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“Nice hotel in a beautiful beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Khaolak Merlin Resort

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Khaolak Merlin Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   7/7 Phetkasem Road, Khao Lak 82210, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #22 of 62 Hotels in Khao Lak
Espoo Finland
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Nice hotel in a beautiful beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

Merlin is a comfortable hotel located in a beautiful Khao Lak South beach. Its not 5* luxury but decent 4* with very good rooms and facilities. It has some 5-6 pools located in the vast gardens to choose from. The hotel are is so wide there is plenty of room and peace if you like. Beach is good to swim despite some rocks that come visible in the low tide.

The rooms had probably the best working airconditioning I have experienced in Thai hotels. You could really control it from the high tech remote system along your bed.

Breakfast had a very good selection of hot dishes, that varied each morning. Only a bit limited selection of fruit juices. The Andaman thai dinner buffet we participated was extremely good.

The restaurants at the village nearby where all not that good which was a bit surprise (a one called Bamboo was very bad, do not go there, but Peter's Bar & Rest had very good sea food). Better to take a cab to Khao Lak city for a better dinner!

Service ok, but nothing special.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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405 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
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Epsom, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014 via mobile

Hotel and beach ok. Wi fi in bar a plus. We went to play golf on a reasonably priced golf course. The golf course was a 5 minute taxi ride and reasonable with quite a bit of water. Restaurants hereby were simple and cheap. Only real downside was jelly fish. My son and I were both stung and after nearly 4 weeks the welt like marks are still there. The hotel had a very small sign with a vinegar spray that just said if you were stung apply vinegar. The sign was only visible at one point of the beach although there were several signs telling guests not to put loungers on the beach.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

We'd been to Thailand several times before & thought we would try the 'all inclusive''(AI) package offered by First Choice & feel we got a very fair deal .

The hotel food was excellent & we went for the themed buffets most evenings & chose off an AI menu at lunchtime . Several cocktails are now included on the AI drinks menu .Breakfast is
very good with a wide choice of hot/cold options including fruits , cereal & eggs cooked to order. Coffee was of good quality as well.

We had sent an email a little ahead of arriving & asked for a top floor superior room with king size bed which the hotel kindly sorted out for us . The room was very comfortable & compared well with those we've had at Phuket ( Merlin (Tri-Trang Beach) Resort ) , Koh Samui ( Bo Phut) & Hua Hin (Wora Bura) .

We thought the hotel grounds were beautiful with an authentic rain forest feel . The hotel never felt crowded even though it was peak season as there is plenty of space for guests to sunbathe
& several pools dotted about . The absence of games & music during the day was a real bonus
& we were able to completely relax or walk along the lovely beach .

Massages can be had about 200 metres on the left starting at 300 bahts( 60 mins ). Walk for about a further kilometre or so to catch the elephants & we found that between 11.30 & 11.45 am. was the best time to see them on the beach .

We used the hotel mini-van to go to the market at Bang Niang on a couple of Saturdays which
took about 20 minutes & cost £5 each return . The police boat & tsunami museum are right opposite the market & worth a look & support a worthy cause .The market is lively with plenty of shops/stalls selling everything from food to clothes & souvenirs of all types .

The free wi-fi in the lobby lounge was very handy & we often sat there with a drink whilst checking emails etc. The guitarist Mr Badin provides gentle entertainment late afternoon &
through the evening.

I had a peek inside the fitness room which had a few exercise machines & thought
it looked eminently worth using but we were keeping fit anyhow by climbing the steps up to our room!

My only gripe would be that the hotel hasn't got around to banning smoking inside ,although it was only a minor irritation & there is a ''smokers corner'' in the breakfast room & you can ask to be seated in non-smoking areas at other meals.

The general manager ( Krisda ) & his restaurant managers ( Veera & Cherd) are highly visible & make a point of chatting with guests & keep the hotel running very efficiently . Service across the board was top quality & the staff very friendly & helpful .

My partner celebrated her birthday during our stay & somehow ( maybe the maid spotted my birthday card ) word got out & we came back to our room that afternoon to find a lovely cake complete with candles etc. .

In summary then , we had a great time & were sad to leave.Would definitely return here & probably choose ''all inclusive'' again .

