg station can get quite long, however the staff works very hard to get all the orders out is no time.

Another hot station we loved: noodle soup! Choose your type of noodle, protein and vegetables. Add whatever condiments you like. Absolutely delicious!

Hot dishes on the buffet were European staples such as bacon, tomatoes, potato gratin, roast potatoes, beans in tomato sauce.

The Indian corner always had a vegetable or chickpea curry on offer, a soup such as dal, and puri and idli.

The choice of Thai hot dishes was lovely: fried rice, noodles, curries, stews, soups, steamed rice…

The breakfast staff behind the stations and the people attending to guests were extremely friendly, attentive and super fast. The cleaning staff would also work very hard to clear and clean the tables, and prepare them for the next hungry guests.

You can definitely see and feel that this place is very well managed.

We were very impressed!

Watch our video from 5:58 onwards to see what the Merchant Kitchen and its full breakfast buffet look like.

We would mainly go to Merchant Kitchen for lunch as well.

On the menu are Indian curries, Thai noodle, rice and curry dishes, pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches and burgers, and healthy (vegan) options such as poke bowls and falafels.

The khao soi chicken curry soup (300 THB) is to die for, and so were the fish tacos (350 THB) and beef green curry (280 THB).

After almost 3 weeks of Asian food, we fell for the club sandwich (320 THB) and the caesar salad (220 THB), truly delicious.

However, we were let down by the fish and shrimp fritters (bland and zero texture), and the inedible tortilla (rubbery and bland).

Drinks are very reasonably priced: soft drinks (80 THB), beer (180 THB) and cocktails (300 THB).

We once had dinner here on Friday night (lunch and dinner menu is the same), when there is a Thai buffet served on the hotel’s lawn and where guests are entertained with a Thai boxing match (1200 THB per person).

On other nights buffet dinners at the Merchant Kitchen has a specific theme such as Italian, Sunday roast, tex Mex, BBQ and so on.

Thai Pantry

And for that reason we ended up having dinner at the Thai Pantry 4 nights.

This Thai restaurant only opens at night, every day except on Fridays when it hosts the Thai evening buffet outside.

You can make a table reservation in advance. On our first night at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket resort we were told that the restaurant was fully booked.

As we were not attracted by the other dinner options, we tried our luck and walked in to ask if we could have dinner here without reservation. Which wasn’t a problem. We booked a table for all the other night though.

The à la carte menu at the Thai Pantry contains delicious Thai classics and other dishes. Prices again are very reasonable.

Just to name a few dishes: mixed satays (250 THB), papaya salad (200 THB), pork or chicken larb (250 THB), lamb mussaman curry (350 THB), wok fried crab (450 THB), pad Thai (250 THB), tom yum (280 THB), fried rice (220 THB) and mango sticky rice (200 THB).

Every dish we tried over those 4 nights was really outstanding and quite copious.

The highlight for us?

That was the wok fried crab in yellow curry powder and onion (450 THB).

Literally finger licking good.

When we first ordered it, we thought that the staff had misunderstood and brought us a crab curry for 2 people since it had 2 whole crabs in it.

But no, turned out when we signed the check that this is indeed one serving!

The crab (and most of the dishes here) comes with steamed rice. And a bowl of lime water to rinse your sticky fingers in.

Other dishes that stood out:

The banana flower salad, deep fried Andaman prawns, the spicy grilled pork neck salad, the lamb massaman curry and the mango sticky rice.

The food at Thai Pantry is excellent.

And so is the service.

One thing we didn’t like about it is the rather boring, dark and old fashioned wooden interior and the terrible acoustics.

Watch our video from 10:31 onwards to get a glimpse of the Thai Pantry buffet dinner outside on Fridays and the restaurant itself at Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

Beach Grill

We went to the Beach Grill twice, once for breakfast and once for dinner.

On the lunch menu: salmon, mussels, steak, chicken wings, salad, roast chicken, beef and fish burgers fresh from the grill, sandwiches and pizza.

