Family time in Phuket

Shriya Mohan | Updated on October 04, 2019

Family first: The ‘Family by JW’ programme, launched in July this year, is the hotel chain’s Asia-Pacific initiative that puts particular focus on children

At the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, the family is a special bond to celebrate

Picture this. You and your five-year-old touch down Phuket groggy-eyed thanks to a latenight flight. As you exit with your luggage, you are ushered into a large car that has a welcome platter of cold-scented towels, fresh raw banana chips and the sweetest tender-coconuts that Thailand is famous for. More indulgence awaits at the hotel, from flutes of champagne to personalised welcome notes, chocolate platters and a warm bubble bath. But what makes you finally unwind is when you notice that a hotel staff member has become your daughter’s new best friend, showing her around, delighting her in a conversation, as if they had only been waiting for this moment. Now that’s a homecoming! Phuket, with more than 30 stunning beaches coupled withthe famedThai-hospitality is a family-friendlydestination. The ‘Family by JW’ programme, launched in July this year, is the hotel chain’s Asia-Pacific initiative that puts particular focus on children. It is designed for urban families who are locked in their 9-5 jobs, starved for “together time”. Over the course of three days, we went through several unique holiday experiences. The daughter got to make mango sticky rice with the JW chef. She had a swimming masterclass with Olympic champion Stephanie Rice and actually did her first unassisted back float! We visited the gibbon rehabilitation centre together in Talang and learnt about the wonderful creatures. We went kayaking through a mangrove. I finally got to have some “me time” by way of a beachside Thai massage and a leisurely walk by the shore while she was engaged in a children’s club house that’s full of things to do and friends to make. We walked in the rain, stomping in puddles, Peppa Pig style, along the lush property situated on 11 hectares of tropical gardens with swimming pools, freshwater ponds and naturally preserved coastal wetlands overlooking the Andaman Sea on Phuket’s Mai Khao Beach. The food atthe resortis eclectic with non-spicy versions for the little ones. You could choose between Cucina, the hotel’s Italian restaurant which serves a nice rolled pizza stuffed with artichoke cream, or pick on a deluxe seafood tower at the Andaman Grill, or indulge in some turmeric infused fish-coconut Thai soup at their Thai specialty restaurantGinja Taste.Best of all,take your kids to theKabuki Japanese Cuisine Theatre. Their signature dish of prawn tempura is aptly called “Perfect Storm”. As the chef juggles eggs and pours whisked eggs for an omelette on a sizzling teppan (a Japanese iron griddle), his ladles and knives somersaultin the air. The kids clap and cheer in utter delight as he whips up a most wizardly prawn fried rice for them. On the last day, Winnie the Pooh sums our mood aptly peeking out of a postcard that’s left for us along with a handwritten note from our housekeeper: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. Indeed!

Shriya Mohan

(The author was in Phuket upon invitation from JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa)

Published on October 04, 2019

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