Manathai is a hike out of Bang La On & Bang Niang areas but that is a good thing. The beach around the property is ridiculously quiet, we walked each morning and past about 6 people total in our total 10 night stay.
The beach/pool area is fantastic. Great pool, so big, and in the 10 nights we were there it was nowhere near full so you could lounge on any chair you wanted. Staff at the bar are friendly as well as the pool/recreation team. They could do a lap each 30mins taking drink/food orders from the pool/beach side to improve it a little. Beach is swept clean each morning and in the actual water itself there is nothing but sand and water - no seaweed, rocks etc and very calm.
Breakfast is fine, really good food. Staff are attentive & always there to help. More variety seems to pop up a fair bit in reviews but I'm not sure what else is needed. All the western foods are there (eggs cooked to your liking, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, sausages etc), cereal, toast, fruits, cakes, sweets, noodles (made to your liking and flavours), salads - lots of salads, soups, yogurts & 3 different varieties of juices each day plus water, tea (a number of varieties), coffee etc.
Colours restaurant seemed to always be completely empty. Its the same restaurant as the breakfast but for lunch & dinner the most we saw in there were about 3 out of 25 tables full. It doesn't leave for the best atmosphere but the food is amazing. Snapper with plum sauce gets a special mention! Pad Thai, which is the other restaurant around the pool area, we didn't try as the menu seemed very limited to only certain Thai dishes. Chang/Singha beers around the pool area during the day were 150 THB or 4 for a bucket for 450 THB (you can get them in mini marts for 35 THB each all around the Khao Lak area so a bit of a rip off).
Hire a scooter if you stay there. We hired one from Sunny, the tour manager at the resort as it was easier. He was such a nice man and charged us 250 THB per day. It can be cheaper in Bang Niang but not worth the hassle for us to get in there and find one. If you don't hire a scooter you'll be at the mercy of a shuttle that runs very rarely at the resort, or taxies. The roads seem busy at first but once you figure it out (and it doesn't take long) the traffic really moves in an orderly way. Having a scooter really opens up so many areas around the Khao Lak region. Happy Beach to the north with Con and his pigs is 5 min ride away, or Takuapa's Little Amazon is only 25mins north, Pak Weep's restaurants are 5mins south, or you can zip into Bang Niang/Bang La On in 15mins whenever you want. Waterfalls basically at every turn to explore in the mountains.
The staff at the hotel were A+. Always smiling and never resting to help their guests. One of the best things about the place.
As for the things that could be improved on over time, and opportunities that were missed when designing the place. The pool - it had a number of times where it spat out dirty brown mud/water (we hope thats all it was) and meant that around those vents the mud stayed for the following days not to be cleaned. The prices of drinks are ridiculously high, and with a short walk over to Pak Weep beach (or ride into town) you can stock up the mini bar at about a 5th of the price. The restaurants need to do more to entice people to eat there, as the food is great but the atmosphere lacks (apparently there was lunch specials?? but we never saw mention of them). The whole corridor in the middle of the resort from Colours right down to the beach seems like a waste and would have been ideal for a pool. You sit on your balcony and can only look across at others sitting on theres. There are only about 4 searoom bungalows that can see the ocean from there rooms out of about 200 rooms, it seems like a waste.
All in all though, it was a great spot. We wouldn't stay there again due to personal preference (we'd stay in Pak Weep beach area) but in saying that walk away from the place very happy.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover a path less travelled. A stretch of unspoiled soft sandy beach under warm tropical skies. Where cool, crisp manicured gardens tuck away the rooms and suites at MANATHAI Khao Lak. Contemporary, bright interiors elegantly decorated with wonderful Thai handicrafts. Elements of the property's natural surrounding extending indoors. Whether looking for a romantic retreat or family holiday, there's something for every guest and occasion here. Havens of space, luxury beachfront living, boutique dining and the very best of Thailand's rich culture. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Bangsak Beach Hotel Khao Lak