10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
GREAT PLACE TO RELAX
"After spending a week at Central Samui Beach Resort on Chaweng Beach which we enjoyed. It was good to go somewhere quiet to relax for a week . The whole experiance was made even better by the fact we had a Pool Villa.Once here it was hard to tear yourself away from the pools ,gardens & beach.The beach and sand outside Central Samui are by far the best . We swam every morning before breakfast at both resorts .It was good to experiance the night life and buzz of Chaweng before coming to Bophut Beach so once there we had no need to go back to Chaweng which only took 15 minutes and cost $12 by Taxi.
Check in was quick and easy,shown around on way to villa which are closer to the beach so you get the best of both worlds . With the main pool on one side and the beach & 2 beach pools on the other.Having so many pools ment that they were never crowded and sun beds were always avaliable(no booking seats here )
The Resort is only a year old and well laid out there are established gardens from the previous resort with a man made stream running around the villas to give a sence of space .There is still a need for a bit of greenery to grow before you can feel fully private in the villa gardens.It was always a mad dash from day bed to pool without being seen in the pink.The place was so quiet during the day there was no overcrowding .
As it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary we were greated in the villa with wine ,fruit and cake.The bed was covered in flowers so too was the outdoor bath .The villas were great and I would recommend spending the extra to any romantic couple especially you newlywed.You have a semi private garden day bed with sun shade,two loungers own Plunge Pool with built in seat. On the other side of the Villa you have an outdoor garden bathroom with bath built for two and rain shower .This is acessed by a sliding door from indoor bathroom that has another shower,twin sinks toilet & clothes rack .The towels are replaced daily including the three big beach towels in a handy carry bag .They also provide plush robes and indoor and outdoor flipflops .This helped keep the floor clean .
The bedroom had a King size bed,(hard) so requested extra padding that was changed with no fuss.Plenty of storage space,safe ,mini bar ,umbrella .TV on swivel base,DVD player .Writing desk,sofa .2 bottles of water daily never enough so we went to shop across road from resort for supplys .Get your laundry done at the bike repair shop across the road past day spa 100 mtr right.Looks a dump but great overnight service .
We had a great breakfast each day ,fruits,omelets made to order,Try the banana bread and pineapple jam.We also dined at the beach restaurant and found it very hot as it is all open overlooking the beach but no fans.We dined in the main dining room and found it little better.Room service was good after we got the message to the cook how to make a toasted cheese sandwich.
Fishermans Village is a hot 10 minutes walk along the beach or $8 by taxi .Stop off at the night market interesting foods but alot of cheep plastic junk .We dined at Starfish & Coffee and Happy Elephant ok but still too hot and stuffy. Get a seaside table and hope for a slight breeze .We were lucky with the weather 36 Deg every day with two 1hr rain showers.
Big Budda worth a look (free) and good shopping there with no pressure $10 by taxi open up to 6.00pm.
Coral Island long tail boat snorkeling trip ok just be weary of the food .(Got sick for 24hrs )
We did not go on National Park full day trip as we didn't fancy getting knocked about for three hours in the boat.
Massage on the beach $10 at Gecko next door also another bar and dining option .Beach hawlkers are great not many and wont come unless you call them Try the pineapple on a stick,fresh mango or get a beer.Thursday is there day off.
We were pleased to have stayed Bandara I walked the beach at both Chaweng and Bophut and did not see a better resort .Especially the pools and garden areas at both . I saw Bop Hut ,Zazzen,Anatera & Poppies all have very small pool and beach area for the size of resort .The sun loungers are so close there ,I am not sure why they rate so high.Enjoy Samui
Get a Pool Villa if you get the chance."
- Travel date: Mon 14th of August 2006
A very nice hotel, just don't expect too much!
"Having read travellers reviews prior to our stay (early July) we were rather apprehensive - would we have a good word to say about the hotel?
I'm pleased to say that our experience was overall positive. The welcome at reception on arrival was professional & friendly and they managed to get our room ready within 10 minutes of our arrival from an overnight flight.
The room itself was nice, smaller than most deluxe rooms in Asia and the bathroom was definitely not in the deluxe category. We stayed recently at the Colonial Palladium in Cancun and that room / bathroom had the "wow" factor, this one did not. However the balcony was large and the daybed a nice touch.
