The Marriott Hotel lies at the north end of Phuket island. A short
drive from the main road brings one to the very impressive and imposing hotel
One immediately feels that this is a 5 star experience which has
been transported in all its glory from the United States. On arrival outside the
huge reception lobby one just steps out of the car and a valet sees that it is
not seen again until time to leave, when it will be waiting. Walking through the
lobby immediately on the right hand side is the comfortable cocktail lounge. A
little further along one's eye is irresistibly drawn to a beautiful pond, called
the "Reflecting Pond". This is a very large expanse of water which when viewed
by day seems to extend to the very edge of the Andaman Sea. By night-time it is
equally impressive though the illusion of depth is lost. Continuing on as if to
pass the Reflecting Pond, one instead turns right alongside it and the Marriott
Cafée can be found on the left hand side at the end of the Pond.
On entry to the cafée it is clear from the
warmth of the reception that here are staff who intend to make sure that guests
are totally satisfied. As one passes into the Cafée a number of immediate
impressions fight for supremacy. There are full length glass windows which give
magnificent views over the landscaped gardens to the Andaman Sea. There is a high
Sala style ceiling which adds to the sense of space and atmosphere and everywhere
the quality fixtures and decorations make their contributions to an all pervading
sense of comfort and relaxation.
Immediately on the left as one advances
into the cafée, is the kitchen and buffet area. The kitchen is open style
which is always reassuring when people can see that their food is being prepared
in spotlessly clean conditions. The buffet area is about 50 meters square. On
one side are hot dishes containing a variety of meats cooked in many different
styles in the adjacent kitchen. In the centre is a salad bar with everything a'saladholic'
could possibly require. Especially eye catching are the spreads of fresh breads
and salad dressings. On the far side is laid out a variety of sweets and ice cream
which will surely claim attention. The full buffet is available during high season
and on special occasions when the hotel is busy in the low season. Otherwise,
during the low season the salad bar alone is featured. One could be forgiven for
thinking that this is the whole purpose of the Marriott Cafée, but in addition
there is a full international a la carte menu served all day.
The a la carte menu features some signature dishes which are intended
to give some sense of the variety and quality of the food. Three of these signature
dishes were put to the test for the purposes of this article. The first dish to
be presented was Vietnamese Summer Rolls - Shrimp and Vegetables Rolled in Fresh
Spring Roll Wrappers served with Hot Mustard Sauce. The presentation of this dish
was excellent reflecting perhaps unsuspected artistry in the kitchen. The Spring
Rolls had a delicate taste very pleasing to the palate, but the Hot Mustard Sauce
was sensational. The Spring Rolls covered in Mustard Sauce disappeared very quickly.
The second dish to be presented was Miso Glazed Tasmanian Salmon with Bok Choy
and Jasmine Rice in a Lemongrass Miso Broth. The presentation again was excellent.
This time a well proportioned salmon steak sat atop vegetables sunk in Miso Broth.
A bowl of fragrant rice was separately presented. The salmon was succulent with
a very tasty glaze and surprisingly filling. Then came the piece de resistance
Swiss Chocolate Custard Tower with Wild Flower Honey Tuile and a Cranberry Coulis.
The same kitchen artist who had performed on the entréee had been at it
again. This was a work of art which, after the first tentative taste, was devoured
in very few mouthfuls. A truly delicious end to a memorable meal. To complement
the food served here there is an extensive wine list with a number of well known
appellations. The wine chosen on this occasion was a moderately priced bottle
of Chablis which was perfect.
The food was perfect and the service attentive without
being intrusive. Lest the reader thinks that this all reeks of overkill, perhaps
an insight into the background of the Food and Beverage Manager will reassure
and justify the completely deserved praise. Mr. Theera Kanjana, the F&B Manager,
has worked outside Thailand for the last 28 years, mainly for the Marriott organisation
in the United States. His commitment to quality and customer service is apparent,
as one would expect of someone with such extensive USA experience. When asked
what course a guest might take if any misunderstanding occurred, Khun Theera's
reply was swift and to the point. "We have a manager on duty at all times
people are empowered to take care of the guests
every guest leaves
satisfied". He went on to explain that there was a continual training process
in place which focuses upon spoken English to reduce misunderstandings and the
sovereignty of the customer which creates customer satisfaction. As a native born
Thai he was well aware of the task ahead. "The food out here in Thailand is so
good that we have to be that much better to compete. Our food is always the best
and freshest that can be bought."
The memorable meal was finished but there
was still the journey back to the car. Past the reflecting pond, past an excellent
jazz singer in the now thriving cocktail lounge and finally past a number of smiling
waitresses and hostesses. On arrival at the front of the reception hall the car
was waiting. A highly recommended evening out with only one regret - it had to
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Marriott Phuket Resort