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“Great potential, but management team needs to wake up”

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Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa
Ranked #41 of 132 Hotels in Karon
Certificate of Excellence
Maryland
Level Contributor
117 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Great potential, but management team needs to wake up”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2014

Chose this property for our stay in Karon Beach based on TripAdvisor reviews. Selected a pool side room for the same reason. I really wanted to rate this property Very Good, but just couldn't.

First the good: The property is tucked in off the street and really looks nice as you approach it. The lobby, general area, pool and room were spotless and well appointed. Access to the pool from the room was as advertised. Our pool access room was clean, but the amenities were a bit lean. I applaud the refillable soap/shampoo containers (to reduce trash), but the quality of the products were poor (no bubbles from the shampoo at all). Breakfast buffet was okay, but nothing special compared to other properties we stayed at in Thailand. We did not dine at the property beyond breakfast. The front desk, spa, restaurant and housekeeping staff members we encountered were friendly and helpful.

Now the bad:

1) The pool closes at 8pm, and they start covering all the chairs shortly after 6pm. While they might be thinking about how efficient they are, it is actually discouraging guests from using the pool (and the management needs to start thinking about guests at this hotel); seriously, this is not a retirement home, I believe it should be open until 10. That said, the one night we got back in time to jump in the pool at 7:15 the jacuzzi was immediately turned off. When I went into the room and called the front desk I was told the pool closed at 7pm. "No", I replied, the sign says 8. "Please wait I will call you back" says the front desk (I wait, soaking wet and standing on a towel). Return call from front desk informs me that they put chemicals in the pool early. GIVE ME A BREAK - why did I pay more for a pool access room?

2) The front desk gives you "coupons" for services both inside and outside the property. I get the arrangements with outside locations, but if I'm a guest at your hotel, don't do some goofy coupon dance with me for hotel services! Cases in point: 1) Used Concierge (who was MIA on our first day) to book 2 separate outings (Elephant Safari and James Bond Island). I have no idea who they book with and had to request consideration of discount when I checked out (or I wouldn't have received it). C'mon guys, I'm your (paying) guest, please treat me like one. 2) Booked 2 Thai massages at the Resort's spa for both my wife and I (they were wonderful). Letter that accompanied our "coupons" indicated we would get a discount at the Royal Spa. No go says the Spa Manager. I inquire at checkout and find they have "renamed" the Spa and the discount no longer applies. Then why is it still in the letter?

3) I went to the front desk to inquire about having boarding passes printed and was directed to send an email with the information to the general email address and they would print them in the back. I was standing right there with my info! Had to go back to my room, bring my tablet to the lobby (by the front desk), wrestle with it to send email (the only free WiFi is in the lobby, otherwise they want to nickel and dime you) and pick up the boarding passes the next morning. What if I didn't have a computer with me? C'mon guys, put a terminal in the lobby by the front desk (where it can be monitored) so guests can print out boarding passes, or if I'm standing there with the info, take it!

I spoke directly with the manager when we checked out and pointed out all these issues (very politely, BTW). She was very nice, but did little more than 'admire/appreciate' the problem. No compensation was offered. In the end, it's not about the money (it wasn't that much), it's whether or not the Manager even understands the hospitality industry. While I think the management team at the Karon Sea Sands runs a tight ship, it doesn't appear as though they take the time to think like a guest. I would not return to this property unless I started reading rave reviews about changes in the management approach (and later pool closing!)

Room Tip: The pool access rooms are great, but the pool closes at 8pm so why bother?
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MarkhMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 23, 2014
Dear MarkhMD,

Thank you for your comments and suggestions. We have already made timings for the pool to be opened until late but there was a big communication gap between the Front Office and Engineering dept. We have made sure that this will never happen again.

We have changed our Spa to inhouse "Blue Water Spa" but again our mistake for not replacing the older spa voucher with the newer ones.

We have also now have a wireless connection from our 3 lobby computers ( free wifi and pcs ) to the printer for future uses.

I understand your frustration and we would like you to return to stay with us and see all the changes we have started based on our guests comments, and see the change for the better.

