Well I've tried to find a place like this, all over South East Asia and beyond. But I can't. But oh how I've tried. Hence I have stayed three times in four years. I give up.
It's the kind of place which makes you giggle to yourself, while you think of those unfortunate souls who are NOT here with you.
There are three main things I have learned from KB Resort:
1) Hard-to-find paradise hotels are often 'hard-to-find' on websites too [why is this not in the Hotel section? It's a hotel, one of the best].
2) Some 'difficult guests' will mess up the rating of a great hotel, simply because they are scared of harmless things (ie dogs); and therefore you wonder whether they should have ever left their comfort zone back home. One person even rated the hotel down, due to what sounds like a normal Thai massage. Jeez.
3) There are people in the world, who won't add their 5-star reviews, because they don't want YOU to know about it. This is one of those hotels.
This hotel is one of those places where you struggle to find a flaw. Although some clearly 'need' to find a flaw...any flaw...to appear intelligent - which, of course, always has the opposite effect.
This is the best pound-for-pound hotel I have ever stayed in. In a way, it is what most of us are looking for, when we sit imagining a far away beach in a dreary office.
Dao, the friendly owner, has done an awesome job, particularly with a difficult new extension. Previously, it was a blissful array of beachside bungalows - which suit the 'Thailand types', with a bit of comfort. A swish extension was recently added alongside the laid-back bungalow area - including an upgraded restaurant, a sundeck, and some tastefully built 'normal' hotel rooms.
But if you really want the feeling of 'being in your screensaver', then any bungalow by the beach will put a big smile on your face, and a tiny dent in your wallet. The basic room choices vary between air-conditioning or fan, having a TV (with 300 channels), and your proximity to the beach or pool.
Try swimming, or eating at the restaurant, as the sun goes down (yes, those sunsets again) and you'll understand why this hotel receives the more 'human' of the accolades on here.
During the day it's a fairly chilled beach area: no hawkers, a patch to sunbathe, swings to swing on, a warm sea with no dangerous creatures (but the occasional small rock underfoot for those who don't look where they 'walk'...er...in the sea), beachside massages, elephants having a swim every day, etc.
Some free quality beach towels are available at the pool; but failing that, find a dog and use him instead.
During the night it's as gorgeous-looking as you hoped a beach resort would be; lots of pretty lights and landscapes. But the nice thing is the hotel is located in a perfect spot along 'The Road' - ie the peaceful part, just at the point where the nightlife area begins (geographically speaking).
As you move further down the road (towards the lively Klong Prao beach, then the 'louder' White Sands), the nightlife will pick up the further you go. The cool local bars are Mojito and Filou. Thais like to drink in this part of the island too, which actually says a lot. This area is often regarded as the 'nice part' of the island. You can choose your holiday style here.
The Kai Bae area is full of long-stay foreigners and residents, so it's more chilled, perfect for couples, families, and any solo travellers not wanting to run a gauntlet of 'welcooome!' just to buy some cigarettes. The walk down 'The Road' is one of the more pleasant ones in life. This area of Koh Chang caters for both fun loud nights and quiet romantic ones. It is also a great base for any activities on the island.
Opposite the hotel is a cheap relaxed noodle place which is always open for your coming-home-late-and-drunk munchies. Even the shops in the road (closing at 10pm) tend to sell better items than the tat elsewhere. Plus there's cheap laundry and scooter hire at the entrance to the hotel. And day trips or transport (to anywhere in Thailand) can be done just outside too, or at reception. 'Getting organised' is far too easy here.
And the dogs? Well I've always got on with them. They greet me home, and come to say hello if you're on your own at the beach. But 99% of guests don't notice them. These dogs are part of the island, they are a Koh Chang breed. The handful of dogs (hanging around the hotel) might just return your good attitude, and therefore we can avoid their 'terrifying' behaviour of sleeping in the sun...or their even more 'terrifying' behaviour of sleeping in the shade.
By the way, the small black dog someone mentioned is seriously old, lame and grumpy; but in a fight between him and a tiny sandcrab, my money would be on the crab.
[Also note: there is a new sign on the beach about the dogs - more for insurance protection, than reality - but a sign which one reviewer seems to have 'copied and pasted' into her head, and subsequently flounced about it, with self-inflicted fear. Maybe she'd just watched Cujo on the tellybox.]
Anyway, it's paradise.
You'll gloat internally, you'll have fun, you'll relax, you'll take too many photos, you won't notice any dogs...and you'll probably come back.
Actually, don't tell anyone...or the dog 'gets it'!!
Thank god it's NOT in the 'Hotel' section of TripAdvisor. It's our little secret...and no one shall know!
Er...except the readers of travel websites, and the rest of the English-speaking world, of course.
- Also Known As:
- k.b. Hotel Koh Chang