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“A fabulous place”

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Khaolak Merlin Resort
Ranked #9 of 66 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence
Southport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A fabulous place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

We have just spent 10 nights at this hotel and I don't think I can find much to fault. Our room was lovely, on a top floor as we had requested, and as it was at the back of the hotel it was very quiet.The staff were lovely and kept the place spotless. The breakfasts were excellent, probably the best that we have come across in recent years.We had one lunch at the hotel that was ok but eating out was nicer and cheaper.All the restaurants outside were very good and cheap, apart from the Italian, where I was ill after a meal there. I then stuck to Thai food and was fine the whole time. As mentioned by others the hotel guest were mostly Germans, we did not hear another English voice while we were there, and they did like to get their towels on the sun loungers early in the morning! However, we tended to stay by one of the pools at the rear of the hotel and this was lovely and peaceful, with at most 10 people there. The beach was beautiful and I would highly recommend having a massage there overlooking the ocean. Heaven! We absolutely loved our time at the Merlin and would not hesitate to recommend it.

Room Tip: Ask for a top floor room at the back of the hotel.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank corinnechilds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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810 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 (131)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Monmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2013

We've just returned from 10 days at the Merlin and can recommend it highly. It won't be to everyone's taste so here are a few points that may help:

Room: Having read the reviews, we'd asked for a quiet room on a high floor and that's what we got. Looking out over a shaded courtyard (not much a view) it was one of those most newly built, in 'modern Asian' rather than 'rustic' style, spacious and with all mod cons. Excellent.
(While the hotel is built into a hillside, if needed it's possible to avoid many steps other than those up to the room as there are sloping paths in most places.)

Guests: The hotel was full, but with large grounds and many accommodation blocks, it didn't seem so. I'd say the average guest age was 50ish, with a good number of children and younger families largely occupied in the children's pool and playground area away from the main sunlounger area. Most of the guests were northern or eastern european (with a large variety of languages), including a small number of british and irish. This mix suited us well.

Beach: A long half-mile stretch of fine sand, with three large rocks visible at low tide. (The person in an earlier review who said it was not possible to get into the sea because of the very rocky beach must surely have been at a different hotel.) Lovely warm water, but slightly shelving getting into the sea on times, gets deep quite quickly and some strongish currents when the tide is turning. Fine for adult swimmers but non-swimmers and children would need supervision. For keen snorkellers, unfortunately no marine life whatsoever (and more positively, no jellyfish either when we were there).

No sunloungers are allowed on the beach but there are many in the large garden area just next to it. Those nearest to the beach are regimented and close together, but others are scattered around the grounds. The grounds are 'jungle style' with many mature plants and trees, winding waterchannels and about 5 swimming pools. (The waterchannels would benefit from the removal of fallen leaves but the leaves elsewhere add to the 'wild' rather than 'manicured' feel.)

Food: Breakfast in the hotel was excellent with a large choice. Some reviewers have commented that dirty plates are cleared away quickly - they are, but in a polite and unobtrusive way. Dinner was very good also - we tried both hotel restaurants. Lunch was very disappointing though (think motorway services) so after one sampling we gave it a miss.

As you might expect, there are also a good variety of places to eat nearby - in the village (out of hotel front door and a few hundred yards to left) or along the beach (out of hotel at rear and along to the right). Of the many Thai restaurants we tried, we liked best Jo's Seafood (nearly to end of beach on right) or the Ruan Thai (out of village to the main road, turn right and then nearly immediately on right). We ate twice also to Luciano's pizzeria and restaurant in the village and this was best of all, comparing very well to those we've been to both in Italy or the UK.

Excursions: there are lots bookable either via the hotel or from numerous places in the village, many involving elephant trekking or trips to islands. But we'd highly recommend one that needs to be booked directly by phone/email either before you arrive or from the hotel. This is a full-day cruise on the June Bahtra 'junk' and a longtail boat (see details at www.asian-oasis.com) which was excellent, with only a small number of passengers (14 when we went), a friendly crew and very good views, food and all-round experience. One small point to note though is that swimming time in the afternoon is straight off the boat into the sea and not at an island as stated.

Wifi: Not available free in rooms but accessible at the Lobby Bar, where there are also some fixed internet terminals. Speed generally good other than when a large number of guests decide to stream football matches to their ipads at the same time..

Bar: The doubling up of the bar as the wifi area means that it usually full of people staring into their devices while sipping drinks, which makes for a quiet atmosphere and often a shortage of space. The entertainment consists of a single, very good, singer/guitar player who is in the Lobby Bar most evenings. Meanwhile there are 'theme nights' in one or other of the hotel restaurants several times a week - the theme being largely about the food rather than entertainment.

Overall the Merlin is a very good, fairly quiet hotel giving value-for-money: we very much liked it. Recommended if this is what you're looking for.

Room Tip: Higher floor towards front of hotel are quieter and block 2 there seems to be most recent.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7 Thank Daisy270
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2013

Just had 6 days at the Merlin Resort Khao Lak, situated on the old Khao Lak beach where the main village use to be. Hotel was nice enough, food was good and fortunately we got upgraded to the garden villa's because we had booked adjoining rooms but none were available.

What struck us immediately as we walked through the 100 or so sun loungers on the grassed area above the beach was the silence and the average age of around 70 years. Day in, day out the same (mainly German and some Finnish) pensioners awoke and placed their towels on the same loungers around 7am, went off for breakfast and then sunbathed all day, every day, before dissapearing off to bed around 7pm. So if you're looking for a quite time with zero action after 7pm (the hotel was literally empty after this time, beach bar shut etc) then this is the place for you. Fortunately there were some lovely restaurants down the beach (Baan Sunetra at the north end) to get a very nice meal not at crazy high Merlin restaurant prices. The beach bar sold mostly fried western food with few Thai options.

