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“Great hotel - not a resort, though” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa

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Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   67/167 Moo5 T. Khukak A. Takua Pha | Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 62 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Great hotel - not a resort, though”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

My boyfriend and I stayed at this hotel for a couple of nights, when we were evacuated from our live-aboard trip due to rough weather. Long story short, we arrived in Bang Niang around 18h and were both still feeling rather seasick and therefore just needed to get to a hotel as quick as possible. So whilst we had a quick dinner at a seaside restaurant we went online and found this hotel - which was rated no. 1 at the time - and decided to book because of the affordable price.

We arrived at the hotel around 21 and were greated by the Swiss owner (Marcus or Bruno) who was very kind. He showed us to our room which was on the second floor. The room was absolutely beautiful. Bright, clean and spacious. It had a nice balcony overlooking the pool, river and the sea - the view is perfect from almost every room, I would guess.

The bathroom was superb as well.

The breakfast is a la carte and prepared as you order. We had real juices - not the concentrate thing you get elsewhere in most resorts. I can especially recommend the big, juicy panpakes and fruit salads!

The only things we didn't like were...
- The younger male waiters seemed like they came straight from Fawlty Towers! Their English was bad, they consequently got our orders wrong or mixed up, and they were quite clumsy. But I suppose this was primarily due to a lack of training.

- Sadly, the only owner (or manager) present was sitting around drinking beers and smoking all day. He wasn't super serviceminded and it seemed like he had forgotten he was running a hotel and not a pub...

- The smaller upper pools that normaly led the water to the big pool through big pots were not running at the time we were there. In fact they were empty, and it took some of the "shine" off the otherwise beautiful pool area.

I can definitely recommend this hotel, if you don't want to stay at a big, noisy resort in the middle of everything. In fact this place is somewhat secluded - but in a good way.
Also, this is by no means a resort. It didn't bother us, but you might get dissapointed if that's what you are expecting...
We liked in and would like to come back some day - but the owners need to see to some changes in the management style...

Room Tip: The rooms on the second or third floor have a better view.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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182 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2014

Our stay at Khao Lak Riverside Resort did not get off to the most auspicious start. Like a previous reviewer, we arrived late at night to find the resort locked and barred and in total darkness. We hammered, we called, we telephoned and finally roused a guest who was pleasant and sympathetic but who was unable to help further. After a journey of some 23 hours we were shattered, so we gave up and our long-suffering taxi driver took us first to The Ramada, next door, which was full and finally to La Flora where we spent the night.
The next morning, after breakfast and in clean, uncrumpled clothes, we walked along the beach, back to The Riverside. The helpful guest from the previous night had explained our situation to Bruno, the owner who was looking out for us when we arrived. He was welcoming and most apologetic but explained that he had received no notification from AsiaRooms of our booking. We had all of our paperwork, but the hotel had not been notified. But no matter, fortunately a room was available.
Bruno rapidly summoned a taxi to take us back to La Flora to collect our luggage and very soon we were settled into our room at The Riverside. And what a room it was... second floor, acres of space, with beautiful views from the front across the lawns, the tidal river basin and down to the beach. Windows at the side also gave us views of the river, and the green hills beyond. Very different from views of pretty much nothing at La Flora! The room was large and airy, the bathroom with its sunken bath was fun and the shower was perfectly fine. We never had problems with hot water or any of the plumbing.
The room safe never did work, there was a bulb missing from the balcony light, but on the other hand there was lots of storage and the beds were typically firm but comfy and clean. There was also a refrigerator and tea/coffee making facilities plus a rack for drying swimwear on the balcony.... I always like one of those! Plenty of towels too, including clean beach towels every morning.
Breakfast on the hotel’s terrace was a delight. All prepared to order with a good selection of muesli, yogurts, fruits and the standard cooked fare. Ja, who also manages the Chom Talay restaurant, was clearly in charge and everything ran smoothly. The hotel can provide evening meals if guests book in advance, but over time the owners have found that everyone tends to eat at one of the six delightful beach restaurants on the stretch of sand nearest the hotel.
The Riverside occupies an enviable piece of Khao Lak real estate and I imagine that none of the bigger hotels on Bang Niang Beach have such great views. It’s also very quiet and peaceful, no rush for sun-beds around this pool as there’s plenty of space for all. I know that Marcus is recovering from a severe stroke and that Bruno is not a well man, but everyone is pulling together. Their wives, Ja and Nam have housekeeping and catering firmly under control and the staff are pleasant and efficient. I loved the way the message was sent to housekeeping that we were at breakfast, so that our room was serviced whilst we ate.
After we’d been in Khao Lak for a while, we found out from the Tripadvisor forums that around about the time of our booking new fibre optic cables were being laid in the area and the internet lost connectivity. Many email accounts were affected, so this might explain why the details of our booking didn’t get through. I’m so pleased that we went back to The Riverside and didn’t allow our unfortunate arrival to put us off... I’m also very thankful that, despite the missing booking, there was a room for us. I love Thailand but don’t often visit the same resorts twice. For the Riverside I intend to make an exception and can’t wait to go back next year!

