10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
takes accomodation in koh samui to a new standard
"Stayed here for 5 days after checking out of another hotel - Sala Samui which did not live up to its marketed image, although the food was very good. Moved to The Four Seasons - a bit of a trip around the island but first impressions were awesome - reception feels likes something out of a bond movie - not good if you dont like heights but breathtaking views. Our villa was quite possibly the best I have ever stayed in - I loved the huge bathroom and ante bathroom and the outdoor terrace and pool were fantastic. I would have liked them to have lost a few more trees though as I like to enjoy the sun but they are very proud that they have the same number of trees now as they had before the development ! I suppose I should really appreciate that . The beach was small and there were not enough sunbeds - they expect people to stay in their villas ! Food at the pool restaurant was very good - pineapple rice was my favourite - service a bit erratic. Wine situation very dire - most of the wines we ordered had gone bad due to bad storage or transport - hopefully they will sort this out. Would love to go back - very peaceful felt totally de stressed."
- Travel date: 8th May 2007
Incredible Resort - Well Done Four Seasons
"Incredible Resort - Well Done Four Seasons. Having recently visited what I understand is Four Seasons newest resort in Thailand I must write to tell you - immediately plan your trip to what must be one of the most dramatic and spectacular vistas I have ever experienced. From the moment we arrived 400 feet above sea level with views of Angthong National Park (WOW) until the genuine warm farewell at the Living Room this was the most incredible vacation. This resort is only 3-months old I understand but you would never realise it. The employees are simply warm, efficient and gracious; all that we would come to expect from a Four Seasons and especially one in Thailand. Our villa was 'outstanding' and the plunge pool exceptional - you know they even put a fence around the pool for my 4-year old without us even asking - now that is anticipating our needs. The designer and architect certainly has great taste, the fabrics and linen were refreshing and the layout was comfortable and functional. The landscaping was 'lush'. We spent much of the time on the outerdeck of the villa - we had slightly cloudy weather but the warmth of the employees certainly made up for it. I did a fair bit of walking, yes you can walk the resort (perhaps not back up the hill again though) and I saw many different views from the small pathways that make up this beautiful location - each villa seems to have a very unique aspect. You don't always have to be right on the beach as some of the villa's up the hillside have breathtaking uninterrupted views of Koh Phangnam. The service was probably the highlight of the trip and we loved the beach team - cold towels, water, spritzers, fruit skewers without having to ask. The kids club actually come to the beach to take our son for sandcastle building whilst my wife and I walked along the pristine and safe waters edge. PlaPla seafood restaurant was relaxed with discreet service, yet we felt very pampered by the employees and the management. I got a very genuine feeling from the entire resort that everybody just wanted to take care of our needs - nothing was too much trouble and they were always looking for a way to achieve a special touch. They remembered my diet coke and my wife's favourite fresh juice to order. tell them once then sit back for the next 5-days in amazement. The kids amenity for my son was a great start (they even wrote Justin's name on the teddy bear in chocolate) and the personalised photograph from the kids club at the end of our stay (in a cute monkey picture frame) was a memorable farewell. We hired a baby-sitter, very very nice lady and we treated ourselves to the Spa. How could we forget this experience. If you are looking for total relaxation and a little downtime from the kids, although we love ours madly, then this is the place to be amongst a forest. We forgot where we were and for 90-minutes we had a beautiful spa ritual that was second to none. Book early for this, perhaps even before you arrive as I understand from the people we talked to when the resort is busy you would not want to miss this total indulgence. We went to the Spa on a day when the clouds became a little darker and although they had great resort activities (Yoga, MuayThai Boxercise, Wine tasting - check out their Wine Cellar) Should the occasional cloud pass over the resort and the rain starts to fall, get to the Spa and let the therapist massage away any blues. I understand from previous reviewers that perhaps in the first few weeks there may have been service issues and teething problems, that is what my wife and I enjoy when we go to new openings be they hotels or restaurants, we simply enjoy sharing the teams achievements and in turn they shared their love of their work with us. We certainly did not notice this and although we did hear some wood working on the adjacent residences for perhaps a few hours on two mornings out of the five we were there whilst we were having breakfast, we were not disturbed in the least. We had expected far worse from what we had read. You will be amazed by this resort, it looks new but it seems to work like a seasoned machine, I am not sure how they do this - well done Four Seasons another jewel in your crown in the far east. My family will definitely come back - we have told our friends who are booking their summer vacation. As one reviewer wrote, save up your money, it is not for the faint hearted at US600 per night, but we felt that it was money very well spent. Thank you for a great experience Four Seasons Koh Samui!"
