We have just had a fantastic 2 weeks Easter holiday at the Kantary Beach in Khao Lak. Having spent the last couple of years doing adventure and theme park holidays I was a little concerned that we (myself, husband and two boys age 8 and 6) may get bored sitting on a beach for 2 weeks......I was wrong. Khao Lak is the Koh Samui of 20 years ago - my back packing memories came flooding back!
The hotel is wonderful! There was a real mix of Nationalities, Australian, European, Scandinavian, Russians, families and couples of all ages. Prior to travelling we read a review that it was being pushed to the Scandinavian familky market so I was a little worried that there wouldn't be any other English kids for the boys to play with, they love to make friends. We needn't have worried they made 3 great friends. It isn't over run with kids though and it definately wasn't too noisy.
Rooms: We had a bungalow, big corner sofa that was made into the boys beds in the lounge which had a dvd and tv showing Cartoon Network, good to keep the little ones amused when cooling from a hot day at the beach. There is a fridge and microwave and lots of wardrobe space and drawers. The main bedroom has a door from the lounge for some privacy. The bed is huge, we had all 4 of us in it for a night. The bathroom is lovely and the shower......The bungalow is fully airconditioned which is a must! Our bungalow as in one of the middle rows which wasn't a problem, we didn't feel squeezed in.
Beach: It really is just as you see it on the website! A beautiful golden sandy bay, very quiet, lovely warm sea. We always sat next to one of the big trees so the boys could play in the shade dig, dig, digging while we basked in the sun. Yes there are jellyfish, which you see washed up on the beach but we only saw small ones. My son got stung when playing in the sea but he said it wasn't that painful, Certainly didn't put him off going in again and again and again!!! Apart from the jellies overall I thought that it was a very safe beach and there were always plenty of sunbeds to choose from.
Food: We thought the breakfast was great and so much choice! Baon, sausages etc, eggs/omelette cooked to order, cold meat and cheeses, salad, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereal, cakes...the choice goes on.
We ate at the main restaurant quite a few times. Lots of choice, nothing amazing but good, especially the pizzas. I didn't rate theThai food there, better in town or along the beach. Relatively good value for a big hotel and has a cheap Kids menu.
We also ate at the Similan on our anniversary and had the whole restaurant to ourselves. The service was fantastic, very attentive and the food was really good. We had to take our children and they let them choose from the main restaurant kids menu (not quite the romantic meal with them munching at toasted sandwiches). It was a shame that nobody seemed to use the restaurant as it wasn't expensive bearing in mind the food quality and service, would urge people to try it!
Staff: All in all the staff were friendly and yes they don't speak great English, but we were in Thailand!!! Our maids kept the room immaculate.
Drinks: Alcohol seems to be expensive in comparison to the food everywhere in Khao Lak. If we fancied a beer by the pool, they were happy for you to take your own supplies from the mini mart and drink them there.
Location: Yes it is 15 minutes by taxi into Khao Lak centre but the beach was so amazing at the hotel it was worth it. We paid 350 baht into Khao Lak when booked through the hotel (200 Baht if you used the shuttle but the last run was at 4.30) and 300 baht home.
Hotel grounds and facilities: The hotel has only been open 6 months so there are lots of plants but they are not yet established. People have mentioned that it lacks Thai charm and yes I agree however as we travel with children I prefer modern, clean hotels. The walkways are paved, great if you have a pushchair. We only used the pool by the beach and the water is warm, heaven for me as I hate cold pools. The clourine levels seemed quite high a few times and made 1 of my sons skin very dry and a bit sore but I took double base cream which helped clear it up. We did complain about it and the next day the levels had been reduced. Dogs - yes mildly annoying, I hate dogs, especially strays but they were fine, if they came a bit close they were easily shooed away.There is a mini market that had fresh rolls but this seemed to stop after the first week unfortunately. Also stocks ice creams, crisps, sun cream BEER!!! The hotel is so safe that we even let the boys with their group of friends go to the mini market on their own, much to their delight....much to our delight when they let the boys purchase beers for us to drink by the pool!!!! I think there is a kids club but we didn't use it.
Outside the hotel: We strolled along to the other beach restaurants, Ao Thong and Boatyard. Really good food and prices.
Went on a great day trip booked along the beach with Paula who was lovely, really helpful and much cheaper. (She has a stand between Kantary and the Boat yard) She also spoke better English that the hotel tour guide. We went to Khao Sok National Park and did the canooing and elephant trekking which was great fun. Paula escorted us for the day, would recommend.
Eating out in Khao Lak offers lots of choice but is very relaxed and uncommercialised. Sadly there is a Mcdonalds you just can't escape them!! Shopping is good fun and try the fish pedicure! If you fancy a drink go to D Time bar.The owner is a really nice guy and even opened up for us on Songkran (Thai New Year) so we could enjoy a beer while the kids got soaked and soaked others - brilliant!!!
I know that I have gone on a bit so to sum it up, GO. Fantastic value for money, great hotel. Would I recommend it to a friend, absolutely, would we go back, Yes we are already planning on returning next year!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on one of the few remaining stretches of pristine beach in Phang Nga, just north of Phuket, the Kantary Beach is simply breathtaking. Comprised of elegant and modern suites and serene and private bungalows, the hotel fronts a stunning beach and is surrounded by lush, tropical foliage, two relaxing lakes and the hills of Phang Nga. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kantary Beach Hotel Khao Lak