I stayed in Ramayana way back in 2005 and for sentimental reasons went back there in May 2014, this time with my family as I was telling them how good it was back in 2005.
I felt that it was still a magical place to stay, but in some areas there were disappointments.
This time we had used an agent to book a weekend package (Sat/Sun/Mon) for two rooms. The day before departure as I prepared my documents, I noticed that an error had been made on our agents hotel voucher and the date of check in on the voucher was Friday - not Saturday. The agent tried to rectify the error and contacted the hotel but he told us that the hotel had refused to alter the check-in date and that the booking would have to remain - whether or not we arrived to check-in on the Friday.
As it was low season, I was disappointed to hear the hotel was unwilling to help in any way and it was impossible for us to make the journey to arrive on the Friday stated on the voucher. Neither the agent, the hotel or us, knew how the error had happened but we, as the 'victims' are the ones who suffered. The only remedy to recover what would have been a wasteful trip was to pay more and book another two rooms for the second night, so we ended up paying for 3 nights but stayed only two, meaning the two rooms remained empty on the first (Friday) night.
Even more disappointing is to read what other guests have paid for their rooms - yet we were charged 3600 baht (1800 per room) and then to read here that other guests also got a meal included. I feel the hotel could have been a little more sympathetic and accommodating.
I was exited to return to Ramayana after 9 years - yet that excitement quickly disappeared when I saw how they treat their guests - especially returning guests. No compromise, no suggestions - just pay up for another night or have a very short trip to Koh Chang.
The actual hotel and grounds are nice - just as i remember them, however the staff could have been a little more friendly. In other hotels you normally get a smile or a 'sawasdee kha' when you pass hotel staff - here, most of the time guests were ignored when passing by a staff member. And it DOES get noticed!
The toilet in our room leaked onto the floor when it was flushed and when the attached room used their toilet, it sent huge belching bubbles up into our toilet from next door. We did report this, however after returning back to the room in the evening - it was still the same.
The other disappointment was the restaurants. There are two (as we could see). One opposite the entrance lobby and near the mini-mart (where breakfast is served) and the other directly next to the reception area.
We entered the one opposite the lobby, by the mini-mart as they had outdoor seating and looked lovely - however there was no staff anywhere to be seen, so we walked over to the larger restaurant next to reception - who also had live music too. We decided that the menu was better in the first one so went back - hoping to find some staff members but in the end could find nobody so gave up and had no choice but to use the second one. We were offered a menu from the first restaurant anyway - so I would wonder why they have two restaurants open with exactly the same menu?
Our party ordered fish and chips plus a club sandwich.
The club sandwich was made with very stale bread which was hard and crumbly and the chips (french fries) had certainly been re-fried to warm them up. They were awful.
The standard was also carried over to the breakfast buffet which was 'average' at best, but pretty much the standard for hotel breakfast buffets.
The prices in the restaurant were reasonable, as were the items in the minibar. And as others have mentioned too - the pool bar drinks promotion was the exception and is way overpriced. 300B for two unexciting cocktails is very expensive. Am I to believe that the normal price for one cocktail is 300 Baht? Am I in Koh Chang or Bangkok ?
This is my second visit to Ramayana. Would I stay a third time? If I could find an amazing deal, I would possibly consider it - but I suspect there are more welcoming places all over Koh Chang, so maybe it's time to check them out instead.
I always like to complete the customer comment cards and give honest helpful feedback - then wait to see if the hotel responds in any way. I have learned that in many hotels - negative comments on the cards never make it past the rubbish bin at the front desk.
It can take years to build a good reputation, but a lot less time to lose it. Ramayana is still a good hotel, but......