- Travel date: 7th May 2007
Great hotel, but be educated before you go
"Just returned from a 5-night stay in Samui. First of all, let me say this place is up to 4 Seasons standards, although I do agree with some of the negative comments. When I first checked in, I was dismayed-our room was very dark, I didn't like having to get a buggy, and the view was not what I was expecting. Our view looked over treetops with the Gulf of Siam in the background. I was expecting a beachy, Mexico or Caribbean-type view and you won't get that here. Your view is one of being in a hillside forest. But, if you realize you're in the middle of a jungle in Thailand and don't expect the Caribbean, you'll be fine and pleasantly suprised at the Thai experience of this resort. PROS: The service. The service here is unparalled. You will never want for anything. Rooms- The rooms are beautiful-loved having our own private pool and deck. Housekeeping-As usual, immaculate and thoughtful housekeeping. Food-Both restaurants and in-villa dining were excellent.Breakfast selection was great. Spa-Out of this world-best spa I've ever visited. Went 3 times in 5 days. Privacy/Serenity- Having your own pool makes things very private and serene. It was also very quiet and peaceful here. We heard no construction noise from our villa. CONS: Buggy service/unwalkability- Although we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a buggy, I hated having to call everytime I wanted to go somewhere. At other 4S resorts, my husband and I like to wander around after dinner and just walk around the resort. You cannot do that here. Beach- The beach is pretty, but is almost unswimmable. The water is clear and very warm, but is full of rocks and coral. The only time you can go in the water is in the morning at high tide. They should tell you this on check in, because the first afternoon my husband and I went to the beach, it was so shallow we literally could not find a place to swim. It is also full of rocks and coral.-I cut my leg badly that first day. You can walk in the water-it won't come above your knees- but make sure you get water shoes from the resort staff, because the coral will cut up your feet, even in high tide. In the morning it was better and you can swim a little, but it's definitely not the best 4S beach. Entertainment-At other 4S resorts we've visited, there is live music outside after dinner, with dancing under the stars. There is nothing here. They should have a show of traditional Thai dancing or something similar at least one night of the week. Shopping- Other 4S resorts we've visited have 2 or 3 boutiques. There is only 1 here, and while it had nice items, there was no "everyday" stuff. If you forget anything while you're here-sunblock, chapstick, or want a souvenir T-shirt or a bag of chips, you're out of luck. Language Barrier-This isn't a real con, but it can be frustrating to explain yourself over and over or have the staff explain themselves repeatedly while you try to understand them. Just have a little patience and go with the flow and you'll be fine. I would recommend this resort whole-heartedly. However, it's a long way from the East Coast of the US, and there are much better beaches closer to home. So, if you're just looking for a beach vacation, I say go to Nevis or Mexico. If you want to go to Thailand and are looking for a relaxing escape from Bangkok for a few days, I enthusiastically say choose 4S Saumi."
