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.
- 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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