After staying at the Metropolitan the rooms at Zazen did not compare in any way, shape or form. The grounds of the hotel were absolutely amazing it must be said and I would recommend staying at Zazen but I must caveat it with a but...
We booked into a Garden Villa. Considering there are only c. 25 rooms at Zazen it felt like there were 100 guests when we arrived. We were in the worst positioned room in the hotel; everyone who needed to get anywhere walked past our room. We didn’t spend much time in our room but we were on honeymoon and sometimes you want to be a bit spontaneous, it’s hard to be spontaneous if you have to go around and close all the blinds to the multiple full length windows on 3 walls unless you want everyone to see!
The rooms were not well thought out; they were beautifully decorated but over decorated with nowhere to put your belongings without it looking messy. Some of the lamps/sockets in the room did not work and there was a crushed insect on the floor to the bathroom that was there the entire 10 days. The air conditioning was energy saving which meant it went off whenever you left your room so the room quickly heated up and when it was on it faced directly on to the bed, it wasn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep as you were either too hot or too cold. What also wasn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep was finding a 5cm long centipede crawling up my leg (under the covers) during our very first night! I mentioned it to reception the next day and they made a note of it and no more.
The outdoor bathroom is a lovely idea but the mosquito nets are not properly maintained with gaps at the sides which mean mosquitoes get in to the room very easily.
On our first afternoon we went to the beach and all of the sun loungers were reserved with towels so we had to sit on the sand despite less than half of the loungers actually being used, it also appeared you had to have a lounger to get any form of proactive service from the staff (even a menu). For the remainder of the holiday we stayed by the pool where it was super relaxing the majority of the time, it was spoilt a little on only a couple of occasions when some delightful French speaking children spent the afternoon ‘bombing’ and splashing all the guests relaxing nearby, the staff didn’t stop them and the parents presumably didn’t care as they were on the beach not getting splashed.
The food was absolutely truly fantastic, the best food we had in Thailand by far. We are not normally the kind of people to eat in hotels, preferring to try local places but due to unforeseen circumstances we had to spend a lot of time at the hotel. The service in the restaurant was however hit and miss, it never once reached the standards of the Metropolitan in Bangkok where they broke your napkins for you even for breakfast (the Zazen had paper napkins with breakfast... sometimes... if they remembered... not necessarily a bad thing but noticeably different to the Metropolitan). We had lunch in the restaurant once and never again (we ate the food but not in the restaurant itself, by the pool instead) after we ordered and then 10 minutes later they came to take our order again and it took a full 40 minutes for our food to arrive from when we initially sat down for lunch, there were only 4 other people in the whole restaurant!
Absolutely fantastic but... I enjoyed my first massage so much I had a massage every day for 4 days until it was irrevocably spoilt. This is ultimately the incident at Zazen that left a bad taste in my mouth. The masseur was fantastic but on my 4th massage there was no music, there was building works happening at reception so after some time I asked them to put the music on to hide the noise, they put the music on but the sound system was broken, it kept skipping and getting louder and quieter. In addition for some reason on that occasion there was also a terrible smell. It was the most unrelaxing massage I have ever had. When I went to sign the bill at the end I told the receptionist for the spa I was not happy about paying for the massage at all after it had been so disrupted and so unrelaxing and so smelly, she asked me to fill out a comments form which I did but I still had to sign the bill, she told me the swamp next to the hotel sometimes gets smelly. No one contacted me afterwards. I did not return to the spa on principle despite having had a massage every day until then, I went to a place further down the beach instead. On check out I again complained about having to pay for the massage and again I was asked to fill a comments form but it was quite clear I wasn’t going to be let off from paying for it. I filled out a second form expecting to be contacted when I left but no one has ever contacted me and I had to pay for the massage. I would not recommend having a massage at Zazen despite having 3 of the most fantastic massages I have ever had, it’s not worth the risk of a bad experience for the price you pay.
This review sounds like we had a terrible time at Zazen, we didn’t, we had a fantastic time but it is not comparable to the Metropolitan which set unreasonably high standards and there were too many little things that were not ideal. The staff were so incredibly friendly, they really were, and the masseuse was truly fantastic, there were little touches such as fruit and iced towels by the pool that made it so special but there were so many little niggly things that let it down. In particular I find it most disappointing that the manager at Zazen is so keen to respond to negative feedback on trip advisor (I have noticed this on other reviews) but does not respond to comments cards left directly at the hotel when something can actually be done about it before it is too late, words are not as important as actions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Zazen is a stylish true Boutique Resort located on the beautiful Bophut Beach. Perfect for a relaxing holiday and a romantic honeymoon. Zazen offers 26 stylish villas, and 2 of the most popular restaurants on the island with traditional Thai cuisine and fine French / Mediterranean dining. Le Spa Zen will help you find the deepest levels of relaxation. Welcome to Zazen! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Zazen Boutique Hotel Bophut
- Zazen Boutique Resort And Spa
- Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa Ko Samui/Bophut