Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort

I took a quick two-night trip up to Chiang Mai last week – and yes, the ability to say that is pretty awesome, and one of the better perks of an expat life. It was for a photography workshop, which was a lot of fun and I will probably write about some time soon. One of the two nights was spent in the Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort (by Andacura Hotels & Resorts), which is what I’m going to be writing about now. So, without further ado…

Location

202_5154The Lanna Dusita has a lovely rural setting, right on the western bank of the Ping River, which passes through Chiang Mai just the the east of the Old City. Of course, “rural setting” is kind of a nice way of saying “it’s quite a long way from the city centre”, but it actually works to the place’s advantage, in this case. It’s the sort of resort where being far from the bustle of the Old City is practically its best selling point! Additionally, it is only about 5 km from the city – maybe a little far to walk, but you can rent a bicycle from the hotel or it’s only a 10-minute drive, which you can easily arrange with the tours desk or the concierge.

The resort is nicely self-contained, being behind an imposing frontage and surrounded by walls, which creates a nice sense of exclusivity. The fact that it opens onto the river at the back, with a lovely and open view across the calm water, means that the walls don’t also create a sense of being hemmed in. The resort is well-designed to maximise the amount of rooms without feeling cramped, if that makes sense…basically, they hit the sweet spot of design, where it is compact without being what you’d think of as ‘small’.

The one downside to the location is that you are under the flightpath of commercial aircraft heading north out of Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). However, with the airport being practically right in the middle of town (slightly to the west of the centre, if you want to be pedantic), there’s virtually nowhere in Chiang Mai you can go which isn’t under the flightpath and, by the time they get over Lanna Dusita, the aircraft are high enough that you can hear them, but the noise isn’t rattling your teeth as it can if you’re staying in town.

It should be noted that the hotel is also directly over the road from the local fire station, which may occasionally make a little noise. It didn’t while I was there, and I don’t suppose it would be anywhere near as frequently noisy as the jets, but it would probably make you jump if there was an emergency.

Rooms

202_5029The half-dozen two-storey structures where you will find the rooms all have a lovely old-fashioned design, with lots of stained wood on show. However, the rooms themselves are surprisingly modern-looking on the inside, as well as being fantastically spacious and pretty comfortable.

Lanna Duita Boutique Hotel has three room classes which, as seems to always be the case, have mostly baffling names:

202_5019I was in a Superior Room and, with 28 sq m of floorspace and a king-size bed (which must have been designed for a king of the dimensions of Henry VIII, because it was massive!), it felt like the daft naming convention might actually be accurate, for once. I was also very impressed with the comfy chairs. This may seem silly, but I find a lot of hotels get this wrong and provide chairs which are very far from comfortable. These ones were a delight to sit in.

The in-room amenities were perhaps on the plain side, but certainly adequate. You get an old CRT TV with a fairly basic channels package, the obligatory tea and coffee making facilities and an en-suite bathroom with toiletries. Nothing particularly astounding, but far from being actually bad. The shower, in fact, was fantastic. I was initially a little down on it because it is quite a modern white PVC thing in a bathroom which is otherwise pleasantly rustic. However, it uses two taps to control the temperature. While it took me a minute or two to figure out which was hot and which was cold, I was able to easily and precisely control the heat once I had. Many hotels favour the single dial control, for which you need the patience and dexterity of a safe-breaker to find the sweet spot. This, by contrast, was one of the most enjoyable showers I’ve had in years.

202_5026The really fantastic part of each room is the balcony. At 10 sq m, it is almost bigger than some hotel rooms in the world! It is home to a comfortable chair, clothes drying racks and a padded seat along the front edge, making it quite a pleasant place to chill out. However, I couldn’t find the light switch, which made it also quite a dark place, in the evening. I’m pretty sure there is a light somewhere, but an exhaustive search failed to reveal a switch. It is worth mentioning that the set-up of light switches around the room is a little odd, to the extent that it is impossible to turn on the lights around the bed from the door.

