Salad Beach Resort was the last hotel my boyfriend and I stayed on our visit to Thailand this August. Previously we’d been in Bangkok, then Koh Samui. This was our first visit to Thailand.
Salad Beach had been recommended by a friend as a place to stay, since it was so quiet and relaxing, so we decided it’d be ideal for the end of our break and for my 30th birthday (which the whole holiday was for).
Salad Beach Resort was suggested by the guy booking our holiday for us and it looked nice – although some of the reviews on the main building accommodation had me worried (and we knew before we went this was the area our room was going to be in).
As with other hotels I’d arranged a taxi transfer to the hotel, so at Thong Sala pier we were met by a hotel rep who took us and two other couples to the hotel via their ‘taxi’ (typical Salad Beach transport) – the suitcases went on the roof. After a beautiful ride through the jungle surrounds we arrived at the resort to the hotel’s open air reception and were greeted with the garden and wooden paradise that is Salad Beach resort – we felt like we were staying in a treehouse at times, it was lovely.
We knew this was going to be more basic than where we’d stayed previously due to the size of the beach resort and we’d been told Koh Phangan overall wasn’t as touristy. I was a bit disappointed not to get a welcome drink on arrival and to find we had to pay immediately for our taxi transfer and my birthday ‘party’ we’d paid for in advance (a pretty pricey 4800THB meal that included a private area on the beach with decorations, our own waiter, a three course meal, fireworks and lanterns).
On reaching our room we realised it was a lot more basic here, but it was still nice and clean. Even in the shower you felt like you were outdoors due to the stone walls, but I liked that. In some ways it reminded me a little of holidays to Greece and their well-known plumbing system since you couldn’t put paper down the toilets and the shower wasn’t super powerful and took a while to heat up. That said the bed again was huge and the room was nicely decorated, we had a nice little balcony overlooking some gardens/pond area too.
Our first impressions weren’t great when we left the room to head to the beach since we arrived later in the afternoon, so although we were stunned with how beauty the little bay is and how quiet, we were disappointed to find all the decking area above the beach which belonged to the hotel had no sunloungers left (there are only around 8 or so). The same happened at the pool area (there were more loungers here but not loads). Tip for you – in the room you get two big bath towels each, one white and one blue, the blue one is your beach towel and gets changed every day (as does your bath towel). We decided to go on the beach with just our small beach towels we had ourselves and found it a bit uncomfortable.
Be warned it gets hot here, very hot, the bay is so open to the sun, the sand is so white it is very bright. Obviously both these things are lovely and make for beautiful scenery. There are good areas for diving near here too so there are a few bits of coral in the water – just spy them out earlier in the morning and then you can work out where is best to swim/paddle. The sea also gets very hot, in some places it feels like being in a hot bath, no exaggeration!
We wanted this as relaxing stay and had four nights here so we just stayed in and around the resort – we ate the inclusive breakfast in the hotel, sunbathed on the beach front loungers, had lunch at one of the beachfront restaurants nearby, sunbathed by the pool later in the afternoon and had dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants. I can highly recommend Salad Hut – amazing service, great food and huge portions. Also Sunset Bar after dinner for extremely relaxed cocktails/beers is a must! On our last night we went to a Muay Thai boxing match in Thong Sala ‘stadium’ , it was great fun and pretty cheap.
We also wanted to go on the highly advertised night squid fishing trip, but sadly it was too windy when we were there. Another tip – the evenings get very windy here and the tide comes in – you can still walk on the beach to the restaurants but your feet might get a little wet! Although it’s windy it’s still boiling hot though don’t worry!
The breakfast at the hotel is nice but a bit smaller compared to other places we stayed – you can have pancakes, scrambled or fried eggs, toast, a small selection of fruit, a few hot choices (bacon runs out quick) and tea, coffee or orange juice. Regardless it was still very nice.
The only disappointing aspect of our stay and something that saddened me a little with this hotel was that the staff were friendly, but when they couldn’t help you or had something bad to tell you suddenly their English was a struggle. Also for a place where everyone is so friendly and everything is such good value I didn’t like how they wanted all the money up front when we got there and as for my birthday party…
Well the decorated area, food and service were amazing – I loved it, a great way to celebrate. We had two fireworks set off by staff for us on the beach, these were good if brief. However, the lanterns we never got to do as it was too windy and every night we asked it was too windy. Obviously I’d already paid for this… Now I understand places can’t be blamed for weather conditions, but the squid fishing trip was not on until the next month they told us because of August being too windy. This to me says that obviously you don’t offer customers lanterns in these weather conditions as you know they aren’t going to be able to use them. PLUS on Koh Samui every night there were people selling lanterns and fireworks really cheap and my boyfriend and I purposely didn’t get them because we were saving that experience to make it special on my 30th. I was really upset we never got to do them.
On check out I tried to discuss this and again the staff suddenly had trouble understanding me – the basic outcome was they wouldn’t give me any money back as it was ‘part of the package’, despite me explaining it’s not part of the package if you don’t get it. They also suggested they give me the lanterns to take home to the UK with me…
I don’t want to put a whole dampener on our whole stay here, but it just saddened me that this was the only bad thing out of our whole holiday and it happened to be on a very special occasion. I found the Thai people nothing but kind, welcoming, polite and helpful and this incident just made me feel like they’d been a bit sneaky and conned me in some way.
Overall, I would recommend this hotel as it was a in a lovely location, the grounds were great and everything about it was nice, if more basic than other areas. My only tip – don’t bother organising a private meal, you can get food and a meal on the beach for much better value elsewhere, and if you ever get to go on the squid fishing trip let me know what it was like!
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- Also Known As:
- Salad Beach Hotel Koh Phangan
- Salad Beach Ko Phangan