My wife and I have just returned from 16 nights at the Tongsai in Koh Samui booked via Travelbag except the EVA flights which we did directly. EVA run 777s from LHR to Bangkok and we could get premium economy window seats for £750 each. Its not Singapore Air but at that price who cares. Bangkok airways flys to Koh Samui and their service was good and they have a complimentary lounge in Bangkok airport. Koh Samui airport runs efficiently and the hotel is only 10 minutes from there. Travelbag arranged the transfers which were good and their rep was very efficent.
Tongsai Bay is a true oasis in an island which is a bit spoilt by over development. If you drive round Koh Samui you are struck by how difficult it is to get to the beach such is the way the good beaches have been filled up with hotels. Of course all these hotels do not really have their own beach they just try to block it off and what we saw of Chaweng and Lamai did not encourage one to get in the water there. It is also the case that some of the best and big resorts fail to mention that , depending on your allocated room you may have to cross a main road in order to get to the beach.
Tongsai is a medium size hotel which was our preference and it also happens to be privately owned and that seems to be one reason why it retains its unique character.
The other secret is its location, which is well off the road and surrounding a bay with its own beach. This is really a completely private place with rocky cliffs surrounding the beach which keep anyone else out. If you look at the hotel from the sea you might actually miss it as most of the accommodation is discretely built into the hillside above the cliffs and the mature gardens and low density build contribute to that. Despite its medium size it has a good spa , a sheltered cement tennis court, good gym , two great fresh pools one of which is 50m long, internet cafe etc etc. The beach is sandy but a bit coarse and there is nothing to snorkel for in the sea. The sea breeze is what allows one to sunbathe comfortably in temps of 34 deg by day but at this time of year it can be windy enough to make the sea a bit rough. We had 5 rough days in 16. Sea is beautiful to swim in and hotel has complementary canoes,hobie cats so one can get into the bay or over to the island near to Chaeng Mon beach. This is the nearest public beach and village which can be walked to in about 20 minutes. There are on offer sea tours to Ko Phangan , Marine Park of Kao Tao. They seem a little expensive but the only that seemed worthwhile was snorkelling in Kao Tao. We hired a car for a day and went round the island. There is not a lot to see apart from coconut palms , Big Buddha but driving was not a problem.
The hotel does not offer half board but we did B&B and ate in the hotel every night. You can eat for nothing if you go out in Thailand and there is a good chance you won't get sick but the hotel food was really nice , not expensive and was cooked in open kitchens so why take the risk.
The hotel has an understated type of Thai design with lots of hard wood and attention to detail rather than making the place look like a Buddhist temple. The hotel were kind enough to upgrade us to a sea front cottage which was semi detached overlooking the sea. In 2 weeks we never heard anything except the sea. The rooms look kind of hidden and functional from the outside but are really beautiful inside. They are split level with bath etc by the door then four post double bed with full mosquito net ,then steps to living area with table and tv . Outside there is a private sundeck overlooking the sea and a covered deck with an outdoor bath.
Ok you say, I can see why you liked the hotel . But this is Thailand and the real treat is always how the hotel is run, and the quality and attitude of the staff which seems to be a national characteristic. Staff will always greet you whenever you arrive at any location.
The hotel has a golf buggy service which takes you anywhere in the resort within 5 mins. Tennis players get cold towels and cold water. Complementary snacks in the rooms and two buckets of ice per day. Messages and decorations made of flowers on your bed. You are greeted like a celebrity by the fresh fruit ladies every morning at breakfast. Arrive at the beach and in 2 minutes your sunlounger has fresh towels and you get a cold drink. I could go on and on and mention a lot of names but that would probably be unfair on the staff who did not need to interface with us.
The hotel recently appointed new management and they arranged for us to have a one off tour of the hotels green project including its off site veg and herb garden and recycling project. My wife is interested in horticulture and it is typical of the hotels attitude that they arranged a one off tour for us.
This hotel is suitable for couples only of all ages provided that they appreciate moderate behaviour and respect the peace and quiet of others. During our stay there were visitors from UK ,Japan,Korea,France ,Germany Denmark and others. They all seemed to have found this hotel for the right reasons and as such I never found a moment when I was uncomfortable about anything except having to come home.
It was also my birthday just before we arrived but the hotel insisted on giving me a cake and sparkling wine anyway( remember wine costs a fortune in Thailand .) We also visited the spa twice for massages. The spa was cleverly designed with stepping stones and a garden, the staff were well trained and very professional as well as being very nice to us. This was clearly a well managed operation whose services could become addictive.
In summary Tongsai is a lovely hotel is a perfect private setting with a mature feel to it.
The staff are attentive and well trained with that special Thai approach to service.
Like all those other reviewers we were not disappointed and I guess you will not be either
- 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