We were staying in New Star Beach Resort and Spa from 29 November till 8 December 2013. Overall we were very content with our stay. The staff members were great. Not all of them speak perfect English, but one thing is certain: they will do their best to make you content. The beach is beautiful and cleaned by staff regularly. The territory is very green, covered with flowers, plants and trees, very clean and looked after carefully. The pool is gorgeous. We walked along the whole Chaweng Noi, saw pools, accommodation and territories of other resorts and came to the conclusion that our resort was the best in this location.
We knew we were testing our luck when we chose this time of the year (end of November – beginning of December) for our visit to Samui, as this tends to be a raining season. Well, we were not did not very lucky, we did not see much sunshine, it was raining occasionally and the sea was not calm. There was no problem swimming in the pool because it was still very warm, but to go to an island and swim in the pool is a bit harsh. The locals said the sea was usually calm starting from February till summer. If you can choose, go to Samui, when the sea is calm.
Location and useful places nearby
The resort is located on Chaweng Noi (Southern Chaweng) beach. The latter is separated from Chaweng in the North and Lamai in the South by rocks, which makes it a peaceful location, ideal for family retreats. If you decide to visit a night club in loud and busy Chaweng, you may grab a taxi (200 Baht) or catch a tuk-tuk (50 Baht per person). In front of the entrance to the resort there is a board with taxi fares depending on the destination. You may use it as a guidance not to get fooled by the taxi drivers (we experienced some of such attempts). However, note that in the late evening (around midnight) the fares may be 50-100 Baht higher, as there are not many taxis in this area. They probably migrate to Chaweng around this time, well, just as majority of tourists =) The guards at the entrance usually offer assistance with finding a transport for the guests. At first we were suspecting that the guards get commissions from taxi drivers which results in higher fares, but with the time realized that either their intentions were pure or their commissions do not affect the fees you ultimately pay =)
As you leave the resort go to the right and 10 meters away on your right there is drug store, where you can buy sunscreen and lotions against mosquitos for both children and adults. Across the road there is a FamilyMart convenience store working 24/7, in case you do not want to overpay for drinks and snacks from mini-bar in your hotel room. Continue going in the same direction and approximately 100 meters away there is a currency exchange booth on the right side of the road. The exchange rates are better than in the hotel lobby, but worse than in busy places such as Chaweng or Tesco Lotus in Bophut. For instance, during our stay the FX rate against USD was around 30.6 in the hotel, 31.4 in the aforementioned booth and 31.8 in the banks offices in busy places. Further on the right there a great restaurant “Paleang”, where they serve delicious Thai food for ridiculous prices in a modest entourage.
If you go to the left after leaving the resort on your left there is a nice laundry, where they will wash 1kg of your clothes for 40 Baht. For additional 20 Baht per kg they will also iron it. We did not have any issues with lost clothes (we checked the number of the returned items). Generally the quality was good, but do not expect them to remove stains, which are particularly hard to remove. Or perhaps bring those stains to their attention, who knows maybe that will work. Straight after that laundry there is a SPA called “Bliss”. 2 women were constantly working there, a young lady and a woman in middle ages. Both are good. Sometimes when more than 2 people arrive they start calling colleagues from the other nearby salons. Our experience is that you’ve got to stick to 2 women who are constantly working there. If they are busy book the time convenient to you and then come back later. Across the road there is a nice Italian restaurant “La Lanterna”, we can recommend, in case you got bored with local cuisine. The service was good, the staff were helpful with a good command of English. Tuna and Australian beef steaks, spaghetti carbonara and house wine were splendid. Pizza was good but a bit shy on toppings to my taste.
Rooms and general layout
The resort is located on the hill. The entrance to the resort is the highest point of the territory of the resort, the beach is obviously the lowest one. If you look at the resort from the beach, the resort is split into 2 parts by the public facilities in the middle. The pool, bar and one of 2 restaurants, which works from 10:00 till 24:00, are at the bottom of the hill some 10 meters from the beach. Higher comes the second restaurant, where they serve buffet breakfasts from 06:30 till 10:00. Above the second restaurant in the same building there is another level with library and pool table. Then goes a Spa building and finally on the top of the hill the reception/lobby with a small gift shop.