Khao Lak beach is glorious, with lots of space and rock pools, so if you have kids like we do, I can certainly recommend the beach, but try and different resort

Room Tip: I didnt see the normal rooms so cannot comment
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank geoff f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kihei, Hawaii
Level Contributor
39 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2013

This is quite a nice hotel. Lots of cool pools. Nice beach. Not cramped, even though it isn't a small hotel. Very nicely built up. Probably pretty good for children, I would think. Only complaint I have is the Internet (which I am somewhat dependent upon). No in-room Internet (they say you can buy a card, but the wireless doesn't reach to all rooms) and the internet in the public area is spotty at best.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarkusEgger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waikanae, New Zealand
Level Contributor
44 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 24, 2013

Wow. This was the second part of a two part Merlin stay. This hotel is divine. The first impression... a lovely greeting from a young man ready to take our luggage. No language barriers here. Beautifully spoken english. He is wonderful. We were escorted to an exquisite room. Our own private deck that if you take a couple of steps you are beside a small luxurious pool. Has spa lounges submerged in water. Only a few rooms have his direct access. The bathroom is palacial. The grounds are beautiful as is the beach . White sand . The restaurant is lovely and food delicious. The room are serviced by beautiful woman. Nothing to complain about here. If you want a luxerious holiday this is it.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank foxy3161
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2013

Arrival: We were picked up by a private car at the airport and taken to the hotel. We arrived at the Hotel around 9pm on 25th Dec '12 for 10 days incl New Year. Typical Thai fast, friendly and efficient service at checking-in, with a welcome drink and cold flannel.

Room: Spacious, clean, could do with more cupboard space and/or shelving. Complimentary bottled water, tea, coffee. Our room was on the 2nd floor, however, a fair bit of noise during the night - doors slamming, toilets flushing and general plumbing noises. A couple of nights there was a pack of dogs barking and howling just outside our room! Also, beware lots of stairs and ramps to cope with, so if you are disabled or incapacitated in any way, you need to ask for a ground floor room.

Food in hotel: Good standard of food in general. We were only B&B, but breakfast was great - lots of variety to suit all nationalities, and we did eat a few meals in the hotel. However, you can get better, tastier, much much cheaper and more variety outside the hotel where there are numerous eating places! In fact, the menu choices there, were more than the Merlin were offering!!

Pools: Good, clean and not over run. I think there were 4 pools...

Spa: DIVINE!! We had the Couples Package, then I booked a spa treatment every other day. Treatments and products were high quality, professional and affordable. You can get cheaper massages outside the hotel, but I suppose the hotel spa offers more in the way of 'ambience'.

Beach: slightly disappointing as sun loungers are not allowed on the beach/sand, but have to be on the grass lawn on hotel property. The beds were quite close together, and not many parasols and I was unable to relax due to fellow hotel guests talking loudly, smoking, kids screaming, etc etc. The beach itself is lovely and clean.

We got put off from swimming in the sea - despite seeing loads of people in there - as there were signs put up warning of jelly fish! We prefer the beach and the sea but ended up lying on the sun loungers near the Hydro-pool which was quiet and peaceful and hardly anyone used it, so we had it to ourselves!

General: You need to take mossie spray for sure! You'll need to spray even first thing in the morning when you go for breakfast (I forgot one day and got bitten to hell!).

There is nothing to do round the hotel, so if you get bored, take a taxi to Khao Lak (150 bhat for 2 person), where you will find the usual souvenir and jewellery shops, bars and restaurants, etc. We also tried the Bang Niang market - much better for shopping than Khao Lak. It's only on a Mon, Wed and Sat and just further on from Khao Lak. You MUST try the banana pancakes - they are to die for!!

We went to the compulsory New Year's Eve Gala Dinner (with a cowboy theme)!! This was held on the lawn near the beach and as usual, the banquet laid on was huge!

The hotel grounds are extensive, and have a jungle look to it - moats running through the hotel. However, it needed some gardening maintenance and general tidying up - it was fairly messy (but that's just compared to some other places we have stayed in Phuket, Hua Hin, Zanzibar).

We went Elephant Trekking - this is located on the main road before you turn into the smaller road taking you to Merlin Hotel. As we had done it before, we only went for a half hour, it was ok, the Mahoot was friendly and our Elly kept stopping for a pee and a pooh!

Not sure we would go back, although we did have a good time, I didn't have a proper good night's sleep in the 10 days we were there and the fact that we couldn't swim in the sea (jellyfish) were the main things that spoilt it for us.

Room Tip: Ask for a top floor room (but then you'll have loads of stairs) but at least you wont have any n...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank E Bloxham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2013

Stayed here for 3 nights in Jan 13. Whole experience was amazing. Friendly helpful staff, big rooms with good sized balcony. Massive bathroom. Everything clean and tidy. Food delish and cheap. Buffet breakfast had a massive variety to choose from. Would defiantly return! Highly recommend.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Abc123456255103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Khaolak Merlin Resort

Property: Khaolak Merlin Resort
Address: 7/7 Phetkasem Road, Khao Lak 82210, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Khao Lak
#7 Spa Hotel in Khao Lak
#8 Luxury Hotel in Khao Lak
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Khao Lak
#14 Romantic Hotel in Khao Lak
#15 Family Hotel in Khao Lak
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Khaolak Merlin Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 236
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Khaolak Merlin Resort is a deluxe resort with style inspired by Thailand's rich culture, situated approximately 50 minutes away from Phuket International Airport yet set amongst peaceful tropical forest landscape and tranquil beaches. It has direct access to 190 meters of Khao Lak Beach front and is surrounded by 15 acres of lush tropical gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Khaolak Merlin Khao Lak
Khaolak Merlin Hotel Khao Lak

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