Thank you again and we wish you a great time and look forward to seeing you soon.

With brgds,

jaspal
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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669 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (167)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
88 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2014 via mobile

Unfortunately the photos of the hotel don't reflect the reality.
The breakfast is not at all 4-star level.
They claim to have two restaurants (Indian and Thai) but they are located in the same place which, by the way, is the breakfast place.
The rooms are just ok.
The staff is not what you would expect to get in Thailand.
If you speak Russian you will get a dedicated concierge and a lot of written information. If you speak English you would get informations except on Sundays.
They took all our money the very first day.
To get to the beach you have to pass through some shops and cross the street (by the way umbrellas and chairs must be paid by you.)
We consider that the price was excesive for what we got.
Definitively not a hotel we will come back...

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Princebb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 23, 2014
Dear Princebb,

Thank you for your comments. We would like to point out a few things :

We have 2 restaurants in the resort, both at the same area as the breakfast, open air and near the pool area. If you are there to have a new ambiance for different restaurants, then we are at fault, but we have 2 separate kitchens and so if it is food that you are looking for, then we assure you that we offer you one of the best Indian food on the island. ( That we have also catered for Bollywood movies ( 6 ) shot in Phuket speaks volumes about our kitchen )

We will try and improve our breakfast but at the same time we have good reviews about our breakfast so please do let us know specifically what you think we can change or add.

As for our staffing, it is an ongoing issue and we apologize and promise to do better.

As for the crossing the street to the beach and paying for the chairs and umbrellas, it is not in our hands to relocate the resort, and we have always written that we are across the beach and road.

Also not in our hands to ask the beach vendors to not charge money........as they have been doing so for the last 15 years, and we have nothing to do with that.

Anyways we wish you the best and hope you will return to see our improvements.

With brgds,

jaspal
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

I had read some mixed reviews about this resort so I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I have to say that I was a little surprised by all the 5/5 star reviews. While I quite enjoyed my stay, the resort is in a great location, the property and staff service was pretty average. The check-in experience was quite interesting, the young guy seemed to be more interested in chewing his gum and making sure his hair was in the right place rather than providing friendly customer service. My room was nice and clean but the buffet breakfast was pretty ordinary compared to other places I have stayed. The resort seemed to lack atmosphere but that may have been due to the fact that it was a bit quiet and it was raining so there was no one in the pool area.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank OzVikingGC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, April 30, 2014
Dear OzVikingGC,

Thank you for your review.

We will act upon your comments and better our services.

