We travel for many years and use TripAdvisor as a reliable source of information. It has almost never turned us down and we wrote many positive reviews for places we liked.
This time we feel we must share our experience with you since the positive reviews of this resort do not reflect the true image.
We planned to stay 5 nights in this resort, but eventually we left after 3 nights. You can read our story below and understand why.
We arrived Blue Ocean Garden Beach resort in the afternoon. It is located just a few steps from the beautiful beach of Haad Chao Pao. The room was clean (even though we found a large cockroach in the bathroom once), it has all the necessary equipment (AC, private bathroom, TV, closet, etc...) and it has a nice view of the garden. However, the room is not isolated enough - we could easily hear the kitchen behind it and the bass from a near pub almost all night.
The resort itself is very pleasant and isolated. There are very few scattered bars and restaurants in a walking distance from the resort. If you want get out to a more crowded area you must rent a motorbike or use a taxi. Renting a motorbike can be problematic since you have to leave your passport (not sure it's legal, but that's the way it was wherever we checked). Moreover, taxis are pretty expensive in Koh Phangan, even by western standards. If you don't plan to rent a motorbike and don't plan to spend most of your vacation in the resort, look for other areas (maybe Thong Nai Pai Noi).
Right after our arrival we were hungry and asked the woman at the reception (she looked one of the seniors) to recommend a restaurant around the area. Her answer was very clear: since they own the restaurant in the resort she won't recommend any other restaurant. We were surprised by that answer... We then walked 15 minutes south and found Peppercorn which is a great steak and Italian restaurant we found using TripAdvisor (recommended!).
On our 2nd day we asked Andy (the owner) about the laundry service they offer. He immediately said we can bring him our laundry and it will take no more than 24 hours so we'll get our laundry tomorrow afternoon top. When we came back at 8pm the next day and asked for our laundry he dismissed us saying it will be ready only tomorrow because we "sent it in the evening". He then said "if you really need it I can call the laundry service", like he is doing us a favor. He could easily apologized by saying it is not ready yet and we would have accepted it. We were disappointed again.
The day after, we asked Andy to arrange us a taxi for Thong Nai Pai Noi. Andy said it costs 1200 baht. We were surprised again since yesterday we asked the same thing from another woman at the reception and she said it's 1000 baht. So Andy checked again with the driver and the price became 1000 again. Andy then commented that the price on the way back will probably be much more expensive and can reach 1600 baht, to justify his previous price of 1200 baht. Should i mention that the taxi on the way back costed 800 baht with air conditioning? Never mind, we moved on.
We decided to shorten our stay at Koh Phangan so we approached the reception 3 nights before we were supposed to check out and asked nicely if it is okay with them if we leave a day earlier. The lady looked at the papers and said they are okay with that. We were happy and changed our trip accordingly. The next morning, during our breakfast on the beach, Andy came to us to "clarify" that even though we check out a day before, we still have to pay for it and that the lady at the reception (which also looked one of the seniors) thought we are only informing her about our plans (like we need her approval for that). It was very clear that the lady made a "mistake" and Andy was trying to get the extra 1700 baht (price for one night). At the end of an argument during our breakfast, in front the guests and his staff he called me a "scammer"...
This time we weren't disappointed. We were offended. We left the resort a few hours later, paying for the two extra nights left (including the one in question). Again, the whole situation could be handled much more elegantly, but the owner could not hide its true face in critical times.
Conclusion: the management is horrible, but the place is pleasant. The restaurant is convenient but the prices are way too high for this part of Thailand and the "thai food" is far from authentic (go to the Beach Lounge in Thong Sala for real thai food).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- *CONTACT US DIRECTLY FOR AVAILABILITY* Established in 2007 under Italian and Thai management, Blue Ocean Garden is a beachfront resort featuring three affordable types of bungalows and rooms, and restaurant La Dolce Vita, serving Italian and Thai cuisine right on the beach. Facilities are a combination of Italian design and modern Thai style, which create a feeling of elegance and relaxation. With just few rooms, the atmosphere is always friendly and intimate, ideal for romance seekers and nature lovers. All facilities are built around a tropical garden slightly descending to the beach and treated with care. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Blue Ocean Garden Beach Hotel Koh Phangan