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“Fantastic Resort, Great Stay” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sensi Paradise

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Sensi Paradise
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   27 Moo 2 | Mae Haad, Ko Tao 84280, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 47 Hotels in Ko Tao
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic Resort, Great Stay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2009

My husband, our 23 year old son and I spent the first 2 weeks of Feb at Sensi Resort in Family Villa #32. We all had a great time and did different things. My husband didn't dive, he snorkeled (equipment provided free), swam in the pool, read, lounged and toured the island on a rented motorcycle. I did a few fun dives, snorkeled, swam in the pool, spent time in Mae Haad and Sairee. Our son spent a lot to time diving and got 2 dive certificates while we were there. Sensi Resort is south of the paved road through the village of Mae Haad. This means walking traffic only, no noisy motorcycles, which is partly why we chose this resort. There was lots of boat traffic in the bay, but we didn't find it especially noisy. There were very few mosquito boats (water taxis) in the bay in front of Sensi Resort. Most were located 10 minutes walk north near the pier at Mae Haad. The beach was beautiful and clean, no debris at all, and it was raked every morning. The loungers are heavy and wooden, but I didn't notice any ants and I spent a fair amount of time on them! As for shade, no umbrellas on the beach but plenty of gazebos and shade from trees. In fact I often pulled my lounger INTO the sun. The staff brought free glasses of water and wet towels to guests several times during the afternoon. I also saw a few dogs and cats, all were pleasant. The lower levels of the multi-level pool was still under construction, but the top pool was beautiful. There were lots of loungers with umbrellas, and very few people using them. Ou villa was big and beautiful. We had a 2 story with a large bedroom, 2 patios, an outdoor shower on the main floor with another large bedroom with balcony upstairs for our son. One wall was entirely windows so there was lots of light during the day. It was a bit dim if you wanted to read at night, so we went into town and bought a 60 watt lightbulb for a few cents - problem solved. We had the option of hot water and A/C or not. We chose no hot water and fans as we liked the floor plan of Villa 32. During the day we had the windows open and it was breezy and cool. In the late afternoon the staff came, closed the windows, dropped the mosquito netting around the beds and put flowers on them! It was a bit warm some nights, but fine with the fans on. Service was excellent, the staff were very nice and helpful. The complimentary breakfast menu was limited to 5 items, which were all good. The Bangkok Post was at the door every morning and jasmine tea and cookies were delivered every afternoon. We felt absolutely safe at Sensi Resort, and noticed staff patrolling the grounds at night. The rooms had safes in them for valuables. We felt that we received good value as our room, with breakfasts included was only 3,300 baht per night (about $110 Cdn) for the three of us. During our stay on Koh Tao we looked at several other resorts and Sensi would still be our first choice. In fact, our son just returned there last week with 2 friends to do some more diving with Blue Diamond Dive Center. They are in a different villa and are paying 2,000 baht (under $70 Cdn) for 3 people including breakfast. If you want more restaurants, a busier beach scene, and some nightlife consider Sairee Village, where there is a younger crowd. A very quiet, isolated, resort is Dusit Buncha at the north end of the island road facing Koh Nangyuan. It is new and beautiful but the beach is rocky. The best restaurant in Mae Haad is Mae Haad Seafood, try the No Name Seafood. They also have the best and cheapest fruit shakes that we had while in Thailand. We are already planning our return!

  • Stayed February 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Shanghai
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2009

Hi everyone,

While reading the bad reviews written on this hotel, I think they are more applicable to Koh Tao in general rather than to the hotel in particular (not the nicest beaches of Thailand, noise from numerous dive and long tail boats). However, if you want to learn diving, this is the place to go (it is cheap and very well organised)!

My wife, two friends and I just spent a week in Sensi Paradise Hotel on Koh Tao island, and I must say that we enjoyed it very much. I wanted to write this review to balance the negative reviews

Before getting to Koh Tao, you need to know that people mostly come to this island to dive. That is what we came for, and we found what we expected.
This part of the island is noisy, because dives usually start early in the morning (we had to be at the pier at 7.30 am) and therefore the pier gets very busy from 6.30 am. We did not care much about that as we were waking up at that time. Anyway, if you stay in another bay of the island you may be bothered by dive boats arriving at 8.00 am for dive (most of the hotels are located in nice bays which also are the best diving spots)!
It is true that long tail boats are noisy (and sometimes at night also) but it has nothing to do with Sensi Paradise. These boats are used as taxi boat to travel around the island (roads are very bad) or by fishermen to go fishing which will enable you to eat fresh fish at night. You will find long tail boats all around the island and not only in front of Sensi hotel (so I would expect the noise to be the same elsewhere).