- Travel date: 30th April 2007
major problems at this beautiful new resort
"I stayed with my sweetheart at this new resort for the first 8 nights of April. We had stayed at the two Four Seasons resorts in Bali over the New Year's holidays, and amazed at every aspect of our experience there--the service, the Balinese culture, the resort properties, the villas....and did I say the service? Oh my, those two resorts were just absolutely amazing. So it was with great excitement and anticipation that we looked forward to staying at the new resort in Koh Samui. Unfortunately, our experience fell far short of expectations, mostly due to very poor management on a number of levels. To be sure, it is a very very beautiful resort. Unlike some of the previous reviews, I didn't mind the steepness of the property; I actually like to walk alot when on vacation. And the buggies are availalble, even though they were typically late (when they arrived at all). I liked the beach, the workout room, the restaurants. And the villas are to die for...They are beautifully designed, of course brand new, and with high quality construction all the way through....Our villa (504) had a fabulous view of the water, and was quite private....When I first arrived, my breath was taken away by it all, and I thought we were taking off right where we last left our wonderful adventures in Four Seasons dream haven. Unfortunately, there were so many service gaffes, that the resort really fell short of even basic expectations for a Four Seasons. Whereas in Bali, everywhere you went, a very cold water bottle was waiting, along with chilled wash cloths, at Koh Samui they were few and faw between. Usually, i had to ask, and always the water was lukewarm. When I went to sit on a beach chair at the beach, I had to ask for water, and a cup of warm water was brought. yuk! This may seem like a small thing, but it is precisely the many small things that Four Seasons resorts do that to me sets them apart from other places.... We had the breakfast included in our room rate, which we ordered delivered to our villa each morning. Generally, it was very good, though virtually every morning some part of the order wasn't correct, and it was usually 10-15 min. late. What really upset me was the billing about it. When I checked the bill the day before checking out, all the breakfasts were charged a la carte. Ok, not a big problem, I stopped by the concierge and pointed out the breakfast was to be included. They agreed, and promised to take it off. When I asked for an updated bill later, they had charged for all the "non-American" breakfast items we ordered...my sweetheart is from China, and she typically ordered Asian dishes each morning. In Bali, both places emphasized that we could order anything for breakfast, and so i proceeded with this assumption. I found it insulting to my sweetheart that they would cover Western but not Asian dishes for breakfast. I pointed this out, and after some spirited exchange, they agreed to allow all the items. Strangely, I had to go through this three more times before we checked out, as the bills were never adjusted!! Other complaints: the noise from the construction is loud at times. One morning, no one was manning the workout room; the place was filthy, towels everywhere, no water left. On another, we had arranged for a snorkeling trip; the concierge assured us it was only a 45 min. boat ride, which was important since my sweetheart is prone to sea sickness. It turned out to be a 90 min. ride, and she got quite sick. On the final day, I asked to preview the bill. Besides the breakfast charges, they were using an extremely high exchange rate, one significantly different from the one posted on the resort website. I wanted to pay in cash dollars, and they were demanding $715 nightly, compared to the $650 rate. I showed them my reservation confirming the $650 price in dollars, and they tried to claim they would need to charge the extra money for a conversion rate charge. One of the concierges was quite adamant about it, treating me like a criminal. I was equally adamant, and they finally relented, assuring me that I could pay "only" $650 nightly, as agreed...when I went to pay the next morning, nothing had changed, and I had to go through the whole argument with a different crew. We were already running late, as the buggy promised to pick us up never arrived....so we had a mad dash to the airport, barely making our flight. To me, all these gaffes reflected management. Most of the employees were very kind and polite, even though often inexperienced. In both resorts in Bali, the resort managers went out of their way to introduce themselves and inquire about our stay. We felt like welcome and treasured guests. The one encounter I had with the Koh Samui resort manager was when I introduced myself to him; when I mentioned I was from San Diego, he extolled the virtues of the Four Seasons nearby there. I think his time could have been better spent orienting to the many challenges faced by the Koh Samui resort. Even with these significant problems, we had a wonderful vacation. It's a good thing to know that even when the external circumstances aren't perfect, you can still enjoy a wonderful vacation, adn we did! I don't think I would go back to this place, but I look forward to other Four Seasons resorts, as they generally are top-rate."
- Travel date: 30th April 2007
Four Seasons luxury on an uncomfortably steep mountian side
"This is a Four Seasons Resort ...it comes with all the luxuries and quality, as one would expect. But it is uncomfortably position on a seriously steep mountian slope. So much so, that one cant walk down to the beach or to any of the restaurants or spa. This, at least for me (and I am in good physical health and in my mid-30's) and for many (families, elderly, kids, handicapped) is simply too uncomfortable. When on holiday I do not want to have to rely on transport to get to breakfast or the pool. For honeymooners who plan on spending more time in bed or in the villa dip pools and who have little intention of leaving the villa, this hotel is fine. Note that the resort has only 2 restaurants - for long stays this may become an issue and I saw no where else in Samui worth eating at! The resort also has 1 rather small pool on the beach (other than the dip pool that each villa has)...this too will become overcrowded during school holidays. The beach is very pretty but small and the water is transparent (but tide goes out at midday, leaving a less than ideal and in fact rather muddy walk-out to the waters edge). Some building work is still on-going at the resort. This is never ideal and Four Seasons really shouldnt open until they are 100% completed and guests do not have to have workmen staring at them on their less than secluded terraces. Alternatively if Four Seasons cant wait to open a resort until its completed you should 1. be charge a reduced 'introductory rate' and 2. be warned about the ongoing development. For a change I was a guest and not the host, so I am uncertain about whether reservations made these 2 points. Finally, this resort is new. The staff are friendly and try hard. The gardens (jungle) will still take some time to hide the rather ugly cement pillars that each villa is built on. Until then the garden staff can be seen watering everwhere whch may be what has led to a mosquito problem at breakfast, in the spa and treatment rooms (!). Make sure you ask for Dech if you are in to deep Thai massage! Superb! For a romantic weekend get away, short anniversay or short honeymoon this resort is certainly worth considering."