Dining

202_5142Unfortunately, I arrived at the hotel pretty late and had to leave pretty early the next morning, so I didn’t actually get a chance to dine at the hotel. I can therefore only give you my impressions of what I saw, which were very good. The Lanna Dusita’s main restaurant has seating with a beautiful view right over the river. Named Wai Restuarant, after the prayer-like gesture used as a formal greeting in Thailand, they serve predominantly Thai cuisine, with some local specialties.

202_5121There is also a small coffee and snack bar by the pool, named Hohm Dee (I’m not totally sure what that translates as). It boasts an interesting selection of special local teas and hilltribe coffees, alongside a collection of classic hot beverages, soft drinks, pastries and cakes.

202_5174As the weather wasn’t that great while I was there, the breakfast was being served in the rather lovely lobby building, at the front of Lanna Dusita and well away from the river. I was told that it would normally be down by the river, allowing you to enjoy your food with the fantastic view. I had a quick peek in the dishes and found that it was pretty normal hotel breakfast fare, with a couple of local additions.

It should be noted that, because of Lanna Dusita’s fairly remote location, you are a little limited in dining alternatives. There are one or two little local restaurants within a short walk. Fortunately, it would appear that you have two of the best (in the immediate area) on site.

Service

202_5112Despite such a short stay in the Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort, I saw no shortage of examples of the outstanding service they provide. The guys on the 24-hour reception desk were especially friendly, helpful and welcoming (and the welcome drink they provided was really tasty!). While I was taking a wander around the resort in the morning, everyone said hello or wished me a good morning. It’s a very simple gesture, but a very much appreciated one. I have always found Chiang Mai to be one of the friendliest parts of Thailand and Lanna Dusita demonstrated that better than most. At the same time, said staff were assiduous about their duties. The whole place was very clean and tidy.

Facilities

202_5119As I said earlier, the Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort is well designed, making optimum use of a modest amount of space. This includes an impressively large swimming pool, not far from the river, with an adjacent sundeck. Massages are available and there is a tours desk at reception.

On the downside, the hotel does not have an on-site bar, but that seems to be the nature of this rural area of Chiang Mai. Indeed, the whole city is not what you’d call famous for its nightlife. Even so, it would be nice to have the chance to enjoy a couple of drinks by the river in the evening.

Summary

Lanna Duista Boutique Resort is one of those wonderful ‘get away from it all’ places, which are increasingly challenging to find in the mid-range price bracket. I’ve used the word “sweet spot” a couple of times above, and that perfectly describes the whole resort – it is away from the town, but not remote; it is compact, but not small; it is affordable, but not cheap; it is simple, but not uncomfortable.

202_5180The resort’s location is probably its biggest asset. The pool, sundeck, restaurant and even several of the deluxe rooms overlooking the gentle river, creating the sort of countryside scene for which the word “charming” was invented. Charm just drips out of every surface, from the beautiful lobby and its nearby fishpond to the river-side dining deck. The rentable bicycles near the entrance even have a charm of their own, and the thought of cycling along the riverbank into town makes me wish I’d had the chance to stay there longer.

When talking about the service, I said that Lanna Dusita demonstrates the friendliness of Chiang Mai better than most, and that is also true of practically everything else. It is like everything that makes the city such a wonderful part of Thailand, distilled and contained in one resort.

Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort

146 Patan Road
Patan / Mueang
Chiang Mai 50300
Thailand

Tel: +66 5 311 0345-6
Email: info@lannadusita.com
Website: http://www.lannadusita.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lannadusitahotel

GPS: 18°49’31.8″N 98°59’41.6″E

Recommend: Relaxing on the huge balcony.
Avoid: Stubbing your toe while trying to find the light switch.


Full Disclosure

I stayed at Lanna Dusita Boutique Hotel for one night. My stay was arranged by a third party with a view to providing a review. The room therefore did not cost me anything and it is highly probable that the staff were well aware of who I was and why I was there.

While this fact may have had an effect on the staff’s attitude and treatment of me, said third party is aware of my ethics policy and declined the offer to vet my review prior to publication. True to said policy, I have endeavoured to give as honest a review as possible.

