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“Heaven on Earth”
Review of The Tongsai Bay

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The Tongsai Bay
Ranked #5 of 185 Hotels in Bophut
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 24, 2013

This was our second visit in two years in late July when we enjoyed 10 nights in this idyllic hotel. We stayed again in one of the Cottage suites on the wooded hillside above the tree canopy and this year's suite 305 was even more secluded than the one in 2012. We have nothing but excellent comments about this accommodation which had an upgraded bathroom with a huge stand alone shower cubicle and an outside deck which was almost double in size to the one we had last year. The views over Tongsai Bay were spectacular and the privacy, total - that's what 84 steps give you!!

As before Tongsai Bay excelled in every respect from housekeeping, food and beverage, buggy boys, comfort and superb friendliness from every member of staff.

The quality of an establishment can quickly be measured by it's response to unforeseen problems and again, we received 200% from management when we encountered a difficulty. We returned from a day out on a boat around the island which ended in a tropical storm and we needed the air conditioning more than ever. However, overnight it broke down and was promptly repaired the following day. Sadly the fault recurred and when we reported this the next morning Mark Harrison, Hotel Manager, immediately came to the rescue. He advised us to take our breakfast as normal and he would sort out the problem. Within 10 minutes he was at our breakfast table offering to move us for the remaining five days of our stay to a Pool Villa. His staff quickly and efficiently moved our belongings and ourselves and within a couple of hours we were installed in the height of luxury and convenience.

This at a time when the hotel was over 90% occupied; we understand that things can sometimes go wrong and we believe that the reaction from hotel management, especially Mark, was phenomenal.

Thank you Tongsai, thank you Mark; we can offer no higher recommendation.

Room Tip: Cottage Suites offer wonderful privacy and views but you need to be mobile to conquer the many steps...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kennet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 23, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Tongsai for 9 nights as part of our honeymoon, mostly based on trip advisor reviews. At first we were unsure if we liked it, some of the decor is older and it is quite far away from the main towns of Chaweng and Bophut.
However, we have come to love this place. The staff are very friendly and attentive, rooms are clean and very private (we had a cottage with bathtub on balcony), yummy breakfast and the pools and beach are nice too. The natural habitat is lovely with well maintained gardens and birds and butterflies are plentiful!

We found the hotel food/drink and taxi to be overpriced but I think this would be the same as most resorts on the island.

If you have trouble with stairs be careful of the type of room you choose as we had 60+ stairs to our room but the view was lovely!

Overall, this us a nice place to stay if you want a peaceful and private holiday. If you want some action then stay closer to town or hire a car or bike to get around. We would stay here again.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Emlew1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

I stayed here back in January of this year in one of the cottage suites with my partner.

Our experience with The Tongsai Bay was outstanding. The fact that our stay here is one of the strongest memories of our trip eight months on illustrates this. This place really makes you feel like you're in the middle of a forest that's next to the sea.

The cottage suite we stayed in surpassed our expectations. It had character, it was impeccably clean, and was very spacious. The sleep I had here was the best I had of our entire trip. The outdoor bathtub was the clear showpiece of the accommodation. Most bathtubs at hotels tend to be old or stained or even dirty. On arrival, our bathtub was immaculately spotless. Free daily fruit basket was the icing on the cake.

Before staying here, we were torn between staying at a beachfront suite (ie. the standard rooms) or a cottage suite. The beachfront suites are in a building down near the beach. The benefits of this were obviously the proximity to the pool, bar, beach and restaurant. If this is what is important to you, then this would be the choice. I have no doubt the rooms here are fantastic. As for the cottages however, we were not let down. The cottages are located a little further out from the main buildings, and require either a 5 minute walk or a staff member to transport you there via a golf buggy. However, we found this to be an advantage, not a disadvantage. The sense of seclusion amongst the forested surroundings was unmatched. Each cottage is its stand alone building that is spaced far enough apart to feel like no one is around. If seclusion is your main motive, then choose this over the beachfront suites. Sure it's not next to the pool and beach, but we found this to be a good thing. Besides, the five minute walk through the lush greenery is very zen, and is a good thing to work off the breakfast calories!

