I wonder if I have just spent a long weekend in the same place as other reviewers on this site....As an expat resident in Bangkok, I am not too hung up on subjective notions of cleanliness but Cha Am itself really challenged even my liberal views (and believe me, I have lived in some real god forsaken places). The "beach" itself is hard to spot in places as there is a layer of left over picnic meal detritus and general rubbish scattered on the sand or gently floating in the water along with a large local population of jelly fish. The hotel "boasts" of providing sun umbrellas for guests on the beach - I laughed out loud when I saw the motley collection of broken and crooked rusty things that once upon a time used to be parasols, not to mention the sad and scratchy deck chairs gathered underneath; clearly the needs of the hotel guests on the beach are a very low priority to the hotel. The town itself is a dismal, forgotten sort of place; the only colour coming from 3 or 4 shops selling inflatable crocodiles and beachwear. At night we watched the sunset from our hotel balcony across an expanse of wasteland between our hotel and the next one. The nightly chorus of howling stray dogs added another miserable layer. In fact, with the howls echoing off all the concrete hotel walls, it sounded almost as if the dogs were indulging in their own karaoke party.
The hotel itself was fine, nothing special. The 3 pools everyone mentions are ok, you can swim in them but they are narrow with narrow decks which obliges guests to invade each others body space rather more than is desirable.
The fitness room could do with a good clean. The yoga mat needs replacing as does the weights machine which has frayed cables and I don't recall anyone needing or using a hula hoop in such a place let alone one that has been mended with gaffer tape....The bike and treadmill worked.
The most extraordinary thing I encountered during my stay however was to be found in our room. It was the notion that the person who designed the hotel thought that guests would like to be able to see each other on the loo whilst lying on the bed. This added extra came courtesy of a huge window in an internal wall directly from one side of the bath and into the bedroom by the side of the bed. My eight year old daughter thought it was hilarious that she could see into the bathroom and watch the occupant.....the wooden venetian blind that had been installed to attempt to provide the necessary privacy (once someone realised that this window was not such a brainwave) of course didn't shut all the way down so the entertainment continued until I cobbled together a sort of curtain. The food, bar, staff and general service were all of an acceptable standard. On the last day, my husband attempted to address the issue of the filthy beach with someone from the managers office but she just laughed and said sorry.....clearly, not the sort of reaction that suggests that the beach is going to be cleaned any time soon.
We were impatient to get back to Bangkok and just a little sad that this was our first experience of a family beach holiday in Thailand.
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- Also Known As:
- Tara Mantra Cha Am Hotel Cha-Am