Nook-Dee Boutique Resort

The last few weeks have been quite tiring for me, with one thing and another. My Project52 has slipped to the point of being effectively abandoned, an intensive workout and diet programme has left me with increasingly little time to relax and work has been particularly trying recently. As a result, when I was approached by a friend with the opportunity for a little staycation in Phuket in order to review a hotel, I was very happy to oblige.

It is, sadly, the middle of the rainy season. In fact, September is the wettest month of the year for Phuket and climate change appears to have had little impact on that statistic, except possibly making it wetter. However, I always find that reviewing a place under the worst possible conditions is the best way to get an accurate impression of it. If it had been a beautiful sunny day, I would essentially be reviewing Phuket’s nice weather. As it was a wet day, I was forced to stay inside, giving me a far more in-depth look at what Nook-Dee Boutique Resort is really like. Spoiler: it’s fantastic!

Location

201_7701
Kata Noi, as viewed from the rooftop terrace.

There is a wonderful stretch of road along Phuket’s east coast, rising from the junction where Kata Beach meets Kata Noi Beach. The road climbs up the hill and skirts along the side of the hills behind the latter beach before continuing towards Ya Nui Beach and on to Promthep Cape – the southernmost point in Phuket. It is probably the most beautiful road on the island because the view is outstanding. Naturally, a number of bars and small restaurants have taken advantage of this. So, too, has Nook-Dee Boutique Resort. The view of Kata Noi Beach is spectacular, particularly from the reception, pool, restaurant and the rooftop terrace.

Naturally, there is a slight downside to this setting. If you like the beach, getting down there is a long walk and getting back again is very challenging because of the steep incline. Fortunately, the hotel offers a shuttle bus service to save your legs. Running at regular scheduled intervals throughout the day, it is free for guests. I’m not much of a beach kind of person but, if I was, Kata Noi would absolutely be my first choice because it is one of the quietest and most peaceful on the island, as well as having some of the softest sand. There are also plenty of beachfront restaurants to try. Kata Beach is close by and it is considered one of the best surfing beaches in Phuket.

The hotel is well-placed for being both peacefully isolated without it being an arduous trek to get to outside restaurants, bars and attractions. Public transport is rather limited as the aforementioned beautiful road is quite a quiet one, but the reception staff can help arrange something for you. The hillside restaurants are literally at the end of the entrance road (about a 300 m walk) while the bars are about another 300 m further along a relatively flat road – far enough not to disturb your sleep while being close enough for them to be no challenge to reach.

Rooms

201_7466
Dining/Living area of the Honeymoon Villa.

I did not avail myself of the nearby attractions. Admittedly, this was because I was primarily there to review the place, so I could hardly go wandering off to inspect the nearby business. The rain was also a factor, but so too was the simple fact that the room was really comfortable. My expectations, as always, were relatively modest. It isn’t that Phuket’s hospitality industry does not feature some really outstanding properties, but my blog’s relative youth means that I don’t expect to get the chance to stay in luxury accommodation just yet. Additionally, I’m the sort of traveller who is happy sleeping on the floor, if necessary. As a result, getting a stunning villa to myself was almost overwhelming!

Nook-Dee Boutique Hotel has six room classes, which are named in the standard baffling hotel jargon which continues to be essentially meaningless (though I shall attempt to avoid a rant on the subject this time):

  • Superior Room
  • Deluxe Seaview Room
  • Deluxe Panorama Room
  • Deluxe Panorama Corner Room
  • Deluxe Jacuzzi Room
  • Honeymoon Villa
201_7459
Bedroom of the Honeymoon Villa.

It is my strict editorial policy to only report on that which I have personally experienced, so I am obliged to only discuss the Nook-Dee Boutique Resort’s Honeymoon Villa. Put simply, it is amazing! It has its own 125 sq m private garden behind an ornate gate, with a palm-thatch sala for a modest jacuzzi pool. The villa’s roof forms a 97 sq m private terrace with an impressive sea view. The 79 sq m interior has an elegant modern style, with an outdoor kitchen containing a large fridge-freezer, a smaller refrigerator inside containing a mini bar, a four-seat dining/living room with comfortable sofa and widescreen TV, an equally large TV in the bedroom and the biggest bathroom I think I have ever seen.

