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Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa
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Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed 9 nights at Zazen as part of our honeymoon, after 4 nights in Bangkok at The Metropolitan Hotel.

I was expecting Zazen to be more luxurious than the Met but it wasn't, so I guess this added to my feelings of being a little bit let down, but I am being picky - though entitled to be so as a stay at this kind of hotel does not come cheap. I have also stayed at a similar standard of hotel in French Polynesia and that was a little better in some respects, too, especially in the layout and size of the room.

Things we loved:
=The design of the resort is amazing, really stunning. It's a pleasure to walk through it and the grounds staff maintain it regularly and impeccably. All the different lighting at night is beautiful, too.
=The reception staff were lovely - really friendly, helpful and welcoming. And they waved us off when we left - very sweet.
=The spa was fab - we both got a massage as part of our stay and it was good.
The pool is nice, though not huge, but adequate. As is the beach area.
=There's a kayak and bikes with helmets available to guests for free if wanted, which is great.
=Included in the room are beach towels (renewed daily) and a beach bag, which was a nice touch.
=The shower in the open air bathrooms is great - very powerful and has a lift off attachment as well as the rain forest effect shower. Lovely.
=We were worried the food would be very expensive, but it's fairly reasonably priced unless you have the Western menu.
=The beach staff were really good and welcoming, and very helpful.
=Afternoon tea is a must - it's amazing.
=We lost our waterproof camera in the sea (which is not clear, you can't see underwater at this part of the beach). The beach staff got in fully clothed and searched, and enlisted a vendor to help us, who eventually found it after we'd all searched a long time.
=It's a good location. You can easily get to other parts of the island from there.

Room for improvement:
=Our biggest niggle was the wifi - it didn't work very well. You could get on about once a day if lucky and if time it right (either very early morning or late night) and felt mis-sold since they say wifi is provided. Even access directly through the computer provided in the guest internet lounge was the same, so it's a generic problem, and other guests said the same.
=The room was a lot smaller than I expected - there wasn't much floor space and not much good space to put things as a guest. Every surface seemed to be taken up by Zazen bits and bobs when we arrived, so had to declutter but still ended up draping clothes over the TV and so on as it just wasn't ergonomically designed with guests in mind, I feel.
=There was nowhere in the room to put on makeup easily. The bathroom lights aren't bright enough. So I stored it by my bed and used the full-length mirror there, but again the light wasn't great.
=We didn't expect the room to be semi-detached, but many of them are. Our neighbours turned out to be noisy-ish - not excessive but it was intrusive on us, and meant we had to wait for them to finish their night-time get-together each night on their patio before we could sleep, because of the noise. It was also not pleasant hearing your neighbour's ablutions from the adjoining open-air bathroom (e.g. hacking up phlegm etc.).
=The mattress wasn't the most comfortable. Felt old and well-used, lumpy, with a ridge down the middle.
=The air con isn't great - not powerful enough but useful for blocking out some of the noisy neighbours at night!
=Blinds - these were a bit of a hassle as each window (on two sides of the room) has a blind so in order to have some privacy you have to roll down about six blinds.
=The hair towels are too small, not possible to use them as a turban.
=In contrast to our experience of Thai people everywhere else, I felt the restaurant staff weren't as warm and friendly - quite cold and distant. They didn't show any recognition of us during our stay really, unlike the other staff and those at the Met hotel, which is much, much bigger and where we only stayed a few nights. My theory is that because it's pegged as a fancy-dan restaurant, they've told the staff to be restrained and posh, but this only comes across as cold rather than the service you'd expect in say, a Michelin-starred restaurant.
=The bar staff were always nice, but service is incredibly SLOW. You would normally wait about 10 mins for a drink, but I did once wait 20 minutes. I fully believe this is because they're severely understaffed and serving the restaurant too, and seem to have no dishwasher (glasses stacked high in the sink and surfaces within the bar), so I didn't ever complain while we were there as I didn't feel the staff were at fault, but the system.
=You can book excursions through reception, at similar prices to elsewhere. We were unfortunately not aware of this till our penultimate day, and wished we'd known so we could have booked probably better excursions than we had done (barring the one cultural/historical tour we booked through the hotel, after some guests raved about it - it's great).

