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“Surprisingly good”
Review of The Waterfront

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The Waterfront
Ranked #18 of 186 Hotels in Bophut
Certificate of Excellence
Surrey
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good”
Reviewed September 20, 2007

Of the 5 places we booked to stay in our recent South East Asia trip, the Waterfront Bophut was the resort we had the least expectations for. We got married on Koh Samui and spent 5 wonderful days at Rockys Resort before going off to Koh Tao. We then came back to Samui for 4 days before flying off to SIngapore. We wanted somewhere clean and easy in close proximity to the airport so we chose The Waterfront and were very pleased with our choice.

Robin, Sue and their son were fabulous. Sue greeted us on our arrival and we had a drink and a chat with her before being shown to our wonderfully clean room (the Denise Van Outen suite!!). If you ever need a Thai translator then Robin and Sue's son (I forget his name) is fluent in Thai and one of the best on the island. We had a great chat with him about Thai culture on the way to the airport.

Robin and Sue are well-travelled and know exactly what westerners want and expect from a resort. The rooms are very clean, tidy and spacious, including the bathroom. They reminded me of a typical spanish apartment - tiled floors, pine furniture, patio doors. Having stayed in much more traditionally thai-styled places on our trip so far this was the refreshing, cleansing experience we really needed!

If you want to experience the Thai islands and culture but still come back each evening to a safe, clean, western-style apartment then The Waterfront Bophut is definitely for you.

The fishermans village of Bophut itself has a lot of character and there are some great places to eat and drink. If I am completely honest, it lacks a little of the Thai culture as there are a lot of european-owned bars and restaurants that have been cleaned up a little to attract the western tourist but this is a great place to explore the island. We even did a day trip to Koh Phangan from Big Buddha pier which is also in very close proximity.

I do not understand any of the previous negative comments about this place. For me, you cannot fault it and the owners really bend over backwards to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. When Sue found out that we were on our honeymoon she decorated the room beautifully with flowers and a special message on our bed. It's those touches and thoughtfulness of the owners that make this place what it is today.

Enjoy!

  • Liked — The owners and staff - fabulous.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Dsleazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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USA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 19, 2007

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the attentive and courteous service at the Waterfront during our stay. We thought the overall experience was very good value for money - ambience was very relaxed, casual; room was simple and clean; breakfast was tasty; and service was always warm and welcoming.

We were promptly picked up from the airport by the owners' son, who took us on a quick get-acquainted tour around Bophut, pointing out the good restaurants. Upon arrival at the Waterfront, we were offered cold refreshing drinks - a nice touch! One especially kind gesture was that the cook prepared breakfast sandwiches for us to take prior to an early morning snorkeling trip. Sue was also very kind enough to mail my forgotten wash kit, after we realized I had left it hanging on the bathroom door! :)

All in all, a fantastic stay.

  • Liked — Service
  • Disliked — Dining area space during breakfast hours
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank frommersfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2007

My wife and I stayed for 10 days at the Waterfront at the end of August and beginning of September. We'd seen the great reviews on this site and so were expecting a run well hotel in a good location.
The Waterfront exceeded our expectations.
We were met by Robin, one of the English couple who owns it, at the airport, and he immediately showed us round the area, before giving us a drink and getting to know us a little better. It immediately felt more like visiting a friend, than arriving at a hotel.
We stayed in one of the bungalows - the cheapest accommodation they have - and we found it fine. It wasn't a large room, but it was big enough. The bed was comfortable, the air con worked, and the shower was hot.
From the door of our hotel we had a beautiful view of the beach, and across the sea to Ko Phangan.
The swimming pool was small but that didn't bother us. It was alwaysa a relief to cool off in it after sitting in one of their very comfortable poolside chairs, baking in the 30 degree sunshine!
The food was fine - Thai dishes better than Western, as one might reasonably expect - and the bar was well priced and well attended. We enjoyed meeting many people there, and Robin and Sue were frequently there, remembering everyone's names and introducing guests to each other. It was so different to the impersonal hotels we're used to.
Before our trip, friends had advised us against visiting Samui, saying it's over-developed - more Magaluf than Shangri-La. This is true. We had one night out in Chaweng and a drive round the island, and that was more than enough. However ,Bophut village is lovely. Many good restaurants and friendly bars. The steaks in The Shack are outstanding.
If you want 5 star facilities then this might not be the place for you, but if you want to enjoy a relaxing, fun holiday in a beautiful setting, and all for less than 40 quid a night, then I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough.
I've seen that the place has received quite a few negative reviews here in recent months. I've been trying to work out why someone who had actually visited the hotel would be so negative about it, and the only possible reason I can think of is that they in fact enjoyed the place so much that they want to keep it to themselves and so are trying to put everyone off! Having ourselves not been able to book a return visit for Christmas because it's already full, I can see where they're coming from!

  • Liked — View from the room
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank alexblyth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2007

We stayed at the Waterfront in late July 2007. We had booked it because their TripAdvisor ratings were so high. We were simply astounded by the difference between the reviews and the reality when we stayed there.