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

I travelled with my wife and son and the Sarlls (Neil's post below) to the Merlin Resort over Xmas and New Year.
I would endorse all of Neil's comments but would also like to add a couple of points.
Mr Tuk Tuk was the best of the operators - he can be found by going out of the Hotel , down the hill and he is on the right hand side past all of the tailors shops.
The sea is beautiful, but jellyfish stings are common although they do go down quickly.
I found the front desk staff very unhelpful. Had to ask 4 times for a larger mattress for my son and it took asking for the Manager for anything to happen at the 4th attempt. They are very inflexible (not physically) and seem to have no charisma at all.
Make the effort to eat out as the local restaurants and bars give good quality at much lower costs.
I would recommend an elephant trip and also our boat trip to the Surin Island was excellent fun.
The Hotel could do with freshening up - especially around the living areas.
All in all a good holiday.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Derby, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

The score of three that I have given this hotel is entirely based around booking this hotel as an all-inclusive deal through Thomson (TUI). It would have easily got 4 if we had not booked all-inclusive. As there were many facets to this stay I will summarise them as follows:

The hotel:
Stunning location, lovely rooms, very polite and friendly staff, great pools, good gym, good (but not excellent) food and a lovely beach. Had I been booking this hotel independently I would have been more than satisifed and would have rated it 4 / 5. Seriously, the hotel is near faultless and in a beautiful setting. Entertainment is very low key..so do not expect any wild nights here, the whole place is pretty much dead after 11pm.

The "all-inclusive" deal:
Effectively ruined by the shoddy "all-inclusive" deal. Drink selection was terrible. You could basically have beer (one brand), wine, whisky (which was actually rum), rum, vodka or gin (all of which Thai brands and not great). However the food was where I really was disgusted by this deal. You have to have a blue flag on your table that by the end of the holiday makes you feel as though you have been marked as a "pauper", you must give in your little card and receive the blue flag in order to order anything. The hotel, half way through our holiday started offering a limited selection of cocktails...I think they had complaints.

You have a seperate menu to the other guests at both lunch and dinner! So much for "all" - inclusive. Want a steak sandwich? Forget it. Its on the other menu, but not yours. This culminated at a deeply embarassing evening meal with a couple we met on holiday where our menu only actually had one meat dish on it...whilst theres had a variety of steaks, meat dishes and lobster.

For the amount we paid for this holiday I was absolutely disgusted at this and have never experienced this anywhere else in the world.

This is more TUI's fault than the hotel and I am sure is a result of TUI underpaying the hotel itself.

The final straw was having to pay extra for Christmas Eve meal, which was nothing but the exact same buffets as every other night (plus a turkey). This was "reduced price" to all-inclusive guests. I genuinely do not think that the hotel understands what all-inclusive is. And once again this is TUI's fault for making them offer a service they clearly do not want to offer.

In conclusion.....do not stay on an all-inclusive deal at this hotel. The food and drink is cheap (both in and out of the hotel) and this deal is a total rip-off. Book through someone other than TUI and pay as you go.

Khao Lak:
The little village at the bottom of the road has some nice restaraunts and a couple of little massage places (very nice and VERY cheap, so much so I cant understand why anyone would use the spa in the hotel). There are a lot of tailors trying to get your business, I bought a suit and some shirts and got a really good deal. The tailors will try and stop you every time you walk past, but if you dont want anything just dont stop.

If you want a little more options at night you need to get a taxi to Khao Lak / Bang Niang, which is very cheap and there are some great bars and restaraunts there.

You can hire a scooter for 200 baht for the day, which we did (although the roads are a little scary) and had a great day out visiting Chong Fa waterfall, which is well worth a trip if you dont mind a walk. We didnt hire one again as while eating dinner in Biang Niang we saw someone being scraped off a road after being hit by a car, which put us off somewhat.

Trips:
Do not book through your rep and do not book in the hotel. We had a fantastic trip to James Bond island, which we booked with Mr Moo, as we had read some of the other tripadvisor recommendations before going. It was 1850 baht as opposed to nearly 3000 in the hotel. All of the other trips had this price difference too....and you get exactly the same trip, probably with the same guide.

Diving:
The company that does demos in the pool twice a week is " Sea Bees" and they are beyond good. They have probably the best dive boat we saw in the area and are extremely professional. Well recommended.

