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“Not what it pretends to be...”

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The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani
Ranked #16 of 70 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 13, 2013

it was with much anticipation we came to the Sands for a week from 30 December, having wondered if it would be open in time. Given how it looks on their website and it is part of the Katathani group, we had high expectations about the standard of the property and service that were unfortunately unfulfilled.
The facilities themselves are fine - fresh and new, but cheaply built, and i would guess that the hotel will look shabby pretty quickly. The Sands rooms are quite small - I would like to know how they measure them to claim the size they give them on the website.
First the pros:
good location, walking distance to lots of shops, restaurants, etc
free wifi throughout the resort is a nice touch
on site restaurants are of reasonable quality and relatively inexpensive
the pool, although not huge for the number of guests, is very nice
the bath towels are very large and soft
Now the cons:
We were part of a group of 7 families, and only one family actually got the rooms they booked. Some were upgraded for free because their selected room type was unavailable, while others were "upsold" to the next level and had to pay for the privilege (there is even an item on the bill on checkout that refers to "upselling" - presumably they plan on doing this regularly).
Despite the fact that we all requested interconnecting rooms with our children when we made our reservations in July, we were told on arrival that we hadn't asked for them, and then that there weren't many of those, so in some instances, children under 10 were located in rooms down the hall from their parents - we had to pay for an upgrade to a different category of room to get interconnecting.
Housekeeping was woeful - we could forgive them forgetting towels, or drinking water or whatever, but could not forgive the broken glass and blood stain still on the floor 5 days after a bottle was broken, or the mattress and bed linen not only stained but wet from the previous occupant's "accident".
We were charged 1500 baht extra per night for a third bed for our 13 year old - no bed was ever provided, but a sofa was made up (according to their website, kids under 12 get the sofa for much lesser charge, but those 12 and over get a bed). The sofa is much smaller than a normal bed (both length and width) - it might fit a 6 year old, but our kids just could not stretch out. We asked repeatedly for a proper bed, were told they were all being used, and on check out when we objected to the charge for what was effectively a cot, they claimed that was all there was.
We were there for the compulsory New Years Eve banquet - and were stunned that at 5000 baht per person (including for kids 12 and over) not even soft drinks (let alone alcohol) were included. That they also charged extra for kids entertainment and games that night is quite incredible.
It is the only resort in Asia that i have ever stayed that does not make complimentary iced water available by the pool - it is pretty hot there, and they make you buy bottled water at pretty steep mark ups to re hydrate.

in summary, don't be fooled by appearances - this is built and operated like a 3 - 4 star property, trading off its association with a 5 star relative.

Room Tip: Don't even think about a Sands room if there are more than 2 small people!
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank langkawi-lisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, Guest Relations Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2013

Dear langkawi-lisa,

Thank you for your recent review on Tripadvisor about our new property. All your pros and especially the cons have been shared with all departments concerned and we will do our best to improve on every scale according to the expectations of our guests and our own as well. Having said that I would like to point out some statements of your review that appear to have been a result of miscommunication or a misunderstanding.

While the hotel is just 10 weeks in operation and in the process of developing its own culture and unique services in the area of Khao Lak, it is not so much of “what it pretends to be” but more of a goal and expectation that we work very hard for to reach as soon as possible. A lot of progress has been already done and your valuable feedback will surely support us to reach this goal in no time. Thus I like to encourage you to visit us again and to give us the opportunity to demonstrate you the progress and development we make day by day.

I also would like to apologize that your request for interconnecting rooms could not have been satisfied the way you expected, however I need to mention here that all requests are subject to availability and the connecting rooms have been at no point guaranteed during the reservation process. In case all interconnecting rooms in the booked category are sold out it is up to the guest and room availability to choose another room-category. The term “upselling” is used on every occasion when a guest decides to go for a higher room category which usually involves a supplement charge and is in no way related to the request of interconnecting rooms.

As for drinks and snacks please note that in our on-site “Melon” shop you can purchase everything at regular mini-mart prices with no extra charges added.

Last but not least I also feel it is necessary to say that after all efforts and compromises our management went into to make sure the stay of your group with us will be relaxing and enjoyable, it is quite disappointing to see that it apparently has not been enough to reach the goal. Nevertheless we will gladly welcome you back again in The Sands Khao Lak on another occasion and try our best to meet your expectations then.