Speaking of which, we found the restaurant to be fantastic. The daily breakfast buffet spread was quite tasty and offered a good variety of choice. We had dinner here on two occasions, and found both meals to be extremely good as well. Things can get quite spicy, however, so be warned when choosing your dish, and this is coming from one who can easily take spicy foods!

The staff were fantastic, from the reception, to the housekeeping, to the kitchen. Service was impeccable, and there was always a golf buggy to take us from reception to our room. The longest we had to wait was barely a minute.

Nothing's perfect, however, and The Tongsai Bay is no exception...

We stayed here as part of a package deal that included a massage at the resort spa. My partner and I both had a standard Swedish-style massage, and not a Thai one. We both agreed that whilst it was pleasant, it was perhaps a little too weak with its pressure. I should qualify this by saying that we can both be very picky with massages, and we both like our massages to be quite firm. However, after having a massage every two days for the preceding three weeks in Thailand, Tongsai Bay's massage was noticeably much weaker and wasn't so much relaxing as it was just sleep-inducing. The spa itself was very nice - set amongst a very lush green environment. Staff were thoroughly professional, and the service was befitting of a five star resort with all the expected bells and whistles - tea, bathrobes, secure locker etc.

The only other blemish from our stay was to do with the beach. Don't get me wrong here, the beach wasn't that bad, and the fact that it is a private beach with no touts is worth the price of admission. However, you should know that the sand is quite coarse, and for those with sensitive ticklish feet like me, it can actually be a little painful at times. Of coarse (see what I did there? ;) you could treat this is an exfoliating beach! The main issue with the beach, however, was the little droplets of oil that were in the sand. When you stepped on them, the stains they left were annoying to get rid of. I'm not sure if this is what it's usually like with this beach. Perhaps it was an isolated incident that coincided with the time we stayed there. If this worries you then it's worth contacting the resort and asking them about it. Chaweng's beach is much better in quality, but the trade-off is the fact that it's public, extremely busy and the nightlife will ward off seekers of a quiet holiday. Once again, it comes down to your preference.

Koh Samui is fast becoming a commercial mecca of tourist money with no unique identity other than 'just another seaside touristy spot' with restaurant and cafe chains that you can get back home. (There's a coffee club in Chaweng now... The Australians reading this will understand). All you have to do is take the ten minute taxi ride down to the main strip of Chaweng to see what I mean. It is to their credit then, that The Tongsai Bay, is able to provide the total opposite kind of ambience only ten minutes away. The location is either a curse or a blessing. If you want isolation away from the commercial noise of a busy tourist district, then this is a good choice, especially considering that it's only a short drive away if you want to spend a night mixing it in with the tourist crowd. If you want to be right in the thick of the noise and the lights however, then look for a place in Chaweng.

Would I stay at The Tongsai Bay again? Absolutely. The negatives are no way near enough to make me think otherwise. These days, if you're looking for a piece of that quiet island getaway in Thailand away from the hordes of tourists, Phuket and now Koh Samui are becoming less viable choices. However, The Tongsai Bay bucks the trend by providing a wonderful sense of peaceful tranquility amongst a unique backdrop of the sounds of swaying forest trees and quiet ocean waves. "Koh Samui's most romantic hotel" indeed.

Room Tip: Beachfront suites are closer to the beach/pool/bar/restaurant. Cottage suites are more isolated and...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Superted84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2013

We stayed here in July 2010. I know its a few years later but, after doing a bit of travelling since and using tripadvisor more I had to come back to review this hotel. A great hotel and definatey a 5 star hotel, from the food at breakfast to the lunch and dinner it is top class. The rooms are really nice, plenty of space, clean and comfortable. big bathroom couch area with a TV, nice balcony, we had a tub on ours which was great. Probably the best hotel I have stayed in! Couldn't say enough about this place, and am only brushing on a few points!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Peterbmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