We ended up for dinner at the Beach Grill because we had planned to have dinner at a nearby restaurant outside the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

However that day it rained from 5pm onwards and we didn’t feel like going out. Thai Pantry wasn’t an option, and the Sunday Roast buffet dinner at Merchant Kitchen really didn’t attract us.

Staff at the Beach Grill first told us that they were fully booked, however they found us a table a minute later. Thinking that the lunch and dinner menu was the same, we had set our sights on a lush fish burger.

The Beach Grill had salads, soups, steak, a beef burger and pasta on their dinner menu. That and fresh fish and seafood from the grill.

We asked if the chef could make us a fish burger instead, which was not a problem at all.

And we enjoyed it: a lovely deep fried chunk of fresh seabass with coleslaw and fries.

Delicious.

Other food, drink and snack places

The Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket has a couple of other food and drink options.

D.O.C.G. is an Italian restaurant next to the Merchant Kitchen. On the menu: antipasti, pasta, soup, meats, fish and desserts.

Balls and Burgers opposite the Thai Pantry serves (obviously) burgers. You can sit at the bar or at a table, and play a game of pool if you like.

The Lounge is the bar in the lobby that serves drinks, small snacks and cheese and charcuterie boards. Happy hour here is between 9 and 11pm. Most nights there is live music. It also has a large TV where you can watch a soccer game.

The Sweet Spot is located in the swim up pool area and serves ice cream, bubble waffles, milkshakes and ice cream floats.

You can find the Crispy Cart near the main pool. This small food truck serves 3 small snacks during the day: chicken fingers, fish & chips and loaded fries.

Phuket Coffee Co. is located next to the Beach Grill and serves Starbucks coffee. You can also enjoy savory sandwiches, danish pastries, pies and tarts.

The Rum Shack is a bar overlooking Merlin Beach. It gets pretty busy in the evening when people enjoy a pre or after dinner drink here.

Spa and gym

The Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket has a spa and a gym.

Watch our video from 11:57 onwards to see what they both look like.

Swimming pools

There are 3 swimming pool areas at Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

A kids/family pool, main pool with pool bar and music, and another pool where the swim up rooms and waterfall are located.

Kids pool

The kids pool has a water slide and a separate shallow pool.

The Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket provides a bunch of toys such as noodles and floats for the kids to enjoy.

Near this pool is another small ice cream shack.

You can find plenty of fresh towels here as well. Plenty of sun beds and umbrellas here as well.

We never spent time around this pool, however whenever we walked past it was always quite packed and kids were enjoying themselves tremendously.

This kids pool is also linked to the main pool with a small Egyptian themed little passage to swim through.

Watch our video from 12:33 onwards to see what the pool looks like.

Main pool and swim up pool bar

The main swimming pool is located in the middle of the resort near the Merchant Kitchen.

This is a more lively pool where older kids and mostly adults like to hang out.

The pool bar opens at 11am, there’s music as well however it is not loud at all.

Plenty of sun beds and umbrellas here as well, but there were always a few free spots too.

You can find fresh towels at the shack near the pool bar.

Reserving beds by putting towels on them is not appreciated anywhere in this resort.

During the day staff members will very often come to check and remove any towels on unoccupied beds – unless there are some personal items as well: well done!

Watch our video from 13:53 onwards to see what the pool looks like.

Snorkelling in Phuket? At the very last minute we changed hotels and booked at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket... Was our hunch right?

Swim up room pool

The pool in the swim up area looks more like a river in a jungle like place.

Plenty of palm trees everywhere.

This pool area also has 2 jacuzzi’s in between the trees.

There are not a lot of sun beds here, we’d say about 25 to 30 in total?

Here also the resort provides noodles and floating cushions.

Watch our video from 14:52 onwards to see what the pool looks like.

Hotel lawn and beach area

Plenty of sun beds near the beach and on the hotel’s lawn.

And here again you could always find a free spot to lay down and enjoy the sun or read.

We never had the feeling that people had trouble finding beds.

Snorkelling in Phuket? At the very last minute we changed hotels and booked at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket... Was our hunch right?
Snorkelling in Phuket? At the very last minute we changed hotels and booked at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket... Was our hunch right?