The receptionist showing me around said that the villa can accommodate up to four people which, based on the places at the dining table and on the large sofa, makes sense. There is only one bed, however and, while it is a large and extremely soft and comfortable one – with feather mattress and pillows (and, for reasons unknown, a large stuffed elephant) – I doubt it could sleep four people. Still, it would be nice for entertaining guests who are staying elsewhere in the hotel and, with a second bathroom by the entrance, you wouldn’t even need to have people walking through the bedroom.

The main bathroom deserves special mention. I really love baths. However, being about 193 cm (6’4″) in height, it is extremely rare that I can find one in which I can properly relax. I was almost pathetically happy to find such a tub at Nook-Dee Boutique Resort. I was a little disappointed to find that, among the otherwise excellent complimentary toiletries, they had failed to provide any bubble bath. This did not prevent me from merrily lounging in a nice hot bath for over an hour before slipping on one of the lovely silk bathrobes. No less than two rainfall showers were also available in the villa.

201_7507
Garden and outdoor jacuzzi of the Honeymoon Villa.

There are only two criticisms I have of the place. The first is an odd choice of layout in the living room. Maybe it is a legacy of my parents’ generation, but I normally expect the sofa to be directly opposite the TV to ensure the best view. Instead, it is off to one side while the dining table has pride of place, meaning that the view of the TV is almost parallel to the screen, in some cases. I don’t watch much TV, so this wasn’t a problem for me. The greater issue was the fact that, being further down the hill from a good amount of the hotel’s rooms and the restaurant, an awful lot of balconies look directly down into the otherwise private garden and terrace, including right into the jacuzzi pool. There are curtains around the sala, but it still feels kind of exposed.

Dining

The Nook-Dee Boutique Resort restaurant follows the naming convention of the rest of the hotel. Nook-Dee roughly translates as “good time” or “enjoyable”. The restaurant’s name is Roy Dee, which means “tastes good” (though “a’roi” is the more common expression). It is almost a disappointment to find that the spa is just called “Spa”. Either way, all of the above are true to their name.

Roy Dee Restaurant serves a modest selection of Thai and western dishes. While the menu is short, I have always preferred places which do a small selection of dishes well, rather than having an encyclopaedic menu of dishes prepared badly and using second-rate ingredients. Roy Dee’s ingredients are very definitely first-rate.

201_7647
Moo Balow at Roy Dee Restaurant.

I decided to completely ruin my diet, but also sample both aspects of the menu, going for a western starter of cream of tomato soup with tarragon and gin (190 baht) followed by Moo Balow – slow-cooked stew with pork belly, boiled eggs, five-spice and fresh tofu (150 baht). I also had the BB smoothie, containing mixed berries, banana, pineapple milk, yoghurt and wild honey (130 baht).

It was a little odd to pay more for a bowl of soup than for a main meal, but that just speaks of Nook-Dee Boutique Resort’s genuine determination to pass savings on to their guests. Imported ingredients are more expensive because of Thailand’s high import taxes. However, locally-sourced ingredients are very cheap because of the country’s largely agricultural economy. As a result, ensuring high quality across the menu inevitably means that the western menu is slightly pricier than the Thai choices. This use of high-quality ingredients really tells in the flavours and textures of the dishes. All of the above tasted sublime and the meat of the belly pork was extremely tender and juicy.

The restaurant also serves a buffet breakfast, which I sadly did not get a chance to sample – mostly because my body refused to allow me out of the ludicrously comfortable bed. It looked quite impressive, though.

Service

The staff throughout Nook-Dee Boutique Resort were excellent, though particularly the reception staff. Even the car park attendants were doing their utmost to be helpful and obliging! My needs are generally quite simple, but they were immediately met with a friendly smile and with the offer of additional services.

201_7553
Reception.

