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Koyao Bay Pavilions
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Reviewed January 14, 2013

The location is beach side, but so is every hotel on an island! The place was billed as luxury and we paid nearly £2,000 for 6 nights for our wedding anniversary and my birthday, we thought it would be very special especially for nearly £300 a night, however it was definitely not. its worth about £100 a night maximum. There's a long list of reasons not to go:- for £300 a night you don't expect frogs in the bathroom, really smelly bathroom sinks, holes in the mosquito net, half of the menu to be unavailable, one small fan in the room that you are constantly having to move around so you can sleep at night in the heat, housekeeping go through your things and try out your toiletries (!!), the pool area is cracked concrete with scruffy (broken) loungers and dirty pool water (a scum mark round the pool tiles!), the TV doesn't have ANY channels so you can only watch DVDs, and the 'DVD library' they mention is a stack of pirate DVDs in the office (not even a good selection) which don't play properly (they stick and jump). We only watched a DVD in the evening as there's NOTHING to do- there's no lights round the garden or pool, but you could sit in the pitch black with a drink and get bitten by bugs if that's your thing, the sunset on the beach is lovely but that's hardly down to the hotel is it! The breakfast is pathetic (remember its £300 a night!) was a bit of toast and a small omelette, you have to ASK if you want anything, with the toast you need more butter as they brought a tiny square for 5 slices, we asked for a pick up from the airport and they didn't show up or contact us, so we had all the hassle for looking for the pier and then hoping we were on the right boat to the island and phoning them (via UK mobile for pickup on the island),there's not reception as suck just a tatty office stacked with boxes very scruffy and some bloke in bare feet who we interrupted having a snack who sauntered over to 'check us in', we are laid back but not for £300 a night and traveling all day to a special hotel!
We were so fed up we tried to check out earlier as it was so poor and this was our wedding anniversary trip, but they wouldn't let us, they gave a sob story about being a small hotel and they couldn't afford it, and they didnt want to close, and they offered us a bottle of wine and a massage (we declined the offers as we weren't after freebies), what else... ah yes, no wifi unless you sit outside the back of the breakfast kitchens (maybe a plus to some people), the photos on the website are from one pavilion only (not ours) we had to use the WC next door one day as there was a problem with ours, and its was better furnished, we were in the end pavilion which felt unfinished, however the other one, although a bit better and more finished, wasn't worth £300 a night either. They didn't replace loo rolls so we bought some (brilliant for £300 a night!) there were holes in the towels and holes in the bed sheets, they don't change the sheets (6 nights!!)... I could go on and on... but I wont, Ill simply say don't stay there... there's LOTS more lovely places on this island (we rented a bike and went all over), stay somewhere else... it was awful.
We made all these things clear when we were there and tried to check out 3 days early but as I say they said we would have to pay the £900 remainder. When we did check out, the manager Oliver, was nowhere to be seen and didn't come to speak to us, we think this is because he knew there would be a complaint- TERRIBLE PLACE!! DON'T GO!!! I cant understand these other reviews, I can only assume they were from long ago when it wasn't so shoddy and dilapidated, or the bad reviews were deleted... so very disappointed and upset at having our anniversary trip ruined... don't make our mistake!

Room Tip: choose a different hotel,
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank Jacquelyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crusoe78, Manager at Koyao Bay Pavilions, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2013

Dear Jacquelyn,

Thank you for your terrible comment, as it gives us the opportunity to answer your points, hopefully making sure that such misunderstanding does not happen again with other guests in the future.

Our place is not meant for all type of travelers, clearly not, and your sad experience just proved it. Despite your "don't go there" CNN warning, there is only one other hotel on the island that could be considered better than ours, that it is a five or six stars hotel, with prices 3 or 4 times what we charge. Three other hotels offer similar services and rates as ours. The differences lie more in the general ambiance of each of them, and a quick tour of all websites makes it rather clear that one traveller should go to this place and another to this other place.