Niggles we can live with, but be aware if it's not your kind of thing:
=Lizard poo - because of the open air bathroom and being in the forest part of the hotel, lizards get everywhere and they do poo in your bathroom so you find little black presents everywhere. Take a toothbrush cap!
=Mosquitos - there are lots because of the location, but the venue does a lot to counter them and provides various repellents for the room including plug-ins and sprays.
=There were a lot of kids/families there, which we didn't expect at all. We do have kids ourself, but this was our honeymoon so we expected it to be a couples resort predominantly, whereas it was predominantly a family resort during our stay.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay but I felt it could have been better.

Room Tip: The garden rooms looked like the best ones to us. We were in a forest room, and near the beach rooms. The garden rooms seem more private and bigger. The beach rooms are not at all private and the forest rooms are all semi-detached.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Zodo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adrien G, Resident Manager at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 17, 2012

Dear Zodo,

Greetings from Koh Samui

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation for choosing Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa for spending your holiday.

We also greatly appreciate your time invested to share your concern with us as such constructive feedback enables us to monitor and improve our quality service standards.

Further to your comments regarding room for improvement, we have taken these information into consideration and have worked on solutions to solve this issues which indeed may affect one’s experience.

Although we have recently experienced issues with our WIFI system, note that we have the fastest connection available on the market and that unfortunately problems came from our Internet provider. The problems have now been fixed and we are confident that our guests can fully enjoy fast WIFI internet.

Our room amenities and display are indeed a little overcrowded and this has recently been mentioned by a couple of our guests. Please, note that we will modify the room display in the coming month in order to unclutter the areas in the room. We thank you for your comment regarding the semi-detached room. We actually are planning to build complete partition between the rooms to avoid the mentioned problems.

Regarding our mattresses, we already have ran a full check up of our mattresses and took appropriate measure to replace damaged mattresses. We took as well similar actions with our Air-conditioning system and we will replace before the end of the year the several units which are noisy and not powerful enough.

We are very sorry that you found our restaurant staff not to be as friendly as in the rest of the Resort. We have taken corrective actions and re-enforced our training, hoping they will have a better attitude. Nevertheless, your theory is hopefully sarcastic as we obviously never told our staff to be restrained and posh, which by the way is not being done in any Michelin star restaurant either. We are extremely sorry that you felt that way and once more we trust that this issue will be fixed in a timely manner.

Further to your comment regarding excursions, we have ipads available at the reception with description of different excursions offered on the island. Additionally, those are being detailed in the room directory as well. However our reception staff should have put more emphasis on those points when introducing the Resort to you. Again, corrective actions have already been taken and we now ensure that excursions are introduced to every guest checking in the Resort. We are glad that you enjoyed the Historical and Cultural tour which is exclusively offered at Zazen.

It is true that in Europe Summer Holiday, we tend to have a few more kids in the resort and we apologize about this issue. Although we are considering making Zazen an adult only Resort, we are happy to welcome families which most of them have been coming for years. Zazen being a family style ran Resort, it is always a pleasure to see children growing up every years. However, most of the year, Zazen is not patronized by families.

Once again our appreciation for your constructive comments and we look forward to the privilege of welcoming you back to Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa to allow us to showcase the initiated improvements.

Yours sincerely

The Zazen Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2012

Words fail me as I try to describe how calm, tranquil and relaxing this hotel is. Set on the edge of a beach within beautiful gardens surrounded by ponds teeming with fish with the sound of calming music quietly playing in the background - i defy anyone not to chill at this place.
The setting, the attention to detail, the friendliness, the food, the accommodation is all excellent.
I could not single out one individual member of staff for their services as the service we received by all the staff was far superior to what we have experienced in similar 5* hotels.

The food was a marval, cooked to the level of spice you preferred and tasted superb, we also ate out several times and not once did it come close to the food at the Zazen.
Although this is not an adult only hotel the whole set up, its ambience, fantastic spa, candlelight dinners, etc are all conducive of a more discerning clientele.

There were also two weddings at the hotel whilst we were there and they looked perfect, one on the beach the other was held in the gardens - this is without a doubt the most beautiful place to get married.