With kind regards, Jakub Piwowarski, Customer Relations Manager

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Reviewed January 12, 2013

We came to the Sands Khao Lak to end our Thailand trip and we were not disappointed! It is a new resort and well situated. Our room is a pool access room overlooking a beautiful lagoon. It was my first time staying in this kind of room and we loved it :) The room looks very fresh from the white color tone. I like the small decoration details in the room e.g. the lip-shaped couch and
the ceiling lamp with small leafs. I also like the small plunge pool which is connected to the bigger pool, it gave us a feeling of having our own mini pool. The aroma oil they put in the room smells really nice. The resort looked very busy because of the holiday season, but we enjoyed our quiet time at our room terrace. The beach in front of The Sands is nice although the tide was quite high in the morning when we went for a walk. We had dinner at the restaurant by the beach once and it was perfect!

The Sands is located around 5 minutes to the center so it was very convenient to go out. Good location and the staff was very friendly and helpful. I always love the Thai smile :) Thank you,The Sands! We had a great time and we hope to be back one day.

Overall, Great location, great hotel & rooms, great staff!

Room Tip: Pool Access Room! Great value for the money
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank NorCal1929
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, Guest Relations Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2013

Dear NorCal1929,

Thank you for your review and great to see you loved the room! Please come back whenever you plan yo visit Khao Lak again!

With warm regards, Jakub Piwowarski, Customer Relations Manager

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Reviewed January 10, 2013

The hotel has only recently opened and we just enjoyed a 3 night stay there. Our very large room had a really interesting design in light colours with a cute comfy terrace overlooking newly planted gardens through a completely transparent glass safety screen. Plenty of grass for sun beds both near the sandy beach and the pool. Excellent breakfast with the usual European standards plus great range of Thai breakfast specialities, some of which were prepared by chefs sitting in long tail boats floating in the lagoon adjacent to the restaurant. Unlike many Thai resorts, the prices are net and not plus taxes etc and a Mohito cocktail at 200 Baht (about £4.00) was great value. My partner thought the gym was very well equipped. Overall, an excellent experience with friendly staff and good value restaurants and bar..

Room Tip: Ground floor rooms have direct pool or garden access but higher rooms have more privacy.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank BC52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, Guest Relations Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded May 21, 2013

Dear BC52, we are delighted to read that you have enjoyed your stay at our resort and appreciate the great rating on TripAdvisor. Thank you for excellent review about our Food and Beverage outlets! We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Sands on your next visit to Thailand. With warm regards,

Customer Relations Manager

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Reviewed January 6, 2013

We decided to take a chance with this new resort in Khao Lak and we think it paid off. Our arrival was just few days after the resort opened and we realized that it would not be completely finished. For our favor, our booked room, the family room, wasn't ready yet, and we recieved an upgrade to beach front suite, 2nd floor. Absolutely nothing to complain there. Great room and view.

The floating restaurant was not finished at the time, so we used the other one next to the beach mainly for breakfasts. As some others have written in the review, it was very good, but not great. Pool menus have place for improvements both in variety and quality.

Kids club had the premises ready, but at the time there was no activities like in some other hotels (t-shirt painting, candle making etc.) so our kids aged 7 and 9 got bored in minutes and rather played by the pool.

The resort begin with the maintenance of the beach during our stay collecting the stuff that tides bring to it, and I can't see anyone complaining about the beach. It's kilometers wide, and you can pick your spot where to lay down and enjoy the beach. The hotels keep the loungers in the hotel yard area, so the beach is for everyone - all the way.

We are quite picky about the hotel quality but still our verdict is that we defenitely hope to come back soon. This resort is really beautiful, spacious and it showed potential to be great. Hotel staff was always very polite and nice. The spirit among the staff seemed to be good. Special thanks to the hotel manager, Anna, for the hospitality and big heart she showed during our stay.

The resort is very well located just 5 mins walk to the mains street, and you can still ask for a ride with the hotel club cars.

