This was our second visit to La Flora and it really felt like coming home. We don't usually return to the same place twice but we were so glad we did as it was just as relaxing and lovely as last year. Although the room we had requested wasn't available we were given an equivalent room that was just as good and the receptionist went to great lengths to ensure we were happy with it. As was the case last year, we found our first floor deluxe room very comfortable.
During our stay it was my husband's birthday. I had informed the hotel in advance and on the day he was surprised at breakfast with a cake, a bouquet, a card with a personal handwritten message, and the staff singing happy birthday led by Tiger who also took loads of photos! We really appreciated the effort and personal touch of the staff who seemed to really enjoy marking the occasion. Thank you to you all!
As return guests we were given a complimentary 60 min Thai massage each in the hotel spa. It was fantastic and we enjoyed it so much that we booked another one each during our stay. I actually think the spa service and experience has improved since last year.
As mentioned in my review last year, the food at the hotel is excellent at all times and although more expensive than local restaurants it is still good value. This year we attended the Thai Night gala dinner which was excellent - far more food than we could eat and lots of different things to try as well as various Thai dancing. My only suggestion would be some explanation for guests of what the different dances symbolise / mean (maybe a short print out on the table?).
We also ate frequently at beach restaurants, our favourite still being Tonson for excellent food although surprisingly surly service this year. Our favourite town (Bang Niang) restaurant is Rabeang just up the road from the hotel - fantastic Royal Thai food presentation and great seafood - highly recommended.
The hotel mini market is a great new addition with very reasonable prices although actual opening times do not seem to follow the official times listed on the shop door - maybe more shop staff are needed to cover staff breaks?
Many of the previous reviews refer to problems with sunbeds. We were there for 10 days at the end of March and never had a problem. I think they might seem closer together on the grassy area as there are none at all on the beach itself this year. That is a bit of a shame as we prefer the sand to the grass but I think it might be because the hotel is not allowed to use the beach for sunbeds? We usually got a pair of front row sunbeds at about 9-9:30am and if not there was plenty of space in the second or third rows. We usually moved to the pool area late afternoon and sunbeds were always available there by this time.
Although the service generally is very good a few staff really stood out. Special thanks to Ricky (trainee in restaurant) for his wonderful happy smiling approach to his job, to Sob in the bar for being so friendly and remembering our favourite cocktails (some of the other bar staff were not as friendly or efficient and this could be improved), and to King who was a wonderful tour guide on the elephant trekking and bathing trip - we had a fantastic time on this personal tour and King looked after us so well, gave us loads of information and even took us 'backstage' at the hotel to show us what the gardeners were growing for the hotel kitchen!
This year we booked a return airport transfer with the hotel which is well worth it for a comfortable safe journey with excellent door to door service. The breakfast bags were great too.
Overall we had another lovely relaxing holiday and did not want to leave - we will definitely be back.