- Travel date: 29th April 2007
Up to Four Seasons standard...
"Although I share some comments with the previous reviews, I do not agree with them all. About noise : I stayed in the resort for 8 nights (from April 10th) and never heard a noise of construction work. Indeed, my villa is on the left side, but even when I ventured into the right side in daytime, I did not notice any disturbing noise at all. And the management did care about this issue : one week before arriving, I received a mail from Alex, the Resort Manager, telling me that they'll accommodate me with a villa far from the residences. Location : The resort is located in the far north west of the island, in a rather remote area. Do not expect any nightlife / animation as in other places such as Chaweng. It is built on a hillside, from the top down to the beach, amid luxuriant vegetation. The view over the sea is really stunning, especially from the lobby and the Lan Tania restaurant. The location reminds me ot the Datai in some way, but it is definitely NOT the Datai. First the Datai is located in a middle of a rainforest, which is not the case here. Second, the Datai is also located on a hillside but you can easily walk up and down, from one place to another, while in Four Seasons Samui, it is not advised to. The roads are very very steep, slippery when wet, and there are no stairway designed for pedestrian. So, you really need to call a buggy for every movement, and this is sometime annoying - even if I never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get one. Room : The Villa is among the best I have experienced so far. Very comfortable, very large, well equiped with the latest technologies - I really like the iPod dock for example. Each villa have a private pool. Mine also has a pool barrier, which I do appreciate as I have a small child with me. All villas overlook the sea but some have view hidden by the trees (I suggest to ask for the villas in the ranges of 300 and 400, which seem to have the best view). Beach and pool : The beach is nice, quiet, with beautiful view. The sand is not as smooth as the Datai beach but much better than at the Four Seasons Langkawi. Kids can borrow plenty of beachtoys to play. The beachpool is banal. The Resort Manager told me that they did not invest much in it because each villa has already its one own. The sea is disappointing. It is very calm and not very deep but very rocky, so not swimable at all. Again, the Resort Manager told me that they have got the permission to remove the rocks (dead coral reef ?) and it will be done in the future. Needless to say, the beach and the sea at Four Seasons Samui are not the best of Koh Samui - you can pay a look at Chaweng beach to compare - but you can enjoy here privacy and tranquillity that you can't find elsewhere. Restaurant : Only 2 restaurants, "Lan Tania" at the hilltop serving Thai and Italian food and "Pla Pla" at the beach serving seafood international style. As the resort is rather isolated, I've never left it to dine outside. The Thai food served at the "Lan Tania" is excellent, I enjoyed it 6 nights out of 8 - well, I must admit that I find the Thai restaurant at the Datai still slightly better. The price is correct. The breakfast buffet is a little bit disappointing in term of variety - I prefer the breakfast served at the Datai and especially at the Four Seasons Langkawi. Service : The service quality is up to my expectation and even exceeds it as for housekeeping. Since this resort just opened 2 months ago, I think that they need some adaptation time but are improving fast. Staff are very friendly, always smiling and efficient. Their only weakness may be their english. Misc. : The Spa and the Kids Club are perfect, up to Four Seasons standard. All in all, this is not yet "The Perfect Hotel" but I have enjoyed very much my holidays at Four Seasons Samui."