As I said, the reception staff deserve special mention, not least because I managed to lock myself out of the villa within about five minutes of arriving. I’d set off to go and take some photographs around the hotel and abruptly realised that I’d left the keycard inside! They quickly issued me with a fresh one without quibble and without laughing at my foolishness, which is impressive, because even I thought it was hilarious. They also came all the way down to the villa to return my passport when I accidentally left it at reception, rather than calling for me to come and collect it. It’s a simple gesture, but indicative of an attitude whereby the staff are willing to put themselves to inconvenience so that you don’t have to.

Facilities

201_7514While Nook-Dee Boutique Hotel is a fairly compact place, it is not lacking in facilities. The pool is impressively large, with a great view from one end, a sun deck at the other, a submerged bench in the middle and a bar close by. I didn’t actually explore them (I was too busy enjoying my bath), but there is also the aforementioned Spa, a modern fitness room and meeting facilities. The reception area has a tours desk and a little souvenir shop.

The rooftop terrace is definitely worth a visit, and I’m surprised that the hotel doesn’t make greater use of it. The view up there is excellent, particularly around sunset. It is all covered with artificial grass and would be a great place to relax in the sun. However, I suppose that the long distance from the bar and the noise of the air conditioners do make it a little inconvenient and the view is nearly as good from the pool (except that you can’t see Kata from there, but you’re not missing much).

Summary

201_7660
Private terrace of the Honeymoon Villa.

Nook-Dee Boutique Resort is a great for a stay during the rainy season and I have absolutely no doubt that it would be just as good in high season, too. It takes full advantage of the unrivalled location, providing a comprehensive range of facilities so that you can have a fantastic holiday without ever leaving the hotel or its immediate surroundings. While it is far from the only hotel to enjoy a fairly isolated location (only “fairly” because there is another hotel directly adjacent to it), it is one of few with such a good view, ensuring that isolation never gets dull. If you do choose to experience the outside world, it is easily reached and the staff are extremely willing to help you do so to the best of their abilities.

I said at the start of this that the true test of a good hotel is to review it under the worst possible conditions. A bad hotel would have made me stir crazy and desperate to check out, in spite of the rain, while a good hotel would have made me wish I could have extended my stay. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have to work for a living, I would still be there now.

Nook-Dee Boutique Resort

216/9 Koktanod Road
Karon / Mueang
Phuket 83100
Thailand

Tel: +66 7 668 8888
Email: info@nook-dee.com
Website: http://nook-dee.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nookdeephuket

Twitter: @nookdeephuket

GPS: 7°48’40.4″N 98°18’03.6″E

Recommend: Great view from the rooftop terrace.
Avoid: Using the jacuzzi pool without closing the curtains.


Full Disclosure

I stayed at Nook-Dee Boutique Hotel for one night. My stay was arranged by a third party with a view to providing a review. The room therefore did not cost me anything and it is highly probable that the staff were well aware of who I was and why I was there. I did have to pay for my meal.

While this fact may have had an effect on the staff’s attitude and treatment of me, said third party is aware of my ethics policy and declined the offer to vet my review prior to publication. True to said policy, I have endeavoured to give as honest a review as possible.

Manathai Koh Samui

Manathai-2In the process of planning an inspection tour of Koh Samui, I needed to select three hotels – one each in Lamai, Bophut and Chaweng. I had a budget no other specifications. All I needed was for my accommodation to be in a location convenient for checking out the nearby town. So, I selected Manathai Koh Samui as the first one purely for its location and cost. That is exactly the story I told the staff there when they asked.

Had I known what the hotel would actually be like when I got there…I would have stayed there for the whole week because it quite easily blew any of the others right out of the water! Staying there was an absolute pleasure and, if you travelling to Lamai, it would be right at the top of my list of recommendations.

Location

As stated, the only real criteria I had when selecting a hotel in Lamai was the room rate and the location. I wanted a reasonably comfortable stay, so I wanted to get as close to the maximum allowance for my budget, but the places right on Lamai Beach, in the heart of the town, were all well over. Manathai Koh Samui is a little to the north – basically the northernmost hotel on the beach.

