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Phuket's new ''pink palace,'' the Centara Grand at Karon beach

Phuket Goes Pink and Blue as Resorts Open

Saturday, October 9, 2010
Resort Photo Albums Above

A PAIR of new resorts open on Phuket next week, one pink and one blue, one in Karon and the other in Patong. We checked them out this week and were welcomed at one, and warned off at the other.

It seems photographs of the new Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket are still being discouraged. Having just walked in - the way guests have a habit of doing - we were rapidly escorted off the property by a security person.

Some work is still being done at the Grand, which is probably why Phuketwan wasn't waied and given a welcoming fruit juice. We've never been rebuffed at a five-star before, but we probably had it coming

However, because all beaches in Thailand are public, we did take some photos from the squeaky sands of north Karon anyway, so readers can see the Centara Grand just the way we did, and enjoy a sneak preview.

A long time in the making, the resort is very close to Karon beach. Oddly enough, walking along the beach, the closer one gets to the Grand, the pinker it becomes.

This five-star resort, consisting of 262 rooms, suites, and villas, is said to have been inspired by Phuket's Sino-Portuguese architecture. That may be, but there's a lot of Italianate influence as well.

Ceiling fans on balconies are something they probably wished they'd had in Old Phuket Town.

From what we saw, inside the resort there will be large, flowing pools and a couple of restaurants fronting the beach. No other big resort has ever had such instant, direct access of this kind to Karon's sands.

The particular stretch at the northern end has always been one for solitary walks and brilliant, scudding skyscapes. Not for much longer.

Once the resort opens - and Centara executives are expected to descend on the ''pink palace'' for a soft opening next Friday, Saturday and Sunday - one more of Phuket's isolated and beguilingly lonely stretches of beaches will have gone forever.

This is hardly the fault of Centara, which has been one of Phuket's biggest supporters in a tourism brand sense. It's just that we kind of wish we could keep Phuket clear of resorts right on the shorefront, and pretend the beach environment was just the way nature intended.

Walking back along the beach, we came across a beach vendor, fording the local klong with beach chairs held over his head.

No doubt there will be an interesting discussion or two yet to come between Centara Grant management, local beach vendors and the Karon tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

The closest local restaurant is already charging over-the-top prices. We only discovered this, too late, and wished we'd stopped instead at the beach restaurant that has already sprung up on the sand directly in front of the Grand.

OVER IN Patong, we toured the Blue Ocean Resort Patong Beach Phuket, which is a three-and-a-half star on the southern bend in Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, about 200 metres back from Patong beach.

The resort, entered up a stairway alongside a water feature that tumbles over shells, has 98 units in five different room types that begin at 1600 baht in low season and rise through the high season shoulders to 2600 baht and hit 3500 baht between December 20 and January 15.

Occupancy and bookings are going well, we were told, with Australians and Russians in-house at present in advance of next week's soft opening.

Blue Ocean is as blue as the Centara Grand is pink, with quite a bit of space devoted to bathrooms. Most appear to have a window that opens through to the bedroom.

We presume this enables environmentally-conscious guests to make sure that taps are not left dripping.

Some of the balconies are extraordinarily large. Blue Ocean is tiered over seven storeys, around a central pool with views to the green hills across what is described as Patong River.

Just when you think you know Phuket reasonably well, you learn something new. Now we know: Patong has a river, at long last.

There's also a restaurant and a pool bar.

Through those sliding bathroom windows, Blue Ocean wash basins have joysticks that look as though they would be fun to drive.

We did have the strange feeling at the top of the entrance stairs that the large painting of an elephant is an African elephant, not an Asian elephant. But then some Asian elephants probably have big ears, too.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Well the Blue hotel does look very good indeed. Thanks for the photos.

The pink hotel looks more like a Roman inspired shopping mall, read Outlet Shopping Center on stilts. Sorry that is my opinion based purely on the photographs that we can see, and the view from the hill going towards Patong.

I think the Blue wins in the photo contest.

Posted by Graham on October 9, 2010 23:28

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Pink and green has always been my favorite harmonious color combination.

Posted by Vfaye on October 10, 2010 00:06

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Did Centara get the idea from the pink hotel in Hawaii, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel?

Posted by Grimes on October 10, 2010 07:53

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I find it astonishing that Central/Centara was given permission to build on the beach, given the regulations.

Posted by Ian on October 10, 2010 09:30

Editor Comment:

Given what regulations? We have no reason to suspect that Centara has failed to comply with any of the legal requirements.

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I thought you could NOT build within 200m or so from the beach since the Tsunami, this law was made.

If this law exists, how are they allowed to build? If not, my mistake.

Posted by Tbs on October 11, 2010 08:18

Editor Comment:

I don't believe there is any such law. Wonderful if that kind of setback had been imposed on Phuket development at the very beginning, though.


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