I stayed for three weeks (July 10–31) in a Sea View Deluxe Bungalow (212) at the south end of the resort.
I chose Khao Lak Resort (KLR) after deciding to stay - for the first time - at Khao Lak after a week of the insanity of Pattaya (have been to Phuket and Koh Lanta), and after much research. The deciding factors in favor of KLR over other Khao Lak resorts were: the 'look' of the pools (free-form, surrounded by verdant tropical vegetation), a nice beach, proximity to the town of Bang La On (10-minute walk) and the fact Wi-Fi is available throughout (in theory). I was not disappointed.
The Deluxe Bungalows are nice if somewhat dated in their decor. Everything advertised was present and worked. Everything was clean... and house keeping did a great job everyday. The bed was large and comfortable. In the bathroom, I was pleasantly surprised by the the large, round, walk-in shower with overhead 'rain shower' head (with lots of water pressure) - loved that shower!... and the skylights. I never used the big, corner bathtub. My only criticisms of the accommodation are the general lack of storage space:
- one small wardrobe/closet at the entrance;
- one shallow drawer in the night table on the left side of the bed and one deep drawer in the night table on the right; and, two shallow drawers in the 'desk'. I was traveling solo and can't imagine how couples, let alone families with kids manage.... I guess they just put stuff on the floor.
Also, in the bathroom:
- a lack of counter space by the sink (no cabinet or drawers).
- plus a lack of light around the mirror (makes it difficult to shave). I know electricity costs money, but one strong bulb above the mirror would make a world of difference.
The breakfast buffet was very good and had everything one could possibly want (including several types of 'real' breads and 'real' yoghurt. I loved the English pork sausages. Every day (over the course of a week) the couple of Thai/Asian offerings changed. All the food (lunch & dinner) was excellent – quality ingredients expertly prepared and well presented. I took part in a free, Thai cooking lesson which was fun ('passed' on the fruit carving and craft making lessons)... and of course, you get to eat what you cook – in my case, Panang Pla (Panang Curry with Fish). Yes, you can eat 'outside' for less... but restaurant prices at KLR were reasonable - not more than at a 'high end' restaurant in town. At KLR a small Singha was 80 baht... at most bars in town 70... at one restaurant I went to 90... and at Nang Thong Supermarket 35.
The service from all the staff at KLR was unfailingly good – even when I 'lost it' (ex-sailors can swear) in frustration with the TOT Wi-Fi system (100 baht for 15 hrs.) that is essentially useless. It works sometimes... and not others.... then stops completely even though it's connected. All the guests to which I spoke had this problem (with both their computers and phones). I suspect the TOT system does not 'like' newer OSes... like my Windows 7... because KLR lent me a resort laptop with an old version of Windows XP which worked perfectly for the remaining duration of my stay. That's service!
Communication with staff can be a problem. It seems (other than at Reception) only two people speak English (sort of); and even the Reception people are almost impossible to understand on the phone (in person one can use gestures and read body language). The 'way around' this is to leave all articles out of sentences - “[i]Me, one Singha[/i]”. The vast majority of guests are European (mostly German). I met: Austrians, English, Danes, Norwegians and French. There were a few Asians... and one couple, 'locals' from Bangkok. I feel sorry for the staff having to cope with so many different accents and colloquialisms in a language (for the most part) not native to either party.
There were more renovations taking place than I expected. But for the most part these did not bother me (except a couple of times when clouds of dust from a metal saw 'wafted across'). Maintenance must be a constant, ongoing 'battle' in such a hot, humid environment... and compounded by salt spray from the ocean surf. The gardeners were chopping down everything in sight – the growth rate must be phenomenal.
The wildlife is ubiquitous. I counted five different species of lizards (saw one monitor almost a meter long and had a 'pet' gecko living in my bathroom); and watched squirrels, birds & butterflies. There are ants everywhere... all the time. At dusk it's 'magical' to sit on the balcony overlooking the beautifully lit pools and trees of the resort at the ocean and have bats fly within a meter of one's face as one listens to the pounding surf and a chorus of insects and frogs.
All-in-all, I had a wonderful stay – the best of many around the world. Kudos to Mr. Nut and Mr. Perth.
It may not be for everyone, but if you want to stay in a beautiful, rain forest jungle setting with nice pools (no chlorine) on a nice beach, KLR offers: fantastic service, great food and excellent value for the money (at least in 'Green Season').
While it's not perfect, KLR is difficult, if not impossible to beat. I'll be back next year... and hold Kate/Kade to her word... LOL.