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“Perfect—or not (it's a personal thing)” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mandalai Hotel

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Mandalai Hotel
61/1 Moo 7 Chaloklum Road, Ko Phangan 84280, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #43 of 91 hotels in Ko Phangan
Vancouver
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Perfect—or not (it's a personal thing)”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2009

The best rooms in this 12-room hotel are the two ocean front on the second floor, and we had one of them. The view wonderful, room spacious. The bathroom had a large shower with excellent pressure, a separate sink area and a toilet with door that closed. Soaker tub in the main area. Although the Mandalai abuts a main road in Chaloklum, it’s a quiet area. I loved our stay here but there are many caveats. First, the area is a working fishing village. The beach is mediocre although, for me, very interesting and non-touristy, lots of activity never irritating. We took day trips to nicer beaches, studded with various bungalows and resorts, and the sand and snorkeling were wonderful, but the pestering for goods and services never let up: You can sit on the deck at the Mandalai and read a book for hours and no one will bother you. It’s also enjoyable to watch all the activity; I mean thank god that not every beach in Thailand has been gentrified and displaced locals. Being on the north of the island and in a secluded spot, your restaurant options are somewhat limited and you need a scooter (or jeep) to get about. There is a little privacy issue here too, as on the interior courtyard everyone’s sliding glass doors look onto the pool area, and the rooms below ours open onto a common deck. Other reviews have mixed messages about the smell. Since it’s a fishing village, I can confirm there is a smell. But they don’t bring in and dry fish every day. When they do, you smell it. But if you sit on the interior courtyard, instead of the ocean deck, we found it wasn’t noticeable. To be fair, if you come here knowing that it’s a small, independent, well-designed, but out-of-the-way place, not a luxury resort, you’ll probably love it just as we did. Although I think it’s a great romantic destination because it’s secluded, there will be no long walks on the beach—and Chaloklum doesn’t pretend to be the best beach on Phangan. If you want the bustle and partying of Had Rin or the myriad hotel/food/activity options of the west coast, you’ll be disappointed. Also, if taking the ferry from Samui, don’t let the airport staff force you onto the Had Rin ferry—and they will; it’s slow and is a much more expensive taxi ride on Phangan than if you arrive at Thong Sala (in fact our cabbie, in Had Rin, didn’t even want to drive up to Chaloklum). Any money you save on Samui you’ll have to pay on arrival. Insist on a boat to Thong Sala. Given that we had a primo room I highly recommend Mandalai, but if I was on the bottom floor right in front of the pool I might have liked it less. I especially liked the dimmers on all the lights, the relatively inexpensive mini bar, the décor, room with fan and AC, the friendly staff, complimentary water and DVDs, and the bed (which was firm, probably too firm for some people, but perfect for me).

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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UK
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2009

The Mandalai is a very stylish hotel and looks just like the pictures. The rooms are great, lots of nice touches like lighting, dimmer controls for fan & lights, huge jacuzzi in the room. The hotel is probably one of the nicest on the island. However, the smell from the fish processing is pretty unpleasant. Every morning there are trays placed along the beach in front of the hotel and squid is placed on these trays to dry out. The smell can be very strong and there are a lot of flies due to the bits of fish lying about.
Some parts of the hotel are in need of maintenance although the rooms are very well maintained. The staff are very friendly but as they have no work to do (we were the only guests in the hotel) they tend to sit around doing things like doing each other's hair. We were in the pool one day and there were a lot of leaves in the pool (as it had been raining). One of the staff members started to remove the leaves but then stopped whilst he went to apply hair dye to another member of staff's hair and then came back to finish removing the leaves!
The freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee at breakfast are great but the eggs are almost inedible due to the herbs which the chef uses. Don't get the eggs benedict - the sauce is not hollandaise and is pretty horrible.
Chaloklum is a small village which has a few great little restaurants. It's very much diving-oriented and has a lot of dive shops offering equipment and trips. As it's a small village everyone is very friendly and you will see the same faces often. The World's End does great food and plays brilliant music. The italian restaurant near the hotel is amazing, best pasta & pizza anywhere! The restaurants don't look much from the street but they all have little areas on the beach front which look lovely at night with lots of little lights.
The beach in front of the hotel is very dirty (another example of lack of maintenance) with rubbish and bits of squid. The beach at the other end of Chaloklum is about 5 minutes walk away and is white sand/clear water so worth the walk. We went snorkelling at Mae Haad about 5 minutes away by taxi which was amazing.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Finland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2009

We stayed at Mandalay with my husband in the beginning of January 2009, for 5 nights. Although the weather wasn't that great all the time, we enjoyed our time. We had booked a garden view room, but when we arrived to the hotel, we got upgraded to a pool view room. The interior of the room was very nice.

If You although want to be part of the party scene, prefere staying elsewhere, Chaloklum hasn't got any nightlife. If You want a getaway from tourism crowded places and want to see how the locals live, this is a good choice. Ok, there's basically almost no beach at the front of the hotel, but there was a very good beach at the end of the bay ( to the left looking to the sea from the hotel). The beach there wasn't that crowded, if you go there early in the morning, there's a big possibility of being on the beach just by Yourselves and the restaurant by the beach is ok too!

We went also to Koh samui and Koh Tao on our trip. The best part of our trip was in Koh tao and Koh Phangan, here at Mandalai. Koh Samui was more a place for package-tourists in my opinion, with loads of huge new resorts being built.

If we went to Koh Phangan again, I would like to stay a couple of nights at Mandalai again because of the great rooms, lovely restaurant (very good food (try the green curry here and the bruschetta for starters (its veeery good)). And the staff was very friendly all the time.

Here are a couple of things to do in Chalokum: play pool at the lost dog (i think that was the name of the place), there was about 5 ok restaurants, but we liked the hotels own restaurant the most. Walk to beaches nearby following the paled roads or just stay on the whitesanded beach in Chalokum (appr. 1km from the hotel). Take a kiteboarding course at that beach, lasts about 4 days.

  • Liked — The interior of the room, friendly staff
  • Disliked — Broken tap in our room, thought that the beach would be nicer right outside the hotel
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wales
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2009

fabulous hotel in real thailand. really cannot fault the mandalai. staff were really friendly and helpfull. we had a sea view room and it was perfect. a great view from our bed and bath! the hotel and chaloklum are both quiet, but what more do you want? if you want to be out partying then best to go elsewhere, but we really enjoyed seeing another side of thailand that hasnt just turned into rows of bars like you see in the mediteranean (or phuket!)beach was about 5 yards from our room and about 100 yards away is the clearest, quietest piece of beach we saw on our travels, where hardly anyone walks up and down. it felt like it was our beach everyday. as for the pier - yeh there is a pier close by, but we couldnt see why it could possibly be a problem. we would go back tomorrow if could afford to and could get the time off!!

  • Liked — location, quality room
  • Disliked — no option of 'pick up' from ferry
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Mandalai Hotel

Address: 61/1 Moo 7 Chaloklum Road, Ko Phangan 84280, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Phangan
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #43 of 91 hotels in Ko Phangan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mandalai is the first hip boutique hotel on the Island. The hotel is located in the heart of Koh Phangan's fisherman village in Chaloklum Bay. Superbly situated on the beach front enjoying spectacular sea views and surrounded by the necklace of mountains. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mandalai Hotel Ko Phangan
Mandalai Boutique Hotel

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