We didn't eat at the hotel because there are so many great restaurants within easy walking / moped distance (150 Baht per day rental). The Indian, the Starfish and Zazens were all excellent.
The beach is definitely nothing great - but then few beaches in Thailand are up to Mexico / Maldives standards. Compared with the noise and chaos of Chaweng, Bophut is a quiet little oasis.
Overall, a very nice hotel and one which we would use again."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of August 2006
Honeymoon at Bandara
"We stayed at the Bandara Resort for 10 nights in June for our honeymoon.
We were given a free upgrade and stayed in one of the cottage villas.
Our first impressions of the villa was of disappointment - it was not as luxurious as we had imagined. The room and furnishings were basic, and the bathroom disappointing. The outside bath looked dirty - I certainly wouldnt have wanted to use it - although my husband did use the outside shower. However, the plunge pool was lovely and the garden was nice to use to gain a little privacy.
On arrival we were given champagne, fruit and a honeymoon cake which was a very nice touch.
The hotel grounds and gardens are immaculate and very well presented, and the staff and people very friendly.
The breakfasts were good, and offered everything you needed. The drinks and food at the Bandara were quite pricey compared to other places we looked at. In fact unfortunately for Bandara there is a 7/11 store opposite the hotel where we saw many guests buying beer, drinks and snacks at a quarter of the price than the hotel.
Most days we had lunch at the Beachside Resort where they have a lovely restaurant on the beach. The prices there were reasonable and had a very good varied menu. On days where we couldnt be bothered to walk across the sand we had lunch around the main pool (the pool by the beach was closed for maintenance for our entire stay - we did not know this until we arrived) and the food was always nice.
For dinners we mainly ate out at the Beachside Resort again (lovely set up with tables on the sand, lanterns, candles etc - very romantic setting) Very reasonably priced - and the food really good. On other nights we would venture into Fishermans Village - (turn right at the beach, walk across the sand to the road at the top) where there are many restaurants to choose from Thai, Italian, (Villa Blanca was excellent) French, Steak, Indian. We did not eat at the hotel as we thought it was overpriced and the menu never really took our fancy.
The beach is very nice - very clean, the sand a little rough but not enough to bother you.
The resort and area is very low key, my favourite part of the holiday were the evenings, walking along the sand, eating out on the beach, and then just sitting and watching the boats on the water, and the people walking by.
We did have an incident one evening, when one of the maintenance guys checked our outside garden lights without anyone telling us, I got the fright of my life when I heard a rustling in the garden and looked out to see a man standing there in the dark. I was really concerned he was trying to break in - or worse. When I telephoned reception they knew nothing about it which really worried me, but then they rang back to confirm he was legit and was just checking the lights. A lack of communication to us on their part.
We were unfortunate in that the weather was not good during our stay which probably put a little downer on things - but overall I would say that im glad I didn't pay full price for the villa, the main pool was great, the people were lovely and the area low key but romantic. We normally holiday in the Caribbean and have stayed in some very beautiful places. Because the hotel advertises itself as 5 star and we were on our honeymoon we were expecting our villa to be much better than it actually was, but then 5 star in Thailand is probably completely different to 5 star in the Caribbean.
It is a very nice resort - just dont expect pure luxury."
- Travel date: Sat 8th of July 2006
"We stayed at the Bandara because of the comments on Trip Advisor. It was ok, but nothing fantastic. We had booked 2 nights in a deluxe room and splashed out on 2 nights in a pool suite. Stuff we liked:
Rooms; The deluxe room was great, loved the balcony and the fact there was a day bed. Pool villa was also really nice, but not sure it was worth the extra money really.
Staff were great, very friendly and helpful
The things that let the hotel down were:
breakfast not good; ran out of loads of things, and they weren't replenished quickly
beach swimming pool closed for refurbishment while we were there, and we hadn't been told about this when we booked
not at all as it looked on the website; may have been me, but I didn't expect it to be as big a resort as it was, and the main rooms were in a large building which didn't look great
Restaurant not great; we decided to eat there one night and it was probably the most expensive meal we had in Thailand but the food was bland
beach ok, but water a bit murky
We hda been to Koh Samui 7 years ago, and wouldn't go back again anyway, but if we did, we probably wouldn't stay at the Bandara again"
- Travel date: Sat 1st of July 2006
Never judge a book by it's cover
"There are some pretty fundamental ways a hotel and its staff can ensure that you have and enjoy a very pleasent stay.
