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All reviews poolside villa aalto restaurant pink dolphins direct access to the pool scandinavian design superior bungalow thai hospitality main restaurant a la carte beach bag each evening thai night low season koh samui without exception off the beaten track fantastic stay
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Reviewed July 18, 2011

Room was ready when we arrived. Walked into bathoom, lifted toilet seat and it came off in my hand. Toilet was also leaking and taps were spinning around.

Moved to second room - aircon was ineffective.

Third room was an upgrade to a Poolside Villa, very grateful. Rooms nicely designed but bathrooms very user unfriendly. Fine in a showroom or on paper but the sinks are about 4 inches deep - turn the tap on and it's like pouring water into the bowl of a spoon; water spurting all over the place. Prepare to shave in 2 inches of water. Shower is completely open, so half the bathroom gets soaked. No towel rails. The room should be very nice, but so many negatives: It's a 'minibar', not a fridge, so not very cold. It was also noisy; the non-Thai TV channels were not available; WiFi was very slow and there was no desk and/or chair to work at; bedside lamps didn't work (regardless of what combination of light switches we applied); noisy aircon which struggled during the day to cool the room; terribly soft pillows on the bed; bed has a wooden platform around it, so prepare for badly bruised shins; no Do Not Disturb sign; no complimentary soap.

Restaurant was very poor. On the first afternoon I ordered the duck confit with risotto. What arrived was an overcooked, dry duck leg on a dollop of virtually cold rice-puddingy type rice which, a) was not risotto rice and, b) looked like it had been sitting in a bowl in the fridge for at least a couple of days. Disgusting, and prices were exhorbitant. Ignore the Chef Nokweedz stuff on the website - she works in Samui, apparently, and only turns up there occasionally. We rarely saw anybody eating in the restaurant (except maybe on their first night there) - the beach bar a few mins walk away was quite busy with Aava guests every night though.

Breakfast was a joke. A few grand sounding items on the menu: Crisp Bacon and Soft-yolked Egg with Garlic Foam, etc., arrived as a bit of bacon and 2 hard, pancake-flat eggs -that was it. When I sent it back and asked them to give me what was described on the menu, it came back with a few slics of fried garlic on it. Service in the restauant was not the best - cutlery and crockery were in short supply and it didn't occur to a waiter to bring me a side plate when he saw me cutting a bread roll on my napkin on the table.

There are some good things about the hotel. Most staff seemed to be doing their best but semed lacking in hands-on management supervision. There apparently is a Western manager there and he can apparently be located in his office, except at lunchtimes. We saw people we presumed to be the Finnish owners there, proudly setting up a cider promotion - may I recommend a little more attention in the kitchen?

Location of the Poolside Villas is nice, with a good view. Good level of cleanliness. I don't think I'll be returning though.

Date of stay: July 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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6  Thank markl23
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2011

We stayed 16 nights at Aava and found Aava to be perfect place to relax. Khanom is still a small fishing village so there is not so much to do, except to relax. Beach was practically empty, some locals were fishing from shore, while number of tourists was less than 10 all the time as far as eye could see. Beach is good for small swimmers as it is shallow and comes with soft sand bottom.

About the resort, staff was best I have ever seen! All the time smiling and helping out. We escpecially loved their nanny service, they have play room and toys for children so we could relax while nanny was playing with our 2 year old. Resort looked very nice and breakfast was exceptionally great, sometimes a la carte sometimes buffe. Rooms vere not so big, but I don't see that as a problem as you spend time outdoors anyway.

Resort arranges various excursions to Samui, local waterfalls, to see pink dolphins, trekking in national parks etc. We did few trips and they were great. Friendly and knowledgeable guide/driver who took as around. Only downside is that the excursions are quite expensive, escpecially at Thailand standard.

We stayed during the low season when the number of guests was less than 10 all the time. Resort is packed up quite tightly so I strongly believe that during the high season this place is too packed and noisy. Pool side rooms for example are nice, when you are there alone and have private access to the pool etc. But when all six rooms are occupied, people playing in the water, laying on the sun beds, music playing at the bar I don't think it is a nice experience anymore. Also the service level, ecspesially the nanny, might not be so good when there are more people to compete for the attention.

Also I have to say that the pricing of Aalto restaurant and their spa is ridicilous. Cheapest dishes start from 500THB and up! Better options are nearby beach bar and small Thai resort. Same thing with the Spa, thai massage 60mins was 1500THB while 200m away at small local place you get same or even better treatment for 300THB...

Location wise this place is in a middle of nowhere. If you can not drive scooter there is no way to get to Khanom city or anywhere else so you are tied up to stay around the resort which is either good or bad depending what you want.

Overall conlucion is that go during the low season, but avoid during the high season when the room price also rises quite sharply. If you go during the high season take room from the back, near the reception away from the beach, bar and pool so that you can get some privacy.

Date of stay: April 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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2  Thank Bonfire_81
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2011

We were at Aava Resort & Spa in April and stayed for 6 nights. For us it was really important that the hotel was not a tourist place nor the surroundings. Aava and Khanom was perfect for it. We both just loved it. The Scandinavian design combined with Thai friendliness in service is a perfect match. We were at this hotel in the end of middle season meaning that there were only couple of other rooms at the same time so peace and quiet was guaranteed.