Snorkelling

And then, THE reason why we booked the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket: snorkelling!

Was it worth it?

One word: absolutely.

As all the beaches in Thailand, Merlin Beach is not a private beach, however it is a well kept secret because very little people would stop by and relax on a beach towel.

On both sides are outdoor massage parlours (300 THB per hour), where you can also have your laundry done.

The picture below was taken during low tide: there are quite a few rocks before you get to the coral reef a little further. So bring water shoes or you can hurt yourself terribly here.

It is not really a problem at high tide tough. The low and high tide times are indicated at the hotel’s kayak shack by the way.

We were here in February and the water temperature was gorgeous.

The very lively coral reef is blossoming between 50 and 200 yards from the beach.

We went snorkelling every single day and saw a bunch of colorful fish: box fish, needle fish, moray eels, the flashiest parrot fish, banner fish, butterfly fish… and even a sea turtle!

So was it worth changing hotels?

Absolutely.

We loved the snorkelling at Merlin Beach.

Wow!

Snorkelling in Phuket? At the very last minute we changed hotels and booked at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket... Was our hunch right?

Shops

In the lobby are 2 shops.

One with swim wear and beach wear, and next door is a souvenir shop selling fashion and Thai decorative art.

Watch our video from 11:10 onwards to see what the shops look like.

Wifi

The internet connection at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket was a bit hit and miss.

At times the connection was great, but it would disappear when you started walking around and make our phones switch back to our Thai data SIM card.

It would switch on and off constantly.

Once connected, the internet was fast.

ATM

The nearest ATM is right next to the hotel.

Nearby

The Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket is located in quiet street with very little things to do. No bars, shops, supermarkets and such.

The nearest restaurant is the Little Tiger that you can reach via Merlin Beach and walk up the concrete steps for a minute. It is a very simple Thai food shack that serves classics such as pad Thai, cashew chicken and curries.

Above the restaurant is also an elephant sanctuary.

A 10 minute walk from the Marriot Merlin Beach Phuket is the Sunshine View Restaurant that provides a lovely view on Patong beach.

We were here twice and if it hadn’t rained 3 nights out of 7 we would have come here more often. We loved the atmosphere, the good classic Thai food and the very friendly owner and staff.

Would we go back to Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket?

Yes, we would definitely come back here.

The snorkelling is so worth it.

Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket is a huge hotel and it is very popular for families with kids.

We tend to go to more quieter (adults only) hotels as a couple, however we thought that the mix of families and couples was more than OK. It is something that would not hold us back from coming here again.

The restaurants in the hotel are also very good and very reasonable priced.

The hotel and hotel staff is very well managed, you can definitely feel that.

Would we recommend Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket?

Absolutely.

We definitely recommend Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket.

The swim up rooms are totally worth the extra money.

The breakfast is absolutely lovely.

If you like Thai food, you are in for a treat at the Thai Pantry restaurant.

Pros

  • well managed resort
  • nice comfortable room
  • great swim up pool area
  • extremely attentive and friendly staff
  • delicious and varied breakfast
  • excellent Thai restaurant
  • fantastic snorkelling spot

Cons

  • It’s a very huge resort which is clearly family oriented, and is thus not ideal if you are looking for a romantic hideaway
  • Although the buildings are remarkably well maintained, their architecture is truly an example of a distant past with long, sad and endless corridors

Address

Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket
99 Muen-Ngoen Road
Tri-Trang Beach, Patong
Pa Tong
Phuket, 83150
Thailand

You can book here: Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket

We paid for our stay at the Marriott Merlin Beach Phuket and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.

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Anders
Anders

Trying to find an on line resort map, showing where the swim up rooms are located, but no luck! Anything you can help us with! TIA!
Anders

Ryan Biddulph
Ryan Biddulph

Sounds like a fabulous place. The food looks delicious and prices reasonable for a high end hotel. Well-located in Patong as well, close to Jungceylon, beach, etc.

Great review!

Ryan

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