My – Mai Khao Lak Reviews: A Family Resort

Oh, how I am filled with dread.  Before booking a trip, one of my top travel tips is to read the Trip Advisor reviews of your preferred accommodation.  And this is exactly what I do.  I find a great travel deal and go straight to Trip Advisor to check out the Mai Khao Lak reviews.  They are all good.  But then the unthinkable.  After booking and paying for our eight night Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escapes deal, the reviews turn bad.

So I plan for the worst.  I read every awful review and create a contingency plan.  We will still be staying at the Mai Khao Lak resort, I just now know how I am going to cope with the main problems that continue to be mentioned.

But do you know what?  It ends up being a really lovely stay.  Most of the things, other people have complained about, don’t happen to us.

Read on to learn about our experience at the Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa and what my contingency plans are, so should the issues happen to you, you’ll know what to do.

In this Article Reviewing the Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa You Will Learn:

Our Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa review
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Getting to Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa

The Mai Khao Lak resort is located on Pak Weep Beach about seven minutes drive north of Khao Lak village (a map of Khao Lak is available at the bottom of the article).  The small Khao Lak village is about one and half hours drive from Phuket International Airport.  Our Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escapes deal includes:

  • A one-way transfer
  • Stay in a deluxe suite (two adults and up to three kids – we only have one child)
  • Daily breakfast for all
  • One buffet dinner for two adults (kids are half price)
  • One set menu dinner for two adults (kids menu available)
  • Four 30 min massages (can use how you want)
  • Thai cooking class for two adults
  • Kids’ pizza-making class
  • Kids’ mocktail-making class
  • One time ice-cream for all

Upon making the Luxury Escapes booking I am emailed by the resort who ask for flight details to be forwarded.  I send through our Singapore Airlines and SilkAir details.  Sure enough, a few weeks later, on exiting Phuket International Airport, a driver is waiting for us

Learn about our flight Singapore to Phuket with our…

The drive is relatively scenic, passing through towns, small villages and past green fields of farmland.  Today though, we are lucky to have extra entertainment on our drive.  It is Songkran.  The water festival celebration for the Thai new year.  Basically, this involves splashing as many people as possible with water.  We follow behind many utility vehicles filled with small groups of people and a large barrel of water.  As the utility passes people on the street or a motorbike whizzes by, those in the back of the utility throw small buckets of water or aim water pistols at the passing offenders.  It is all quite fun watching from the safe cocoon of our air-conditioned car.

Our car slows to crawl at Khao Lak village town.  The streets are filled with happy colourful soaked people and loud festive music.  Once past the festival, it is a further ten minutes to the Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa.

My Review of Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escapes Stay


The heat just slaps us in the face as soon as we get out of the car.  I feel a little sorry for the staff working in the open-air lobby with the sun beating down on them.  But they are still friendly.  Welcoming us with a smile, directing us to the water and cordial coolers that are permanently available in the lobby.  Perfect as we are here in April, the hottest month of the year in Thailand.

The staff member processes our accommodation vouchers, and passports then take’s a deposit from the credit card (that is refunded on departure) all while we sit back with a cool drink and hand towel.

The Delux Suite

Opening the door to our suite we enter straight into the large chocolate-tiled dressing room.  To my left is a double mirrored sliding wardrobe with ample hanging, shelves (with towels – no face wash), drawers and a safe.  There is also a separate standing shower with a frosted glass door.  To my left is a dark wood vanity with a shelf below and a separate toilet with a matching frosted glass door.

Making our way through the double wooden sliding doors we are in what would be the lounge.  But has been converted to our son’s sleeping quarters.

The pull out couch in the Deluxe Suite at Mai Khao lak
Deluxe Suite lounge area made up for kids

The grey pullout couch looks onto one of the TV’s and the mini bar – that is seriously set up for families.  It contains an empty mini bar fridge, microwave, coffee percolator, kettle, complimentary coffee, tea and sugar.

Mini bar amenities in deluxe suite at Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa
Mini bar in Deluxe Suite

The lounge/kids zone is separated by wooden Venetian blinds and a block-out curtain which we don’t close as the air conditioner is positioned just above the minibar.

The Mai Khao Lak deluxe suite amenities
The Deluxe Suite amenities

Our section has a large king bed (just a bit of a sag in the mattress) that is flanked by side tables and reading lamps that look onto another TV and mirrored desk area.  From our area, we are able to look out to the pool and ocean glimpses from the expansive balcony.

