For those who want to start or finish their Thai holiday in style, the Sheraton Grande Laguna is a good choice. The selection of room types, food and beverage outlets and amenities is as wide as is to be expected from a member of the Sheraton group of hotels and, whilst the resort lacks the more rarified and refined splendour of the nearby Banyan Tree Resort, the Sheraton is tastefully if rather innocuously decorated and furnished, both inside and outside the rooms. The airy and lofty lobby gives an immediately positive first impression, which nothing in the hotel subsequently dispels.
Most of this hotel’s rooms are located overlooking the large man-made lagoon behind Bangtao Beach, with restful and atmospheric views of the lagoon providing the perfect antidote to the claustrophobia of a long-haul flight here to Phuket, gateway to the Andaman Sea, not all of whose treasures are as well known as is Phuket.
We at Andaman Adventures often book customers into a Phuket hotel prior to them either going snorkeling in the Surin Islands, diving in the Similans or island-hopping to the adventure sports and beach-combing island of Koh Yao Noi.
The Sheraton Grande Laguna’s lagoon has been cleverly lit, and at night presents the visitor with an enchanting view. The resort offers boat-trips around the lagoon, on which the passenger can view the six hotels that surround it. Normally rather boring, except for one stop on the boat’s itinerary, which is anything but for those who stop there – the lagoon’s wedding chapel is a popular spot for couples to tie the knot.
The Sheraton is 16 years old but still looks great. The entire hotel was re-floored in 2008, which accounts for most of the problems reported by www.tripadvisor.com contributors, but which has now resulted in a hotel that most definitely does not look its age. The resort benefits from a large beach frontage, which affords guests easy access to the many cheap and authentic eateries on the beach.
The Sheraton Grande Laguna is popular with families as well as with honeymooners. The resort’s pair of resident elephants, Lilly and Lucky, spend their days wandering around the resort grazing on fruit, and are a huge hit with children.
The Sheraton Grande Laguna’s restaurants and bars are as good as they are expensive. Visitor can hop on a ferry and quickly be shuttled to one of the other 5 resorts around the lagoon, making the dining possibilities even more diverse.
There are plenty of more economical bars and restaurants on the beach, including some really nice ones right in front of the Sheraton. If you don’t mind walking there are bars and restaurant dotted along the whole length of the 3 km-long beach.
The sea-view is a bit distant but still worthwhile. The lagoon view is better, there’s always something going on, whether it’s a wedding or some guests funnily failing to learn to dinghy sail.
Family ‘Luxury’ Room
If you like carpets, this is a good choice. Most people don’t, as they don’t really suit the tropics.
All of these room types are housed in a building that is only 3 years old. Normally that would mean that this would be the only safe room type to go for and that all other rooms types would suffer from hit and miss quality, but this is not the case at the Sheraton where, according to the copious feedback on sites such as www.tripadvisor.com, all the rooms types are nearly invariably immaculate.
Pool Access Room
Great for families, but not recommended for those without children with them, as they can be noisy, due to their popularity with families.
A better bet than the Standard rooms, these rooms are not noisy.
These are semi-detached and the neighbouring guests are too close by – the lack of privacy in the sunbathing terrace, in particular, is a problem. They also have a décor more reminiscent of a private hospital than a luxury hotel, and are not recommended.
Private Pool Villa and Private Grande Pool Residence
Only the over-pampered could find fault with these attractively decorated and immaculately presented villas. For those with the funds, they are a great choice.