STAY: Duplex suite, 3 share, 4 nights
DESIGN & IMPRESSION: This was not a big, sprawling 5 star resort, but a peaceful yet tasteful boutique hotel. Whilst not huge, it was spacious, with large, open common areas and a very relaxing atmosphere. The corridors leading to the rooms go up and down stairs which may be annoying to those with impaired mobility, but add character and interest to the design. Some areas near the stairs have lowered ceilings such that taller people who don't watch where they're going may hit their head. This probably wouldn't comply with western building standards. However, it had made me realise that perhaps we should not forget to watch where we're going and we won't hit our heads!
The rooms may be slightly dated but definitely warm in design without the cold, sterile or empty feel of some places. The hot water system does take some time to adjust and I see this was noted by other reviewers too. The water pressure was moderate but adequate. As far as the rooms are concerned, I found the balcony to be a great place to hang out, just relaxing, reading or making use of the free wifi. Secondly, the living room downstairs is a great place for drinks or a little party. Surprisingly there was no TV in the living room, but I suspect one could probably have been made available if requested.
STAFF: This has to be the best part of the review. I have noted some previous reviewers being concerned about staff who couldn't speak English. There is no such concerns now! Whilst the staff members speak English at varying standards, I have not come across any situation where communication was a problem. Communicating in basic English, with smiles and gestures and the most hospitable attitude, the staff members have always delivered. Whilst professional, each staff member also seems comfortable to display his/her own personality to deliver service in a most relaxing and unpretentious manner.
When we checked out, house keeping noted a missing laundry bag. One of us (not me!) had taken it, thinking it was free. I mention this as a previous reviewer also mentioned a similar experience where he/she felt as if being accused of theft. I am pleased to say that on this occasion, the staff handled this in a most discrete, sensitive and courteous manner without any accusatory tones.
WIFI: Wifi was available throughout almost the entire property, with several black spots. Considering the size of the property, I found the wifi coverage to be impressive.
FOOD: Do not expect over-indulgent, elaborate breakfast buffet with endless selections. The breakfast offered here is a modest selection of Continental, American or Thai breakfast dishes, presented in an unpretentious manner, of moderate quantity. A good selection of local fruit and great coffee complete the meal. This was perfect for my taste. Over-indulgers may be better off elsewhere... perhaps this explains why the average guest at Muang Kulaypan seems to be more physically fit than the average tourist in a typical 4 or 5 star resort!
We had a seafood BBQ one night, arranged at last minute with about 1 hour warning. Jae, the restaurant manager was concerned that it was too late to get fresh seafood from the market. He forewarned us about the limitation of the food selection, but despite this was able to make this happen with a great meal minus some ingredients. I would love to return and try this again with adequate notice.
LOCATION: The beach is at a protected location and the water was almost always calm. The sand at the beach itself was nice, fine sand that feels great under feet. Unfortunately the water is at an area with seaweed and some corals, so care must be taken when walking out to sea, which is tempting as it remains shallow for a long way out. However, there are many nice sandy areas if you carefully explore the beach. Getting out on the water with a kayak is perfect as the water is so calm and you can see the corals just under the water. The general location is also very convenient being a short walk to the main areas and shops in Chaweng.
HIGHLIGHTS: Staff!!!! Exploring the beach. The balcony and living room of duplex. Poolside. Little huts for sitting/drinking/meals by the beach. Beachside massage. Relaxed atmosphere and design. And Mira - the manager who seems to mysteriously appear out of nowhere to help with things when needed. She is the perfect interface between Thai hospitality and western expectations!
SUGGESTIONS (Some of these points may be petty but I'm struggling to find major criticism):
- Footpaths from living room of duplex to pool area so guests can walk barefoot comfortably without walking on grass
- Areas to wash sand off feet from the beach.
- General update of some run-down areas
- Website: this needs flash which makes it difficult to explore on mobile devices. Perhaps a mobile version of the website may help. Whilst there are some nice pictures on the picture gallery, more pictures of the rooms when browsing are the various rooms can help.
- Keycard access rather than traditional keys would be much easier to carry especially around pool and beach.
SUMMARY: We had a fantastic time here. I would have no hesitation recommending Muang Kulaypan to the right people. I would not recommend it to those seeking 5 star luxury with everything, or seeking to over-indulge, or to be totally pampered. Or those seeking a full activity program, kids club etc. It would suit those who would like to relax, eat moderately, enjoy friendly Thai hospitality, and appreciate the uniqueness and spirituality of the environment.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ConceptOnce upon a time, in the ancient kingdom of Muang Kulaypan, Java lived the beautiful Princess Budsaba and her brave Prince Panyee - a great warrior and lover. Their love story played muse to folk legend and dance, which travelled over the oceans to the Royal Courts of Ancient Siam. Muang Kulaypan, Koh Samui has drawn inspiration from the legend from which it derives many of its unique architectural traits ensuring the legend of the Budsaba and Panyee still live on today.All rooms and suites surround the expansive landscaping of the Muang Kulaypan central gardens, swimming pool and stretch of golden sand as the shallow cool waters of Chaweng Beach lap against the shoreline. The accommodation buildings merge seamlessly and effortlessly with the lush green foliage, whilst unique sculpture's and artifacts pose scattered throughout the grounds. The raw design and distinct use of culture provide the resort with a timeless appeal and guests an impression of true sanctuary. Location Nestled at the northern entrance to Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui's premier tourism arena, Muang Kulaypan provides convenient access to shopping, activities and nightlife without overcrowding or congestion. This ideal location is within a mere ten minute drive from Koh Samui International Airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Muang Kulaypan Bophut
- Hotel Muang Kulaypan
- Muang Kulaypan Hotel Ko Samui/Chaweng, Thailand