The main bedroom in the Deluxe Suite
The main bedroom

The balcony has two chairs, a table and a wooden clothes horse.  There’s really not much more I could ask for.

View of the pool from the Deluxe Suite located in the original part of the Mai Khao Lak Resort
View from the Deluxe Suite

The complimentary WiFi for four devices is sufficient and if you have trouble logging on the staff are more than happy to help.  The only real issue is the limited choice in TV channels.  This is something we haven’t encountered on our Asian travels before, most hotels usually offer a good choice of cable TV.  You might be thinking but I didn’t come to Khao Lak to watch telly.  But when you travel with kids and they go to bed at a reasonable hour, you come to rely on watching an evening movie.  There is a DVD player, but when we go down to borrow one of the resorts free movies there are only a couple of Barbie movies.  Meh!

During the day though it is not really an issue as there is just so much to do.

Top Trip Tip Room Contingency Plan:

These are my plans to combat the issues that kept being mentioned on Trip Advisor*

The Mai Khao Lak Waterpark

The Mai Khao Lak waterpark is expansive.  Stretching all the way from the beachfront to the rear of the property approximately 500m inland.  And whilst it appears you are spoilt for choice with swimming pools, the reality is a bit different.  The pool areas do not flow easily from one to the other.  Meaning that every time you want a swim in a different section of the pool you have to pick up and completely relocate to the next section.  Not so bad for us but if you have toddlers it could be annoying.

The Main Pool

The main pool situated beachside of the original hotel is the most popular.  It looks inviting and clean with its wavy blue tiles.  It’s shaded by the hotel rooms and trees extending up out of the planter boxes within the pool.  Many of the kids either play catch or laze about on an inflatable.

Activity Pool

As we have arrived during the change over from Tui Family Life to the hotel taking back control of the activities.  It takes the hotel staff a couple of days to get their activity program back into motion.  As such, I didn’t see any water activities happening until our last day.  Bummer – I was looking forward to the water aerobics and water yoga.  On our last full day, I see the programme is in full swing at this oval-shaped pool nestled amongst the villas near the beach.


In 2017 an entire new wing stretching inland opened.  Part of this upgrade includes the waterslides, toddler pools, terraced pools and adults only pool.


One of the reasons I chose to stay in this resort was the water slides.  However, after booking, I learn that the water slides are only open at select times.

  • 11:30 – 13:00
  • 15:00 – 16:30.

Goodness knows why they would go to the expense of putting in water slides if they are not open all day?  Perhaps it has something to do with the slides being very fast and some younger kids getting a bit battered and bruised.

One of the requirements for kids using the large water slides is wearing the blue crash helmets.  I would also highly recommend, that if you have young children under about six years then not to allow them on the large water slides.  My son is a solid ten-year-old and he coped fine on the fast slide.  I checked out the “slower” slide, it was fun, but I wouldn’t want to use the fast slide.

The waterslides in the Mai Khao Lak water park
The large and fast waterslides

Toddler Pool and Splash Zone

But don’t worry, the little kids won’t miss out on the fun.  They’ve got their own whole little mini Mai Khao Lak water park.  The knee-deep toddler pool has a coarse sand bottom and the water is quite warm.  But from what I could see the littlies were loving the splash zone.  This fun water park is filled with mini water slides, tipping bucket and other fountains.

The toddler pooland splash zone part of the mai Khao Lak water park
The toddler pool and splash zone

Terraced Pools

Making your way further inland from the toddler pool and water slides are the three terraced green-tiled chest-deep pools.  Each of these pools can be accessed via various points within the paths leading to the new resort rooms.  These pools are always in full sun and are pleasant to hang out in.

The terraced pools at the rear of Mai Khao Lak Resort water park
The terraced pools

Adults Only Pool

At the very end of the resort is the adults-only section.  We had heard that earlier in the week kids were swimming in this section due to overbooking within the resort.  But whilst we are staying at the resort I only see adults in this pool.  It is very tranquil floating about the slightly shaded pool.  Yet also social around the swim-up bar.  If I was staying here without kids I’d be pretty happy with this zone.