Room Tip: Garden Villa's are bigger but are nearer the road, which you can hear when in the bathroom but otherwise these are more private. Garden bungalow's are smaller and set in the garden, slightly back from the beach. Beach Villa's are directly on the beach and look fantastic, we changed our original booking from a beach villa (after reading reviews about lack of privacy) to a garden delux villa - i could not see a problem with privacy for the beach villa but the gardens were lovely so personally I was glad I changed.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank harrycatSouthWest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adrien G, Resident Manager at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 17, 2012

Dear harrycatSouthWest,

Greetings from Koh Samui!

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation for choosing Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa to spend your holiday.

We also thank you for your time invested to share your positive feedback which has been shared with the team.

We look forward to the privilege of welcoming you back to Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa.

Yours sincerely

The Zazen Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

I'm not going to post any photos as they really do not do this place justice. Photos cannot catch the atmosphere here and thats what makes this place so special. There is an air of calm and peace. The staff are fabulous - always attentive but never intrusive and of course they always wear that fabulous Thai smile. The recpetion staff were always so helpful with advice on cabs, tours etc. I would really recommend booking trips through the hotel as there are some triips that just are unique to Zazen clients. We spent a lovely day on a cultural tour of the island and an afternoon touring the 5 islands by longtail boat followed by a sunset dinner at the Five Islands Restaurant - an excellent meal giving Zazen's own restaurant a real run for its money!

We had originally wanted a garden room as had been concerned about comments regarding lack of privacy in beachfront villas. But the garden villas were full. All I can say is that I am delighted they were - our beachfront villa was stunning (number 2). Yes you are just a step or two from the beach but we werent disturbed at all in the mornings or evenings by people on the beach or boats. And if you want privacy during the day, just shut your curtains!

The open bathrooms are a lovely idea. We didnt have any issues with mosquitoes. But what is a shame is that it is just so hot in there as obviously there is no aircon in the bathroom. It by no means dampened our holiday at all though. The aircon was a bit noiisy but again, it didnt stop us sleeping so wasnt a problem. The design of the room is aesthetically beautiful, but getting up from a mattress on the floor of a platform and then down the 3 steps to the bathroom was a little hairraising after a drink or two. But again, this does not stop me from giving this place and excellent rating.

Breakfast is lovely. Juice, coffee, tea is served at the table. Plenty of choice on the cold buffet. Sparkling wine if you want a bucks fizz to start the day. And then a good choice of cooked items to order from a menu (waffles, pancakes, crepes, bacon, sausages, eggs (anyway), eggs benedict and a selection of Thai dishes too).

Nice touches round the pool during the day such as cold towels and fruit skewers.

Yes the pool is quite small, but it was never that busy and was perfect for cooling off. Only spent one day on the beach. The beach is nice and the sea was incredibly warm but just not clear. Plenty of people were happy to swim in it though and this end of the beach is definitely the best section.

We did walk to and from Fishermans Village one night (stopping en route for cocktails at various beachside establishments!). Without stops its probably about a 25 minute leisurely walk but a taxi is just 200 baht each way.

We often ate lunch from the restaurant round the pool always good. We only ate dinner in the restaurant once and had the Thai set meal. It was a very good meal but pretty expensive (around £140 for 2 including a bottle of wine).

We had a couples 60 minute complimentary aromatherapy massage in the Spa that was simply divine. A really lovely experience from the second we stepped foot in the spa.

My only plea to Zazen is please, please, please make this an adults only resort. Even though there is a list of pool rules about no jumping, running, inflatables, balls etc they are not enforced. To be honest, having staff whingeing at children would just be totally out of keeping with the atmosphere they are trying to create here. The calm music, the serene staff and shouting children just do not compliment one another.

Room Tip: Beachfront villa was totally lovely and, in my opinion, did not lack privacy
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank KerryLouLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adrien G, Resident Manager at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 17, 2012

Dear KerryLoulou

Greetings from Koh Samui!

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation for choosing Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa for spending your holiday.

We also greatly appreciate your time invested to share your concern with us as such constructive feedback, which has been shared with the team.

Further to your advice to make Zazen an adult’s only resort, we fully understand your concerns, especially during Europe summer holiday we tend to have a few kids in the Resort. However, although we are considering this alternative, we do not want to restrict the access to our repeat customers who have been coming to Zazen with their family since many years.

