Patong is not for the feint hearted. It is loud, brash and never sleeps. Tuk Tuks aren't worth a mention unless they sport a pimp my ride sound system and a lighting rig which wouldn't look out of place in a moderately sized night club back home.
Things you will never hear said in life:
I wish our taxes were a bit higher.
I didn't realise all the yellow cars in New York were taxis.
I walked the length of the Bangla Road and couldn't for the life of me find a ping pong show!
In Patong you will be offered massages, hand made suits, sex with all manner of human form, jets skis, cigarettes, alcoholic refreshment, adult themed entertainment shows, counterfeit merchandise and in the midst of all this you can still enjoy a Mc Dondalds or a Starbucks. To it's credit Patong does all this whilst still retaining a certain degree of family friendliness.
So where does La Flora fit into all this madness?
It has probably the best location anywhere in town. 2 minutes by foot from Bangla Road and unusually for Patong with direct access to the beach. Most hotels in Patong require you to at least cross the busy coast road if not half the town.
I'm not going to discuss price. Different people have different views on what a baht, pound, dollar, Euro, Ruble or Yen are worth. You can see the price for when ever you plan to visit and make your own mind up. With Thai based reviews there are a group of writers hell bent on getting services for the price of thin air. This makes any comment on "value" worthless.
We had a pool access room, number 215 and I would suggest you do the same. This provides your own lounging space next to one of the 2 communal pools. It also puts you on the ground floor meaning the beach is mere seconds away from your bed.
You will hear Patong from time to time. The hotel has an open front onto the main road and occasionally people let fireworks off on the beach. If this bothers you consider staying somewhere other than Patong.
The room featured a free mini bar with beer juice and carbonated soft drinks. There was also a selection of free on demand films via the large flat screen television. You needed a degree of technical knowledge to make it work, specifically TV input choice (in Thai!) but we got there in the end.
The room was plenty large enough as was the bathroom which featured both walk in shower and bathtub. For the romantics you could open up the wardrobe like doors and admire your beloved soaking in the tub from the comfort of your enormous bed big enough for 3.
Breakfast was OK. A selection of Eastern and Western food with a manned egg station waiting to prepare food specifically for you. Speciality coffees were included free of charge. The freshly prepared juices never really hit the spot for us. A layer of sludge always floated on top and the juice it's self was watery.
Lunch came from the glass fronted kitchen which could be seen from the main road and was enjoyable. There was a lunch deal for a couple of hundred baht which featured food and a "smoothie', water based rather than milk.
We ate one night in the ceiling restaurant. A wonderful setting looking out over the sea and with a modern decor but sadly disastrous results food wise. Our sea bass and tiger prawns were cremated, literally in the case of the sea bass. We were charged for both items despite complaints to the staff. This was later overturned by the food and beverage manager in the morning after protest from us.
Public spaces are clean and tidy, there are plenty of toilets by the pool, restaurants and lobby areas. A small library houses a couple of computers (get the mouse wheel fixed on the mac !), there is also another area with a couple of computers opposite the excursion / concierge desk. Getting something printed off proved to be a challenge, we can't be the only people who needed directions off the Internet. Speaking of the Internet there is free WiFi throughout the hotel accessed via log in codes provided by the front office.
Staff were all very friendly. It's worth mentioning that this is a Thai owned hotel (hence the prime location) so all senior staff will be Thai speaking as their primary language.
Ultimately the test of a hotel is whether you would return again. The answer is yes. It's location makes it impossible to beat in Patong. The room provided everything we could have expected and whilst the food lets us down there are many dining options just yards from the hotel. A 24 hour Mc Donalds sits next door so you won't go hungry.
Oh, and a final word about the Spa facilities. Wow. I've had a lot of massages in my time from internationally rated spas to beach shacks and the one my wife & I enjoyed at La Flora was up there with the very best of them. I enjoy a gentle soothing massage and all 80 minutes were just that to perfection. Incidentally go for the slightly longer 80 minutes it works perfectly. The spa rooms were delightful in their decor, I would possibly choose a more spa like music but if that's the price of such great hands then so be it.