The Hilton Arcadia Phuket is a 40 minute drive from the airport. When you arrive at the compound, the first thing you realize is how spacious it is. You hop onto a buggy (sort of like one that takes you around a zoo or the bird park) that takes you to the reception lobby. There are 3 swimming pools, a beach and various ponds all in this resort.
The walkway on every floor gives the impression that you're actually staying at a serviced apartment, wide, spacious and well-spaced. The room I had plenty of space and a garden view (the ocean view rooms were all taken up) where you could feel the summer breeze and take in the lush greenery from your balcony; with obvious Asian influences that's not too in your face.
The bed was too hard for my liking and I had to request for an extra mattress pad which helped only a tiny bit. The bathroom was large-sized but looked like it could use some sprucing up. Like most Hilton chains, the bathroom is stocked with Crabtree & Evelyn toilets. The shower offers two different shower options, a traditional one and a ceiling shower. I freshened up as soon as the porter brought my luggage and the face towels that were neatly roled next to the sink smelt faintly of vomit or at least smelt like they did not get enough sun. That sharp, slight acidic smell. The tv remote control was not working as well and it took housekeeping 2 visits to deal with a simple change of battery
Lunch at Sails, one of the main restaurants, was underwhelming. It was 4pm and there were only 2 other tables but yet my lunch only arrived after 25 minutes. My steak was under-seasoned and overcooked. I did not want to wait another 15 minutes so I just ate it up. The bread basket was not toasted and I believe you can tell a lot about a restaurant from the bread that they serve. What was most shocking was when the manager was grabbing a couple of napkins (after being asked for, yes, there were no napkins on table when there should have been), he had dropped mine on the floor. He picked it up, dusted it off and presented it to me. It was a "Oh no, You Did not!" moment. I actually had to ask for another one. He apologized, of course. But it was totally unacceptable, what did he expect me to do with a dropped-on-the-floor napkin? Wipe my mouth? This should not be happening at any establishment, let alone a 5 star resort.
The room service was not any better. I was craving for some ice cream and since the deli was closed (they sell Haagen Dazs), room service was my only option at 12.30am. I ordered their sundae 'delight' and it was far from delightful. When the ice cream arrived, it was a melting mess, and the ice cream was icy. The sort of iciness that results from ice cream being left outside melting and then placed in the freezer to be re-frozen. It was terrible.
I ordered lunch at the pool the next day; a burger and a caesar salad and it was the same story. The decision was made to head out of the resort to have food while only sticking to what's free. Because the resort is located quite centrally to stores and restaurants, you can just easily walk out for supplies or fresh grub.
That being said, The executive lounge was a much nice affair. With wireless internet and power points, you can sit there the whole day while never going thirsty while you work or catch up with friends.
Like most of the facilities in this resort, the spa was huge had numerous personal pagodas where you could have your treatment in private or with your significant other. I had a pedicure and I have to say, it was quite a good one. In fact, the best pedicure I've ever had. I have not many in different establishments so I am not a good guide in respect to pedicures but I liked mine at this resort. My foot was washed and scrubbed, nails were trimmed and treated and it was all finished off with a massage. I also signed up for 2 facials during the duration of my stay; both were more than decent and left me with a healthy, after-spa glow. The little open area where ginger tea is served after your treatments is serene and beautiful. It's times like these that I really think The Hilton oozes potential but just needs to be better executed.
All in all, I did not enjoy my stay at this resort; in fact I was actually counting down the days till the vacation was over. Which is really not the feeling you want derived from any vacation. It was a major disappointment, kinda like expecting a BMW but accepting a Chevrolet (no offense to any Chevrolet drivers, I've driven a couple myself and they were good drives. than what you actually got).
From all that said, I will not recommend this hotel. The Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort [http://www.phuket.com/arcadia/].
Needless to say, it was not a good start to my stay and the room left me disappointed. I was expecting a lot more especially since I got a room at the highest tier. So if this is what's available in the best rooms, it does not say very much about this particular Hilton.