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“Tropical hideaway on a busy busy island”

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Nora Beach Resort and Spa
Ranked #15 of 103 Hotels in Chaweng
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 20, 2008

Nora Beach Resort was everything we were hoping for after a few weeks travelling around SE Asia – relaxing, quiet, luxurious, self-contained and right on the beach. We arrived late at night and were surprised (and initially worried) by how close in driving time the resort was to the airport. It was all good though – there’s no aircraft noise despite its proximity.
We were greeted by very friendly staff and shown up to a standard room up the top of the hill, on the third level. The whole resort spreads down a fairly steeply sloping hill maybe 120m and the accommodation blocks don’t have elevators, so it’s not really a good option for the lazy, the infirm or the elderly. It didn’t really worry us though and the room was great. The fittings, bathroom and balcony were all good, though we did find that whenever we got into or out of the bed (or moved in it) the whole floor creaked loudly. We came back to this resort a few days later and had another room and it wasn’t a problem there so perhaps it was just the one room.
Down the bottom of the hill is the amazing, enormous pool, fringed by frangipanis and with a bar and spa and plenty of sun lounges that fill up with visitors early so you’ve got to get in quick. Down further is the restaurant and breakfast room – breakfast is a huge smorgasbord with just about everything under the sun. The beach looks nice, but it’s not much chop for swimming – it’s rocky, weedy and murky until you get out a fair distance and when we were there the water was literally hot! But it really wasn’t a problem – you just lounge by the pool or down on the beach and if you want to swim you go for a dip in the pool.
Dinners at the restaurant were fantastic – the BBQ nights are great value and the bloke that plays live music is a real character and makes you feel very welcome.
The staff were all very friendly and obliging and the concierge offered great advice about what else to do around the island. In the end we spent most of our time in the resort because we found the rest of the island to be pretty dirty, overrun with tourists and fairly average compared to other places we’d been. Didn’t matter though because the resort itself was great.
The location is about 15mins drive out of the main area, which was great for us but if you’re planning on going in there every day it’ll cost a few $$ in taxis...unless you work around the resort’s infrequent free shuttle to and from town.
There seems to be a lot of construction wherever you go on the island, and while there was no audible work going on near the resort, from our rented sea kayak (the resort has them) we could see neighbouring sites being cleared right along the coast.
The gym is pretty tiny and I thought it was a bit rich that they didn’t supply free water. The water they did supply was massively overpriced – not a big thing but you’ve got to wonder why. The only other issue was with the constant rock and pop music down at the poolside. Looking around, most of the resort guests were 30+, but the music the bar staff were playing was stuff teenagers would listen to. I'm not sure why all resorts in this part of the world think we need bad music as background, rather than the waves lapping on the beach, but from our travels it was evidently inescapable!
Families seemed to be very well catered for even though we didn't have kids of our own - pool toys, children's cutlery and crockery in the restaurant and staff who we saw taking time out to play with the kids and show them around. Top stuff and despite the family friendly atmosphere it was still a quiet and romantic place for us.
Our flight out was late at night and the staff were all too happy to look after our bags and let us use all the resort facilities, then the day spa’s showers at the end of the day. From all accounts the day spa is fantastic though we didn’t go.
Accommodation here wasn’t cheap but we had a fantastic time and in the end were more than happy to pay a little more for the week of relaxation and enjoyment we got in return. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank njk17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 5, 2008

Not having visited Koh Samui before, we chose the Nora Beach Resort through a recommendation from our travel agent, and from TripAdvisor reviews.

Overall, we were happy with our choice. It's a lovely setting on the side of a hill, very lush with beautifully maintained gardens. Lovely tropical feel. We stayed in an Ocean View Villa, which also overlooked the pool, and whilst it was quite small, we loved the bath and outdoor shower (although our neighours in the hotel block could look right in!).

True, people do hog the sun loungers by the pool, but it didn't really worry us. A polite request often has results. What we didn't appreciate was the thumping techno music that often got played from the pool bar, in the middle of the day. We could hear it in our villa as well. And with with Spa facilities right next to the pool, it was kind of odd when you're having a massage and you can hear a constant 'doof doof' of music over the soothing choice of the Spa's musical collection! So I take it the resort is trying to attract the 20-something crowd?

However, oddly enough, over breakfast and dinner, the musical selections were diverse and at times, quite dated. Kenny G in the morning, cabaret selection at night. Each night the restaurant would have some musical entertainment, churning out some of the most cheesy, resort style (circa 1980s) music. Now, what audience were they trying for here? The 50 age bracket? We were certainly confused, and often frustrated. Sometimes they must realise it's just as nice to listen to the waves lapping up on the beach....

