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“Very uneasy stay”
Review of Koh Tao Star Villa

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Koh Tao Star Villa
Ranked #3 of 142 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 13, 2013 via mobile

This was one of 6-7 accomodations we stayed in during our 2 week Xmas trip from Bangkok to Singapore via Hua Hin and Ko Tao/Samui in 2012/13.
There were five of us including my parents who are healthy but in their mid 70s.
I choose the accomodation based on good review on Tripadvisor and Booking websites.
The accomodation is a two storey villa built onto a very steep hill side. Top storey is a two bedroom penthouse unit that the owner couple usually lives in and lower storey are two one bed units. We booked the penthouse unit and one of the lower floor units.
The villa itself is design and engineering wise quite impressive and the owner couple must be given credit for that.
The problem is that this couple are too attached to their property. The photos shows the draconian House Rule you are required to sign as well as surrender your passport. Alan the owner admitted that he charged extra for a guest who regularly used his aircon with the window open. There are also rules about turning off all lights and all aircon that are not immediately required. The door to the room that has aircon on must be closed. The aircon temp must not be below 25 degrees or so. The remote to the penthouse living room aircon could not be found and there is no aircon in the living room of the one-bedder.
These rules are enforced as the couple live in a small detached builing nearby while they rent out the penthouse. I always had the feeling we were being watched like a hawk the whole time we were there. Very uncomfortable as I dont know these people and there are no other people about.
One of the reviewers mentioned that he walked back from Sairee beach. Amazing as it exhausted me just coming back squeezed in the owners old suzuki because of the slopes that even the four wheel driven car struggled with.
Most serious problem for our group was the stairs. The steepness of it the length of it the slipperiness of it and the narrowness of it. Potentially deadly for my elderly parents and not that comfortable for me and my wife as well. My parents very carefully went up to the penthhouse unit and did not come down until it was time to leave the next day.
We were booked for 2 nights but cancelled the second night for this reason. We offered to pay the advertised 30% cancellation fee and even 50% but unfortunately the owner couple wanted 100% and will not budge. I explained that if they had told us about the stairs we would not have booked this accomodation and that the owner should have highlighted this when we told them we are a family group. The owner threatened to call the police and did make a cal in front of me which I now believe to be a fake call as police never arrived and when I told them we will go to the police ourself they refused to go with us.
The sympathetic Thai police mediated and ordered the couple to accept our 50% offer.

All in all a very uncomfortable stay for us and our version of Hotel California.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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4  Thank PaulKwon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlanCassarKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Star Villa, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write this review.

We thought long and hard as to how to respond to it. We even considered trying to get it removed as clearly its sole intention, was to discredit our hard earned good reputation and to damage our business. We were not even sure if we should dignify it by responding, but then came to the conclusion that it was an excellent opportunity for us to reiterate much of the information already available about Star Villa.

You see, although we regret that your experience of Star Villa was not what you were expecting, we also find it very difficult to understand. We state very clearly, more than once, that Star Villa is ‘off the beaten track’ and that it is ‘not suitable for young children or for the elderly or infirm’. You state that you have read the reviews shown here on TA, and there is a lot of information contained in those reviews about the set up at Star Villa. So let us now take this opportunity to reiterate that Star Villa is built in the side of a hill so therefore, you have to go up hill to get to it which affords us our wonderful, panoramic views. For this reason we supply a free taxi service twice a day into Sairee. We also therefore, have stairs, some without railings. Deceit is not our game. We put a lot of effort into our website to ensure our accommodation is accurately, honestly and fully described as we would rather our customers have all the information before they book.

We offered to take you back to town to find more suitable accommodation when you stated upon arrival that your parents would struggle with the stairs (though you would have to pay the cancellation fee) but you refused. We also suggested you put your parents in the apartment on the lower level instead of in the Penthouse at the top of the building, again you refused. A strange thing to do we thought when you were claiming that your parents would struggle with the steps.

We made it quite cleat that we do not accept bookings for less than two nights and it was explained to you that if you stayed for the one night that you would have to pay for two but you insisted on staying.

As for our “House Rules”, they can be seen on our website. They are simple, common sense things like: ‘No smoking inside the apartments’, ‘Please do not use the white bathroom towels for the beach’, ‘please be considerate with your use of water’, ‘please use the recycle bag provided for cans and bottles’, ‘if you are not using something (electrical), please turn it off’ and ‘if you wish to use the aircon, please close the windows and doors’. None of them are Draconian (great word by the way) unless you wish to see them as such. Koh Tao is a beautiful island but it does have issues – lack of rain fall (its only source of fresh water), poor electrical supply from highly polluting diesel generators and huge rubbish handling problems.

We are very proud of the efforts we have made to make Star Villa as ecologically friendly as possible – ecologically sustainable tourism is our goal – but we do need help from our customers to achieve this. We state that we ”reserve” the right to charge customers that repeatedly and flagrantly disregard these requests. Actually, we have never had to resort to this, as 99% of our customers are over the moon about our commitment to keep the island in its current (beautiful) state. We are sorry that you do not seem to be like minded.

We (as you can see from the other reviews) go out of our way to take outstanding care of our customers and do our best to ensure that they leave Star Villa with many happy memories. We have met many, many lovely, genuine people and have made many new friends along the way.

“Hotel California”? I am sure that many of our guest wished is was as they would gladly love to stay longer.

May we suggest that before booking your next holiday that you do a little more research to avoid more disappointment or conflict.

