I visited the Thai island of Phuket this month; my journey started at London's Heathrow airport where security is as tight as ever for travelling passengers. I boarded my Thai Airways flight after many bag and body searches. What a joy when the food came round to be told if I was not hungry I could eat later. Ten hours later I arrived at Bangkok airport where I had to change planes, finally I arrived at Phuket where after immigration and customs I was met by a representative of the Hilton Arcadia Resort and Spa, my five star hotel resort.
After being taken to a private lounge and given a cold drink and a cold towel I was guided to an air conditioned BMW and driven the forty five minutes to the resort. On arrival at the gates a smart uniformed security guard came along with a mirror and searched under the car and also searched the boot, satisfied I was not a terrorist they raised the anti-ram barriers to let us through.
My room was a delightful dark wood with Thai silk, overlooking one of the many swimming pools and lagoons. I was impressed with the two locks on the room door and the two locks on the balcony door, after researching the fire escape I relaxed.
It can be hard for a woman travelling on her own, whether for business or pleasure we all need to remain alert and be aware of our surroundings. I spent my days in the traditional Thai spa being massaged and pampered and in the evening went to one of the open air lounge bars where I was seated and waited upon by friendly staff. The Food and Beverage director Stefan provided me with lively conversation, and the live music was provided by a girl band from the Philippines, who quiet honestly could have given Atomic Kitten or the Sugar Babes a run for their money. If Simon Cowell is reading this - and I know he does some times - get your sweet little backside over to Phuket and sign those girls up! Apart from all being stunning, boy could they sing! They even knew how to deal with the regulation half drunk British male complete with shorts beer gut and sandals and socks getting up on the stage trying to join in.
Because of the time difference the first couple of mornings I woke up really earl, so at 5am I went for a stroll through the seventy five acres of the resort. I came across patrolling security guards, who again not only looked smart but were wide awake actually doing their job. I felt quiet honoured when they all saluted me. Never have I been so impressed with uniformed security as I was at the resort. I feel Hilton are taking their customers safety to the limit, after all with the bali bombs and the indonesia hotel bombings it is hard to thwart terrorism, but this group sure are trying.
Whilst lazing by the pool the fire alarms went off, I knew it was a drill as I had seen notices posted around the day earlier. One of the receptionists went running past with five males in tow all carrying fire extinguishers which I later checked and found to be all properly in date and in good order.
When venturing out of the hotel I chose to take the car service provided, I am sure taxis are fine but why take the risk when for an extra fifty pence you can be sure of getting to your destination and back safely. Along the beach opposite the hotel is the new tsunami warning system which shouts out in five different languages to leave the beach and run for higher ground along with a loud siren. Phuket suffered badly in the Boxing day disaster but I was happy to see plenty of rebuilding going on.
Would I recommend this place to a woman travelling on own? Quite simply yes without any hesitation.
ON LINE BINGO
I have received several emails over the past few weeks regarding some of the on line bingo sites such as Virgin bingo and Gala bingo, sadly the emails all contained complaints of money being taken from their pot but games not being played and others of more money being taken from their bank accounts than they had asked for. So in true Jacquie style I decided to investigate. I joined virginbingo.com and put in all my credit card details and asked for ten pounds to be placed in my playing pot, which happened. Virgin state on their web site that support is available twenty four hours a day, either by email or telephone so this made me feel confident. I discovered a secret world on this web site for not only do you play bingo but they have chat rooms too, I soon learnt that gl is good luck and lmao is laughing my arse off as the regulars chat to each other as they play, getting quite excited when they only want one number for a full house, the way they cheer each other on is really great.
One day I was chatting to bucket, gold thong and mish on the site when having paid for a game the game froze this then happened four more times each time the money being deducted from our accounts, we emailed the support address given asking for a refund. No replies to our emails and no refund, so after several days of silence from Virgin I emailed their office stating I was writing this article and would they like to respond. The first email from them said they had emailed all of us on the 17th March and refunded within 24 hours, this was not true. I emailed them back and told them so, their reply was, "If you have a problem call us" .I don't think so, Virgin it's you that has the problem. Sort it out please.
Gala bingo is no different, people having more money deducted from their account than tickets they had purchased, again I emailed gala but at the time of writing have received no reply.
So people be aware, the on-line games are fun, but you must watch your balances.
So until next month
Stay safe and stay aware