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Six Senses Yao Noi
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Reviewed January 3, 2013

Spent 6 days at SS Yao Noi. Bottom line is that it was nice, very friendly service even by Thai standards, the butler service very attentive and extremely child friendly, Khun Gwen did a fantastic job. The resort has more potential, given the stunning location and staff. I have a nagging feeling that with a bit more investment they could compete with the very best resorts in Asia. Be mindful that competition is fierce and they have some way to go before they reach the blow-your-mind level of fx. Reethi Rah in the Maldives or North Island, Seychelles or Amanpulo. In terms of gripes, there are a few: food is good but not world class, wine is not a big priority (fair enough) and the whole airport pickup/transfer experience is pretty poor ie no pickup BEFORE immigration (Aman picks you up almost by the gate, Phuket airport is a nightmare) and they need to invest in more upmarket/better boats. When they charge the money they do (over Christmas its painfully expensive for what you get) they do need to up the game a bit. One exception to all of this is the spa, extensive menu and real professionals, loved it.

We dont blame the hotel for the fact that the kids picked up headlice while there ! Its tropical and in the jungle.

This hotel will be fantastic for those that dont frequent the absolute best hotels in the world.

Room Tip: Just pick a garden villa, all the villas are the same (ish) and you can get the view at the Hilltop Reserve, will save you a penny or two too
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank allover_marcopolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manishpuri, General Manager at Six Senses Yao Noi, responded to this reviewResponded January 17, 2013

Thank you for your feedback which are well received. I am glad that you compare our resort with the very best in Asia. We do try our best to live up to those kind of expectations.
We do offer services to greet guests and offer assistance before immigration but this comes with an extra charge. I do apologize if our airport services, land and speedboat transfers did not meet your expectations.
Thank you for recognizing Gwen for her services.

Best regards,

Manish Puri
manish@sixsenses.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

We spent 7 nights at Yao Noi in Nov 2012. As with other SS resorts, they e-m you in advance and ask for your preferences.

We stayed at SS Zighy Bay earlier this year, and weren't overwhelmed with the service there (see our review under that resort). Our travel agent (Carrier) really thought we would enjoy this particular resort, as it had a lot of the things we think are essential to make a great holiday. We were a bit reluctant to try SS again after Zighy, but having read the reviews, we were persuaded. We also had a personal e-m exchange with the manager re which kind of room to book, which was very helpful indeed.

The resort is absolutely stunning. The way it has been laid out on the hillside, with the views all around, is breathtaking, and all the pictures you see (both on their own www and here) are accurate. The views from the Hilltop Reserve are especially breathtaking.

We stayed in an Ocean Panoramic View Villa, and were (with a couple of small exceptions) really happy with the room. It was well laid out, amazing view, lovely pool, and some really good design features - for example, the sala with the day bed is 100% shaded with a fan. If you want to lie in the sun you have comfy sunbeds, but if you want to be outside, look at the amazing views, but not actually sit in the sun, (which is us to a T) it is perfectly designed. The bedroom is lovely, and the bathroom is well laid out with everything you need. The only issue we had with the room design and layout is the lack of air con in the bathroom. I know this has been debated to death on this www, and elsewhere, and also at the resort it is a key topic of conversation - I just think if you've got off a flight from Europe in mid winter, and go into 30+ degree heat with intense humidity, you a) want to unpack your clothes and set up the bathroom in a state of cool-ness, not dripping sweat, and b) when you are showering and getting ready for dinner, again, you want to be cool. I ended up moving a lot of my make-up and bathroom stuff eg hairdryer into the desk area in the bedroom in order to get ready out of the heat. I also didn't like that our clothes were essentially open to nature. The resort has had a lot of feedback about this and is in fact changing some of the rooms so that they can be either air conditioned or open - I think this is an excellent idea so people can choose. Yes, it's lovely to throw the windows open during the day and have the view from the bath, but at 7pm when it's still sweltering, to have the choice of air con would have been great.

They run an excellent buggy system, which comes pretty much when you ask for it (other than if you want a buggy to get to dinner during an absolutely torrential downpour, during which they are more in demand, understandably). But we never had to wait for long, and it was great fun zooming up and down the hills in the buggy. The walk from our room down to the restaurant and beach areas was fine (but v slippy after a downpour), so we tended to walk up and down during the day, but get a buggy back after dinner when you don't necessarily want a long hike uphill (or downhill depending on where you’re eating). The actual walk is through the grounds, and various pedestrian shortcuts down a waterfall, which was amazing. The thought that has gone into landscaping is excellent, and it's one of the most beautiful places we've stayed at.