Room Tip: All rooms have good views but the best are from the higher floors in the main building.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014 via mobile

We stayed here a couple of years ago when everything was superb; so we were a bit puzzled by our rather chaotic arrival, then sad to discover that Marcus (co-owner and organiser) has been recovering from a stroke.
Shortly after we arrived Marcus' wife Ja took over the day to day running of the hotel, with support from Marcus (his speech is recovered so he is able to advise her). As a result we saw a dramatic improvement in the day to day running of the hotel (staff meetings led by Ja, work on the pool and gardens, checking feedback from ourselves and other guests). In short it's still a gorgeous place to stay, lovely grounds right next to the beach - with superb subsets and a choice of delicious food outlets. The staff are lovely and things are getting back to normal ie high standards.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worthing, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2014

Ja Thai, wife of owner who is very Ill now managing hotel very professionally.

Everything works efficiently, including breakfast, hot water, replacement of toiletries & minibar etc. etc.

If you need anything just ask Ja eg motorbike/ car hire, local info. Restaurants, bars & so on.

This is not Ramada or Marriott, this is a charming, peaceful Thai family run hotel, with delightful & helpful staff, with traditional Thai food & bars less than 5 minutes walk away on the beach, bring a torch!!

These people have been through a tough time. They have worked hard & sorted things out .

Room Tip: Only 27 rooms all good.
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  • Stayed March 2014, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

It is such a shame that this hotel is dropping down the trip advisor reviews as I am sure when it was number 1, it deserved it's position as it has a beautiful location, the rooms are modern but with some little Thai influence so you don't think you are anywhere in the world, the pool area is quiet and relaxing and the position of the hotel to the town area is just far enough out to have a bit of a stroll but not so far, you need a taxi.
The only reason we could see for the drop was the management. Unfortunately, one of the partners has had a stroke and this has as far as I can tell, left Bruno to manage which he is not doing very well at (mainly as previous reviews because he is permanently drinking!!!). The rooms are still cleaned and well presented but the minibar does not have everything listed, the toiletries are not replaced everyday and many people complained of having no hot water/lack of water pressure although this did not affect us. The information book in the room was in German and we were informed there were no more English ones available but we would be given one when it was available - it never materialised. The supposed weekly BBQ, Thai night etc never really happened - a BBQ did occur one night - Sunday even though it was advertised as Friday!!
Breakfast was as someone else has already said, a little like Fawlty Towers and although some days you could forgive them, some days it became very frustrating as you could see it was just down to poor management and lack of staff willingness to take responsibility.
It would take very little at this moment to get this hotel back up to it's number one position but if it continues in the same way, they may never redeem themselves. I would love to have taken over as I know many of the other English guests would as it is such a shame to see it fail.
If the hotel owners read any of their latest reviews, I hope that it pushes them into rectifying the problems they have and start to get it back to the number 1 position. I really do hope so because everything else is just perfect.
Just some helpful hints - ask for a mattress topper as the beds are really hard and an extra pillow and make sure you put dirty towels on the floor to get clean ones. Also, they don't have tea/coffee making facilities or irons so you may need to take these although they do offer a laundry facility but they ruined my blouse and a t-shirt!!!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

Booked a room at Khao Lak Riverside in August 2013 for our stay in Feb 2014.

My boyfriend and I never actually ended up sleeping at this hotel. Let me tell you why.

