Stayed at Samui Sense in October/November after reading the reviews, and although we enjoyed our stay, we do in the main agree that this hotel does have potential, but unfortunately it appears that owners have let the place run down to a certain degree. First off, calling itself a “resort” is not really true – it is a hotel first and foremost. What I mean by this, is you don’t have pool staff, there is no-one to help put up the really heavy umbrellas (half of which were broken anyway), reception staff were not always in attendance, no service around the pool etc. etc. You take your own bags to your room (and the reverse). Although the garden was quite attractive, it certainly needed some work. The grass at the front and the back of the resort was really long and needed cutting, and although I did see a young boy in the garden, he seemed to spend a few hours collecting 5 or 6 large leaves. The fish pond was nice with the little bridge.
We were a bit taken aback by check-in – a rather brusque man checked us in with barely an acknowledgement (perhaps he was afraid to converse because of the language barrier), but we did receive a cold towel and drink from a young girl who then took us to our room. Rather strangely (never encountered this before) she had a check-list with her, and itemized all the things in the room – 2 pairs slippers, 2 gowns, jewellery box, tissue box, umbrellas, etc. etc. and ticked it all off. I was really hoping she didn’t start on one pillow, 1 sheet, 2 chairs… Bit odd, guess they’ve had some petty pilfering!
Have to say, it appeared that the night staff/afternoon staff seemed much friendlier and also appeared to have much better English, so that could be the time for any requests.
The Room itself:
We had booked the one bedroom suite via their web-site on special (about $117 Aus). There was a nice living room, with a mini-kitchenette with sink (but nothing else in it), and leading off the front of this was a really very large balcony with 2 loungers and a big umbrella. If you looked to your right, you had a glimpse of the sea, but otherwise, just overlooked the garden pathway. So pleased we had booked for the 1st floor, as the ground floor ones looked really dark, with everyone walking past your room. Then off this room you walked into a small dressing room, and then into a bathroom. A step up from the little dressing area led into the good sized bedroom. However, we were mortified to see a mattress on the floor – hubby had a hip replacement this year, and we are a senior couple, so trying to scrabble up off the floor was a bit mind blowing. We somehow managed to convey our dismay, and as the bed was so very hard, had asked if they had a softener – and presto, next day, we actually had another mattress put on top of the one on the floor, so this was much more acceptable (still a little hard for me, but better).
The room was very clean, and nicely equipped. The furniture was obviously good quality and Thai style, so it’s not sort of a “flop on comfortable couch”, but a bench wooden seat with padding and some pillows and 2 other “sit upright” chairs. Reasonably good lighting for an asian hotel too! Lots of nice little touches, and the air conditioning was pretty superb – we usually had to turn one of them off to sleep, as it was so efficient. The shower was over the bath (again, we’re pretty agile but needed to beware of slipping). Fantastic shower temperature wise and pressure wise. Although not huge it was a very adequate bathroom. TV channels were a bit ordinary but we don’t watch much anyway. The cleaning and service ladies were very friendly and did a great job (although here again, not much English) I did, however, manage to convey that they needed to leave more toilet paper, a problem which happens all too often.
The pool and surrounds:
The pool was quite nice, but the pool area itself could be made so much better. Those huge heavy wooden loungers cannot be moved and take up so much room. It was so hot and humid with full sun, and there was just nowhere you could sit around the pool as you needed shade. We tried putting up umbrellas but they were broken, and did not seem to shade enough anyway. We came from another resort in Choeng Mon Beach where we sat around the pool all the time and it was great, so we really missed being able to do that here. Just past the pool area, there are tiled steps which lead you through the restaurant (there’s no other way) down to the beach. The beach and water were great, but again, we were disappointed to find maybe only 2 or 3 sun loungers with very tiny umbrella set up, and the same couple got this every day. I know it was off season, but it was very annoying. There were a few tables and chair set on the sand closer to the restaurant, but it would have been nice to have had a lounger. On about the 6th day of our 8 day stay, they did have a few more out, so I did get to sit there for a bit in the afternoon when it was a little shady – this was about 5 p.m. so went to sit down after my swim and 2 young lads simply took the loungers and umbrella almost from under me to put them away! Absolutely bizarre!! Certainly the picture depicted on their web-site is no-where near the mark. We did enjoy swimming in the sea, and I thought Lamai beach was stunning (but it does seem a lot of people complain about the sand, but IMO it was fantastic – very wide beach, with lots going on and lots to see.
We ate here one night, and it was a lovely meal, but really quite expensive. It does have a nice ambience but there are so many great restaurants in Lamai, so they’re up against it, but their prices are too high. Likewise, the drinks too expensive (apart from their 1 pm to 8 pm cocktails for 100B which were some of the best cocktails I have ever tasted!) The breakfast was not a buffet breakfast, (off-season I guess), but merely a menu with American Breakfast, English Breakfast, or you could just have croissant, toast and pancakes and some fruit. Pretty boring, and we got very sick of this every day to be honest and just had some toast. I so wish we had excluded breakfast really. Here again, there is a language barrier with staff – one little girl was quite stroppy actually!
So all in all, we were happy with the room and some aspects of the “hotel”, but I’m not sure of the 4 star status. The other superior rooms appeared quite small and dark, and the so-called Villas down the other side of the main building were in complete and utter darkness – it would be like living in a dungeon, and we did hear people complaining about that and the dankness and a smell, which we didn’t encounter. Likewise the pool villas – goodness, they looked shabby on the outside but after peering into the rooms, they didn’t look too bad. No privacy here though, and it would be awful if you had noisy people around the pool. Only 1 sun lounger on your little patio and 2 very shabby chairs, and it’s the main walkway to the beach, so you would have a lot of foot traffic (and not just from the resort either).
We did look at quite a few other places along the beach, and in the end, decided that all in all, we had done quite well for ourselves. Koh Samui accommodation is expensive for what you get, so this hotel did really grow on us. With ironing out a few problems and a bit of upgrading, it could be quite special.
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- Also Known As:
- Samui Sense Beach Hotel Lamai Beach
- Samui Sense Beach Koh
- Samui Sense Beach Resort Ko Samui/Lamai Beach