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“Very good accommodation but a little awkward at times”

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Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa
Ranked #55 of 70 Hotels in Khao Lak
Reviewed January 19, 2013

We chose this hotel because it was rated #1 on Trip Advisor. There are a lot of positives about it, and only a few neutral/negative. I will start with the positives: the property is very well kept, beautiful, and peaceful (with minor exception being some tree removal occurring on an adjacent lot, which is a temporary situation, but might also indicate that future construction may be in the works?). There's a view of the beach, and it's less than 5 minute walk to be in the water, though it's across a dirt path adjacent to the river, and then through some other beachfront establishments. The rooms are done in a VERY European style, with beautiful wood, European style beds (i.e. king bed is two separate mattresses positioned adjacent to one another). The bathroom is very nice, and the floors are a nice tile throughout. There is air-conditioning, but it keeps the room a modest comfortable, not freezing, which is fine.

The pool was fantastic, and is a highlight of the establishment. WARM and clean, and long enough to actually swim laps if you were so inclined. The main building with reception and a dining area is also pleasant with indoor and outdoor seating. The breakfast, which we had included, was very good, with many selections ranging from egg dishes to fruits and cereals. Quality ingredients. Strong excellent coffee, as well.

It's about a 10 minute walk to the section of Bang Niang where many of the restaurants are located. Part of this is on a fairly secluded dark road, but it felt safe. You should note that though this entire region is called Khao Lak, there are actually three distinct areas of Khao Lak that are spread out over a course of 5-10 miles along the main highway. If you want to go to a restaurant that's in one of the other areas of town, you will likely pay 300 BHT ($10 US) each way for your taxi. This doesn't sound like much, but it means you'll probably spend more on the taxi than on your actual meal. The point here is that you should be prepared for this, since not everything you may want will be walking distance.

Now for the neutral/negatives. I'll start with the ones that are more objective. The beds are not soft. This is probably the style, as opposed to being a quality issue, but if you're expecting pillowy luxury like a Hilton hotel, this is not that. The water pressure in the bathroom was marginal. I respect the desire to conserve water, but when you're done with a massage and covered with oils, or have spent the day in the ocean and are coated in salt, sometimes you really want to feel like you're getting very clean, and it was tough to get that with our shower.

Finally, some negatives that we experienced which maybe only apply to some. We didn't feel incredibly comfortable with the hosts. Markus and Bruno were polite and cordial, and they attended to the questions we had, and were even willing to accommodate a late checkout, which we appreciated. But we just felt slightly awkward in our interactions with them. We tried to ask for some recommendations of local restaurants on the first day, and the only one that we were able to elicit from Markus was for his wife's restaurant on the beach. The sense we had was that we were not going to get much more information than that, so we didn't push the question, and resorted to Trip Advisor to help us with our decisions. His wife's restaurant did have some of the best spring rolls that we ate on the entire trip, but the curry and soup that we ordered did not measure up to the other dining experiences we've had here in Thailand.

In terms of the overall experience, we still feel positive about our stay here, and we can recommend it. One of the other reviewers mentioned that there is more of a bed and breakfast feel than hotel or resort, and I would echo that sentiment. But, as one can expect at B&Bs, the dynamic between hosts and guests may be a factor.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Bob S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 11, 2013

Situated way down a quiet lane off the main road, though still walking distance from some shops and retaurants. The finish and quality of the hotel could not be faulted, akin to much more expensive hotels. The rooms were beautifully presented and included dressing gowns and the fluffiest slippers, very clean with high quality bathrooms. The sunken bath facing the sea was just perfect (and welcome after three days on a liveaboard) and Service however was a little patchy. On arrival our luggage sat in the middle of drive for about 10 mins. Meet and greet was a little slow as there was no one at all in sight , not a single guest or staff which made us feel a little eerie as if we had stumbled into a intriging but deserted film set. Once the manager/owner appeared, service was great, but the slightly clinical ambiance remained. Although you have a clear view of the sea the hotel does not directly front the beach, you have to walk 3 mins along a small public path, past a small tidal creek where the local fishermen moor their boats and through the beach restaurants. We quite enjoyed this walk but some might find it less convenient. The beachfront bars and restaurants are locally run, very friendly and laid back. the beach is not crowded with stunning views. We ate at 'my friend' beach restaurant which had excellent food at very reasonable prices. The food did take a long time to arrive as it was full but we were sent complimentary garlic bread to compensate, but be patient it is well worth it. Overall the hotel delivered what we wanted a lovely place to chill out, relax and recover from our exhilarating dive trip and we would definitely return. Only one niggle was breakfast which serves from 8.am (early starts on request) which was a la carte which is good, but also a la carte pricing which is less good. We spent more on breakfast than we did on our beach meal incl drinks! . That said food was good especially the fluffy pancake, it was just a pity we had to rush it as we had a taxi waiting to take us to the airport.

