In 2012, Patong certainly has more than enough to cater for everyone. In fact never before has such competition existed for the Patong visitor's hard-earned baht, leading to a dearth of new hotels that seem to spring up and then get demolished at the start and end of every high season.
Patong Guest House Review & Rates
Expat Hotel, Patong Beach
Over the last few years, Patong has seen a dramatic shift in the demographic of its visitors. The number of traditionally lower-spending budget market of Russians, Chinese and Indians has more than filled the void left by the reduced numbers of what was once the higher-spending high-end European traveller. In just two years for example, the percentage of European holidaymakers has dropped from 40% to under 30%, while in that same time frame Russian traveller numbers have increased by more than 80%.
A consequence of this is that higher-end, more expensive brand hotels that were once favoured by the European visitor are frequently losing out to the more reasonably-priced and newer hotels. The hotels that are able to offer deals and have the all-important relationships with the travel agents who make the majority of the bookings are the ones that are currently doing exceedingly well in Patong.
There are also some really good mid-range hotels in Patong. These are the hotels that are able to offer comfortable rooms, in great locations and at reasonable prices.
Patong has many types of hotels; from old, high-end hotels on the outskirts of Patong and Kamala that charge upwards from 8,000 -15,000 baht a night, to the most basic of rooms, where everything from towels to a smile from the reception staff is an extra, from just 300-400 baht a night in low season. There are also some really good mid-range hotels in Patong. These are the hotels that are able to offer comfortable rooms, in great locations and at reasonable prices.
These mid-range hotels are typically favoured by the long-term holidaymaker who come to stay for at least a month at a time. The Expat Hotel for example, has operated in Patong since 1987 and has attracted a steady and exceedingly loyal market of returning customers. It is located down a side soi off Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Road and just minutes from the Jungceylon Shopping Mall and hustle and bustle of Bangla road.
"When we started, people said it was too far away from Bangla. Back then Bangla road was a dirt track with a few bars. It's changed a lot since we opened."
Co-owner of the Expat Hotel, Ploenjit (Gim) James explained that although its proximity to Bangla road is most definitely seen as a positive now, it wasn't actually considered close enough when it first opened in 1987, “When we started, people said it was too far away from Bangla. Back then Bangla road was a dirt track with a few bars. It's changed a lot since we opened.”
Indeed, even the hotel itself has changed since opening, with 18 rooms and a new wing of the hotel being added to the original 28 when it began getting more and more popular. The rooms are comfortable, with TVs, fridges, A/C units and ensuites and the rooms on the upper floors come with communal balcony areas. It is a good-quality, convenient and comfortable hotel at more than a reasonable price.
Martyn Gathergood, the bar and entertainment manager, admits that although it may sound like a cliché, the reason for the continued success of the Expat Hotel, despite all the increased competition, is the very real family-like atmosphere that exists and that considering the number of long-term residents, loyalty and length of stay is very important.
He said, “I've worked in the tourist industry for more than 20 years, and I can quite honestly say that I've never seen such a high percentage of returning customers. When they arrive, they often say, “I'm home,”
This, Martyn puts down to the warm and welcoming environment of the hotel, bar and pool areas. It's a relaxing place to be, and on an average night, the bar attracts a steady mixture of locals, guests and expats who drop by to enjoy a drink or a chat and more importantly feel like they're at home during their stay in Patong. Back to story
Location: 163/17 Rathutit 200 Pee Road, Patong Beach.Phuket 83150, Thailand
Tel: 076-342143,076-344023 Fax: 076-340300