The adults only pool at the Mai Khao Lak water park
The adults-only pool

Top Trip Tip Pool Contingency Plan:

  • Retain provided pool towels and hang out on the balcony
  • Please note we found that pool towels are laid out on each pool lounge in the morning and more towels are available at the pool bar or hotel lobby
  • Include an inflatable toy in your Thailand Beach and Island Packing List
  • Wash out swimsuits with detergent to prevent yellowing
  • Don’t let young kids on the large fast water slides

Mai Khao Lak Restaurants

When staying at Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa all room deals include breakfast.  For additional meals, you can also opt for half board, full board or pay as you go.

The Mangrove

This is the buffet restaurant in the original part of the hotel.  We eat breakfast here only twice.  Once because it is our first breakfast, before realising there is a better option and the second time because we have an early tour and this restaurant opens earlier than the other.

The Mangrove is OK, but that’s about it.

Buffet 2

Buffet 2 is where you really want to eat breakfast and where we also have a wonderful International buffet dinner.  The menu is the same in both buffet restaurants it just better quality food at Buffet 2.

Breakfast is your standard buffet breakfast fare.  Cereals, toast, cold cuts, bakery, eggs, bacon, sausages.  What I do love is the kids’ section being laid out on a lower bench and therefore easier for the kids to help themselves.  I also like that there is a toaster oven at the bakery section to heat up croissants and danishes that should NEVER be placed in the commercial toasters.

This Khao lak family resorts includes a kids buffet at the Buffet 2 breakfast
Kids breakfast buffet at Buffet 2

Our International dinner buffet is actually very good.  I am quite surprised as buffets are often very ordinary.  We have a choice of spicy appetisers from Mexico and Asia.  Main courses (some spicy, some not) of pasta, paella, fish, lobster, curry, roast vege and salads.  Then mini deserts to sample our way through a variety of cakes.

A selection of apertisers on the dinner buffet at Mai Khao Lak Resort
Apertisers on the International Buffet

The Meal Restaurant

On the other hand, The Meal restaurant is just plain yuk.  The staff are ill-trained and the food ill-prepared.  Our set menu is rubbery with too much chilli and yet no flavour.  During our set dinner on the last night I discover that The Meal set menu changes daily – perhaps another night might have been better.

The set menu at the Menu restaurant in Mai Kaho Lak Beach Resort
The set menu

Green and Grilled

Fortunately, that is our only bad meal.  At the Green and Grill, we have a lovely Italian meal of pasta and pizza.  The staff here still need a bit more training but at least they are trying hard.

Lobster pasta from Green and Grill in Mai Khao lak at Pak Weep Beach
Lobster Pasta

Talay Thai

We didn’t actually eat here.  But met plenty who did and they all raved about it.  It is located on the beachfront and offers local prices.

Thea’s Coffee Shop

Part of our Luxury Escapes deal is a free ice cream each which we enjoy one afternoon at Thea’s.  This is also the place to come if you want a proper cup of coffee as opposed to the machine expresso at the breakfast buffet.

The Pool Bar

If you still need food in between there is the Pool Bar.  It is your standard menu of pizza, burgers, hot dogs, toasted sandwiches and chips.  The staff again are struggling a bit with taking the orders but the food is good.

Top Trip Tip: Review The Menu’s set menus and choose the best option for you

Facilities at Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa


This is the place to come for you inclusive massages.  It is very busy and the poor staff struggle to keep up with demand.  I leave it until halfway through our stay to book our massages and can only use half our vouchers as they are fully booked.

Both my son and I really enjoy our massage – we just wished we could have had more.  We are compensated with drinks vouchers.


The gym is located next to the Spa.  I didn’t actually use it but did pop my head in and noticed lots of modern equipment.


There is a free shuttle service running three times a day into Khao Lak town.  You will need to book at least 24 hours in advance to secure a spot on the large tuk-tuk style truck.

Mini Mart

There is a mini mart located near the toddler pool.  The prices are a little elevated.  Take a stroll along the beach and use one of the local stores for cheaper prices.

First Aid Clinic

Next door to the mini-mart.  It’s handy if you get very sick.  Perhaps prepare yourself by packing a DIY First Aid Travel Kit.

Computer Room

We didn’t discover this hidden away among the villas until towards the end of our stay.  It offered a great option for the tweens as the kids club is aimed at young kids.  Computer games are available on the four computers.