The Spa was lovely and as a honeymoon couple we were treated to a massage each. Not as cheap as in town, but still about two thirds cheaper than back at home. Staff at the resort were courteous and sweet.

Trips into town (5 minute trip, either by hotel bus or around 150baht for taxi) allowed for a cheaper and wider selection of food, but the constant harrassment by locals and other business-minded tourists was annoying. We did have a relaxing afternoon sitting in the restaurant at The Library, a rather exclusive (although somewhat clinical) resort right on the beach. Beautiful views and left in peace.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank reiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2008

We arrived at Nora Resort at night and our first impression was i hope the hotel isn't to close to the airport after finding it was only a 5 minute drive. HOwever as soon as we arrived we were greeted with a cold towel and refreshing drink and our worries were put at ease.
The foyer area is very inviting and we found the staff again to be friendly and accommodating.
We stayed in a standard room, which was clean and spacious. The pool area is very relaxing with the swim up bar a great asset. We found that guests were holding lounges while they had breakfast so get tehre early to get a lounge around the pool otherwise they are lounges on the beach.
We found the hotel grounds are steep and stairs leading up to our room, so i wouldn't recommend this hotel to the disabled or someone who has problems with walking up hills.

We found you could hire a motorbike from the hotel for 300 baht, in Chaweng you can pay 250baht. We found paying that little extra was worth it as we didn't have to worry about getting the bike back into Chaweng and then to make our way back to teh hotel. Riding the bike around Koh Samui was easy as Koh Samui has just one main road. Just make sure you take a map with you so you know where you are.
Their is a shuttle bus into Chaweng and i agree with other travellers that even though it's a great service it could be more regular.

The best advice i can provide is to book private transfers from the airport to hotel and back again, it is a little extra but it's worth it as the last thing you want to do is go around other hotels on your holiday.

The tours on Koh Samui are the same as Patong and a little more expensive. But hiring a motorbike we found that we could explore the tourists spots at our leisure and it was cheaper , just make sure you know how to ride a motor bike. You can hire jeeps from Chaweng.

I would also like to inform everyone about a zoo on Koh Samui to STAY AWAY FROM. It's at rainforest 2 and please don't go there. We did and i was disgusted how the animals are treated. With cages for tigers and cheetah's to small, a monkey being chained to a train continually doing back flips and the elephants seemed to be better cared for around Patong Beach.. It was just heartbreaking....

The spa at the hotel is extremely relaxing you will pay a little more than in Chaweng but it's worth it we came out floating on cloud 9.

We would definately stay here again

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MarkDom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2008

We stayed at the Nora for 9 nights. In all our stay was pleasant and we were in an Ocean Villa.

To be truthful both hubby and I was expecting a little more when we arrived but in all we had an enjoyable stay.

The pool is lovely and there is no problem in getting loungers. The beach is a little stoney for my liking and I wouldn't recommend walking without any flip flops. The restaurant is ok and the breakfast is nothing to write home about.

The hotel is on a slope and it is a journey to and from the pool as you need to work up hill. Now again you can jump on the golf carts which was good and it saved my poor little legs..

The staff were amazing..

  • Stayed: April 2008
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1  Thank Princess_one
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2008

Absolutely beautiful resort ! All staff is so friendly, no exceptions.
Arrived there with the good news that we were upgraded to a pool villa which was just amazing. If you can afford We would definitely recommend it!

Honestly can not come up with a single negative thing about the resort.
The best visit to Thailand so far!

Niels Huve & Sarah Thomson

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank nielshuve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2008

We chose the Nora for our honeymoon after reading such good reviews of it on tripadvisor. We were also impressed that the photos on the hotel's website and the travellers shots on tripadvisor were nearly identical!

On our arrival we didn't get our promised champagne etc, but we did have rose petals scattered on our bed and a bath full of fresh petals and flowers waiting for us.

We stayed in a Nora Villa and it was beyond what I expected. Not brand new, but aged enough to have character, our villa had a private entrance through an old wooden door, 100% private outdoor shower, open plan atmosphere to the bathroom as the wall was completely glass, a back deck and a hugely comfortable king sized bed. It really was worth spending a few extra aussie dollars per night for our own little retreat. I couldn't bring myself to leave!

The whole resort is set in the nicest lush tropical setting. They take great pride in the garden and you always see the gardeners wandering around looking after it. If you like frangapanis you'll be in heaven!

The resort itself is as it appears on the website. The pool is awesome, if a bit warm due to the heat in March/April. Unfortunately the staff and guests don't adhere to the 'no reserving of sunlounge' rule which means you are fighting with a fair few others to get a decent sunny spot. The pay off is great and cheap cocktails at the pool bar and a good thai/western menu.

