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“Love Lipe and this property” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mali Resort

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Mali Resort
Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe Island, Ko Lipe 91000, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Ko Lipe
4.5 of 5 stars 311 Reviews
San Francisco, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Love Lipe and this property”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I visited Lipe at the end of 2012 and stayed at Mali Resort for 5 days. My stay got off to a bad start as the ferry accidentally offloaded my luggage at one of the island stops on the way to Koh Lipe. As I stood in the sand watching all the bags come off the ferry, I was shocked to find that my bag was not on the boat. The staff at Mali were fantastic in helping me communicate with the ferry company - locate my bag - and arrange for it to be transported to the resort the next day. In the meantime, I just had a small backpack with me with my wallet and iPad. The staff went out of their way to make me feel welcome and even lent me their iPad charger so I could read and chill out while waiting for my bathing suit and belongings to arrive. After my holiday got back on track, their recommendations for dining, SCUBA trips and return transportation details were all spot-on. There was lots of construction going on during my stay and I can't wait to return to see the new villas that were being built. It's a family run operation and you'll feel like one of gang after a few days. Thanks, guys for a great trip!

Room Tip: I stayed in one of the large rooms - not on the beach - but everything is very close to the beach.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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311 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
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Bangkok,
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

Mali Resort is not for everyone though it was (and will be again) for me. It is named after one of the owner's beloved dog who, though old-ish, still greets quirky guests or those who aspire to be.

Koh ("island" in Thai) Lipe is 60 km off of the Thai mainland and reached by large, high speed speedboats mostly from a tiny town called Pak Barra in equally puny Satun province. These boats run less frequently in the low season (May-October) and more frequently during high season (November - April). The ferry terminal in Pak Barra is well built and modern.

About 90 minutes later, the ferry pulls into pristine and idyllic Lipe where there is only a floating peer 40-50m out from the busiest and main beach called Pattaya Beach. "Mafia rules" rule and on the floating peer you will be obligated to pay 20 baht to enter Lipe and 50 baht for the long tail boat to your hotel. This irritant isn't the money but the stupidity of it all.

In two minutes, the long tail boat deposited me and my traveling friend, Mark, near the Mali Resort's shores. Mali IS on Lipe's busiest beach but at the far end of it and (presently) away from the nettlesome noise of beer bars further down the beach. Mali's owners are keen to keep the beer bars out of their neighborhood and have the local connections to do just that.

There is no formal check-in though seemingly chained to Mali's tiny and low-key bar (located ON the beach) is Ruth who was expecting us and showed us to our individual wooden bungalows. The bungalows are clean with excellent "five star" beds and bedding. They have air-conditioning, very high ceilings, wooden floors and a ceiling fan. The 5,500 baht/night I paid was rich in its pricing but they were full. To be fair, Mali and the few other well run places have from about December to mid-April to make it; the rest of the year is low season, profit-less and markedly different in its pricing.

The bungalow's two showers (non-heated water and heated water) are outside the room surrounded by 3+m cement walls. I liked this -- and it was 100% private -- because it made me feel as if I was "in" the tropics and abundant nature.

I was in bungalow A6 and my friend Mark was in A7. A negative of A6 was that just behind my 3m bathroom "wall" was staff housing either for Mali or the adjoining resort. I did hear staff chatting and laughing at night and although none were raucous, I'd avoid that by avoiding bungalows which back up to that staff housing.

There were two other negatives.

The whole island is on satellite Internet of 2mg/download speeds. This means at 6PM when tourists are coming off of the beaches and dive boats, the speeds are terrible and they are sluggish in the best of times. Clearly, this isn't Mali Resort's fault but what is their fault is that not all rooms have Wi-Fi penetration. At 5,500 baht per room night, they need to fix this.

A bigger negative for me was the strange policy that smokers and non-smokers are all equal. I guess I can accept that in their 8-seat, beachside bar but abutting that was their outdoor breakfast area of 8-10 tables. Its setting is 20m from the beach and under pristine palm trees. Everyone has different tolerances for cigarette smoke when one eats but Mali's owners need to get with the program and just ban it from these breakfast tables. By not doing so, your breakfast table ends up being next to a table of smokers. In 2013, it is eminently fair for the Mali owners to ask that smokers don't smoke in the 30 minutes or so it takes them to be served and eat their breakfasts.

I'll return to Mali Resort sooner than later for its self-evident, abundant positives. It has on-site owners and managers and they are American. Some other hotels in Lipe are Thai-owned/managed and as their TripAdvisor reviews point out, their owners do not understand a European/North American's expectations when paying $150+/night.

We saw Sam-the-man/Owner, Cliff, Ruth or Paul each and every day and if something needed adjustment, they did it.

