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“Lovely resort and staff let down by poor food”

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Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai
Ranked #7 of 19 Hotels in Mae Rim
Colchester
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Lovely resort and staff let down by poor food”
Reviewed April 19, 2012

I own a busy cafe and catering business in the UK and as well as this I grew up in a hotel from the age of two. I wish to be fair to the owners as I know they are trying hard and this review is meant as constructive advice not hurtful criticism.

The location of the hotel is beautiful, quiet and ideally situated for the attractions along the Mae Rim strip - e.g. Elephants, Tiger Kingdom, Botanic Gardens, trekking etc. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a 500 Baht taxi each way - I preferred the quiet of this immaculate hotel with the tree frogs chirriping away to the hurly burly of staying in Chiang Mai.

The housekeeping and cleanliness of the rooms was superb, with quiet air conditioning, fresh bed linen and superb beds. There were even complimentary DVDs to borrow. The hotel grounds are exquisite with a new delightful discovery and aspect every day - a credit to the grounds people. In fact all the staff we encountered were wonderful and realy made us welcome. In no way are they responsible for the few faults this hotel has and that revolves around the food.

We dined in on the first night and sampled two Northern Thai dishes, the first, Chiang Mai sausages, was swimming in grease and the other a noodle dish was really below par. The noodle dish was akin to a cheap takeaway meal not a restaurant standard dish. The menu in the restaurant was overpriced (perhaps taking advantage of the hotel's isolation) and the 17 % tax and service charge on top was an insult really. In previous reviews the owner has said that the prices are on a par with other four star properties in the area, that may be so, but then the food must be of four star quality and it really is not. The food issue was extremely frustrating for us as we had no transport and had to go to great lengths to avoid the hotel restaurant. Working in the catering industry myself I just felt it was an opportunity missed for the owner - the restaurant was empty most nights when with more moderate prices and decent (not pretentious or gourmet) cooking he could have been on to a little gold mine.

Things did not get better in the mornings with the breakfast which was seriously disorganised, forgotten items, erratic portion sizes and some tepid plates (we stayed a week so we had quite a few breakfasts). Again I don't think the waiting staff were to blame I think the problem lay with the kitchen.

One reviewer said management was absent, I did get a glimpse of the owner so I know he wasn't absent, however I think these lovely staff need more leadership from the owner and if the food could be improved I really would rate this hotel more highly.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Martin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bluweyze, General Manager at Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai, responded to this review, April 29, 2012
I'm sad that the food let your stay down but I appreciate the balance of your review.We do try hard to get things as good as we can in the resort, we have recently invested a lot to improve things in response to previous customer comments.Now I am undertaking a survey for the next few weeks of every guest that uses the restaurant..After the survey I will take action to improve any faults that are highlighted by the surveyand at the same time I will review the food pricing.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2012

We ( family with 2 young kids )stayed for 2 nights during Thai new year in April. The best point for this hotel is excellent customer service and helpful hotel staff.. the room was clean but could not get good room temperature .. was hot most of the time and room is dated.As a Thai person I found the foods and drinks there was expensive. Also breakfast was very cold..not many choices .You need a transport to get around if you want to go somewhere..or hire a van from the hotel to take you... Wifi single not very good.. had to walk to the lobby area when I want to use internet to get good single....

Room Tip: You need a transport for this hotel .. And only one restaurant there.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank beefree_66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, England, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed April 17, 2012

I visited Away with my partner. This attractive resort is set in a beautiful area with forest covered mountains as background scenery.

The resort offers a chance for a relaxing and pampering stay. There is a restaurant offering a variety of good meals at reasonable prices, and a great variety of tasty cocktails!

Having eaten in Bangkok prior to coming here, for such a smart resort I was surprised that the meals were reasonable in price. Including some tasty northern Thai dishes such a as a pork curry.

Whilst here we used the moped to explore the local area and visit a very beautiful waterfall. Chang Mai is a little further to travel but easily accessible, and worth exploring for the night markets and city life, However staying at such peaceful place with stunning scenery, a lovely pool and quiet setting ensures a relaxing stay, whilst in this area.

The spa is fantastic, offering a variety of pampering treatments. I had an aromatherapy massage, and was very well looked after by the friendly staff.

This is a family run resort, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We immediately felt welcomed and looked after.

We also took advantage of the temple tour put on by the resort - this was an amazing opportunity to take in the Buddhist temples particularly one situated on Doi Suthep.

There is plenty to do, see and explore in this area, yet equally time for quiet and restful relaxation.. the perfect balance !

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend this as a place to stay for those want to explore Chang Mai and the surrounding areas.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Emily H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 11, 2012

My partner and I decided to stay here after having the hotel recommended by a family member, and we had a fantastic time during our stay.

The resort is owned and run by an English/Thai family who went out of their way to ensure that we were comfortable and enjoyed our stay. We found the hotel staff to be similarly obliging and attentive, regularly checking to make sure that we were well looked after.

The resort itself is well maintained and surrounded by beautiful gardens filled with trees, orchids and the odd butterfly, with a small lake forming the central focal point, and a backdrop of mountains and forest. The location is perfect for those seeking a little tranquility, being in a quiet area slightly outside of Mae Rim town to the north of Chiang Mai, but still close enough to enable those who wish to explore to be able to drive, take a taxi, tuk-tuk or rent a motorbike from the hotel (a fun and cost effective option!) to go and see the sights or pop into town for a drink or meal (although the on-site restaurant serves up some pretty delicious fare for those who would rather take it easy).