3 weeks before leaving for our holiday I email and ask for a transfer (as their website states they can arrange). One week later, still no reply. I email again. Still no reply... Starting to get anxious. In the week before we were starting our holiday I called the office 4 days in a row (between 9am-5pm Thai time) with no answer. 3 days prior to check-in someone finally answers the phone. I give him my details and flight number / time etc and ask him to read everything back to me (as English is very poor). I think "great, finally sorted, we're good to go". Imagine my surprise when we get to the airport and no one is there? We wait around for over an hour, try calling 3 times with no answer and no one shows up for us. Finally we get fed-up and pay for a taxi. I think "At least we'll get there and be able to shower and sleep after our 14 hours of travel - but I will have to have words with the manager about standing us up at the airport"... Well we get there close to midnight and what a surprise. It's all shut up. No one in reception, no intercom to speak with anyone, not even a security guard to speak to. Our driver looks at us with pity. I am almost in tears. We walk around the property for half an hour trying to find a way of alerting the owners that we are here (cabbie helping us and calling friends). I was just so furious. Worst customer experience of my life. Finally I give up and ask the driver if he could take us to Ramada next door.

We were lucky they had a room available for us otherwise we'd have been out on our butts for the night! We've called the booking website we got the Riverside through and they are organising a full refund. I have decided now though that it is a blessing in disguise because the Ramada is so nice we're gonna stay here the whole time (even though it's about $70 more a night).

In summary: Avoid Khao Lak Riverside at all costs. Seems like they're going down the drain if they can't even employ someone to answer the phones! Spend the extra money and go to the Ramada if you want similar location but much better quality / service / amenities- we can't praise them enough!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

A wonderfully spacious hotel and grounds in the nicest possible location in front of the very best part of the beach - just wonderful!

The hotel is run in a laid-back style by owners Bruno and Nam (DO get Nam to book your taxi....) and is provides all that you could wish for in a delightful location right by the best part of the beach in Khao Lak. There are only 24 (?) rooms arranged around a large refreshing swimming pool and lawn so the hotel never seems to be busy.

Rooms are very spacious, more like suites, with excellent facilities and efficient aircon. Bruno kindly found us a "topper" for the bed which was as hard as is totally normal in Thailand... :-). Rooms on the first floor are really nice as you can have an overview of the pool and gardens.

Whilst the hotel offers a good snack menu, I must highlight the exceptionally good 4-6 local restaurants right on the beach front only 5 minutes walk from the hotel. all offer good Thai menus at very reasonable prices - we ate there every night.

Close by the hotel are several small supermarkets for all your needs, plus several laundries. There are many good restaurants 15 minutes walk from the hotel back towards the main part of town. An easy walk and one which will also take you to the 3-times weekly market on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (look out for the stall selling cooked crickets, bamboo worms etc :-))

Bruno is a delightful "host" and always had a smile. We seemed to have some difficulty in sending and receiving emails to the hotel but as everything worked out it was not an issue - but just be aware :-)

Breakfast (very tasty) was a happy confusion as the staff seemed to seize our "I wonder if..." comments as being our food orders. This was never a problem but was occasionally hilarious!

If you go there we will envy you!!!!

Room Tip: NOTE!! If travelling to Phuket airport for an onward flight - do make sure that you leave the hotel...
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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
    • 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 Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa

Address: 67/167 Moo5 T. Khukak A. Takua Pha | Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 62 Hotels in Khao Lak
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa is located along Thailand’s beautiful west coast, 90 km from Phuket International Airport. Situated next to Bang Niang River, overlooking the unspoiled Bang Niang Bay and the sapphire Andaman sea just 80 meter from the golden sandy beach. A total of 27 rooms designed and built in Asian-style, are spaciously positioned on 7200 m2 that guarantees private and quiet atmosphere. All elegant deluxe double rooms are fully air conditioned with individual climate control, mini bar, Satellite television, in-room safe, bedroom with king size or twin beds, outdoor balcony with a splendid panoramic view over Bang Niang River and the Andaman Sea.Private washroom, bathroom amenities, hair dryer, shower cabin, hot and cold water, toilet and washbasin, bathtub with stunning river and ocean view. ... more   less 
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