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).
- 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