Conclusion:
We had a great time and loved the area, the hotel, the staff and Thailand. We absolutely hated the excuse for an "all-inclusive" deal and will be booking independently next time.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Shrewsbury
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

We stayed at the Merlin from Christmas Day until New Years day . I really enjoyed our week here. The room was a superior with everything that we needed. It had a balcony overlooking the forest and we fed the birds every morning. Our only complaint about the room was that the balcony was overlooked by people walking along a corridor to the side of it. We were staying on an 'all inclusive' basis and found the food excellent. We were somewhat suprised by the price of the New Years eve Gala Dinner at 5,500 bhats . The food was very nice and there was plenty of it but that is a lot of money especially if you are a family.They really should of had some wine included. Sadly the compare spoiled the show for us, he was dreadful !
The Hotel grounds are lovely and we did not have any trouble finding a sun bed. The beach is glorious and great for a walk. if you go to the left there are bars and massage parlours, a stall selling clothes, and if you time it right, you will also see the elephants having a paddle. We walked as far as the golf course, where we got turned back by security. we did not find out why.
If you turn right along the beach you reach the rear of the other local hotels and eventually an area with bars and tour companies. We used Mr Moo as recommended by other reviewers.We went on 2 trips, firstly ' James Bond Island' which was greatly enhanced by 'Jessie' our tour guide who made the day special. Our other trip was to the Khoa Sok national park which was also very enjoyable. Both tours were excellent value for money and much cheaper than the Hotel or Thomsons. The Hotel is in a nice spot but not walkable into Khao Lak which disappointed us.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Cambridgeshire, UK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

We arrived at the Merlin just before lunch a few days before Xmas, and were given the obligatory cold flannel & drink which you get a most long haul hotels these days. The entrance is quite palatial, and looks particlarly stunning at night. Check in was quick and quite painless.
We had superior rooms which had everything you needed & were nicely furnished. You received fresh towels for the room & pool everyday, as well as two free bottles of water daily. The temperature of the water in the shower was a bit hit & miss which upset the wife more than it did me.The balcony could do with sweeping as most are overlooked by trees, don't think our balcony was swept once, but I could be wrong.
I agree with most of the comments about the brown stream running through the hotel grounds, it does nothing to enhance the look of the hotel, in fact it does the opposite. I never noticed any smell from it, but it did look unkept. The pools were OK, nothing special, & there were always a few leaves in them, but you'd expect that when they are surrounded by trees. It would have been nice to see someone making an effort keeping the leaves in the pool to a minimum, but having said that all the pools seemed clean & the water temperature was perfect.
Most of the staff were fantastic, particlarly everyone serving/cooking at breakfast & in the lobby bar. The staff on the front desk seemed a bit grumpy at times, but I never had to deal with them very often so wasn't really a problem.
The cost of food & drink at the hotel wasn't extortionate, beers were about £2 a bottle, a pizza was probably about £3-4. We tended to only have a few snacks down by the pool during the day and then eat out at night, and there a plenty of good restaurants within walking distance. I would particularly recommend Peter Bar 2, just a short walk along the beach to the right. Also, we found the best massages on the beach to the left.(£5-6 for a 60 min massage)
We tried using Mr Moo for a few trips out, who is right beside Peter Bar as he was highly recommended by alot on TA. However, we found Mr Tuk Tuk much better, his understanding of what we wanted seemed clearer, and he never let us down, as did Mr Moo on a couple of occasions. Mr Tuk Tuk's guides all spoke good english and took us eveywhere we wanted to go, even to a local school so we could hand out a few childrens football tops.
I think overall, Khoalak is worth a visit and the Merlin is a good hotel, just needs to tidy the place up a bit to give it the wow factor. Would recommend to opt for B & B and use the local restaurants and bars which were all ok, all much the same though.

Room Tip: The pool rooms looked the best option
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Khaolak Merlin Resort

Address: 7/7 Phetkasem Road, Khao Lak 82210, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Khao Lak
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Khao Lak
#14 Spa Hotel in Khao Lak
#16 Luxury Hotel in Khao Lak
#17 Family Hotel in Khao Lak
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Khao Lak
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Khaolak Merlin Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 236
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Khaolak Merlin Resort is a deluxe resort with style inspired by Thailand's rich culture, situated approximately 50 minutes away from Phuket International Airport yet set amongst peaceful tropical forest landscape and tranquil beaches. It has direct access to 190 meters of Khao Lak Beach front and is surrounded by 15 acres of lush tropical gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Khaolak Merlin Khao Lak
Khaolak Merlin Hotel Khao Lak

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