We have just returned from a lovely relaxing 10 night stay at the Punpreeda Beach Front Villas. Our overall "good" experience was really down to us moving after one night to (what we think) was the best villa in the resort and then making the best of what we had on offer. If we hadn't moved we wouldn't have liked it which is why we have only been able to rate the resort as "average".
After reading mixed reviews about the resort we thought that we would write our own as we experienced first-hand, both the positive and negative sides to staying here as mentioned in many other reviews.
THE SHORT REVIEW:
Your final experience really depends on what you like to do on holiday, some luck over which villa you ended up staying in, what you can and cannot ignore, what is important to you and, of course, how much you paid for it which influences your view.
If you want an excellent personal service, large accommodation that has good facilities, a quiet peaceful time with your travelling partner/s and a private terrace pool in which to just relax you will love this resort.
If you want to be able to relax in the sun/ sunbathe without going out of the resort, want a good beach, like to socialise with other people in a common area such as a pool or bar, like to have a swim in the sea or a pool and want the villas to look as perfect as they do in the photos, you probably won't like it.
THE VERY LONG AND DETAILED REVIEW:
These are the good things for everyone
The staff are briilliant, very friendly and cannot do enough for you to make your stay as good as possible. We experienced a very personal service as you would get from a small family run hotel. We had Honey looking after us during our stay and she was as lovely and as efficient as all previous reviews have mentioned. Even the hotel’s dogs were friendly!
Breakfast was plentiful and tasty (the banana pancakes were particularly delicious). You simply filled in a request the night before and it was then very convenient to have it delivered to you in your villa up to 10.30 am. A couple of times an item from the order was missing but a simple request would have the missing item delivered in a few minutes. No problem. As you have a full sized fridge you can keep your breakfast fresh if you want to eat it later or "graze" throughout the morning.
The villas were very spacious with all of the amenities as listed and it was great to have your own private terrace and jacuzzi pool on which to chill out. Great having the free minbar and WIFI.
As my husband and I were travelling on our own we booked a one bedroom villa and, as we knew that the resort was only small, we did not feel the need to book a beachfront villa (as all villas were seaview and would be near to the beach).
On arrival we were immediately disappointed with the villa; it backed onto the busy main road and the noise of the traffic was really quite loud even when inside the villa with the doors shut. (We later noticed that even some beachfront villas are also near to the road as the resort is only one or two villas deep at one end.)
I thought that compared to the website photos, our allocated villa seemed very dark and dreary, both inside and out on the pool terrace. The landscaping is lovely but it seems to block out the light in the villas making them quite dark.
Although it had a seaview, the sea could only be seen by standing up on the terrace and looking between the trees to see a small triangle of sea. Seaviews can be blocked by trees and roofs of other villas that are quite closely packed together.
Our one bedroomed villas only had a Jacuzzi bath which was slow to fill due to low water pressure and a handheld shower with no shower screen so I guess it is difficult to have either a bath or a shower in any one bedroomed villa.
Overall, the villas, their furnishings and their pool areas are looking very “tired” and in desperate need of refurbishment. In our two villas we saw algae in the pool, broken boards on the terrace, mildew and tears on the parasols, cracked and poor quality grouting in the bathrooms, a broken seal on the shower cubicle, "rough" paintwork outside and very stained furniture. The cream sofas that are shown in photos are now very stained so are covered in dark grey throws (again making it appear very dark inside). Tables have cup stains etc. Although villas are very comfortable and spacious, don't expect them to look as good as the photos, which I guess were taken on opening in 2007.
As part of a new build across the road by the same company, about four villas had started to be refurbished during our visit and looked much better, much lighter and much fresher. As far as we could tell from outside, the refurbishment includes repainting, refurnishing, re-tiling and redesigning the pool terraces to have a plunge pool as well as a very shallow “water terrace” on which the sun lounger sits (which looks fabulous but not sure how practical this is in reality). We assume that you will not still get the same reduced price for the refurbed ones though.
Sun lovers and tan-seekers beware! (This was the dealbreaker for us). As all of the villas and most of the landscaped garden areas face east, the resort only catches the sun in the morning and mid-afternoon. After about 2pm the sun is restricted to the very narrow and mostly rocky beach in front of the villas. The beach does not have any sun-loungers on it and the loungers in the gardens are more “fixed” and too heavy to move down the steep slope to the beach. You have to try to find a clear bit of sand on which to put your beach towel on. The sun sems to then disappear from the beach altogether about 4.40pm. No late lazing in the sun as is enjoyed by the resorts on the other side of the bay.
In addition, due to the lovely lush landscaping amongst and in front of the villas, private terraces are very shaded, including the beachfront villas. You will get a lovely tropical view and experience calm and solitude on your private terrace but, even if the sun is overhead in the morning, it will probably not get onto your terrace enough for any sunbathing.
There is an alternative for the sunlovers which we made use of in the afternoons: The staff will drive you for free to the Punpreeda Hip resort at the other side of the bay (pool area a bit small) or the Q Signature resort in nearby Choeng Mon. We would recommend Q Signature it is a much nicer and more traditional Thai-style resort with a much bigger pool area to enjoy and a lovely beach with great Thai massage huts.The company that owns Punpreeda is building condominiums across the road which will have a pool. Once built I assume is will be open to all guests so this will solve more problems.
Some other problems were solved for us.
As we hadn’t booked a beachfront villa we didn’t feel that we could complain and that it was the luck of the draw which you were allocated but we did ask if we could be moved if possible because of the traffic noise (as a previous reviewer did). After some negotiation on price we were told that for an additional 500BHT per night we could move the next morning to a two bedroomed villa away from the road. In fact it was a two-storey villa (the bottom storey could be opened up to a third bedroom) directly on the beachfront.
This move made a huge difference to our personal experience of the resort.
As far as we could tell only our new villa (number 180) had full unrestricted sun all morning until about 1pm. As it is a two storey villa it has a terrace above the tree canopy with 180 degree clear view of the bay (hence the name). It was fantastic!
Our move to a two bedroomed villa gave us a second bathroom with a proper shower, a lighter, brighter interior, a proper sea view that could even be seen from simply sitting up in bed and full morning sun on the terrace for convenient sunbathing. Sorted. We were then able to get around or ignore the remaining problems thus enjoying our holiday.
You may not be able to.
Sorry this was so long but we hope that it was useful.
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- Also Known As:
- Punnpreeda Pool Villa Beachfront Hotel Koh Samui