1. Turn up at the airport for the pick-up on-time.
This was the first time ever that I had to scrounge loose change to make a phone call to the hotel (15 minutes away), who eventually arrived 1 hour late. I expected to be greeted by somebody fairly senior at reception, but instead was 'signed in' by some poor soul who could speak little english and did not understand our problem. Finally complained to the Manager who did not charge our return transfer, and provided a bottle of wine in the room.
2. Ensure that there is somebody on duty who can at least speak basic english. I've never been an inverted snob who believes everyone should speak English, but in a top 4/5* hotel it is usually expected.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
With your guests! It's all well and good providing an outside bath big enough for 2, but to be deluged with anti-mosquito insectiside without warning is farcical.
Having an exclusive garden complete with personal plunge pool was delightful. Having 10 workmen cleaning out the pond just in front without any kind of warning, morning, noon and night was a complete disaster.
Communicate with your staff. Why on earth was major floodlit work going on at 9.30 at night in front of the room, disrupting all concerned, and NOT being communicated to senior management???
4. Stick to any hotel policy that you take the trouble to inform guests about. If you state that you do not reserve sun-beds, then don't, otherwise you will end up with conflict on your hands when you are being asked to move from 'reserved' sunbeds at 15:00 when they have not been used all day!
Apart from that, breakfast was OK, walk to Bophut village was easy, travel was expensive via the 'taxi mafia', Samui itself is an ecological over-hyped disaster in the making."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of June 2006
Not what we expected
"We stayed two weeks in the Badara Resort. Unfortunately it didn't reach our expectations. Although they have a wonderful garden area there are a few problems. 1. The main pool was one month closed! This meant we could use it only two days! They have another small pool on the beach but this pool had some problems with the pump. Therefore the water was very dirty so that you couldn't go in. The beach is not very nice at the Bandara. The sand is rough and brown. It's a steep coast...you can't walk out far. The ground ist very muddy. The water is not clear and you can't see your feet. Another very annoying thing was that there is often an ugly smell like excrements over the whole place...and in the room! This was terrible...The hotel didn't have a management, really bad staff at the reception. Of course, it is difficult to find good staff but other resorts could find them...If you want a really good holiday we can recommend the Sila Headaway (very expensive), Sala, was very nice too or the Napasai. They all have better staff, a better beach, better food, better drinks, better rooms..."
- Travel date: Wed 14th of June 2006
Never would have left
"WOW! It is probably a good thing my partner and I checked out Chaweng Beach before we came to the Bandara at Bophut Beach as we never would have left.
The resort is set on about 4 acres of property that winds down to the beach and includes a beautiful common area with a great bar and a rather nice restaurant. The main grounds are relaxing and beautiful and have a great main pool, a smaller childâs pool and a spa [the treatments here are great].
The rooms and villas are set in a well manicured tropical garden that leads to the beach where the second pool, second restaurant, pool bar and lounge chairs are. The whole place is done in very casual but chic tones of orange and brown silk, dark woods and white tiles or sandstone. It has about 100 regular rooms set in three story low rise buildings. The rooms are very nicely laid out with a nice sized couch, comfortable bed and a large portion of the wall between the bathroom and living space that moves back to make the room seem more airy and bright. The large balconies included a table and oversized lounging couch. Although they have quite a few rooms, were fairly full when we were there and are one of the larger places to stay on the beach, it felt like there is nobody there. There is no fighting for lounge chairs or space at the bars and restaurants, in fact, the only time you think there are more than a handful of people are at breakfast when you see about 40 people all at once.