Room Tip: Choose a room with a sunken bath on the first floor facing the sea
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Bonvoyagenewmalden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012 via mobile

We definitely enjoyed our stay in riverside resort. Beach and town at a walking distance (but thru a not so nice path, moody and quite dirty). The resort itself has big spotless rooms and pool. Service is not of a resort standing but we didn't care as we do prefer this kind of more casual approach. Food is good but you need to order in advance if you want to eat in house which option we didn't use has there are really good restaurants nearby. The only thing is that the ac was a bit awkward and noisy.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank ichtar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

Marcus and Bruno have created a wonderful hotel here. If you like lots of facilities, loads of loungers cheek by jowl, kids clubs etc then this hotel may not be for you but if you like personal attention, quiet and luxurious surroundings then this will definitely appeal. The rooms are very spacious with a nice sofa and a generous balcony. The bath in the window is definitely a talking point. The beds are huge and very comfortable and the sheets were of the highest quality too which made our sleeps wonderful. Marcus or Bruno are always on hand if you need them and we found all the staff they employed delightful and hard working. We liked the fact that we were slightly back from the beach with a beautiful pool and nice garden and yet the restaurants, bars and massage ladies on the beach were all within a five minute walk. The river and fishermen tending to their boats were interesting to watch too. The town of Biang Niang is only about a ten minute walk away and there are plenty of taxis around if you don't fancy walking. Here there is a wider choice of restaurants, a night market three times a week and dive and souvenir shops. I would highly recommend staying here at the Riverside Resort. We had a brilliant time and would definitely like to go back some time.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank michPLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2012 via mobile

Thought this hotel was more centrally located , ie nearer the dive shops. The beach its on is quieter & has locally run resturants & bars(like Thailand used to be)The hotel is new with great views of the river going into the sea , from across it's well maintained pool & gardens.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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3  Thank Raze1303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

There's a reason why Khao Lak Riversie Resort and Spa is currently rated number one for hotels in Khao Lak. By far the value for money was spectacular and more than expected.

We stayed here during low season and our party took up three rooms. Only one other person was staying at the hotel so we felt pretty special. Bruno greeted us upon arrival and walked us through every aspect of check-in with ease and kindness.

For me, breakfast is everything and the resort hit it with flying colors. Breakfast is served a la cart from a menu and all you can eat. If you see something on the menu you like, just ask for it and it will be prepared for you. Our table was set up for us each morning and we never waited long for service or food. Everything tasted great and the waitress never made a mistake with our order(s). I especially liked the muesli with plain yoghurt, fruit salad with plain yoghurt, pancakes, orange juice and coffee; made fresh from an espresso machine. Although I like my coffee very strong, the potency of this coffee was not too strong and definitely not weak. I wish I could have tried everything on the menu, but each time I got too full trying. Such a simple but awesome idea.

We also enjoyed a one-hour massage from the spa. Since it was low season, we had to book the day ahead as Bruno had to bring in two masseurs just for us. The spa is split in two levels. The third floor has the massage room, which can cater two people at a time. The fourth floor has the sauna, which our friends tried and said they enjoyed. The massage room has a large picture window overlooking the pool so the morning light was part of the ambiance. I’m guessing it would have a totally different if we had the massage in the evening, which some may prefer, but for us, the not so dim room was just fine.

The swimming pool also impressed us. The entire hotel grounds are pretty much showcasing this large outdoor swimming pool and landscaping. Every room has a pool view, river view and ocean view. We love water so this concept scored well with us, and the higher your room the better the view. Since it was low season, swimming in the ocean wasn’t a good idea with the strong currents, so the pool was a fantastic alternative. Normally we don’t spend much time in any hotel swimming pool, but we couldn’t keep out of this one. The water was 29 C or higher and we could have swam in it all day. The pool lights are also set on a timer to turn off at 10 pm, but Bruno was nice enough to turn them back on when he noticed we were still in there. He even left then on until we finally dragged ourselves away around midnight.

I can only guess the hotel strives to deliver the same quality service during high season, but if you choose this hotel like we did in the low season, you'll see why it's King! It really felt like we owned the place for two fortunate days. We were also blessed with high season weather. It didn't rain a single drop while we were there.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank aaauuuoooo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here in May and absolutely loved it. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind. The owner and staff were very helpful, the hotel was very clean and the bedroom and bathroom were very spacious. The minibar prices were not ridiculous so it was lovely to sit on the balcony in the evening and have a drink. It was ideally situated on the beach but not too far from some lovely little restaurants and bars. We would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lucy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa

Address: 67/167 Moo 5, Bang Niang Beach | Khuekkhak Subdistrict, Takua Pa District, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #55 of 70 Hotels in Khao Lak
Price Range: $43 - $217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Khao Lak Riverside Resort & Spa is located along Thailand’s beautiful west coast, 90 km from Phuket International Airport. Situated next to Bang Niang River, overlooking the unspoiled Bang Niang Bay and the sapphire Andaman sea just 80 meter from the golden sandy beach. A total of 27 rooms designed and built in Asian-style, are spaciously positioned on 7200 m2 that guarantees private and quiet atmosphere. All elegant deluxe double rooms are fully air conditioned with individual climate control, mini bar, Satellite television, in-room safe, bedroom with king size or twin beds, outdoor balcony with a splendid panoramic view over Bang Niang River and the Andaman Sea.Private washroom, bathroom amenities, hair dryer, shower cabin, hot and cold water, toilet and washbasin, bathtub with stunning river and ocean view. ... more   less 
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