For my purposes – needing to spend as much time as possible in the town itself for research – it wasn’t actually all that convenient. Lamar town centre would have been quite a lengthy walk away, which could have become very tiresome very quickly. Fortunately, the staff there were able to help me to arrange for a rental motorbike, with the added bonus that I was not obliged to give up my passport or driver’s license, which is a common (and completely illegal) practice with rental companies in Thailand. They also told me that they have a shuttle service which can take guests to locations around the island, but I did not avail myself of it.

While the hotel’s location may not be ideal for those wanting to spend most of their time in town, it is perfect for people looking for a resort holiday. It is a peaceful and quiet place, with all of the facilities you could ever hope in easy reach and transport available to take you further afield if needed.

The one and only downside is the fact that Route 4169 (the main ring road around the island) runs right through it. To be accurate, the main part of the hotel is on the inland side of the road while the beach club section – named Waterline – is over the road. Fortunately, there is a crossing guard and the road is quiet enough that, while this is an inconvenience, it isn’t a crippling one.

Rooms

Manathai-1
Room 308 – Deluxe Balcony Room

Manathai Koh Samui has four room classes, named in the typically baffling and largely meaningless manner that most hotels employ:

What exactly any of that entails is anybody’s guess. I can only tell you about the Deluxe Balcony Room because that’s the one I stayed in. To be precise, I was in Room 308, on the top floor of the main building. True to its name, it had a balcony, which overlooked the second swimming pool. What exactly was “deluxe” about it is difficult to say without a frame of reference.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away with that. I’ll discuss my gripe with hotel room naming conventions another time…

Silly name aside, the rooms at Manathai Koh Samui are fantastic. Quite spacious, at 32m², they have an old colonial style without just being outdated. The four-poster bed, the window shutters, varnished wood floors and classic buro-style desk are blended seamlessly with contemporary artworks, soft colours and a modern bathroom.

A good bathroom is a very important (and frequently overlooked) part of a good holiday and the one at Manathai Koh Samui has a very good hot shower with fantastic chilli and basil-flavoured shampoo and body wash. You wouldn’t expect ingredients usually intended for a tasty Thai dish would work well as cleaning products, but they really do!

The bed, too, is important and in need of detailed discussion. I do like mine super-soft, but the Thai convention is for rock-hard (there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, I know it…). Manathai Koh Samui went for a good compromise, choosing mattresses which are on the maybe just on the harder side of the middle ground. The bedding is nice and soft, though, and perfect for keeping you warm and cosy in the surprisingly efficient air-conditioning.

The room also has all of the other widely anticipated modern conveniences, including a mini bar, safe, spacious wardrobe, bathrobes and slippers, tea and coffee-making gear, satellite TV, telephone, hair dryer, pretty good wi-fi internet (even if it does have the annoying kind of log-in where you have to re-enter the password each time you reconnect) and probably a few others that I’ve missed.

Dining

Manathai-8
Colours Restaurant

Unfortunately, I didn’t try most of the dining options available at Manathai Koh Samui – my work required that I eat out as much as possible. I did have the buffet breakfast, but I can only list the rest as I am not in a position to comment on their quality.

The breakfast is served in the restaurant named Colours. Calling it a restaurant is a bit of a misnomer since it only serves the breakfast from 6:30am to 10:30am. However, it is a pretty good breakfast, with various fruits, breads, cereals and drinks as well as a good but modest selection of cooked choices. You can have a Thai dish, though it is not really what I would consider an actual Thai breakfast, which is usually rice soup, from what I’ve experienced.

Manathai-7
Pad Thai Restaurant

I went for the English breakfast (or as close I could get to it) and, while the chicken sausages were a bit disappointing and the bacon was American-style instead of British (or what Americans call “Canadian bacon”), it certainly wasn’t bad. The highlight was the egg station, where a pair of chefs were ready, willing and very able to prepare whatever style you fancied. They did some of the finest fried (sunny) eggs that I’ve had in a while and I saw them doing other styles perfectly well, too. I finished up my breakfast with some cereal, which was a little chewy because of being sat out in the humid air all morning, but it was otherwise a very good breakfast.

