I don't know if it's the done thing to write a review whilst still staying at the establishment, but as I've already spent over three weeks here (with just under three weeks still to go) and nothing at Chaulty Towers is necessarily the "done thing", I reckon I can give an accurate and honest review of the place.
Let me start with the location. It's at the northern end of Lamai. It's located at the end of a quiet Soi, that is clean and safe and (important for you late nighters) has street lamps and is well lit. Chaulty Towers is nestled opposite palm trees and at the base of the hills that flank the north of Lamai. It really is picturesque; greenery all around. For those of you that do not want to be situated right in the middle of town, trying to sleep whilst late night music and revellers carry on into the wee hours, it's the perfect place. It's incredibly tranquil but close enough to the main strip that the life of lamai is easily accessed.
Chaulty Towers itself is run by Steve and his charming wife Ore, with their lovely dogs Rambo and Sam in attendance. It has a self-contained apartment with a kitchen (kettle, microwave, fridge, and all the kitechenware and cutlery needed if you fancy fixing a quick bite to eat), three deluxe rooms, and one standard room. All the rooms have very effecient air-conditioning, cable TV, DVD player, Music system, comfortable sofa/armchairs, coffee table (home to my portable computer for the duration), fridge, tea/coffee making facilities, user-selectable coded personal safe, large bathroom/toilet with shower and english toilets, and plenty of cupboard space and draw space for clothes and such.
The space in the apartment and deluxe rooms is very generous, whilst the standard room is quite large enough (my sister has stayed in that room at the start of her stay here and she was more than happy with it.)
I've stayed in many places at Lamai over 20-odd years of coming to the island and believe me you won't get better value for money anywhere else. If you are one of those holidaymakers who want 5 star luxury, then I suggest you go and stay in a 5 star resort and pay 5 star prices. If you are a holiday maker who wants a lovely place to stay, you will be surprised at what you get for your money.
The rooms/bathrooms are kept spotlessly clean and are cleaned daily. Towels are provided fresh every day, and soap and shampoo are replenished when needed, so that you don't have to keep remembering to buy soap/shampoo when you are out and about. A small detail maybe, but one which I appreciate no end.
All the rooms have their own patio space (table and chairs with sunshades) and sunbeds ... and they are all spaced around the pool ... quite literally a few steps away. Awesome!
The area around the poolside is replete with palm trees and greenery and by day is very tranquil and a great place to rest, chill out and relax. There is also a small drinks bar, a free pool table and a great sauna that is big enough for three. I've had a few relaxing sessions in that sipping a long cool one.
The pool is plenty big enough for the guests and most days - with people going out and about in Samui - you often have it all to yourself. Get off the sunbed, get up from the patio table, take three steps and you're in the pool. No effort, no-brainer ... it's great.
By night, the pool area is lit by a tasteful combination of orange and green lights, which gives a superb atmospheric effect and makes a late night dip quite the thing.
Have a look at the guest photos ... what you see is what you get.
Oh yes ... and there's also the not inconsiderable benefit of a very fast and reliable free WiFi access. Just like home. Great stuff!
My last comment on location and the establishment itself, is that just opposite is a lovely Thai lady who will do your laundry at a very reasonable price. Clothes and beach towels come back the next day clean, fresh and ironed.
So much for location and the facilities. What's it actually like to stay here? Well, in a nutshell it's the best place I've stayed in on Samui bar none - and I mean bar none. Steve and his wife operate a very relaxed place, where there are no rules and "do/can't do" notices ... instead they leave that to the good judgement of their guests.
There are no time restrictions on using the pool. All they ask is that guests use their judgement so that other guests/neighbours are not unduly disturbed. I have had many a night where I have shared drinks and chat in and around the pool into the wee hours. All that is required is common-sense and not making unnecessary noise. This freedom by the pool is not allowed in many establishments. I've been here over three weeks and I've not seen this aspect abused even once.
Likewise, Steve operates a very trusting policy towards the bar and his guests. There's a big cooler fridge by the bar and guests are free to help themselves to beers, spy coolers and the like, and Steve trusts them to keep a note of what they drink. He then adds it to your tab (which you can pay at the end of your stay or at intervals, whichever suits you best). This is definitely not a facility you get at anywhere else in Samui (or wherever) I've stayed before. In my opinion, you'd have to be pretty mean and selfish to abuse this level of trust. It's just another example of the convenience of staying here that Steve extends to his guests that makes this such a little gem of a place to stay.