As many reviews have mentioned, the breakfast buffet is fabulous, and we had a lot of very very nice meals during the week. We just did breakfast and dinner most days, too hot to eat lunch. There's a great range of places to eat, and our best experience was the private Chef's Table. We had Chef Anthony to ourselves for a whole night, in the Chef’s Table area above the Dining Room. It's set up similar to a teppanyaki table ie where the chef literally cooks and preps in front of you. It was absolutely brilliant. He was entertaining and interesting, and the food was exemplary. He'd come to see us at breakfast a couple of days before for a consultation, and the resulting menu, made just for us, was full of the things we said we really liked. Top marks for this experience, expensive, but worth it, especially if you are a foodie. We also had two great meals up at the Hilltop Reserve, that is a really nice thing to do.

The wine service didn't quite match the food on a few occasions, we think just a matter of training, but on one night we got a different wine to the one we ordered, and several things we wanted were out of stock. The level of expertise in the resort for wine matching wasn't brilliant, but it didn't spoil the experience for us at all.

During our Chef's Table experience, Anthony had asked us what we thought of the resort, so we told him. We'd had a few service issues, which he said we should raise with the manager. The next morning at breakfast the resort manager actually came to find us, and asked us to have a chat with him about what had gone wrong. We did this in the cool of the library, and he was very apologetic. The issues we had, interestingly, were pretty much identical to some of the service issues at Zighy. ie why oh why ask guests for preferences in advance, go the trouble of stocking the mini bar etc with what they want, but then don't replace them?? We ordered gin and tonic, and one day we had to ask 3 times for them to bring us tonic, it was blatantly obvious we were using it, but it was never replaced unless we asked. Same with teabags, if you have used all the English Breakfast teabags it's a fairly safe assumption that's what you want to keep using, yet they were never replaced. Same with the (complimentary) fruit and biscuits - if they're all gone it's kind of obvious that the occupants of the room are eating them, so bring some more. It's such a small thing, but sooooo annoying, and I think must be linked to SS's overall housekeeping policy or training as the issue is identical to Zighy. It's a real case of over-promising and under-delivering. To their credit, after having explained all this to the resort manager, there was not a problem after that. We had a visit in our room from the head housekeeper later that day, who despite a bit of a language barrier managed to say that she understood, was sorry, and would make it better (she did). One of our key points we made to the resort manager was that our GEM (Julie, very nice) was spending most of her time running round putting right what housekeeping had done wrong. Such a waste of her time.

A rather strange thing happened on the same day, which is a bit yucky, but they dealt with it very well. We noticed rather a lot of maggots (live) in our pool, in a particular area. After a bit of watching, we realised they were falling out of the roof of the sala - something had clearly laid its eggs there and they were hatching and falling into the pool at quite a rate. We asked our Julie to take a look, and before long we had 4 people there, 2 housekeepers and 2 maintenance guys, who were up a ladder (in the pool) rummaging around in the sala roof and sorted it. Obviously a bit of a weird and yucky thing to happen, but they dealt with it quickly, properly and professionally, and it was fine after they had cleaned it out. We didn't mind that it had happened, you're in the jungle basically and expect wildlife to intrude, and there were very few other insect type incidents. Seeing the frogs and the geckos was great, and the massive hornbills.

We had spa treatments while we were there, which were fantastic. Recommendation - if you are booking treatments for both of you at the same time, and don't want to share a couples treatment room, make this clear to them when booking. I think they assume you want to have your massage/facial in the same room, ie romantically, if you book at the same time. We didn't, and they immediately moved one of us to another room, but it's such a couply kind of place that it's not at all surprising that they assume this. The spa is beautifully designed, along with everything else. My facial was fantastic.

We only went on one excursion, but it was amazing. We took a private longtail boat out to the limestone islands. Absolutely stunning, and great fun. Highly recommended.

My husband tried to book some deep sea fishing, but it was just too complicated, he had to go back to the mainland to get the boat, and would have had to leave at 7 and wouldn't get back til about 9. A resort like this could possibly have it's own fishing boat, or at least one that comes every few days to pick you up at the island. I tried to go sailing, but the wind wasn't good enough. There was a bit of an annoyance in that we got a phone call at 10am saying it was good, go down to the watersports centre at 11, but when we got there there was clearly no wind and no point in going out. We waited for a while but nothing was happening. I asked to water-ski instead but there wasn't anyone available that could drive the boat.

Overall, it was a lovely place to go for holiday. We probably wouldn’t go to that resort again, it was just a bit too hot and humid, but it was worth it to see the stunning location and be in such a beautiful place. The staff were all delightful and friendly, and they put on a great celebration for the festival of light which happened while we were there, with a parade around the resort then everyone had a kratong to set off afloat on the sea, and a paper lantern to light and send into the sky. That was lovely.