To the right from public facilities (again if you look at the resort from the beach) there are 2 rows of villas, the most expensive type of accommodation, and further up the hill there are 3 rows of buildings with deluxe balcony rooms, the cheapest type of accommodation. To the left from public facilities there are cottages. You better choose either villas or deluxe balcony rooms if you need to use a wheelchair or pram, as the paths in that part of the resort do not have any stairs.
Our family booked deluxe balcony room #501, which was on the ground floor in the first row (closest to the beach) of buildings with this type of rooms (straight after 2 rows of villas) for me, my wife and our child, and a first row cottage#402 for my parents and my brother. We were surprised to find out that our deluxe balcony room was much larger than the more expensive cottage of our parents. However, the cottage was very close to the pool, bar, beach and other public facilities without compromising the privacy as it was a bit off those facilities. Deluxe balcony rooms do not have any privacy issues as well as the resort is located on the hill and even our ground floor room was high above the path in front of it, so people passing by are unlikely to see what is happening in your rooms through the windows. Villas, however, may have some privacy issues, as they are located at the bottom of the hill on the plain ground, their walls facing the beach are mostly made of glass and they are located either straight on the beach (1st row), so people walking on the beach are an issue (the beach is not private), or they have a path in front of them (2nd row villas) on the same level unlike deluxe balcony rooms, which is used by guests walking from the beach or pool to deluxe balcony rooms.
The rooms have some insignificant signs of deterioration. The deluxe balcony rooms in the buildings on the top of the hill (last 3rd row) were under renovation during our stay. The fact did not bother us in our room in the 1st row, but I am not sure about the guests in the 2nd row.
All rooms are equipped with everything you need. Everything is replenished daily. Most comes for free: drinking water, tea, coffee, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, soap, sanitary bags, cotton buds, bath and beach towels, smaller face and feet towels, bathrobes. For some stuff you will have to pay extra: snacks and drinks from mini-bar and cosmetics (sunscreen, lotion against mosquitos). There was even a set of rubber bath ducks, which you can purchase. =) Electric kettle, safe, flat TV with 40 channels, hair drier, air conditioner and even fumigator against mosquitos are also available.
If you find that something was not replenished or not functional, just give the reception a call and they fix everything instantly.
If you leave in your room 30 Baht (less than 1 USD) of tips for the housekeeping staff every day, your room will be shining =D
3 issues we noted about our deluxe room:
1) In our bath/toilet I could hear even very quiet sounds from the bath/toilet of the adjoining room; and the room above us;
2) The view to the beach from our ground floor room was obstructed by the trees =( I do not know if it is an issue for deluxe rooms on the upper floor in our building. But I am almost certain there is no sea view in deluxe rooms in buildings in 2nd and 3rd rows regardless on which floor they are placed on, as the view there is obstructed by the buildings in front of them and trees;
3) The position of an air conditioner was very unfortunate. The cold air was flowing directly at our bed. We had to cover it with a towel.
You are likely to get warned about this on arrival, when a member of the staff shows you your room, but I will warn you again: do not leave windows open for the night and try to avoid opening them for long periods during the day. Mosquitos will simply eat you alive. Do not get fooled: no fumigator and no lotions will save you from their bites. Mosquitos are an issue anywhere on the island. Lotions may help for couple of hours, but not for the whole duration of the night. Interestingly we were told that mosquitos tend to prefer the blood of tourists, rather than local people. Maybe it’s the spicy food they eat…
I read in one review upon arrival at home the suggestion to use mosquito nets. I would have ignored it before my visit to Samui. Now I do not think it is such a bad idea.