The food was excellent and we loved the fact that restaurant served à la carte breakfast. All our wishes were completed as good as the hotel could arrange them. For instance, we got the chance to pre-order the barbaque dinner even tough they did not had that night.We did not eat everynight at the hotel, but tried the other restaurants, as well, in the area. Our favourite became CC Beach just few meters next to the hotel.

They also arranged private excursion to the nearby area that fitted to our profile: we saw the rare pink dolphins in the bay, swimming at two natural beaches and in a water fall up in the hills.

We can also recommend the spa services they offer. What a feeling after 3 hours spa treatments.

You can also rent mopeds from the hotel. We did this and explored the area and the beautiful countryside nature. This place is for those who seek for quiet place, but anyway some services nearby, like they have their own tailor who comes from Koh Samui (we so can recommend them). If you are looking for party place, this is not for you. We loved this because it was so peaceful and nature is still untouched in large areas. This is the countryside at its best.

Date of stay: April 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Youni
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2011

The food at the hotel was great. We enjoyed every meal. The staff were very friendly and attentive. Baby sitting for our three year old in the kids room was also excellent. From our room it was straight into the pool and a another few metres to the beach. Our kid loved it.

I like the design of the hotel, it is very different to all the surrounding hotels with their concrete box styles. From the outside the design is great. However, when you get inside (we stayed in poolside villa) it was not so good. There is lots of glass and no double glazing. When you put your palm on the glass it is hot from the outside air. The air-conditioning really has to work hard to counteract that heat. It does so whilst blowing cold air across your bed whilst you sleep - which is not comfortable. Also the bed is a standard thickness, locally made mattress on a hard wooden surface. It is one of the hardest beds I have slept on. They either need a thicker mattress or a sprung bed base. Finally the open shower does work, we covered the room in water every time we bathed.

Date of stay: March 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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2  Thank PeteTpe
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2011

We spent 2 weeks here in March 2011 and the service was top notch. We're a couple with a then 4-5 month baby, and the vacation was perfect. Relaxing by the pool, walking on a beach with nobody else in sight, good food, smiling staff.

We were a bit worried about travelling abroad with a small baby, but everything went really well and a big part of it was due to the resort and their staff. They have proper air conditioned vehicles they use to pick you up from the airport and even have a baby seat available on request (make sure you ask them -- they have free airport pickups if you stay long enough and the local public transport is Songthaews http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songthaew).

The hotel also has free baby sitting service, I think from around 8AM to 10PM, and the nanny Ying is a real "baby whisperer"! Our baby has not been very fond of new people in general, and when he first met Ying he wasn't in the best of moods. However, in less than 30 seconds Ying had him as close to a laughter as he has ever been, and pretty soon we felt safe leaving him with the baby sitter for long enough for us to have lunch at the nearby restaurants. The baby sitters always insisted on taking him to the airconditioned room above the Aalto restaurant when we were having breakfast, so the baby was always close, but we could have our breakfast and enjoy a bit of peace in the morning too.

If you are travelling with a baby, bring a stroller with big wheels so you can go for walks on the beach. We brought one with small wheels, but the hotel manager let us borrow his son's stroller for the two weeks and it was a life saver! So if you don't have one, you might want to check in advance if you can borrow it too.

We stayed in the poolside villas, and I would definitely recommend that if you're planning to spend a lot of time at the hotel and have the budget. They're by far the nicest rooms in terms of location, the others are ok too, but are located not directly on the beach/pool, but more at the back of the resort. With the baby the poolside villa was perfect as our son could sleep inside the airconditioned hotel room (in the baby crib provided by the hotel) while we spent time at the pool, just on the other side of the door.

Although I would have imagined it to be a bit bigger, the resort is just as nice as the pictures on the website, even up to the point where practicality has been compromised at the expense of aesthetics. The shower is pretty but tends to leave the floor wet and there are no towel racks in the rooms at all. On the other hand, if you need a new towel, call the reception and you will have it in your hand in literally less than 2 minutes. Similarly there is really no place to put your luggage, but if you empty your luggage into the closet, the staff will take your bags into storage for free.

On local standards the resort is expensive, and you can definitely find cheaper options in Khanom if you're on a tight budget. On the other hand, compared to many average hotels in Europe, the price you pay here is the same, but the resort is on a totally different scale. And it is by far the best place we saw in the Khanom area, and we did visit quite a few of the other resorts for dinner during our two week stay.

The Aalto restaurant is nice and quite gourmet-style, and expensive on local standards. Expect to pay about 50 euros for a dinner for two including drinks (not wine, which is expensive in Thailand). That is about 4 times the price you would pay for dinner in any of the other restaurants in the area. There are 3 other restaurants within walking distance on the beach, the closest is CC to the left of the resort, about 200m and to the right there are two thai-operated places around 500m and 1km away. All three serve typical thai dishes and CC has some western style food too. The hotel staff will also help you find restaurants if you just ask them, they don't expect you to eat at Aalto every night. :) As there is no taxi service in Kahnom, many restaurants will pick you up for free if you have the reception call them in advance, Racha Kiri and Khanom Hill (on the beach) and Dusty Gecko (in the 'city') for example do it and they all have good food too.

Date of stay: March 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank astro12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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