Mali Resort is simple escapism. If your life needs downshifting from fifth gear to first, go here. Mali has pretty well captured the "pristine and remote Thai beach" (see my attached photos) and made it work. They secured my repeat business for life and deserve their high ratings on TripAdvisor.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We stayed with our two kids for 3 nights at Mali Resort on Pattaya Beach this past March. While Koh Lipe was much more built up then we had expected, Mali Resort has a mellow, relaxed vibe that we really enjoyed. The open bar on the beach was a great place to get a drink, chat with the staff, or meet other travelers. A nice breakfast (3 choices) is included, and there is also a variety of things that can be ordered until 5pm. (we were told that they plan to have a full service restaurant on the beach in the near future, which would be great!). We HIGHLY recommend ordering Om's Chicken Masaman, as it was the best of the Thai trip, and we tried at least a dozen masaman's at different restaurants! Om, Jason and Sigh (sp?) were all very friendly, welcoming and helpful! My husband ended up spending hours at the bar, talking with Jason, who we now consider a friend! The room was modern, clean and comfortably fit my husband, myself and our two teenage daughters, all with comfortable beds. The open air bathroom, with double rain showers, was great. It was incredibly hot, and having a cool air-conditioned room was essential. Jason set us up with a snorkeling trip with Pong which was a lot of fun. Within minutes of Mali Resort there are many places to eat on the beach, and Walking Street, with restaurants, bars, shops,etc, is just 5 minutes down the beach. Overall, we were very happy with our time at Mali Resort, and would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

To be fair, I believe a lot of review here is true as Mali resort rank 1st in Koh Lipe. However, I have to tell the true that the standard room that I have (the last room inside) is horrible. First, the humidity in the room is very high. We stayed 3 nights there, first two nights I saw at least 6 cockroaches running around in the room and toilet. After we informed the owner, they have taken action and spray around the room. This help a lot, but still cockroaches appear in the night when we back to the room. Below is the summary:
1) environment - one of the best in Koh Lipe
2) Service - very good.
3) Food - (free breakfast), can be improved as there are only 3 choices (1-American breakfast, 2-Sandwich, 3-musli)
4) Room - standard room (last room from the sea), horrible.
5) Toilet - water supply is strong enough. But smelly.
If you go for honeymoon, maybe should choose sea view room as the standard room is far different from the sea view room. (We stayed 2 resorts in Lipe and both standard room is like 300-500bath guesthouse in other places of Thailand)

I wish the particular room that we stayed will improve as in the cleanest. Cleaning the room might not enough as the toilet is smelly all the time.

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Mali resort is superb!! I was looking for a relaxing holiday as I have a fairly stressful job and I found it at mali resort!
The location is perfect- beautiful bungalows surround a lush tropical garden just metres from a picture perfect beach......snorkeling equipment is on offer for free (just ask at reception) !!

the bungalow itself was a dream- infact my only complaint was the bed was TOO comfortable!! very hard to get out of in the morning !! But all you have to do is open the curtains and look outside- just 20 metres to lush turquoise waters.....
the bar/reception is a great meeting point and it serves great cold drinks, my recommendation is mango shakes in the morning and gin tonics in the afternoon.....
All in all my stay in mali resort was everything I could have dreamed of and more and I will definitely be back next year!!

the owners are also great fun and it seems also always up for a few beers in the evening!
see you next year mali resort!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

Had an amazing week here. Stayed In The "Balinese Luxury Ocean View" bungalow. They are new, big, clean and have great views!!
My most relaxing time in Thailand. Also want thank the warm and friendly staff. Thanks Ruth and Aom!!! Will be back for sure...

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beverley, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Have just spent 5 days at this resort, and can't fault it. The location is idyllic - right next to the beach with amazing views over a turquoise and deep blue sea. The bar on the beach is a natural meeting place and the owners and managers are friendly and knowledgable - they will hire boats for you, tell you about trips and generally make you feel very welcome. The bungalow was fabulous, a Balinese Ocean View - it was very comfortable, luxurious and beautifully furnished, with the most gorgeous view over the lawns to the sea. The outside bathroom was spacious, contemporary and all was scrupulously clean and fresh, just loved it, so amazing to be able to shower under the sky and the stars....Food was really good, loved having breakfast in the shade of the trees while gazing over the sea. And the service was great, friendly and efficient but unobtrusive. Just a fabulous place to stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mali Resort

Address: Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe Island, Ko Lipe 91000, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Satun Province > Ko Lipe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Hotels in Ko Lipe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mali Resort is comprised of two complimenting styles of villas. From traditional, architecture & popular modern designs to luxurious comforts and tropical charms Mali Resort brings a unique blend of style inspired by the enchanting culture, warm hospitality, and natural beauty of Thailand. ... more   less 
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