Restaurants and bar
As it was mentioned before, there are 2 restaurants and bar in this resort. One of the restaurants is a closed air-conditioned room where they serve buffet breakfast. You may also choose one of several tables outside with large umbrellas to protect you against the sun, in case you prefer to enjoy your breakfast with a cigarette.
To our taste the breakfast was good. I read in some reviews before coming here about poor variety and the fact that it was all the same. Well, may be we are not too spoiled, but we found it to be good. Maybe not exciting, but good and sufficient. The only problem we noted during 9 days of our stay in this resort is that one of the yogurts we took from the fridge during the breakfast was expired. So, beware and check!
The second restaurant and bar are located by the pool. They open half an hour after the breakfast time is up. Happy hours 3 times a day at the bar make the prices for drinks reasonable. They strike a gong to announce a beginning of a happy hour. The barmen will go around the pool and along the beach offering you to order a drink during those hours. They do the basic cocktails very good. You may enjoy your drink sitting in the pool or sunbathing on the beach.
The restaurant is good and not too overpriced. We tried both local and western cuisine and the food was really good. My wife and my mom found that portions in kids menu were so big, that it was even sufficient for a woman. =) Some of the waiters do not speak English fluently and we had to say “one coke, no ice” instead of “one coke without ice”, for instance, so try to keep it as simple as possible to avoid confusion.
Unfortunately, due to a rainy weather they cancelled a Saturday seafood barbeque, which got much publicity in reviews by other travelers =(
Try to be at SPA 10-15 minutes before the reserved time. You will spend it for consuming delicious drinks they will offer and filling in a special form, where you will report your health issues that are likely to influence the selection of treatments. Otherwise this time will be reducing the duration of your treatment. All guests of the resort are offered a 50% discount, but even after it the price is approximately 3 times higher than in SPA salons outside on the main road. For manicure, pedicure or facial treatments we preferred to use the resort’s SPA. But for foot relaxation and Thai massage I would strongly recommend the “Bliss” SPA I mentioned earlier, unless a lower level entourage scares you off.
As soon as we booked a room the resort staff offered us a transfer from the airport by a family van for 1,000 Baht. You can find a family van in the airport for 600 Baht, so don’t bother. Same applies to transfer back to the airport. We agreed with a taxi driver driving a large SUV usually parking in front of the main entrance to take us to the airport from the lobby for only 500 Baht.
We once wanted to go for elephant trekking with my wife. A lady at the reception showed us a price list according to which the fee for transfer one way would cost 600 Baht, but said that for a 2-way trip they will charge us only 1,000 Baht. As we previously enquired the taxis outside and were offered a 2-way trip for 700 Baht, we politely said that we will think about it signaling that we are unlikely to use the resort’s transport. As soon as the reception lady comprehended our signals, she offered a fee of 600 Baht for a 2-way trip!!! =)
One of the frequent complaints in previous reviews we bumped into while preparing for the journey were dated deck chairs and their lack. Luckily they replaced the old deck chairs on the beach and around the pool with the new ones. There were plenty of them during our stay, however, as we visited Samui during the low season, I cannot comment on their availability around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when the resort is packed with tourists
Another frequent complaint was with respect to free Wi-Fi internet provided by the resort. During 9 days of our stay there the internet was not available only for one day, which happened to some problems at ISP company. The speed was good. But again who knows how the internet performs during the busy season.
Following the advice of some of the experienced travelers we bought sim-cards on our way to Samui at Bangkok airport. We chose DTAC mobile operator. We found later that AIS had a better reception in some corners of the resort. You can top up you phone in FamilyMart across the road. Just show your number on the phone and name the amount by which you would like to top up. You will receive SMS confirming the payment instantly.
If you happen to visit Thailand with children, you will get a preferential treatment, as Thai people love kids and will go extra mile to please them. =)
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- Also Known As:
- New Star Beach Hotel Chaweng
- Hotel New Star Beach
- New Star Beach Resort Ko Samui/Chaweng, Thailand