I had pretty high expectations for this place, being one of the most expensive on the islands. I got married the week before on Samui with my friends and family - the location and accommodation there exceeded any dream I could ever conjure.
My immediate family and I then had a week to spend together at Panviman. We arrived elated and on a high prepared for a nice 5 star resort week of hanging out. When we arrived, the reception was brittle, they didn't seem to be expecting us and were rude from moment dot. It took us nearly 2 hours to check in because they had lost reservations. We were a group of 17 and had dropped a whooping amount of cash (our room alone (for 2) was the best part of £1000). They split our family up across the resort (a good 10-15 minute walk between rooms). The staff were extremely argumentative and insisted that the mix up was not their mistake (despite us having the printed reservation confirmations) and claimed it was an ebooking error. Regardless, I am not used to reservations staff casting blame elsewhere and taking so long to fix what is clearly an almighty screw up. After spending so much collectively, I would have expected a little bit of effort and politeness. I also would not expect them to be so aggressive that member of my family walked out shaking - great start, Panviman.
We would have moved on to the £5 bungalows next door (where my brother stayed and had an amazing time with very pleasant staff), however we were sure the resort would have charged our credit cards whether we stayed or not and what leg would we have to stand on in a dispute in Thailand? They had a pretty big stick to wave at us and they knew it. With a 1 year old and 2 small children sitting in the heat at reception, 2 hours was horrendous. There was a lot of arguing and the BIGGEST comedown from the most amazing holiday ever.
The blandness and grumpiness of the resort pretty much ruined the rest of the week. Many of our party changed their flights to leave early and we were so glad to get out of there and move on. I think, now, that if someone in the family is being lame we will accuse them of being 'panviman'.
Once checked in, we finally made it to our rooms, extra beds at B1500 per night (even for tiny children), B500 for internet, B2500 for some washing. Yep. To be expected for such a highly rated resort. Restaurant was fine - but only served during the day. During the week, we couldn't catch a taxi to save ourselves. Panviman reception did not know who we could call for a taxi and offered to drive us down the hill for B100 per person - literally 3 minute drive (but a hard walk with babies). We couldn't get to the port for our ferry on exit unless we paid B400 per person (insanely expensive compared to taxis, specially with so many of us). No transfers available (weirdly, since many cheap bungalows will transfer you for free).
When they gave me one of their cheap junky ball point pens to fill out the comments slip, they asked me three times to return it at different points. I returned it at the restaurant after my comments slip was complete, but reception ran after me demanding it back. SERIOUSLY?! Its seemed that everything reception did was patronising, gold-digging and unprofessional, soooooo strange for Thailand.
We don't generally travel 5*, we're pretty easy to please and I've never written a negative review before. But what a disappointment...
I mustn't neglect the nice things, because there were one or two.
1. Our room was beautiful, stunning views and clean. Well set out and high spec. It was £1000 pounds though so you'd expect that.
2. The domestic staff were wonderful. Smiley, chatty and always said Hi. They did a lovely job of the rooms everyday and left the towel animals I love so much. I liked to see the domestic staff about the resort, they were truly the jewels in a quarry.
3. Breakfast rocked the house. Loved it.
4. Pool - pretty cool for kids, so long as you keep them away from the infinity edge with a 20 meter drop and no protection.
Not much to counter being perpetually on edge, worrying that Panviman would get grumpy about something else. I wouldn't recommend it, and I would NEVER, EVER go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Resort with 94 rooms, 8 categories, 3 restaurants, 2 bars and room service, infinity view swimming pool, private beach, kayaking and more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Panviman Resort - Koh Pha Ngan Hotel Koh Phangan
- Panviman Hotel Ko Phangan
- Panviman Resort Ko Phangan