Would we go again? No, probably not, it didn’t blow us away like some of the places we have been to (Qualia, Cocoa Island), but it was a beautiful place to spend a week.

Room Tip: Room 30 (Ocean Panoramic) was briliant. A number of the staff said it was their favourite, as it's not on the main buggy run, so no passing buggy noise, and it has the most phenomenal views directly out to the limestone rocks out of the sea.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank DJM_MP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manishpuri, General Manager at Six Senses Yao Noi, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2013

Thank you for such a descriptive, detailed feedback. I'm glad your overall experience was great. Your feedback as taken during your stay is appreciated. We do try our best and thank you for highlighting the cracks in service. As spoken in length with you regarding the changes in our resort, which have only come because our guests have highlighted it as concerns.
Best regards,

Yours sincerely,

Manish Puri
manish@sixsenses.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Everything was perfect and the overnight stay in the Hilltop Villa topped off the visit. The Guest Experience Manager (GEM) helps you to plan your stay and make the most of it. The highlight of our vacation.

Room Tip: Pay for a villa with an ocean view, it is worth it.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Roarke01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manishpuri, General Manager at Six Senses Yao Noi, responded to this reviewResponded December 29, 2012

Thank you for the feedback. A night's stay at the HIlltop Villa is an experience. I'm glad you liked the overall feel.
I wish you and your family the best for the coming year and hope to see you back.

Best regards,

Manish Puri
manish@sixsenses.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

We recently got back from our honeymoon which ended with a stay at Six Senses Yao Noi. From the moment you arrive, you know you made the right choice. The place is heaven. The resort is built into a hill with some of the most beautiful vistas you will ever see! One of the things we loved about this place was that if you wanted to be left completely to yourselves and interact with other guests as little as possible, you can certainly do that. On the other hand, all of the excursions available, the spa, the restaurants, hilltop pool and water sports never leave a dull moment. I mean laying in your private pool- staring at the stars, while listening to the ocean...COME ON!!! The villas are gorgeous and clean, literally every detail has been well thought out and placed.

I think the definition of a luxurious resort or vacation is when you get what you pay for. This place gives you every dime of your investment, and it starts with the staff. Each villa gets a GEM, a sort of butler, who gives recommendations and books everything you need. Our GEM was Kawee, and Kawee was certainly one of our highlights of our trip. Every once in a while you meet someone who truly loves what they do, and it shows. Kawee made us feel like celebrities and we miss him!

We took a Thai cooking class with Nok which was so great. She taught us lifelong recipes which allow us to bring a piece of Thailand everywhere we go. Which gets us to the food... We have never had better at a resort. You won't be disappointed with anything you order and if you get up for one thing, get up for breakfast.

Manesh, who is the manager made us feel so welcome, and you could tell he was proud of his resort. He should be proud!


Scott and Alli

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Scott M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manishpuri, General Manager at Six Senses Yao Noi, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2012

Such a lovely feedback. I'm so glad you loved your stay with us. The team does work very hard to make sure that we keep the smiles on, day after day, for our guests.
We do wish you and your family a lovely Christmas and New Years with friends, family and happiness.

Yours sincerely,

Manish Puri
manish@sixsenses.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2012

Great arrival by boat, straight into a huge 2 bed villa with swimming pool, great outdoor bath and rain shower. I had a quick steam in our villa steam room before taking the resort tour. Our GEM Chote, was great showing us around the resort, my favorite was the hill top reserve and the yoga platform over looking the stunning rock formation rising from the sea. He was ever present popping up at odd times to arrange our excursions, spa appointments and dining reservations.
The spa was great Khun Meaw and his Spa team really looked after us, I had an Oriental massage followed my the Men's facial which I would highly recommend. The products felt great and Khun First was very good indeed making me appear at least 5 years younger (hope that bit lasts).
The GM Manish was charming, very available, friendly and hosted a lovely cocktail on our 1st night in the Den Bar were he introduced me to Orapin and Lorenzo two specialist master therapists who were very interesting.
Loved the ice cream - free all stay, all the team were great, Norman the PR and Excursions guru.
Our GEM was one... Fantastic stay will be back soon, just sorry trip was not longer.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manishpuri, General Manager at Six Senses Yao Noi, responded to this reviewResponded December 25, 2012

Thank you for the feedback and recognizing our hosts. K. Chote and K. Meow would be happy to see the recognition and I'm sure K. Norman would be all smiles to be named an excursion 'guru'.
Best regards and wish you the season's best.

Manish Puri
manish@sixsenses.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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