Once again our appreciation for your constructive comments and we look forward to the privilege of welcoming you back to Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa.

Yours sincerely

The Zazen Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012 via mobile

We stayed at Zazen for three nights and really enjoyed our time there. Our room was very nice. We had a garden villa which was spacious and clean. The very nice bathroom is enclosed and private, but was open air. Although we enjoyed that feature, others might not.

We had some very minor complaints, we ran out of toilet paper and some fruit peels were hard to get removed from our room, but these things did not detract from our stay. We were very appreciative of the small things, like the bottle of sparkling wine in our room for our honeymoon. We were also given complimentary aroma therapy massages that were great.

The complimentary breakfast was fantastic. Although dishes were not always prepared in a way that we were accustomed (ie different style pancakes), there were many cold and made to order hot foods that we enjoyed.

Zazen is removed from Fishermans Village a little. We like to walk and did not mind heading down the beach, although we did find that in the loose sand it took 20-25 minutes.

Although we found Samui expensive compared to other places in Thailand, Zazen is an excellent resort at a lower price than many others around it.

  • Stayed: August 2012
    • Value
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1  Thank Rachmishon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded September 13, 2012

Dear Rachmishon


Greetings from Koh Samui

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation for choosing Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa for spending your holiday.

We also greatly appreciate your time invested to share your concern with us as such constructive feedback enables us to monitor and improve our quality service standards.

Further to your comment regarding the toilet paper and the fruits peels, we have re-enforced our Housekeeping standards in order to improve our service. Please accept our apology for the inconvenience this substandard service may have caused you.

We have as well informed the Chef regarding consistency of breakfast items and corrective measures have been taken to prevent any such incidents from reoccurring in the future.

Once again our appreciation for your constructive comments and we look forward to the privilege of welcoming you back to Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa to allow us to showcase the initiated improvements.

Yours sincerely

The Zazen Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

We've stayed here twice now and would definitely go back for a third trip. Zazen is on the nicest, and quietest part of Koh Samui, and is about 25 minutes walk along the beach to Fisherman'a Village. I wouldn't stay anywhere else.

The rooms are gorgeous - we've stayed in both the Beachfront Deluxe, and the Garden Villas. The beachfront ones are lovely, but to be honest, I actually preferred the garden villas as they have a lot more privacy, and although its nice to have the sea view, you do also get people sun bathing and walking past very close so you never feel totally alone. The garden ones are brilliant though; really secluded and still only a few steps from the beach, so I don't think you're missing out too much by not being beach front.

The thing that makes Zazen so great (apart from the obvious fact that its in Thailand and has great weather and views etc!) are the staff. Even bearing in mind that generally in Thailand everyone is really friendly), Zazen stands out as being exceptional. The fact that its family-run makes it a lot nicer than some of the bigger, soul-less hotel chains.

Also, the first time we went I arrived a few days before my boyfriend, and I never once felt uncomfortable being there on my own, the staff were friendly and attentive, without being overbearing and still give you space to relax.

The hotel has a nice bar area for drinks (you can also nip across to W Hotel if you want something really flash to eat/drink for a special occassion).

Zazen also a good restaurant, which is quite expensive, but I guess nice to eat at once or twice. I don't think the food there is as good as Orgasmic in Bophut though. The breakfast however is brilliant - the bread is all freshly made on site, and its an a la carte choice as well as having buffet style salad and fruit choices etc.

The pool is really nice and never feels crowded either - another bonus! We also hired a car through their reception concierge with no problems. The spa is excellent too - we had some amazing massages; I even managed to persuade my boyfriend to have one and he's now converted due to their skills!

All in all, a brilliant all-round boutique resort that we'd happily return to.

Room Tip: Garden Villas are more private than beach front ones and (I think) ever so slightly larger
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank vidabt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adrien G, Resident Manager at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2012

Dear vidapt,

Greetings from Koh Samui!

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation for choosing Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa to spend your holiday.

We also thank you for your time invested to share your positive feedback which has been shared with the team.

We look forward to the privilege of welcoming you back to Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa !

Yours sincerely

The Zazen Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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