I think that the noises of both dive and long tail boats are part of the life of the island; that is why you need to know what you are looking for before coming.

If you read documentation about Thailand before planning your trip, you will find out that Koh Tao is not the place to go if you are looking for the best beaches of the country (you should go to Koh Chang or in Krabi area). There is maybe one beautiful beach on the south part of the island. Sensi's beach, as it is not far from the pier, is not the cleanest one, but while travelling around the island, we did not find it particularly dirty compared to the other ones.

During our stay at Sensi Paradise we changed rooms once, because we wanted to share a family villa (3 connected bedrooms) which was booked during the first two nights of our stay.
Therefore, we first stayed in two deluxe bungalows with seaview (#31 and #35) and one beachfront bungalow (#16) with cold shower and fan. The bungalows are very nicely decorated, and beautifully built (wooden walls and palm roof) even though they have been built recently. I agree with the fact that they were a bit dark, the reason being that there are only windows on the sea side. In addition, we did not go there to spend time inside.
The next four days me moved in the family villa (#315): we were a bit disappointed as one of the room was not reaching the same standards as the two other ones (almost no window and no view). Apart from that, it was very nice to have a private balcony connecting the three rooms and a direct access to a small private beach.

Finally, we found all the staff very helpful and nice. Every time we were coming back from a dive we found some jasmine tea and biscuits on our bungalow balcony. We enjoyed the restaurant very much and had almost all our meals here (very good thaie food, fresh fish grilled on the barbecue every day). We tried a couple of other restaurants, but we found out that the village was very quiet at night (divers go to bed early) so we did not really enjoyed the atmosphere of other restaurants.

To conclude, we had a great time in this place, but I would not recommend it if you are looking for a quiet place, to relax on a very beautiful beach all day long...

  • Liked — Charming bungalows, quality of staff
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

We have spent 10 days at Sensi Paradise beach. It was a last minute booking, and had we had time to read the reviews here, we would not had bothered.

The resort is set only 5 minutes from the busy ferry pier at the southern end of the beach, which guarantees constant noise from long boats and ferries mooring etc all day long. The sea is dirty and by the afternoon full of floating driftwood (with nails). The pictures on Sensi website only display the south end of the pier, with the lovely rock formation etc, but they obviously do not show the northern end, with the pier, etc, so we felt a bit 'cheated' when we turned up at the beach...

The beach is small and dirty, with old wooden and super-heavy sunloungers with plastic mattresses infested with ants. There are no umbrellas and the only shade is limited and provided by a couple of palm trees. If you have children, keep an eye on the packs of dogs roaming the beach. They were very inconvenient, constantly sitting under your lounger and fighting with each other all day long.

On the positive side, they do have a huge lovely swimming pool which no one seemed to use during the day. Again, they had no shade/parasols so it was difficult to sit there during most of the day because of the intense heat.

We had a deluxe garden view bungalow with A/C and hot water (the characteristics of each type of villa are clearly highlighted in Sensi's website). The bungalow was huge and lovely, with a very large balcony. We agree with some other comments about the darkness inside, particularly in the bathroom, the light felt really dim and the dark wooden panelling did not help. Staff would come twice daily to make up the room, sort out the mosquito net, arrange flowers, etc, so excellent in that sense.

The food itself was good. We were surprised to be told on check in that "breakfast was included as complimentary', when we had paid for it in the booking (as highlighted in their website). The choice of breakfast was very limited, though, with only 5 different options (thai soup, muesli, cereal, eggs with bacon or fruit). You only were allowed one cup (more like half) of coffee and orange juice(again more like half) and had to pay extra if you wanted toast or croissants!! The service was attentive and staff worked hard, so brilliant there.

If you prefer authentic thai cuisine then Sensi's food isn't for you, and we only ate twice at the restaurant. The small town is only 5 mins walk away and you can eat fantastic there for a fraction of the price (we would recommend 'Lucky Sea Food', on the beach front by the pier, it looks nothing from the outside, very simple but food is outstanding and is cooked by the owner and her mum. Also try 'Mae Haad Seafood' just next door).