Thank you and brgds,

jaspal
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

I did a lot of TA research before boiling down to Karon Sea Sand. This was our last destination in Thailand so I didnt mind choosing a place that's more pricy. We stayed 5 nights. The welcome at the resort was quite pleasing. Nice welcome drink and a warm towel and the staff will do the rest of the formalities pretty efficiently. Below are the key highs and lows of this place
Positives
- Decent resort and good ambience. The pool is well managed and so is the restaurant. Location of the resort is pefect. 2 mins walk from the beach, next to Karon circle and easy access to transportation to Pattaong
- The restaurant is really nice. If you like Indian food and want to try something different from Thai, you definitely should try their Indian menu. Authentic Indian food. They have lots of options and almost everyone is quite delicious and cooked really well. Uttam is doing a great job I must say. The house band is really nice. They sing well and are quite committed. Several times we were the only customer in the restaurant but they never showed lack of commitment. Its a shame too many people do room service instead of coming at the restaurant
- The staff is genuinely pleasent and they have a smile on their face always. The lady at the travel counter was quite helpful.
Negatives
- Even though I felt the staff was genuinely pleasent and always tried to be helpful, they were not properly trained. Its a bit sad as its not their fault but the owners should try to get a mix of staff that's well trained on hospitality and some new kids on the block. To give you a few examples, the waiters at the restaurant didnt understand how to handle customers. Half of the time my table will have missing fork and knives. Thrice I ordered and I could see the order ready at the kitchen platform and the chef had to come out and scream on the waiter for it to be served
- Breakfast spread is good but again half of the time breakfast was not hot nobody paid proper attention at refills. Thrice in five days I saw fruits were not refilled till we asked like 2-3 times. But the most disappointing thing at the breakfast was the guy at omelette counter. For every single day (and I am 100% serious about this), they had some new guy. None of the five could speak or understand English. I am very choosy about my omelette style and not a big fan of Thai style of omelette. I had a really difficult time explaining how I want it to be made. Given the fact that almost all the customers go for this counter it would've been helpful to have english speaking guy. The quality of coffee too is pretty average. It wasn't warm most of the times and after occupying the table we had to ask at least 2-3 times before we were served. Towards the end we decided to take it ourselves.
- The cleanliness left a bit to be desired. We ordered room service and left the plates outside the room in the evening. Till next day afternoon the plates were not picked up. And we saw this happening on a daily basis. Every time we walked out of the room we saw a line of unclean plates outside rooms waiting to be picked. Not a pleasent sight and not hygenic as well
- The rooms are clean in general, but the lighting system needs a bit of renovation. Having like 10 different switches for lights is pretty out of date. The floor looks bit old and certainly needs some work. The bathroom is nice but again, at the price we pay we expect some body cream, lotion, etc. in the bathroom. Those heavy press bottles are out of date as well.
- Lastly, I read so many reviews on tripadvisor about the owners and manager doing extra bits which came out as the biggest highlight of this place. We decided to stay extra day and asked for an extension. I was first told I'll be charged 1.5x for the additional day (I am not mentioning the per day amount as I understand the rates are always subjective and I dont want to do disclose the rates I paid). After trying to push for same rate, especially after knowing the resort wasnt 100% occupied, they still charged me like 1.25x for the extra stay. Of course on our last day we won't be too keen to change places so agreed but we would've hoped that given our stay with them, as a courtsey they would've charged the same rate. Not a big issue but from other reviews it seemed to me they are always going out of way to good services and this was not displayed here
- Lastly, we had booked a transfer for 9 30 the evening before and we were downstairs right at 9 15 and at 9 30 I asked for the taxi and saw a surprised look on the face of the receptionist. She called few people and I was informed it was on the way and I was constantly told every five mins. It eventually showed up at 9 50. We had a flight to Bangkok and a connection to London so imagine if we were stuck in traffic and would've missed our flight


Overall we liked the resort, the location, the restaurant and found staff to be trying hard. But we had too many small bits which didnt really help. We are keen to give 2.5 stars given all these issues but for the effort of the staff and nice restaurant are giving half a star more. For the price we pay here (which was definitely notch higher than few other places with same kind of services), we expect much better services. Mr. Jaspal seems to be attentive and personally replies to all the reviews so I hope he takes this in right spirit and tries to fix the issues we faced. Good luck guys.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Hardik M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
Dear Hardik M,

Thank you for taking the time to write your comments. We believe there are a few factual mistakes such as our "egg" personnel has been the same for the last 8 months and so on.

Also it would have been to all our benefits including our guests and yourself if you had mentioned all the written complaints to the management so that we could rectify the problems. To have suffered the bad service and other details you have written, for full 5 days, and then deciding to stay on for another day in order to suffer more seems quite unusual, to say the least.

But anyways we do agree that we have to do better here and we assure you that all these problems are being fixed as we speak, point by point, and all the senior managements have been alerted.

Please accept our apologies, and our thanks for letting us know of your thoughts. We will make sure that we do much better here, now and in the future.

Take care and brgds,

jaspal
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queensland, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2013

We had 7 nights at the Karon Sea Sands Resort from 17 November 2013, myself, my husband and two teenage daughters. We had adjoining Pool Access Rooms after reading the reviews on Trip Adviser and weren't disappointed. Located right across from the swim up bar, our rooms were perfect. Eck the bar man at the swim up bar was fantastic and very friendly. The four of us had Thai Cooking Lessons at the resort. Chef and his staff were very professional and made the whole experience fun. The food we cooked was divine and we even got to take the recipes home with us. The egg Chef at breakfast was great and always happy to cook whatever we wanted. All of the staff at the resort were happy to assist and always with a smile.
The only disappointment was the Friday night Cocktail Party. We had read about it on Trip Adviser and were really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, when Friday night came along we discovered it was invite only and we were not invited. Apparently it is only for guests who stay for two weeks or longer.
Overall though the resort was great, the location were great and the staff were superb!