Chaulty Towers doesn't have a restaurant on-site, though there are plenty of eateries five mins walk away. What Chaulty Towers does have is a breakfast taken on the upstairs veranda. There isn't a set menu as such. Better than that, you can see Steve (better the day before if you can) and tell him what you would like, and he will go and get it for you fresh that morning. Basically, you say what you would like, and if it's available, Steve goes and gets it.
For those of you who are tired of the typical Thai "English-Western breakfasts" available in the majority of eateries here, forget that. You want a proper English breakfast, with proper sausages, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes? You've got it! Fancy a baguette with a filling of your choice? Purchased fresh from a bakery that very morning! Cereals and fruit? A light breakfast? Up to you. And plenty of coffee and tea as you require.
There's no skimping on the portions either. A good mid-morning breakfast here sets you up for the whole day. Most days, I don't feel hungry until the evening. Quite simply, one more aspect of staying here that is tremendous value for money.
And the benefits of staying at Chaulty Towers are not just confined to the above. As I said at the start of this review, it is located on the northern fringe of Lamai. It is a 10-15 walk to get into the heart of Lamai or the central beach area. Whilst that may not appeal to those who like to fall onto the beach the moment they step outside their place of stay, its not an arduous walk at all. However, when any of his guests step out, he does ask if they would like a lift to central Lamai/the beach and that is another generous aspect of life at Chaulty Towers. For myself, the walk was so easy I didn't really think to take advantage of the offer, but plenty do and so there really isn't anything to complain about in that respect. Steve says it's all part of the service. That it is so is another part of the value for money stay you enjoy here.
For those guests looking for an interesting evening out, they would do well to take Steve up on his offer of taking them along with him whilst he plays music gigs a couple of evenings or so each week. I would especially recommend the Tuesday night gig. It's a resort right on the southern beach front, and the draught beer is very good value for money. More than that, Steve and his musical partner offer a very enjoyable night's listening (just don't request "Hey Jude" with an elastic band in tow). Oh, and let's not forget the incredible steak BBQ with accompanying eats that's incredible value for money at Bht 350 (as many steaks and accompaniments as you can eat).
Top all of the above with an in-depth knowledge of where to go and what's on around the island, great deals on trips out (boat trips, round the island trips etc), motor-cycle/scooter/moped hire and it's easy to see why so many guests keep coming back again and again. (I've already booked my trip next year for another six week stay, and I already know I will be sorry to leave at the end of August.)
I came here as a solo traveller on July 22nd (though my sister joined me for two weeks at the beginning of August), and while solo travellers might wonder what it's like to venture here alone they need have no concerns.
Because it's a small, intimate place, you can't help but get to know the other guests. There have been some really great people I've met here ... and I'd like to thank Paul from Sydney, Steve and Gwen from Middlesboro', Caroline from Glasgow, Duncan and Wills from Adelaide, Ewa and Kate from Warsaw for the pleasure of their company, both around the pool and in and around Lamai.
But most of all I thank Steve and his wife Ore for running this smashing gem of a place to stay and I honestly do say that it's the best place I've ever had the pleasure of staying at in Lamai. Heck, for that matter, in Thailand or anywhere else.
Tonight (as he does from time to time), for all the guests - from the UK, Australia and Poland - Steve has organised an evening of drinks around the pool with home cooked eats. It's simple, it's relaxing, it's just the business.
It's a bit of a lengthy review, but I've taken the time to write about it as fully as I can, because I found this place through reading the reviews on Trip Advisor, and if anyone reading this considers staying here and it sounds like the place for them ... I say go and book it! You won't be disappointed, you'll love it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small villa style hotel, husband (UK) and wife (Thai) owned and managed. Visitors arrive as guests and leave as friends and often return several times every year. Don't be fooled by our low price, our rooms are of a higher standard than some much more expensive hotels and resorts. Enjoy a cold beer at the pools edge, we also have BBQs every week. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chaulty Towers Hotel Lamai Beach
- Chaulty Towers Ko Samui/Lamai Beach