Heidi & Alan
Owners

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (259)
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131 - 137 of 259 reviews

Reviewed January 10, 2013

Set back in the hills from beach, but only 10/15 minute walk from the action, Star Villa is an amazing experience. I fell in love with the place from the pics in the web site alone so you can only imagine how I feel having stayed there. Its the thought and consideration of the hosts Alan and Heidi that make it special. I love their taste in decor, there is a feeling here that they have made the accommodation to exactly what they would like to live in, its tasteful, its interesting, even artistic. There are some real USPs as well, Alan has cleverly devised an entertainment system that you wont find anywhere else, with a great selection of movies and music. There is also an efficient take-away food services that make a night-in a truly chilled out time. Further, the owners provide you with a mobile phone to use while you are their, and you will get a polite reminder if you forget to call on the mobile and take up Alan's offer of a free taxi ride. I have never been inspired to write a review before, but Star Villa is a unique experience which I want to share with every discerning traveller, so if you are going to Koa Tao, there simply is no better place to stay, so I suggest booking early to avoid dissapointment, its that good.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Julien L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2012

If you are looking to stay off the beaten track and in a homely, peaceful and luxury place, Star Villa is the place for you. Not only is the accommodation perfect, but the hosts; Heidi and Alan are second to none. Their attention to detail not only in their villa but also in looking after you is simply amazing. They do a true credit to Thailand offering the service that most become have come to love from the local people.

They offer an extremely very well stocked mini bar at prices that is very near to the local shops (kudos for that), and the Villa is fully stocked with all the cooking essentials should you wish to have a crack are making some local or homely food.

Our group of 7 only stayed 2 nights (regret - if only we had more time), but will certainly return when we're back to Koh Tao as it is simply that good.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Leewalbyoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

I stayed here for 6 nights at the end of July 2012, and I did not want to leave when it came to the end of my stay. Heidi and Alan were the most welcoming hosts and did everything that they could to make my stay enjoyable, including taking me for dinner with them, driving me over to the beaches on the other side of the island and taking me snorkelling and telling me about the island and the places to go. They know a lot of the other people on the island, which means that you are welcomed like a long lost friend when you are out with them, and I met a lot of lovely people as a result. The apartments are beautifully furnished and equipped and have the most stunning views over the island, and Sairee has lots of great restaurants and bars with entertainment of all kinds. I am missing the amazing island and the wonderful time that I had there and I will definitely be back before too long.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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Thank JMD08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

We stayed here for 10 nights at the end of June 2012. The villa is very well furnished, with very comfy beds and a great 'on demand' style media system with pretty much every movie/documentary/series out there on it, great for those relaxed morning and chilled evenings. The location is fantastic, hidden away between palm trees and built around massive rocks – ask Alan to take you up to the top of the big rock just behind the villa, the view is breathtaking right across the island!

The owners, Alan and Heidi are more like long lost friends, they showed us around the island, took us snorkeling, took us to the bowling alley which is a must do while you’re there, having a guy at the end of the alley chucking your ball back up to you and replacing the pins is much more fun than a fully automatic system – think The Flintstones style, it’s great fun!! They even joined us for a BBQ one night.

I really couldn’t recommend this place highly enough and very much looking forward to returning at some point in hopefully the not too distant future.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank MikeC295
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Me and my wife stayed here for 5 nights as part of our Honeymoon, and we were not disappointed.
We were upgraded to the Penthouse suite when we arrived, which made our stay that bit more special.

Alan and Heidi were very friendly who also had a wide range of knowledge about the island, which definitely helped us to explore.

The villa was immaculately clean in all rooms and also had a great media centre with hundreds of albums of music and films. But the best thing about the villa was the amazing views of Sairee beach and the wonderful sunsets whilst sat on the balcony, we will definitely miss them.

Alan and Heidi also offer free transfers to and from the main town and from the ferry port.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kris J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

we had a lovely stay at star villa. the villa is at the top of a big hill from the main crossroads in sairee village and the owners, heidi and alan will come and pick you up in their jeep as long as you give them a ring and a bit of notice which is excellent service. the room itself was really well appointed with a large living area, flat screen tele, surround sound, and a hard drive with lots of films and music on, kitchen and lovely bathroom with hot showers. breakfast is brought to your balcony (not included) which was lovely and heidi and alan would often sit down and have a chat with you which was lovely as they are very nice people. while we were there, for a couple of nights, the other rooms were empty so alan and heidi gave us lifts onto other beaches and came snorkelling with us and took us out to one of their favourite restaurants which was so kind of them. overall, this is a nice accommodation in a lovely area. yes, it's away from the busy area a bit which in our view was a good thing as it was quiet. it does mean that getting to and from the beach requires a bit of planning with alan and heidi or taxis to get down at the right time and get picked up again. the real plus for the villa is alan and heidi who will happily go more than the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect for you on your stay. if we go back to koh tao, we would definitely stay here again

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank The_Deeths
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Koh Tao Star Villa

Address: 11/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao 84360, Thailand
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 142 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Price Range: $73 - $132 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Koh Tao Star Villa 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the jungle clad hills above Sairee Beach, Koh Tao Star Villa offers unique accommodation on Koh Tao. spacious, modern, fully furnished apartmens with western standard bathrooms all designed with the ecology of the island in mind. Enjoy beautiful sunsets from your terrace and enjoy free use of our games room and BBQ area. And this very peacful setting, is only 3-4 minutes by bike or ATV from the centre of Sairee Beach - truely a great combination. ... more   less 
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