Day trips from here into Chiang Mai to see the marvelous temples, the night bazaar or other sights are easy, either alone or as part of one of the organised tours. The hotel is also not far from some wonderful scenic countryside in areas like the Doi Inthanon National Park or Mae Wang; large areas of forest scattered with small hill tribe villages, rice terraces and even the odd elephant! My partner and I spent some time trekking in the hills, and it was wonderful to return to the resort after a long time walking to relax, unwind, and just to swim and enjoy a cool drink by the pools. I can also highly recommend the Thai massage that the hotel offers - perfect for working out those aches and pains.

All in all, I can thoroughly recommend choosing 'Away' as a place to base yourself in northern Thailand, and we will certainly be back one day.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ben K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2012

Read the good reviews from TA, booked then stay 3 nights. First impression was great, gardens, lake and trees, what a natrual environment!

However, later found out the resort is soooo isolated, far from twon and nothing nearby, got no choices have to dine in the only one restaurant at the resort, which the food was not tasty, with boring menus and overpriced.

There is no activities inside the hotel at all, they do arrange some tours going out, but in the resort itself is very very boring.

Might suit olderies to escape city life but not for young ones.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Sino-Oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
Level Contributor
283 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We stayed here in September 2011 for a week after being really tired out with our work. This resort provided the refreshment we needed .... from the unique lakeside villa accommodation to the swimming pool to the glorious and well-priced food in the restaurant. It was so peaceful in a secluded location yet also conveniently located not far from the main road.
This place should not be missed.
One day we had trouble with our air con and the service man turned up in less than a minute to fix it. In the end he couldn't, so they moved us to another villa, which still a very comfortable rest for us. If you would like to be adventurous it is worth hiring their motorcycle and driving up the mountain - lots of awesome scenery and other attractions along the road :-)
Will definitely visit this peaceful and clean place again

Room Tip: It is worth paying a little more for the Lakeside Suites - their verandas are nested over the lake a...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Scobie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2012

Booked this hotel for a spa treat after lots of "activity" in the city of Chiang Mai.

The room we had was lovely (lake view) with a lounge area with sofa, coffee table, tv and patio doors which opened onto our private veranda. The only thing that let the room down was the small bathroom and noisy a/c and no option of a fan.

The setting is private with nice, well kept gardens and two pools. One of the reasons we booked this resort was for the sauna which unfortunately, was not working.

The evening meals were not satisfactory. We ordered fish and chips which was full of msg and in-edible. The couple on the table next to us ordered something different and they were disappointed for the same reason also. The evening meals are overpriced and poor quality.

Breakfast is excellent, although there was a buffet one day we were there which was poor.

The manager was conspicuous in his absence. The staff in the restaurant are absolutely fantastic but with limited English so it would have been nice to have a matre-dee to help these charming waiters/waitresses out.

There was some convention at the weekend we were there and a party in the evening which did not disturb our stay. What did disturb us was the mini bus drivers (several of them) playing music and "hanging" around the pool table making quite a bit of noise in the evening and early the following morning.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank afellows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bluweyze, General Manager at Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai, responded to this review, March 26, 2012
I am sorry that you did not enjoy your meal, especially as the fish and chips has been a very popular meal. I must point out that we do not use msg in our kitchen and the fish was sourced from the main supplier to nearly all the main hotels in Chiang Mai.
I was surprised that you say the food is over-priced, most main dishes are between 120 and 200 Thai Baht ($4 to $6.5) and are very competitive against other 4* hotels in Chiang Mai. We don't have a maitre dee but we are a boutique resort.
What surprised me most was the comment on absent management. I normally work a 7 day week ensuring the smooth running of the resort and I meet quickly with guests who have a problem or need advice on tourist options. All guests need to do is request at the front desk to see me. I did spend 2 days away from the resort in March while my wife was in hospital in Bangkok but as I will work the other 29 days I don't consider this 'absent management'.
Fans are available on request to guests who prefer them. I can find no record of any complaint about noisy air-conditioning but we would have repaired it or moved rooms if there was a notified problem.
We have ensured that there will be no recurrence of noise from drivers and I apologise for any problem that was caused.
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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 Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai

Property: Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai
Address: 43/1 Moo 6, Mae Rim-Samoeng Road | Maeram Subdistrict, Mae Rim 50180, Thailand (Formerly Away Suansawan Chiang Mai)
Location: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Mae Rim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Mae Rim
#4 Luxury Hotel in Mae Rim
#5 Spa Hotel in Mae Rim
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Mae Rim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It is a relaxing, boutique, garden resort situated in the beautiful and tranquil Maerim Valley, a 30 minute drive from Chiang Mai International Airport and in the centre of the wide range of Chiang Mai's attractions. Offering a full range of recreational activities the facilities include two swimming pools, a beautiful Thai spa, a fitness centre, a sauna, and a lakeside relaxation sala with library These facilities are surrounded by the finest relaxation environment and nature. The resort features 47 understated rooms & villas in huge sub-tropical surroundings with approximately 1,000 trees, an impressive lake, 3 fishponds and many garden areas with relaxing garden salas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Away Suansawan Centara Boutique Collection Hotel Mae Rim
Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

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