Here at Koyao Bay Pavilions, we put our pride in offering calm and peace, and, after 15 years in hospitality business, our own rule has become : "serve better smiling guests than those who, whatever we will do, by nature will remain unsatisfied". Probably this is not the usual approach of most managers/owners, but for us at least this makes a lot of sense.

It does not mean that we do not address critics or complaints, we do it of course ; it does not mean neither that our place has no flaws: we do have our share of technical problems, staff training difficulties, and other unexpected events. But the only way to deal with all this is case by case, as we strive to do with all our guests, to arrange their stay the best we can.

But during your stay, you did not want to show up in the restaurant and you did not try to communicate in a positive manner. We had no real occasion to chat together and get to know each other better : from the very beginning you showed us clearly that you were disappointed and unsatisfied by your own choice. It's very difficult indeed to deal with people that just shut the door and don't give us a chance to solve problems on the go.

Honestly, reading your comment, I have the feeling that things must always come to you, and never the other way around… maybe you will understand one day that this does not work out with everybody. There is this song from a quite famous British band that says money can't buy me love, and indeed, many things come for free when simply asked for.

Anyhow, please let me now answer in detail to most of the issues you raised…

The location is indeed beach side, but only a few hotels on the island truly are. Further more there is no road between the resort and the beach (main road is 700m away, so zero traffic noise), and this makes a huge difference compared to most other accommodation choices on the island.

Regarding the frogs in the bathroom, well... they are is still there ! We love the wildlife that surrounds us, and it costs a lot to protect it. In a bathroom opened onto a private tropical garden, yes, one must accept the possibility of having some frogs around (beautiful tree frogs by the way).

Your remark regarding what we should charge or what we are worth is your own appreciation… you booked in peak season, when every hotel in Thailand sharply increases prices. Perhaps an unfair rule for the touristic market, but you could have come at any other period of the year at cheaper price.

Regarding our menu, only a few of our 100+ dishes may not be be available on any given day. However, it was your own choice to order only fried rice, pad thai and fries, over and over again, in your own bungalow... Regretfully, for this is surely not be the best way to get some advise and good service. Seafood, and authentic Thai food served in our restaurant La Sala is a must. We recommend every day the best we could get directly from local fishermen; we love to chat with our guests about food, and suggest the best recipes for them. This is our approach. But probably you did not appreciate it... Thank you for your kind comment concerning our breakfast, but as the following is available here (and in not so many other places...), we, along with other guests, like to think that it is NOT pathetic: homemade bread and jams, fresh tropical fruits, all kinds of omelets or eggs, cereals, freshly pressed orange juice, excellent expresso coffee and large choice of teas, asian rice soups and more. That's it ! But no english breakfast, sorry about that, we don't cook pork on our island.

None of our guests has ever complained about the fans we provide ; nights are rather cool, and the open architecture makes it comfortable at night, as the breeze can pass through.

When we heard firsthand from our staff about some undefined problem, we came to you directly and enquired ; upon discovering that our housekeeping staff had sprayed some of your perfume, we agreed that this was a very childish behavior from them, and took appropriate action to make sure that this would not happen again (strangely enough you now feel that it should be known worldwide, although when it occurred, you deemed not necessary to mention the issue to us, as you explained to me that you did not want to make a fuss...).

Regarding TV channels, this is our choice ; we try to provide our guests a real break, free from their usual alienating environment; only a DVD player is available, but this is clearly explained on our website. We truly regret, and apologise, for not having realised that watching DVDs should have been the highlight of your wedding anniversary.

Regarding the lights around the garden in the garden, this is also our choice, so you can enjoy moonlight or starry night skies, sea breeze and silence. We like to share what we love here.

Your comment about having to ask for everything is also part of our concept providing utmost tranquility, not disturbing our guests with constant solicitation. Instead, we let guests come to us whenever they need something. That's what most people do and it's the basic function of language : communication skills are essential in everyday life. :-)))) With a smile, it is even more effective. Maybe you missed a point here.