Kids Club

A bright air-conditioned space with toys and a mid-day family movie.  This is also the place to come and register the kids for activities like Muay Thai boxing and tennis lessons.  You can also leave the kids here during your Thai cooking class.

Tennis Court

We don’t actually play tennis – it’s just too hot in April.


However, there is a large shaded kids playground on the grass leading towards the beach and villas.  A good option to get young kids to burn off some energy during the early morning or before bed.

The playground on Pak Weep beach hotel Mai Khao Lak
The playground

Top Trip Tip Facilities Contingency Plan: Make bookings for massages and shuttles ASAP

Activities Included with Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escapes

The daily activities are displayed on a pin-up board in the lobby.  It is advisable to book one day in advance otherwise the staff think no one is interested and don’t turn up.

Muay Thai Boxing

Muay Thai Boxing is offered to both kids and adults (different session times).  The instructor has a great sense of humour and my son really enjoys the activity.

Muay Thai Boxing on Pak Weep Beach in font of the Mai Khao Lak family resort
Muay Thai Boxing for kids

Water Aerobics and Yoga

As I mentioned earlier this didn’t get up and running til our last day.  But the humorous instructor who took the Thai boxing was taking the water aerobics so I’m sure it was a fun way to burn off some of those breakfast yummies.

Cooking Class

The Thai cooking class is very crowded and you don’t actually get to cook unless you are one of the chosen few.  But it is a good afternoon and I picked up a few tips on cooking Thai food.  The bonus, however, is that you get a full three-course Thai lunch.

The Thai cooking class is part of the Mai Kaho lak Luxury escapes deal
Thai Cooking Class

Mocktail Making

A mocktail is a non-alcoholic cocktail.  It is held at the Music and Wine Bar in the full setting sun.  There are lots of kids but they each get a turn to make their own cocktail.  And then, of course, drink it.

The kids mocktail making class is part of the Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escapes deal
Mocktail making class

Pizza Making

This is another one for the kids.  They each get to make their own pizza and then eat it for lunch.  I was actually very impressed with how well the staff coped with over 50 kids making pizza.

The kids pizza making class is part of the Mai Khao Lak Luxury Escpes deal
Kids pizza making class

Top Trip Tip Activity Contingency Plan: Register for activities ASAP – Luxury Escape inclusive activities fill fast

Plan Your Stay at Mai Khao Lak Resort

Location: Pak Weep Beach

Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa is located on Pak Weep Beach approximately seven minutes from Khao Lak Village in Phang Nga Province Thailand.  The closest airport to Khao Lak is Phuket International Airport, approximately a one and half hour drive south.

The Mai Khao Lak resort is a little isolated from Khao Lak, however, a free shuttle is offered three times during the day – ensure you book at least one day in advance as it is always full.

Scooters and motorbikes are available for hire at the resort.  If you choose to hire a scooter, ensure you have an International drivers license (if you are Australian here’s how to get one) and that your travel insurance will cover for any unexpected accidents.

We choose Cover-More*.


We booked our trip to Mai Khao Lak with Luxury Escapes, an Australian online limited offer travel deals company.  However, you can also book your stay either directly through:

Pak Weep Beach Restaurants

There are plenty of beachside restaurants on Pak Weep Beach.

The start of the Pak Weep beach restaurants
Pak Weep Beach restaurants

Turn right on the limestone track as you leave the Mai Khao Lak resort and you will come across these family-friendly restaurants.  Not only do they offer kids menus but there are plenty of swings and toys out on the beach to amuse the kids while you sit back and relax.

  • Be Friend
  • Andaman Restaurant
  • Happy Time
  • Sharky’s (our favourite)

Keep on going over the rickety bridges.  Just a word of warning during the dry months there is a slight waft of sewage coming off the canal towards the following restaurants (ensure it’s all good before ordering) however the food is fine.  You’ll find these three restaurants:

  • Mr Bao
  • Bamboo
  • Cocobeach

Turning left from the resort, take little bit longer walk and you will find:

  • Ma Ma Mr Lek
  • Chill-lay
  • Boom Boom
  • Krua Thai

All the restaurants we eat at are very nice and all offer similar prices.  Expect to pay 100 THB per dish, 30 THB for soft drinks and about 100 THB for alcoholic drinks.

Services and Things to Do on Pak Weep Beach

There’s plenty happening along the calm Pak Weep Beach.

