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.
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