Regarding your transfer from the airport, you booked through a web-based booking engine and we missed the details from the fax confirmation, and can only apologise for this ; as a rule, always contact the hotel directly, as human beings are, just a click away, ready to help. Furthermore, the website you booked through CLEARLY recommends to contact the hotel, to ensure your special requests were received and whether they can be met.

Your comment about the bloke in bare feet (sic, this is under the belt !) is not only rude, but also irrelevant. Most probably you are talking about our GM Olivier: although he looks quite relaxed, sauntering is not part of his daily tasks, and he is in fact very attentive to his guests (and also ready to interrupt his meal or any other activity to care for them). For your information, bare foot is not only widely accepted in Thailand, but also expected in many places as a sign of respect (and so much more comfortable than shoes and socks !).

As for the lack of reception, we prefer to greet our guests in our restaurant overlooking the valley with a fresh welcome drink while we make a copy of their passport, rather than to ask them to seat in a closed and sterile lobby, pointlessly filling-in personal information.

We are sorry not to have been able to make your wedding anniversary special as we do for so many of our guests. Here again, you should have told us. Communication skills...

Regarding your story about us not letting you check-out early is quite absurd. That's not the way it is and we are not bankrupt yet (!) ; you could of course have left at your convenience, but I don't know of any hotel that does not apply strict cancellation policies in peak season. The fact of being a small hotel obviously makes it even more difficult for us to handle such matters. But we also deem that, if you book in this period, you had reviewed all the information and conditions provided on our website to avoid a wrong choice.

I am astonished regarding your mention of holes in bed sheets and towels, since we renew all our stock of towels and bedlinen regularly ; actually, last renewal was only a few months ago, but we will double-check just in case. Reports from our maids, along with laundry service bill, shows that bedlinen was changed every 2 days in your room, according to our housekeeping rules.

You could indeed go on and on, or simply say "don't stay there", but I guess that's the purpose of your comment and you already made it quite clear. Many other people might have a different opinion, and may not like the place you could recommend for them. Actually, 95% of our guest are truly discerning travelers : please let them choose the place they need by themselves.

On your check-out day, Olivier had planned for weeks to go to Phuket for administrative and medical matters ; the rest of the staff was here. You may have forgotten, but upon realising that you were not satisfied by your own choice, Olivier did not run away from your complaint, but instead was the one who tried to make your stay as comfortable as possible...

Our place is neither shoddy nor dilapidated, and as one can see (can't you ?) we have regular comments on TripAdvisor and excellent new reviews ; yours is our first bad review, and well, we can live with that. Other guests probably won't be able to understand your review neither... We do insist on the fact that you should make sure that, next time you book a hotel anywhere in the world, you are indeed booking for one that is right for you. There are many hotels at 50 euro per night having excellent reviews as well. Which obviously does not mean that they offer a 6 star service, it just means that the guests were happy with the choice they made and the quality of the hotel itself. As for bad reviews deleted, we just can't do that...

Voilà… I hope I have answered correctly to most of your comments. Others, completely irrelevant, will not be answered, as they could have been solved on the spot if you just had behaved with a more benevolent attitude, giving us at least a chance to satisfy some of your expectations.

Regards,

Georges (owner), and Olivier (manager, a.k.a. the sauntering barefoot bloke...)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