this resort was so amazingly romantic. I just wish hubby and I didn't get sick right before we took a plane from Bangkok to Samui. Boo.
Sickness aside, this place is just so special. Very intimate and our ocean view terrace provided spectacular views of the sea.
It was nice to have the private bay. It was very calm and great for swimming. I tried the yoga class---probably the hardest, least relaxing yoga ever but a great core workout. Walking around the resort is definitely a workout as there are a lot of steep stairs. I had a foot massage by the beach which was super relaxing. The breakfast buffet was beyond delicious and I loved the fresh fruit juice blends they made every morning. We did room service a lot (due to hubby being pretty sick during the vacation) and ate at one of the restaurants for dinner. This resort is very tranquil with great hospitality and was nice to feel like we were all by ourselves on paradise. The rooms were a little rustic compared to more modern hotels, but that was part of its charm.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bikediva77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We stayed for 4 night last week here.
This is our 2nd stay at the Tongsai bay, at the same type of room; seafront cottage suite.
We like the 2-step cottage, a bit separating sleeping & living room section - which leading to big seaview balcony.

Staff are incredibly nice & attentive, among them are Jee who would remember your choice of fresh squeeze fruit juice during the breakfast. Breakfast are still great; with many varieties with quality.

There are 2 pools; main big pool (it's very big pool indeed) & half-moon pool located in more quiet part. We spent most of our time relaxing around the seafront big saline pool.
The beach is private.

Others activities the hotel provides include non-motor water sports, tennis, table tennis.
You can sense both lively atmosphere & relaxing feeling at the same time.


The resort is very private & far from crowds.
For those who want to go out to town, it might be a good idea to rent a car (which you can get car rental contacts from several companies' counters at the airport upon your arrival or contact the hotel concierge), as taxi can be quite expensive. It is not difficult to drive around in Samui.

On our last day, the hotel gave us a surprise bon-voyard bread with our names on it during our breakfast. One of the small things we found here, that making us very impressive with the Tongsai Bay.

We really had a great relaxing time here, we highly recommend it.

Room Tip: Although all rooms are similarly nice, each cottage room is a bit different depending on hillside sl...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank SarinM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

We've just spent a week at Tongsai Bay (2 adults, 2 teenagers). We chose it - because it is away from the very tacky Chaweng beach area - and because of excellent reviews. The place is really dated and showing its age. I agree with many of the comments from those who rate the place as 'average'. The setting is lovely - but it is quite isolated - you can walk to the nearby Choeng Mon in about 20 mins but not recommended at night (pitch black) - otherwise you need to get taxis everywhere at c.£10 each way. A hotel shuttle bus would be better. It is very quiet - in fact in the evenings disappointingly dead - so lacks any atmosphere. The 'events' (eg bbq and thai evening) were averagely attended - BUT really expensive compared to outside the hotel. So most people seem to pay the taxi and go to nearby Bophut or Chaweng. The rooms we had were OK (beachfront villas) - comfortable but not luxurious - bed was hard, mould in shower and very poor lighting. Air con - is all or nothing and noisy and hair dryer was rubbish. Breakfast was good - but again not 5* and the dining room needs a refurb. Only tried beach restaurant - OK but can get bored with with menu. Small things - like snooker cues for pool table had no tips and table tennis table/bats/ball were really tatty. The pools are nice - especially half moon pool - but sun-loungers falling apart as they are so old and patio is full of cracks. We went to look at the spa - only had a thai massage onbeach - but spa no way is it 5*.
We had a lovely time - and if you want a lovely setting, seclusion, peace and quiet I would recommend it - but it is not luxurious.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Beverley T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Tongsai Bay

Address: 84 Moo 5, Bophut, Ko Samui 84320, Thailand (Formerly Tongsai Bay Cottages & Hotel)
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Samui > Bophut
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Bophut
#2 Romantic Hotel in Bophut
#4 Family Hotel in Bophut
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Bophut
#5 Luxury Hotel in Bophut
Price Range: $258 - $604 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Tongsai Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 83
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tongsai Bay is located on Ko Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand just a short travel distance by air from Bangkok and across the southern peninsula. The view of Tongsai Bay is hypnotic, as its set amidst a secluded ocean cove; an eco-friendly colony of cottages, low rise buildings and villas barely displacing the lush greenery on the hills of the island's northeast corner. 3 restaurants serve Thai, and international food and the hotel hosts regular live music for evening entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tongsai Bay Cottages And Hotel
Tongsai Bay Cottages Hotel Bophut
Tongsai Bay Hotel
Tongsai Bay Resort
The Tongsai Bay Ko Samui/Bophut

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