Family with two kids, 7 and 9. Finland.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Olli02360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, Guest Relations Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded May 21, 2013

Dear Olli02360, thank you for your excellent rating on TripAdvisor. We are delighted to hear that we could meet your expectations already in the first month of our resort. Our apologies for any inconvenience you might have experienced, but our Kids Club is full running by now with many activities for children, same as the breakfast has already moved to the Floating Market. We still conduct beach cleaning on regular basis for a better environment and also more safety. We look forward to welcoming you back at our resort, and hope you like the changes we have made since your last visit. Warm regards,

Customer Relations Manager

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Reviewed January 2, 2013

The hotel is beautiful, the rooms looks great! After one night we got traded up to a suite free of charge! The breakfast is great, not amazing but great. A couple of things was bad.
1. The food in the "floating marked" restaurant. Eat there twice and it was NOT GOOD at all!
2. Since it was our honeymoon my husband had waited to the end of our three weeks to order a "romantic dinner at the beach" (most of the hotels offer this for an extra charge, they set up a table at the beach with candles and make it really romantic)......... Well the staff TOTALLY FAILED in this! I had looked so much foreward to this and i got SO SAD when they didnt come true. It had been raining earlyer in the day so when we came down to the beach they just had a normal table for us in the restaurant, no candles or ANYTHING! They had made NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to make it romantic! It was suppose to be the perfect end of our honeymoon and it ended with us leaving the restaurant after a average meal and dissapointment!

We wont be going back.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank K J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, Guest Relations Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded January 19, 2013

Dear K J,

Thank you for your recent review on TripAdvisor and your fair rating. I believe it would have been 5 stars if not the disappointment about the food & beverage and your honeymoon arrangements.

The Katathani Resorts in Phuket are proud for being the most popular destination for honeymooners and future brides and grooms. While this expertise is unique and re-known in Phuket we are working hard to ensure that also The Sands in Khao Lak will get there shortly which also includes improvements in our food & beverage section.

Having said that I hope that you might re-consider your decision and give us another opportunity to take care of you upon your next visit to Khao Lak.

With warm regards from Khao Lak,
Jakub Piwowarski, Guest Relations Manager

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

My wife and 2.5 year old son stayed at the Sands Khao Lak for 4 nights in December over Christmas and we have a very mixed experience there, very good and pretty bad and contributed to the 3-star rating. We stayed in the pool-access Junior Suite in the block near the main lobby. We stayed in the resort throughout our entire stay as our intention was to relax and it is hard to travel around with a young child.

In general, I think that this place offer very good value for money and is also very new. The staff is very keen to please and the place is also not crowded as I think some rooms are being worked on.
The constuction appears to be on-going as I can sometimes hear intermittent drilling sounds but it doesn’t bother us at all.During our stay, we observed workers putting up directional signs (“this way to beach”, “room 500-800 -” etc and also release fish into the pond.
One time, we had workers working on the deck of our room and we were advised by the hotel staff to locked the access door and pull the blinds for privacy.

The food is pretty good and the kids’ club is also a good distraction for my young child. My gripe is that my son was badly bitten by mosquitos (see review below).

Transfer and Check-in
We arranged for a private car transfer THB 2,000 and the pick up was quite ok. We arrived in the hotel at 10:30am local time. I understand that the check-in is 2pm but we were hoping that the room is available earlier. The staff wanted us to wait another hour to get the room ready (they offered to layout bedding on the sofa for our child which was pretty good.
The one-hour wait was reasonable as we had arrived early. I asked them whether my family can just use the room to change/shower and then they prepare the extra bedding? The staff responded by letting my family use an available room to change while our junior suite is being prepared (which is nice of them).
There were some workers loitering around that block with the temporary room. Amazingly, the shower’s drainage clogged while we were taking a shower! Luckily, our suite does not have this problem!

