Not really sure where to start with this review as there is a lot of good points and a lot of not so good points. This hotel could be amazing if it tightened up its service and with a bit of re-decoration in areas.
Excellent and really close to the fishermans village - 5-10 min stroll where there are great restaurants. Only thing is the hotel is on a really busy road, most other hotels have driveways running up to them and are set back off the road. The Bandara is right on the road and has rooms above the reception which I would have hated to have stayed in as would be really noisy. The plot of land the hotel is on is very narrow but long so once you are into the hotel grounds you would never know it was on a busy road as you cant see or hear the traffic noise.
Hotel and Grounds:
Stunning, the gardeners work day and night to make them beautiful. Hotel is really well laid out, 2 large pools and the beach is absolutely stunning.
There are a few signs to say that no towels are to be left on sun loungers to reserve beds otherwise they will be removed. This is refreshing and people really stuck to it so there was never any problems in getting a sun lounger, first time this has ever been the case in a hotel for us.
There are 2 hammocks to lay in on the main garden area which was a nice touch. However the wicker is coming out of the one on the main lawn and I cut my leg on it getting out which hurt!! - Bandara you need to fix this.
I had a feeling though the hotel was a bit tired looking. We stayed in room 718 which is a pool bungalow. The outside pool and surrounding area was fantastic, the outdoor shower and bath were great. The toilet inside had paint rubbed off the walls and the indoor shower looked like one in a public swimming pool - not as it should look at a luxury hotel as it was described to me at time of booking. The furniture in the room was very fitting for Thailand but there was some sticky marks on the desk and another table top from where something had melted the varnish.
They reguarly spray the grounds with mozzi spray which was good and we rarely got bitten - the times we did was in the village.
There was building works at the hotel on the other side of the resort to where we were. Kuoni only informed us about this after we booked and I was reluctant to go because of this. We never heard them once and the hotel had put a room credit onto our bill which was really nice of them and uneccessary as they caused us no bother.
This was amazing, a huge variety of everything and very tasty. I often took the meat roll out of breakfast to feed the cats in the ground and no one said anything. They are also very kind to the animals over there which I loved and they never tried to enter any of the food areas which was good.
Nern was definately a favourite waitress, spoke the best English and was so polite and always smiling. She is a huge credit to the Bandara when all the other waitresses were average. On one occassion another waitress had to get me ice cream 3 times as she couldnt get the order right of flavours and then was offhand as if we had done something wrong!
Just a small point - they had a huge variety of pastries but every morning they had flies on them. All thats needed is fly nets to be put over the top and then the problem would be solved.
This really lacked at the hotel and is the poorest we have ever seen. The level of English the staff spoke was terrible. After being bitten 3 times by a monkey on the beach (not the hotels fault in anyway) I phoned reception to ask about a doctor, they had no idea what I was aksing for and wanted to send an adapter to the room .... eventually when they passed the call to a colleague they suggested I went to the Bangkok Samui hospital and get it sorted. No help or advice of cleaning the bites in a country where they have rabies, I was subsequently put on a course of post exposure injections for Rabies.
Everywhere was clean and lovely the maids did an excellent job.
A huge bug bear I had though was that we never had enough towels. Some days we would have 1 towel, or 2 had been left but never the inital 3 we started with. Every evening we called for more towels which would take up to an hour to receive and is very annoying when wanting to have a shower. Other guests have said the same thing - is it really that hard to employ someone to go round to all the rooms and make sure they have enough towels to avoid this problem?
Good location. The asian food was good and variety on menu was good. European food was not good. Do not have the Prawns with Hollandaise sauce, it made me wretch it was so bad and I couldnt eat it. Restaurant staff could not understand what i was saying when I complained so we ended up paying for it anyway.
Prices are competitive with the other restaurants in Fishermans village and no where in the hotel was overpriced.
They have a garden party on a Monday before the beach BBQ (we didnt do the BBQ as it was a lot of money, 1,100 Baht) but the garden party was great. Free cocktail and nibbles, a really nice touch.
This was great, there was a lady working there and one fo the guys who were great. The happy hour is from 5-9 everyday and its half priced drinks, longest happy hour in Samui I believe.
Points to improve on:
Sun loungers by the main pool are the only thin metal ones at the hotel and are so uncomfortable. As they are narrow is cracked my elbows on the sides a few times which was painful, also if you lay on your front on them there was a metal bar that would dig into your chest. These need to be replaced with the large padded ones that are elsewhere in the hotel.
Saying this some of the padding on other loungers is coming out and needs to be replaced. It makes them look tatty.
The towels for the hotel are also discoloured from the orange going to a more brown colour and need to be replaced. Some were stained which is a bit gross.
There was also some work being done on a underground pipe on the path from the villa suites to the beach. This was left as a huge hole with mud piled either side and a wet floor sign for 10 days until they filled in the mud. I hadnt seen either that the tarmc they had taken off had been rested on a side path (that goes the central green). On my way back from the hammock on our last night it was very dark and I walked up a side path and walked straight into the large lump of solid concrete. This was pretty painful in flipflops. Once again no point in trying to tell reception as they would never understand what I was talking about, however they should have lit this side path or put a warning sign on top of it to avoid accidents.
They should have also completed the work on the ground hole a lot quicker as it was an eye saw throughout our stay.
Overall we enjoyed our stay at the Bandara, we just came away with the feeling though that it could be an even better hotel if they just tied up the lose ends, had a better eye for detail and trained their staff in English and customer service skills. It all just felt a bit unloved. I would rate this as a 4* hotel and no more. I wouldnt stay here again, however I would be tempted back to go and check on the beautiful hotel cats :)