Manathai-4
The obligatory “Oirish” bar – Mulligans

The other choices include:

  • Pad Thai – an Thai restaurant for evening meals.
  • Coffee World – a large chain café which is located on the hotel grounds.
  • Mulligans Irish Bar – the obligatory Irish theme bar.
  • Waterline – a poolside cocktail and snack bar.

Room service is also available.

Service

One word: “OUTSTANDING”! I was made very welcome from the moment I was helped out of the taxi to the moment the hotel taxi took me to my next port of call. Particularly worthy of mention were Natalie Kamolwattanasoontorn (the Australian woman who, despite appearing to be just a Customer Relations Manager, turns out to be the hotel’s General Manager!) and Namtam, the supremely helpful and friendly receptionist who quickly and ably dealt with any question, difficulty and request I had, including arranging for a rental motorbike and getting a taxi to take me to my next destination.

Everyone at the hotel did their utmost to make me feel welcome, from the cheerful greetings of the cleaners to the helpful road-crossing guard to the pleasant wait staff and skilled chefs at Colours. They were all immaculately turned out and extremely professional. I was also quite impressed with how efficient the room cleaning service was. It seemed to take no time at all, yet the room was scrupulously clean.

Facilities

Manathai-5
The beachside pool and Waterline

There is a little stretch of very quiet beach past the second of the two pools, with sun loungers both around said pool and in the shade of the beachside palm trees. This pool is particularly popular, so you a poolside sun lounger is out of the question if you show up after lunch. However, the beachside ones are just as nice and you can still enjoy the easy-listening chill-out tunes from there. You probably could take the lounger down onto the beach itself, there there’s about a two-foot drop between the two, so getting it back up again would be a challenge. The beach itself has nice soft sand, but the sea takes a long time to get deep and there are a lot of pointy stones in there. There is also a little island on the left, with a wooden bridge across to it. It seems to be one wall of a small sheltered harbour for local fishing boats. It is a pleasantly secluded place, if you want to be well away from the rest of the world.

Manathai-3The second pool is in the middle of the hotel, making it very shaded and, theoretically, not that private since it is overlooked by most of the 102 Balcony Deluxe Rooms. On the other hand, it is extremely quiet – I never saw more than a handful of people there at any one time.

There are a couple of small local restaurants within easy reach of the hotel, but no notable eateries, nightlife or attractions. The hotel is in Lamai, though, which doesn’t have that much in the way of high-end dining, nightlife or attractions anyway.

Summary

Manathai-6While Manathai Koh Samui was actually a little too isolated for my purposes, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there. The unrelenting friendliness of the staff was a major contributing factor while the charming and – most importantly – comfortable rooms made it a pleasure to stay in. Not being on a “holiday”, as such, I was unable to fully explore and enjoy the facilities, but I did spend a very pleasant afternoon by the beach. It is a highly-recommendable resort if you are looking for peace and quiet. From what I saw, it particularly attracted families and people in their late-30s or older, for which I consider it well suited. However, despite the fact that I am neither of those, I still had a very pleasant stay.

Manathai Koh Samui

173/41 Moo 4
Rob Koh Road
Maret / Koh Samui
Suratthani 83410
Thailand

Tel: +66 7 745 8560-4
Fax: +66 7 745 8555
Email: info.samui@manathai.com
Website: http://www.manathai.com/samui
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManathaiSamui
Twitter: @MANATHAIHotels
GPS: 9°28’23.1″N 100°03’23.9″E

Recommend: Enjoying the great colonial-style rooms and super service.
Avoid: Getting run over while crossing the road to the pool.


Full Disclosure

I booked a two-night (including breakfasts) stay at Manathai Koh Samui in January 2016 through Expedia.co.uk, with my flights included in the booking. I mentioned quite early on, in the course of conversation, that I am employed in the travel industry, which may or may not have altered the staff’s behaviour towards me. However, I was not contracted to review the hotel and I received no special discounts, benefits or payment during my stay or as a result of staying there. This review was not written at the request of the hotel or any other business.