Pak Weep beach in Khao Lak Thailand
Pak Weep Beach

Beyond just enjoying a lovely stroll along the beach you can find:

  • Tour booking agents (we use Mr Smith)
  • Massages (350-650 THB)
  • Hair braiding and nails
  • Laundry (60 THB per kilo)
  • Kayaking (free)
  • Beach volleyball (free)
  • Beach soccer (free)

If you are looking for more things to do in Khao Lak:

Currency Conversion

Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa is located within the country of Thailand.  Thailand uses the currency of Thai Baht.  There is a currency exchange booth near Sharky’s Restaurant, they have a very similar rate to the bank in Khao Lak town.

A rough calculation is:

  • $1 AUD = 24.42 THB
  • £1 GBP = 43.67 THB
  • $1 USD = 33.27 THB

For today’s latest exchange rate check Currency Converter.

What to Pack

Staying at the Mai Khao Lak resort is all very relaxed.  Nobody dresses up. What you do need is:

For Adults

  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Thongs/flip flops
  • Casual clothing
  • Insect repellent

For the Kids

  • Swimsuit
  • Flotation device
  • Sunscreen (age-appropriate)
  • Hat
  • Walking shoes
  • Thongs/ flip flops
  • Casual clothes
  • Insect repellent

I have a full Packing List for Tweens HERE.  A detailed Travel Packing List for Baby or Toddler HERE.  Three Essentials to Pack for All Kids HERE.

You’ll also love the Ultimate Trips Packing List and the Packing List for Thailand Beaches and Islands Holidays.

The Mai Khao Lak Review Verdict

Overall we really enjoy our eight-night stay at Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa.  I don’t know if it is that I had really low expectations after reading all those negative Mai Khao Lak reviews, whether others have really high expectations and are therefore disappointed or whether we just got really lucky with our stay.

We had a lovely spacious room that was cleaned daily.  We enjoyed most of our meals that catered to adults and kids alike.  And we had so many things to do at the resort that the eight days flew by so fast we struggled to find time to squeeze in a day trip to James Bond Island.

Basically, we just had a lovely time in Khao Lak.

A Beach Resort Review of the Mai Khao Lak in Thailand with Rooms OverLooking the Pool and Sea
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  1. Dear Sally,

    You’ve put days and days of work into this review and my question is, why?

    Our experience was just like the bad reviews of 2017 – June 2018 on Trip Adviser. We were there in April 2018. We got boils from the bed linen. We were bitten by bed bugs or something. We suffered food poisoning from the cafe by the kids pool. The carpet in the lifts is permanently wet and mouldy. The corridors are cleaned so rarely the kids started naming the rubbish, such as “Chippy the potato chip”, who remained on the floor for nearly a week and we saw more frequently than the maids. At night, the rats living under the beach front bungalows would run around the paths. Staff were generally apathetic, especially at breakfast, where they played with their phones instead of attending the tables. Each morning I would drag the shift manager into the dining room and show her the staff playing with their phones … and nothing was done. I did this 3 or 4 days in a row. Nothing changed.

    On our return home, it took nearly 8 weeks and 3 courses of antibiotics to clear up the boils.

    Now, Trip Adviser has glowing 5 star reports on Mai Kao Lak. Either Christ has returned and a miracle has been performed, or there is a campaign of fake, perfect reviews. In fact, the word “perfect” seems to be used in a lot of those new reviews … I guess I missed the second coming ….

    1. Hi Nigel,

      I am very sorry to hear you had such an awful time of it, we too were there in April 2018.

      As I mentioned at the beginning of my post I too had read many terrible reviews but only after I booked. As a result, I suppose, I visited the Mai Khao Lak with very low expectations and therefore it turned out to be not nearly as terrible. Yes, the staff at breakfast were quite hopeless. But I always found a clean table to sit at and the food pleasant at Buffet 2, though sometimes I had to prompt for more clean mugs a the coffee bar. We stayed in the old part of the hotel that was cleaned daily and only ate the hotel for our included meals – the food was just so cheap at the restaurants along the beach.

      I write my reviews of hotels and airlines based purely on my experience – some of them are negative and some are positive. On this occasion, we did not have a bad experience.
      This is not a fake review. This is my family’s experience at the Mai Khao Lak Resort for eight nights from the 13 April – 21 April 2018.

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