Pool-access Junior Suite
When we checked in the room, we noted that it looks a little ‘dusty’ and there were some mosquitoes flying around. I suspect that the room’s doors or windows were being left opened for a long time. We asked the staff to clean the room again. The house-keeping service was pretty prompt. We also asked for extra water (complimentary) and again the service was very prompt. I will give top-scores to the house-keeping staff.
The Junior suite is of a decent size. There are sliding doors separating the bathroom from the rest of the room, so we can make the bathroom ‘open’ or ‘private’ depending on the needs. Generally, since our kid is still young, we prefer an open bathroom as there are no blind spots where we cannot really see what the child is doing for safety reasons.
The furnishing in the suite/room was pretty ‘basic’ but completely new. The whole place looks functional and does not have a ‘luxury’ feel. This is actually fine for us.
The pool-access is pretty nice. It is linked to the an L-shaped pool and we can swim laps if we choose to. Each room also have a little ‘niche’ where one can sit in the water.
The down-side of our stay is that when we woke up the next day after spending the first night in the suite, my son’s face and feet (exposed areas) were covered with mosquito bite marks. He is allergic and there is swelling on these areas. Luckily he is one resilent person and didn’t really scratch and complain. This is after we ‘killed’ like 5-10 mosquitoes before turning in the night.
His condition was so bad that I feel like packing our bags and going home.
We complained to the hotel staff who installed some repellent to the room (again prompt service). We also adjusted the air conditioner’s temperature to waydown< 20 degrees C to discourage biting.
But throughout our stay, there were mosquitoes in our room although after the first night, we did not really get bitten.

Spa
My wife and I tried out the spa on separate occasions. Overall, it was pretty ok. The treatment was pretty good value for money. A 1-hour massage cost THB 1,600. However, the spa, like the room also looked pretty ‘basic’.

Food-Breakfast
We ate in the resort 3-meals a day. The breakfast spread was pretty wide. The fruits were very fresh and we especially like it. The cooked food like noodles and so on are not very good. The confectionary like pastries and so on is not very good. The place has a pancake station making fresh pan cakes and it was pretty good.

Food-Room Service and restaurants
We either ordered room service or had meals at the resort’s restaurant. The food at the restaurant was pretty good and pretty good value for money. We ordered a kid’s meal and 2 entrees (no drinks) and cost us between THB 600 and THB 1000. The Green Curry was especially good.
The room service was also pretty prompt, they will say 20 mins but typically are here at 15 mins.

Kids club and gym
There is a nice kids’ club which my son really loves, one parent will spend about 1-2 hours with him playing in there while the other is working out or in the spa. The items there are brand new and it was not overly crowded.
The gym is also pretty nice. One general observation is that the place is not packed. I think when it is completely full there will be over crowding. For example,there is only 2 treadmills.

Pool and Beach
The stretch of beach is not very nice. The beach looks pretty small. My son have a great time playing in the waves and picking up sea shells. It was also not overly windy when we were there.
There is lounge chairs available each time we are at the beach/pool. There are staff available to move lounge chairs around and to fold and unfold umbrellas etc.
The pool’s children area is also pretty nice.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank Woon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, General Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Firstly I would like to thank you for taking your time to write a detailed feedback of our resort. We are always looking to improve our services and we appreciate your comments. We will share your kind comments regarding the efficiency and friendliness of the staff to everyone. I am so sorry to hear of your son’s bad experience with regards to mosquito nuisance. I have instructed our housekeeping staff to pay more attention especially to the rooms and reviewed our monthly fumigation schedule. We have passed on your comments regarding some particular food items which do not meet your satisfaction to the chef. Regarding the beach, our resort is located on Nang Thong Beach which is almost 2 km long. You may have experienced the high tide; as a result the beach looked smaller than usual. Once again, we are thankful for your feedback and hope to welcome you back again.

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

This is a brand new hotel but the building was thrown together and the staff needs training. Stay somewhere else until they get their act together. The pond in the middle of the sprawling property is not attractive and the construction quality is substandard for the rates they charge.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
9  Thank Venice Traveler C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katathani1, General Manager at The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

We are sorry to hear that we failed to meet your expectation. We have intensified training sessions and adjusted our standard of service to meet the guest satisfaction in the busy season. Kindly note that the pond in front of the lobby is in fact a natural lagoon. To enhance its setting, we have planted the trees and water plants in the surrounding area. Your comment regarding the construction quality have been put to the management team for further improvement. Thank you for your feedback which is always important to us.

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Additional Information about The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani

Address: 10/18 Moo 7, Petchkasem Road | Khuek Khak, Takua Pa, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 70 Hotels in Khao Lak
Price Range: $86 - $269 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani 5*
Number of rooms: 316
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