We had arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport. The management had incorrectly noted the time of our flight, and it took several calls and a 45 minute wait for the driver to pick us up. When he did, he picked us up in a truck, and placed our luggage in the back of the truck where it was exposed. Luckily it was only lightly spitting rain.

When we got to the hotel, we explained that one of us was experiencing problems with a debit card and we needed to make an international collect call to the bank (the number was on the card, but we were unable to figure out how to get hold of an operator). At first, the staff said hotel guests were not allowed to make international calls, even collect ones. When we persisted, they said they would get back to us with the information because they did not know. We asked repeatedly during our stay, but they continued to tell us they did not know. When we spoke with the management/owner, he did not tell us either but simply asked us whether we had enough cash to pay for our stay. That's all he appeared interested in.

Next, the pool at the hotel is so incredibly small that once there were 2 or 3 children swimming or playing in the pool, it was impossible to swim. We were shocked at the size of it. The deck of the pool was equally small; chairs were set so closely to the rim of the pool that it was difficult to read given the noise of the children (and they were all well-behaved, but kids will be kids) or the splashing in the pool. Normally we would not be the type to hang around a pool but in this case, the beach near the hotel is completely unsuitable for swimming due to rocks and low tide.

As one other reviewer has noted, the rooms face the pool so if you are inside your room you will need to draw the drapes for any kind of privacy. As the rooms are very small, it feels quite dark and closed in when you do so. However, the air conditioning is quiet and effective, and the rooms are cool and very clean. One small problem was the overuse of bug spray by the maids (they twice left the can in the room) which has a very strong perfume/chemical odour; however, it dissipated in a few hours.

Aside from one staff member, in general the staff were disinterested at best or surly at worse. Food orders were often mixed up, and dishes uncollected at the end of meals so that ants were all over plates and tables. At check-out, there was an error in our bill (they had charged us for items from the bar fridge we did not take) but when we asked them to explain (as it was all written in Thai), the staff member snatched the bill, started arguing with us and raised her voice, and never apologized. It was frustrating since at that point we had only queried the charge, and weren't even upset by it. Then she told us that the Waterfront applies an automatic 10% to the entire cost of the stay as a tip for the staff. She is lucky that it is an automatic charge because we never would given one to her, but instead would have given a tip to the one friendly staff member as well as to the kitchen staff who consistently provided plain but tasty and well-cooked food.

A final problem was that when we went to use the massage tent, the young adult son of the manager was getting his toe nails clipped by the staff. For some reason, that just kind of put us off the whole deal.

In short: don't stay there. We wish we hadn't.

  • Liked — The breakfast buffet was plentiful
  • Disliked — The hotel in general
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank JetLagToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WordsKohSamui, Sue, Co-Owner at The Waterfront, responded to this review, September 5, 2007
First of all, I am amazed that no staff names, Robin and myself included, were mentioned.
Did they walk in at night and leave first thing in the morning, if indeed they came, because it all sounds very impersonal - but familiar somehow, oh yes, another one from Toronto.

If any guest has ever had card problems, we help all we can - I always give them the opportunity to use Skype on my computer and it doesn't cost them a penny. Robin has no recollection of anyone asking him about a card problem and he is the only male 'management/owner' on site. Why shouldn't he help?

Hardly ever do we make a mistake with pick-ups, spending lots of time on the phone checking flight times and then waiting at the airport, so I am sorry if this guest was kept waiting. In addition, this service is free of charge, (most other hotels charge anything from 500 - 1,500 Baht), and, until recently, an open-backed 4WD was used as more luggage could be fitted in. Although we do actually have a smarter vehicle now, the other one is still in very good condition and is still in use - after all, this is a tropical island with lots of off-road driving!

I will not accept 'dark rooms' - our rooms are not dark. All you have to do is pull down the voiles and you have instant privacy and lots of sunlight. Only one room is slightly dark but, even then, a parent blacked out that room recently so that no light could come in while their baby was sleeping during the day!

Our pool is not large. However, it is not small, though we may extend it if we can find a reliable source. Our chairs do not touch the rim of the pool. Each very comfortable chair has a very comfortable footstool and even these do not touch the rim of the pool. Also, there is nothing wrong with our beach and the view is tremendous. You cannot swim in the shallow waters this time of the year, but you can a short walk along the beach - this does mean that our beach is almost private, however, which all adds to the peace and tranquility of the hotel.

There is a can of mosquito spray in every room. If our maids left the cans in the room twice, then this person only stayed two nights it would seem. The smell is not of mosquito spray, it is of cleaning materials and fresh air spray. Our girls do not use the mosquito spray, it is for the use of the guests, although luckily we do not have many mosquitos here.

We do not have a massage tent, or even curtains where the massages take place. We have an open sala so that guests can enjoy the view, if they wish, whilst having a massage, manicure or pedicure. Our young son is as entitled as anyone else to a pedicure and this comment just says it all really.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oxford
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2007

I stayed at the Waterfront for 2 nights in August 07. The resort is ideally located within the fisherman's village of Bophut, which offers some really chilled out bars and restraunts as well as stunning views of Ko Phagnan.