To note, the resort is minimally staffed overnight (one bloke sleeping in reception, with no English-spoken), as we found out one night when we locked ourselves out.

To sum up, perhaps not the ideal place if you are after a deserted and quiet Thai island with a beautiful beach, and Sensi should try to work more on backing up its good looks with some substance...

  • Liked — Pool
  • Disliked — Beach
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sydney
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2009

Sensi was terrible. It is overpriced and dosen't look like the pictures on the internet. Sensi didn't give me the room I booked, and when i asked the hotel manager the reason why? He assulted me. I made a report to the police, who fined him. This was a terrible stay and left shortly after. I would not recommend this resort at all. Dangerous.

  • Liked — nothing it was terrible and they gave me a cheaper room even though i had booked and paid for a more exspensive room
  • Disliked — being assulted by the hotel manager
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2008

Unlike some previous reviewers we found Sensi to be very very affordable. We stayed for a week and splurged quite a bit, had breakfast there every morning, ate a few other meals including a five course dinner that was quite good, had Thai massage on the beach and cleaned out the mini bar every day, drank iced coconut drinks daily and all in all it cost us just over $300 total for everything ! Maybe the other reviewers expected it to be free, because in my opinion $300 for all of that, plus an ocean view, a charming hut, and beautiful foliage is quite the bargain! Tell me where you can find a better price for all of that. Where I live, you would spend $300 for just one massage and a dinner for two.

Our hut did not have A/C and that certainly took some getting used to, the first night was really rough for me, but I did get used to it. Even though I live in a warm climate, there is something about the heat in Thailand, it just seems so hot! However we did go during one of the hottest parts of the season, as is our habit since we are budget travellers.

Other peoples concerns with safety also seem out of place to me. We felt totally safe staying there. We had no problems and never once locked our door at night. Why would we? Maybe because we live in inner city Atlanta, our perception of safety is different than someone from some suburban neighborhood in middle America. I don't know but I do know that while at Sensi I felt safe and secure and we had no problems at all.


The location was nice because it was away from the main busy areas and was therefore a bit quieter and more secluded.

Every morning we got up at high tide around 5 AM and went swimming before our day of diving. It was the coolest part of the day and was refreshing and quiet. We were always the first ones up and about.

I enjoyed lounging in the covered huts by the beach while sipping on fresh coconut blended drinks, just gazing at the sea after a long day of diving. I would love to go back to Sensi!

  • Liked — Location and affordable price
  • Disliked — No A/C
  • Stayed May 2005, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2008

Was very disappointed by this hotel as had expected a lot more, particularly because it is a relatively expensive hotel. Did not like the fact that the staff all seemed very young (about 16 years old) as this seemed cheap and service was generally poor (e.g. lack of co-ordination). Felt quite misled by photos of the resort- the location is leterally minutes walk away from the ferry and although you are on the end of the beach it is a noisy, commercial and dirty beach (where all the ferries for koh tao come in). We did not feel secure in our bungalow at night- it locked from the inside by one single slide lock (other slide lock was broken). We found the service fake-friendly and not very helpful which was in contrast to the warmth and friendliness of most other hotels we experienced in Thailand. Overall we had felt that this hotel was a mistake and were grateful to be moving on after two nights.

  • Liked — free snorkels
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belgium
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2008

Nice, clean and stylish rooms. We had a bungalow with sea view but with the view comes also a lot of noise of the boats comming in the harbour. It never stops, even at night. Not really relaxing. The sea in front of the resort is dirty. This place of the iseland is less beautiiful if you compare with the other spots we visited. The staff is friendly and helpfull, good breakfast (which is not included) but the restaurant is too expensive compare for what you get.

  • Liked — The bungalows
  • Disliked — the noise, the beach
  • Stayed April 2008
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 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 Sensi Paradise

Address: 27 Moo 2 | Mae Haad, Ko Tao 84280, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Tao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Tao
#2 Family Hotel in Ko Tao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Sensi Paradise 3*
Number of rooms: 40
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Also Known As:
Sensi Paradise Hotel Koh Tao
Sensi Paradise Ko Tao

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