We travel for many years and use TripAdvisor as a reliable source of information. It has almost never turned us down and we wrote many positive reviews for places we liked.
This time we feel we must share our experience with you since the positive reviews of this resort do not reflect the true image.
We planned to stay 5 nights in this resort, but eventually we left after 3 nights. You can read our story below and understand why.
We arrived Blue Ocean Garden Beach resort in the afternoon. It is located just a few steps from the beautiful beach of Haad Chao Pao. The room was clean (even though we found a large cockroach in the bathroom once), it has all the necessary equipment (AC, private bathroom, TV, closet, etc...) and it has a nice view of the garden. However, the room is not isolated enough - we could easily hear the kitchen behind it and the bass from a near pub almost all night.
The resort itself is very pleasant and isolated. There are very few scattered bars and restaurants in a walking distance from the resort. If you want get out to a more crowded area you must rent a motorbike or use a taxi. Renting a motorbike can be problematic since you have to leave your passport (not sure it's legal, but that's the way it was wherever we checked). Moreover, taxis are pretty expensive in Koh Phangan, even by western standards. If you don't plan to rent a motorbike and don't plan to spend most of your vacation in the resort, look for other areas (maybe Thong Nai Pai Noi).
Right after our arrival we were hungry and asked the woman at the reception (she looked one of the seniors) to recommend a restaurant around the area. Her answer was very clear: since they own the restaurant in the resort she won't recommend any other restaurant. We were surprised by that answer... We then walked 15 minutes south and found Peppercorn which is a great steak and Italian restaurant we found using TripAdvisor (recommended!).
On our 2nd day we asked Andy (the owner) about the laundry service they offer. He immediately said we can bring him our laundry and it will take no more than 24 hours so we'll get our laundry tomorrow afternoon top. When we came back at 8pm the next day and asked for our laundry he dismissed us saying it will be ready only tomorrow because we "sent it in the evening". He then said "if you really need it I can call the laundry service", like he is doing us a favor. He could easily apologized by saying it is not ready yet and we would have accepted it. We were disappointed again.
The day after, we asked Andy to arrange us a taxi for Thong Nai Pai Noi. Andy said it costs 1200 baht. We were surprised again since yesterday we asked the same thing from another woman at the reception and she said it's 1000 baht. So Andy checked again with the driver and the price became 1000 again. Andy then commented that the price on the way back will probably be much more expensive and can reach 1600 baht, to justify his previous price of 1200 baht. Should i mention that the taxi on the way back costed 800 baht with air conditioning? Never mind, we moved on.
We decided to shorten our stay at Koh Phangan so we approached the reception 3 nights before we were supposed to check out and asked nicely if it is okay with them if we leave a day earlier. The lady looked at the papers and said they are okay with that. We were happy and changed our trip accordingly. The next morning, during our breakfast on the beach, Andy came to us to "clarify" that even though we check out a day before, we still have to pay for it and that the lady at the reception (which also looked one of the seniors) thought we are only informing her about our plans (like we need her approval for that). It was very clear that the lady made a "mistake" and Andy was trying to get the extra 1700 baht (price for one night). At the end of an argument during our breakfast, in front the guests and his staff he called me a "scammer"...
This time we weren't disappointed. We were offended. We left the resort a few hours later, paying for the two extra nights left (including the one in question). Again, the whole situation could be handled much more elegantly, but the owner could not hide its true face in critical times.
Conclusion: the management is horrible, but the place is pleasant. The restaurant is convenient but the prices are way too high for this part of Thailand and the "thai food" is far from authentic (go to the Beach Lounge in Thong Sala for real thai food).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
October 9, 2012
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As the manager and indeed co-owner of the resort I would like to thank you for your review.
I should take this as a chance to point out a few ideas/opinions you might have had with regard to our resort.
You should not be offended if I do not cover in detail all your recriminations.
I believe that there are many, many other reviews that address the alleged shortcomings, I should say with a fairly different point of view! Blue Ocean Garden is generally extremely well reviewed!
I should clarify a few points:
- as per your request to shorten your visit with us. You have booked your room in advance and
I should point out that on our site, through which you have booked your stay, clearly says "We are a small resort with a limited number of accommodations and all reservations matter to us.
We take your booking very seriously and we expect you to honor this booking too as agreed in our deposit request sent via Paypal and confirmed by your payment.
You will be asked for the full amount to be paid on arrival. This is non-refundable. Refusal to do so will result in us refusing you a bungalow at our resort, any changes are to be made well before arrival, not while checking in.
The deposit is to secure the booking only and will deducted from the total on check in, It is not to be regarded as payment for a certain amount of nights, only as a guarantee that we will have a bungalow for you as agreed. If you booked for a longer period than you want to stay and do not agree on a change with us beforehand, on check in you have the option to pay full as per the booking or not at all and no room".
I candidly admit my mistake: you were on your honeymoon and therefore I did not ask you to pay in full, as our policy clearly states. I should add that usually our guests ask us to extend their stay rather than shorten it!!!
You requested to shorten your stay to a person of our staff, and she replied to you with our customary courtesy but she never committed to forgive the amount due for the remaing booked reservation.
I should also relate that you had many chances to address your concerns with me and that you acknowledged with me personally that you were aware of our policy, the following day I simply made you aware of our conditions.
We strive to accommodate all requests. Blue Ocean Gardens is a small resort, this implies that sometimes we have to hold to our policy, this guarantees that all our guests have 100% certainty of their reservation.
Let me address your complaint about the laundry service.
I apologize if the fact that you received your laundry back not at 9PM as you were expecting but at 8AM the following day. The fact of the matter is that if one deposits the garments to be cleaned at 8.30PM those would be brought to the washing-house the following day since at that time the washing-house is closed (Koh Phangan is a beautiful but small island where 24/7 cleaning does not exists).
We strive to make our guests feel as happy and relaxed as possible. We always try to suggest other beautiful places to dine. I believe this to be fairly evident in many, many other reviews of our resort.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all guests that spend time sharing their experience and writing so nice reviews.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.