The staff made us feel really welcome and nothing was too much trouble.

I would certainly recommend the Waterfront and Bophut itself rather than the noisy Chaweng.

Thankyou Sue for a fab stay

  • Liked — The friendly service, stunning views, fab location and playing fetch the coconut with leo the dog
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank kittenheels27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2007

We have just returned from a month in Asia staying in top rated hotels. We spent our last 3 days at the Waterfront. The staff were great and very nice to us. Our room was spotless with a comfortable bed & quiet AC. The food at the hotel was very good and served nicely, tables had lots of flowers. Patio & pool area is nice with good views of the sea.

Bo Phut village is piecefull compaired to the other main tourist areas of the Island with plenty of good places for dinner. The hotel does not serve dinner after 6:00.

We picked the Waterfront because we wanted to see how this hotel had gotten so high a rating. Well, it earned it.

The owners, Robin & Sue, go out of their way to see that you are happy and if something needs fixing its done at once. We had no problems at all for our stay. The two of them drove to the other side of the Island 30 minutes away to personally pick us up at the hotel we were staying. They gave us a tour of their village and suggested places to eat. Both dinners were outstanding!

Our flight was at 5:15 and they let us stay in our room until 4:00 with no extra charge. Robin then drove us to the airport. What great people & service from a hotel that only cost $85 per night.

I can not believe that anyone that has stayed at this hotel would give it a 1 rating.

This is not a 5 star property but what they do with what they have is very special. The people are great and you get major bang for you buck. Keep up the good work !!!

  • Liked — clean,friendly, quiet location,value
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank travelerhock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2007

Like many others we booked into the Waterfront due to the good reviews on Trip Advisor. I found it came up to my expectations in many areas such as, good value, clean rooms with king size beds and good decor. Sue tried very hard to ensure you had everything you needed and always remembered everyones first name. The breakfast was good (other food just average) and some of the staff were very friendly and helpful especially Bhan Jhan?, the cleaning ladies and the Masseuse lady was lovely . However I did find one or two staff either too pushy trying to sell trips or very surly, one girl at the bar in particular. Also as other reviewers have commented, their behavior when Sue and Robin were away (which was quite frequent) could have been better. The pool is too small and the beach not good but to be fair we did know about this before we booked and it wasn't a problem. Although the hotel was apparently full the bar was always empty in the evening (which I know is a contradiction to most reviews)and seemed to lack in any sort of atmosphere whatsoever - no music, probably as the rooms are very close by. All in all it was a nice clean hotel but it certainly didn't live up to some of the fantastic reviews I have read , I wasn't expecting a 5* hotel but I suppose some of the past reviews made me think it was somewhere really special and I'm afraid it wasn't.

  • Liked — good value/clean/helpful English owners
  • Disliked — bar lacking in atmosphere in evening and some surly staff
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank lpip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WordsKohSamui, Sue, Co-Owner at The Waterfront, responded to this review, September 4, 2007
First of all, thank you for your kind comments. However, I should just like to reply to four other points made in this review:

1. We receive many compliments about our food. I am so sorry that this guest did not enjoy our varied menu. I believe, and so do many other people, that our food is better in both taste and price than many hotels and restaurants

2. Our staff only sell trips when approached.
In fact, they, and we, supply information - we do not actively sell. I assure you that we really don't mind whatsoever if guests do not buy trips in the hotel.

3. This comment about us being away frequently is just amazing. We are here for hours and hours every day. If we are not walking around the property, perhaps we are in the office answering enquiries. Although we do chat to and help our guests, we do not like to continually interrupt their privacy. Also, we do have to sleep and it would be really nice to have a day off actually and enjoy all the wonderful activities available on the island!

4. Recently, many families have been staying. Consequently, the bar has not been as busy during the evening. No, we do not have music at our bar. Our guests like to hear the sea, the birds and the breeze gently swaying the fronds of the palm trees, not the boom, boom, boom of the base drum - you can get that anywhere. If I were at the bar with my loved one, in such beautiful surroundings, and there was nobody else there, I should make my own atmosphere, wouldn't you?

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Waterfront

Property: The Waterfront
Address: 71/2 Moo1, Bophut, Ko Samui 84320, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Samui > Bophut
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Bophut
#12 Romantic Hotel in Bophut
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Bophut
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Waterfront 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family run, small, select and peaceful, yet only steps away from excellent restaurants, bars and boutiques.All rooms are beachfront and the view of the sea and outlying islands is spectacular. Many guests extend their stay, recommend us to others or return themselves, often to meet other guests who have now become friends. Its like coming home, they say. Lots of little touches to make you feel welcome including free pick-up and free internet. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Waterfront Hotel Bophut
Waterfront Hotel Bophut
Waterfront Bophut
The Waterfront Ko Samui/Bophut

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