Room Tip: Pool access rooms are the best!
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Suzie61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
Dear Suzie61,

Thank you so much for your kind words and great comments. We are very pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us.

Our cocktails are also for repeat guests so be assured that you will have an invite waiting for you on your next visit.

Take care and we look forward to seeing you soon again with us.

With brgds,

jaspal
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2013

Karon Sea Sands is a great little hotel with all the bells and whistles at a very reasonable price. The room was clean and comfortable, breakfast had plenty of options and the ladies in the spa give a FANTASTIC massage without leaving you bruised and sore.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tammy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
Dear Tammy W,

Thank you for your kind words. We will try and make sure all our guests are happy and take away fond memories.

Take care and we look forward to welcoming you soon back to our resort.

With brgds,

jaspal
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surfers Paradise, Australia
Level Contributor
40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2013

My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at this resort. The staff were friendly and the owners were great and very hospitable and made you feel they really cared about making your stay as pleasant as possible. We thought the cocktail party was a great way to meet fellow holiday makers and the owners too.The food was very good, we had the Indian buffet and it was wonderful. Breakfast was always good, one down side was the coffee, but I see from previous comments this is being attended to. The resort was very clean, our room was spacious and the bed was comfortable, we overlooked the lovely pool. The resort is situated close to the beach and shops and restaurants etc, but it is very quiet.We both had a hot stone massage at the resorts spa and it was heavenly! The resident band were also very entertaining and sang music to cater for most tastes.thanks to all the staff for helping to make our stay most enjoyable.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank lesley s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karon Sea Sand ... M, Owner at Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, December 5, 2013
Dear Lesley S,

Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to us that you notice we try and do as much as we can to make your stay with us enjoyable and memorable.

We think, as a place of stay for your holidays, we should contribute more than just a comfortable bed and room. We would love you to remember the good times you had here with us and and we will always go the extra mile to make sure that your whole holiday experience is superb.

Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you back to stay with us soon again.

With brgds,

jaspal
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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 Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa

Property: Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa
Address: 208 / 2, Karon Beach Road | Karon Beach, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Karon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Karon
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Karon
#21 Romantic Hotel in Karon
#25 Spa Hotel in Karon
#26 Family Hotel in Karon
#35 Luxury Hotel in Karon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 87
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa boasts beach front vistas of the spectacular azure waters of the Andaman Sea, endless expanses of golden sand and beaches and awe inspiring evening sunsets. We provide the perfect location & accommodation, offering our guests all the comforts & luxury they have come to expect from the minute they walk through our door. Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa offers a culturally diverse selection of dining options from intimate a la carte dining to room service and takeaway. Exercise in our fully equipped gymnasium, swim laps of our pool, enjoy relaxing massages & beauty treatments, inspire & develop your culinary skills by enrolling in one of our Thai or Indian cooking classes. At the end of the day, relax in our tropical surrounds enjoying a refreshing cocktail, listen to mood music from our resident entertainers as you watch a spectacular sunset and the closing of another day in paradise. Karon Sea Sands offers guests traditional Thai hospitality complimented with modern facilities & amenities. Our professional, experienced and courteous staff are on hand to look after your every need and to ensure that your stay with us is a pleasurable and memorable occasion. Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa, your ultimate resort destination, and we are in the right location! Situated on the south western seaboard between Kata and Patong, Karon is 60 minutes from Phuket International Airport, 15 minutes from Patong or a 30 minute drive to Phuket Town. Our resort is situated within easy walking distance of Karon’s shopping centers, markets, tourist attractions and nightlife venues. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Karon Sea Sands Resort And Spa
Karon Sea Sands Hotel Karon
Karon Sea Sands Resort & Spa Phuket

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