This was our second visit and once again it exceeded our expectations. We stayed for 9 nights in Mai Pai cottage and effortlessly slipped into a relaxed daily routine. Our day started with a wander to the Sala for a wonderful breakfast that could consist of fresh fruit, homemade bread, eggs or muesli – and a good cup of coffee. Mornings were spent on the beach investigating the hermit crabs, reading in the hammocks or enjoying a swim, Lunch time was usually a drive on our motorbikes around the island taking in the wonderful laid back ambience of this very special island. Although there are other holiday makers here you never felt that our presence took precedence over the islanders culture and lifestyle. Afternoon was spent reading and watching our 2 children (8 and 11) enjoying the pool.
This is a place to savour, the antithesis to most of the rest of Thailand’s resorts, with beautiful accommodation and a concern to the surrounds, environment and local people. The food cooked fresh in the restaurant is the best on the island by far, and some of the best Thai food you will ever eat. And if you want something different the chefs will go out of their way to prepare something.
But the very best aspect of Ko Yao Bay Pavilions are the people – Olivier is the perfect host, full of interest for all of his guests, with information and advice on everything from boat trips, local food, island features and willing to accommodate all requests. Our son really wanted a very specific dish that he had on our previous visit. Olivier personally cooked it for him, and even called his mother in France to make sure he had the right recipe.This is customer service on a different scale! Of course the owners George and Bee and their amazing team of Azip and all the cooks and staff make this place very special indeed.

Can’t wait to return once again

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank londoners1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

When you choose a holiday and hotel you need to know exactly what you want. If you want a relaxed, low key, intimate, special and private place go to the Koyao Bay Pavillions. But If you want to fight for a pool deck chair, queue in buffets, deal with crowds and have non-individualized attention don't go here. That simple.

This place is a true gem. On first arrival it may not seem that way, in fact for us it was all a bit iffy - the dirt road to the place, the very open pavillions, the lack of a lobby and even a sign, but after a few hours you feel you couldn't have choosen better. To have your meals personally cooked for you by lovely cooks in a lovely simple kitchen, to have personalized attention catering to your every need by Olivier, to have a snacks delivered to you wherever you want, are all amazing experiences only available in places where you'd pay much more.

Then the pavillions themselves -glorious, beautiful, romantic wooden and one of the coolest bathrooms I've ever seen in a hotel!!! The sala also very special. We had the beach pavillion 101 (I'd recommend that one the most) and never got tired of just chilling in it. In fact wished we had had more time in it.

Another super special thing was that I spent my 40'th birthday there and Olivier set up a beautiful dinner on the beach for us, by far surpassed my expectations, with a menu specially choosen to my taste and a delightful bday cake.

The island is also very special, quaint and everyone so nice. We did an Island Hopping- greatly recommended, massages every day with Suba (amazing!!!!!), cooking classes with MIna (such a lovely lovely lady), had pizza at Romano's, a drink at Je T'aime, more drinks at the Good View, and we enjoyed everyone of those places and experiences. Highly recommended to rent a scooter as well. We also rented a kayak to the island just in front which was pretty cool.

To Olivier, Mina, Amin, San, Tak, Romano, Suba, many thanks for our little island of LOVE, we will be back! It trully was a most special getaway!

Room Tip: out of the beach pavillions I reckon 101 is the best.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank traveler-chile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2012

We have just spent a week at this hotel, and quite frankly could have stayed there indefinitely. The beach bungalows were spacious, well thought out and the traditional architecture coupled with sea breeze negated the need for air con...Olivier is a very friendly and errudite young man who knows how to give either help or let you be as required. The rest of the staff were similarly friendly and helpful when needed. Breakfast was fresh, tasty and always excellent in quality.
Really I couldnt imagine a more relaxing holiday than staying at the Pavilions. The whole island is a dream, and as far removed from the chaos of Phuket as could possibly be.
We will undoubtedly return!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank laflafs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

I'm a little torn on what to say about this place. Let me say, my wife and I thought the staff were great. We found them very friendly, offering just the right amount of conversation. The food is simply amazing. Seriously, amazing.

As for the resort itself, it was a little quieter than we were looking for. It's a long way from the road so you have to have the hotel call taxis. Internet doesn't reach the rooms. Since it was rainy season and the other rooms were under construction I suppose that's to be expected. We just wanted a little more life around us. The rooms, and their "salas", were beautifully done. We just felt a little exposed. Don't be frightened if, while using the bathroom at night, you find yourself spending time with a local toad. Since it was stormy we had to keep our room pretty closed up which made it dark. I would love to see what this resort looked like on a beautiful day with other inhabitants around.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Traveling127
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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