The staff is all very friendly and professional and truly makes you feel pampered and relaxed. Primarily the only thing to do in this part of Samui is lay around the beach and get sun [or go to the spa] and the Bandara makes for a perfect compliment to laid back Bophut"
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of April 2006
Honeymoon in Koh Samui
"We have picked Bandara resort for our honeymoon/vacation based on the reviews on this website and we must say that the hotel has met our every expectation.The only disappointement was the beach,which is very clean and quiet but it does not have the white sand,you can see in most of the beach pictures from Koh Samui.Also the water was a bit murky,but still pleasant to swim in. During our stay we have traveled to most of the beaches on the island,and were not really impressed with any of the major ones ( Chaweng,Lamai,Choeng Mon). The best ones that we have found were couple of small beaches on the west coastline,between Lamai and Chaweng.
Also I must say,that the general omnipresent chaos and clutter ,was at first a bit shock for us,as we have expected Koh Samui to be an unspoiled tropical paradise.But we have got used to it very quickly and still appreciated all of the beautiful spots on the island.
We had a deluxe room on the the top ( third ) floor,overlooking the pool.The room was very nicely decorated in contemporary thai style,not too spacious but the balcony itself actually serves like an extra room,as it has a day bed,table and chairs and even a ceiling fan.All of the hotelâs facilities were very clean and well kept by the staff...The gym is quite small but still equipped well enough to get your workout done.
The resort is located in a beautiful tropical garden,with three swimming pools,one of them being extra long and great for swimming.We never had a problem finding a place around them,you can even hide in the shade in one of the salas surrounding the main pool.
One of the things that impressed us the most,was the attentivness of the hotelâs staff. Everyone was really nice and this really made our stay even more pleasant than it already was.
The food was also very good,we have eaten at both hotelâs restaurants couple of times,and they were both very satisfying and not too expensive.There was always a good choice at the breakfast buffet ranging from the tropical fruits to thai specialities. Also there are many good restaurants nearby, especially in the Fishermanâs village,which is only ten minutes walk away.
During our stay we have made couple of trips by the speedboat to the surrounding islands and we recommend this to everyone.We have been on snorkeling trips to Anthong National Marine park , Koh Tao and the most beautiful private island Koh Nangyuan.The clarity of water and beaches on these locations is incomparable to any beach on Koh Samui.We have taken these trips with the Petcherat Marina ( you can book it through the Dive academy,which has office right next to the hotelâs beach restaurant) . These eco-friendly trips are in relatively small group of people and are very well organized.The guides are really nice and speak very well English (especially Mr.Chai).The lunch and soft drinks are included in the price,which is really low for the great experience you will have for the rest of your life.
Overall,we had a very relaxing holiday,which we will be remembering for a long time,and we hope to return to this paradise some time soon."
- Travel date: Wed 12th of April 2006
"We stayed at the hotel for 7 nights in March. It was our aniversary. When we arrived they had arranged tiny flowers on the bed to say Happy Aniversary and gave us a cake and a bottle of champagne. We stayed in a delux room on the top floor on a side wing. The room had a nice large balcony, extra large comfortable bed, it was exceptionally clean with lots of little extra's (flowers, beach bag and clean beach towles each day) each night the bed was turned down and a selection of sweets wrapped in banana leaves was left by the side of the bed.
The hotel had 3 very relaxing pools with lots of shade from the sun. A very nice beach bar with good reasonaby priced food. The hotel sun beds were great with the staff putting your towels on the beds for you.
We highly recomend the Hotel Spar, with the staff treating you like the only person ever to have been there and pampering you.
Every member of staff in the hotel was extremly helpfull and polite.
A usfull tip we found was that if you want your room to stay cool ask for an extra card key as when you go out and take your key with you the air con goes off.
Would Highly Recomend this Hotel"
- Travel date: Sat 8th of April 2006
Great Hotel, Very Nice!!
"Before choosing which hotel to stay for our honeymoon, I have read a few reviews from this website and finally decided to choose Bandara Spa & Resort. The hotel is very nice, staff are very friendly, nice pool. We stayed at a deluxe room on the 2nd floor, it's very nice!!
We emailed the hotel beforehand to arrange an airport pick up and mentioned that we are staying for 2 weeks and this is our honeymoon. We were impressed!!, they offered us a lovely cake and a bottle of champagne. Very Nice! We are glad that we have chosen this hotel!!"
- Travel date: Sat 18th of March 2006