This is my review for a 7 night stay in the SPG groups new "5 Star" resort in Koh Samui. Unfortunately the quotation marks say it all. Vana Belle may charge 5 star prices, but it provides 3 star service at best. How this resort is listed as an SPG Category 6 is beyond me.
First of all, the positives.
The resort is in an excellent location on Chaweng beach and is within easy reach of the attractions and restaurants of Chaweng. The resort is very new, so the rooms are nice, large and well appointed. Having a private plunge pool on the balcony is superb, although I'm not sure why there is only one chair on the balcony in a room clearly oriented to couples. The rest of the property is similarly attractive and well maintained. The resort has the usual features such as a gym, spa and pool as well as direct access to Chaweng Beach. We did not have any spa treatments, although the staff at the spa were very kind in attending to my wife who suffered from an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately this is where the upsides end. On our first night the air conditioning in our room failed around 1am, leaving us sweltering and unable to sleep. The staff on duty were at our room quickly, but had to be prompted to move us to a different room. We were not upgraded but moved to the same room on a higher level, where fortunately the air conditioning was functioning. The resort eventually recognised the inconvenience by comping us some meals and some SPG points, but only after we raised the issue having been charged full price.
The resort has 2 restaurants, one serving Thai and the other Italian. Neither was up to a standard that I expect from a resort charging over US$700 a night. The range was rather limited and there did not appear to be any emphasis on local cuisine with no daily specials or local specialties that we could identify. Service at both the restaurants was extremely haphazard. It was not uncommon for orders to be forgotten or take an inordinate amount of time to arrive and for drinks never to arrive. This occurred whether the restaurant was full or we were the only customers. We also thought that being charged for water that was complimentary in our rooms or the gym was pretty poor form.
On one occasion, despite being the only guests in the bar, we waited for nearly half an hour before approaching the barman to order drinks and get menus.
Breakfast was incredibly underwhelming as well, with the same service issues as above. While the idea of ordering breakfast a la carte was nice, the reality is a far cry, with the food being extremely average. I have uploaded a photo of the pancakes I ordered one morning as a example. However, the doughnuts were excellent.
The fitness room/gym is rather minimalist to say the least. I perhaps had my hopes up having experienced the Sheraton Sukhumvit's excellent gym before arriving in Samui, but my wife and I were both disappointed. The gym is very small to the point where if there are more than 3 people in the room it is nearly impossible to find room to work out. There are also very few machines for use.
There was no recognition of our SPG membership, although it appears that even for Platinum members recognition is not forthcoming. Even a daily newspaper might be nice, but these had to be paid for as well.
This resort could be a spectacular place to stay. However at this stage it is most emphatically and comprehensively not living up to it's potential.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for your review and for recently staying with us at Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort.
From the outset I must say that I am dissappointed to read your review. The vast majority of our guest feedback has been very positive since we opened. I do sincerely apologize that we did not completely meet your expectations and be assured that where there are deficiencies we will follow up.
The service you describe in our restaurants is not what we usually hear however we will for sure look at this. I apologize that you experienced this. We were delighted to have been able to offer you complimentary meals in recognition of the problem you experienced with your AC. In relation to our gymnasium, I must respectfully disagree with you, it is a very well equiped gym of very adequate size.
Thank you again for your comments and we hope you may choose to come back again in the future.
With kind regards
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.