We only ate at the restaurant once, and it was a lovely meal but unfortunately the restaurant was very quiet and lacking ambience. Its a lot cheaper to catch the 6 or 7pm shuttle (50bht) into town and eat on the beach.

We couldn't fault the staff who were so sweet and helpful. They have scooter hire there too for 300 baht for 24 hours. We found this heaps more convenient than going elsewhere down the road to hire them. We named our little scooter 'Dora the Nora Explorer' and she did very well - even managed a bit of off road action!!

Some reviewers mentioned that it was too steep a hill to walk up. Yes, the resort is on a slope but aside from the good (not very hard) cardio workout it gives you each morning, they also have a golf buggy that could come and pick you up. It's really not a challenge at all.

We would go back to Nora in a second. It is on such a nice quiet strech of beach unlike the rat-race of Chaweng (Kuta if you have been to Bali), yet only a short ride to town (less than 100bht if you bater right for a cab).

Perfect honeymoon!

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Narragirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2008

This is our second time staying at Nora Beach (the first was 3years ago), and it is still a fantastic resort.

As we did previously, we stayed in a Nora Villa (7208) which are great rooms overlooking the various ponds and water falls with Koi in them. The room is large with timber floors and rattan ceiling. You enter the room through a small private courtyard which has an outdoor shower and your balcony is at the rear of the room. The bathroom is also vary spacious with a stand alone shower and bath tub. A large window allows you to look out into your courtyard and the ceiling has 3 perspex covers allowing in plenty of natural light to get in.
The room is equiped with aircon, cable tv, dvd/cd player, safe and plug in insect repellant device- which works. The only noise I heard during our stay was that of the water rippling over the waterfall. The rooms are very well sound insulated.

The resort has a large open reception area and bar at the entrance. From here you get a great view down to the pool and ocean.

The grounds are excellent. Very well kept and full of plants and animals. Geckos, birds and lizards all live harmoniuosly within the resort and this all adds to the feel of being completely relaxed. Every morning the grounds are raked to remove leaves and flowers and the beach is swept.

The pool is large enough with a swim up bar and a small jacuzzi and paddling pool area for kids. Heaps of day beds both around the pool and on the beach section. The swim up bar is covered so its a good place to get out of the sun and both the food and drinks menu is comprehensive. A loud bell is rung at 2pm to signal happy hour.

The gym is small, but has a treadmill, bike , rower and various weight machines and free weights- it allowed me to have a decent workout everyday.

The restraunt located on the beach and next to the pool is big and open aired with a large roof to protect you from the sun and rain. It is also split into a smoking and non smoking section which i as a non smoker really appreciated. Sitting having breakfast in the open air overlooking the ocean and Matlang Island is a great way to start the day. The bufet breakfast is huge with both asian and western foods. Hot and cold food, fruit and cereal are plentiful and ther is also a juicing station where you can make your own juice. I just loved the chinese buns, banana fritters and thai salads for breakfast.

The location is perfect if you want to be out of the hustle and bustle of Chaweng and its easy to get to from the resort. You can walk (about 15-20 mins along the road or the beach if the tide is out). Songthaws cost 100 baht, taxis 200 baht and the resort provides complimentary shuttle bus services in and out.

The staff are magnificent. Very friendly and professional. (They really provide top class service- even to the very rude and arrogant customers that made us feel embarrassed and moved me to have a fairly direct conversation with a few of them). Everything from booking over the internet to being picked up at the airport, check in and check out,was easy and its obvious that all the staff work very hard to ensure the resort runs well.

For our last 2 days we were upgraded to an Ocean View Pool Villa- WOW!!!! I loved the Nora Villa but this is a whole new level. You have 2 huge rooms- bedroom and lounge. 2 TVs, sound system with dvd,cd player. A Massive bathroom, your own private beach, plunge pool and gazebo. Just magnificent. When i first walked in i was just stunned- WOW!!!!

The Anodas Spa provides a wide range of treatments and the staff once again are very professional and provide an excellent service.

All in all we loved staying at this resort and would have no hesitation in coming back a 3rd time.

Cheers
HowzatPerth

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank howzatperth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nora Beach Resort and Spa

Address: 222 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bophut | Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Chaweng, Bophut, Ko Samui 84320, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Samui > Bophut > Chaweng
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Chaweng
#10 Spa Hotel in Chaweng
#10 Family Hotel in Chaweng
#12 Luxury Hotel in Chaweng
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Chaweng
#17 Romantic Hotel in Chaweng
Price Range: $116 - $669 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Nora Beach Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 113
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Also Known As:
Nora Beach Hotel Chaweng
Nora Beach Resort All Inclusive
Nora Beach Resort And Spa Ko Samui/Chaweng, Thailand

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