- Travel date: 20th April 2007
nice rooms but not there
"we were staying on samui and decided to stay on the property as a treat for my partners birthday. we visted for lunch and i liked the rooms so decided to book, the reception staff confirmed availability took my card details and promised an email . 5 hours later i recieved an email saying they were fully booked so i gave up an d booked on line at fourseasons.com. and sent an email to complain. 5 days later no response to the email of complaint turned up at the resort and the room wasnt ready at the agreed check in time of 2pm asked to speak to the manager he wasnt available. the food service seemed chaoitic with drinks arriving long after food and some peoples food arriving after everone had finished. Breakfast was strange ordered bacon and eggs but only bacon turned up as they had ' run out of eggs' - this is a four seasons. shortly after breakfast there was a power cut no air con. /no lights - no explaination. however there was power enough for me to check out ---- thank god please sort this hotel out !!!!! you have spent millions on it but forgetten people need to stay in it"
- Travel date: 18th April 2007
Agree with the previous review... its a shambles
"I read with dismay reports from fellow travellers that they are experiencing the exact same problems in April, that I experienced at the end of Feb. This is not acceptable... as management were made fully aware of all these issues and have done absolutley nothing about them. I have given the hotel a 1 star (terrible rating), for the following reasons.... 1. Bad views - the room categories are split into two groups basically. Bay view hillside, and beach. The "Bay View" is very hit and miss - the first villa i was offered on arrival was dark, and had "views" of a few palm tree tops. After i complained i was moved to a villa with a much better view - its obvious they try to get rid of the ones with bad views first. Solution: They should sell room based on "view ratings". Those without decent views should be priced accordingly, let people decide themselves if they want to pay a premium for a view, or pay less for the same room standard but little view. 2. Noise - I woke up the next morning after arrival to the sounds of chainsaws and pneumatic drills. It honestly was ridiculous... so loud that after 30 minutes my heard hurt. Solution: They should make it very very plain to new guests that there is extreme noise at this resort... sell the rooms at a 50% discount until the work is complete... and keep the good 4 seasons name. The way they are going about this (I mean, they knew about this 2 months before fellow travellers have the same problems) is ridiculous. 3. Resort Location This is i fear a killer for this resort in the long term. The piece of land they have built this resort on is very poor, very steep, pretty much otherwise unwanted land. Honestly, to walk from your villa to the beach... you risk breaking your neck (ITS THAT STEEP). I dread to think about walking back up again. The result is that you cannot move anywhere in the resort without first calling for a golf buggy. If you want to go to the spa - you must call a buggy, to the beach - call a buggy, go for dinner - call a buggy... etc They cannot give you a buggy so that you can drive around yourself, as its too treachorous... therefore you must call, wait around for a guy to bring the buggy down. All in I felt like a prisoner in my own villa. its just a disaster. Solution The noise and room view problems can be sorted out with good management. However, the location and the reliance on buggies sadly cannot... so whilst the room standard is high (although you pay 650bucks a night, so you expect it to be), the food is allright.... this resort will always have major problems. Give this one a miss... there are much better resorts for the same money."
- Travel date: 16th April 2007
Not Quite There Yet
"My girlfriend and I stayed at the 4 Seasons for 5 nights over the Easter Holiday period. It was our first time in Koh Samui. Unfortunately, this particular 4 Seasons property failed to live up to our expectations. All in all, it was an OK stay, but it could have been far, far better, if only management tried harder at actually being professional in their treatment of guests. Fist of all, let me preface this review by saying that I am a regular 4 Seasons user (having been to 15 different properties - business hotels and resorts - managed by the 4 Seasons Group in Asia/Europe/Middle East/ U.S.), and I definitely will continue to use other 4 Seasons properties worldwide in the foreseeable future. As such, I believe that I have a good understanding of what the 4 Seasons Group can offer its guestsâ¦ The main problem that this Resort has is the absolutely unacceptable level of noise that is generated by the ongoing construction of private residences on the West side of the property. The Resort has 60 or so Villas, and about half of them are on the West side, near the private residences. These residences are nowhere near completed (I was told by the Assistant Manager that it would take another 8 months, ie until year-end, for them to be finalized). If you happen to stay on the West side of the resort, you are subjected to non-stop noise emanating from drills and hammers from 9am-6pm for 7 days a week. As soon as we arrived in our villa we were greeted by stares from a dozen workers taking a break from their drilling work (which resumed immediately thereafter). It is totally unacceptable in a resort where you are paying US$650 per night (before 18% tax) for this to occur and not one person in management tells you this. We immediately asked for another villa - it is unprofessional for the 4 Seasons not to explain this on their website or to their guests upon check-in (i.e. they should consider saying that the West side villas are considerably noisier and perhaps they should be offered at a discount to the other ones). We felt completely deceived by management (who told us that there were only 1 or 2 other villas available, which was not true as I continued to push for a better villa), and throughout our stay we noticed that a number of other guests complained about the same issue. In fact, the Assistant Manager spent most of his time shifting guests around between villasâ¦Do not be afraid to ask to look around at as many villas as possible - there are some villas that are incredibly dark (no sunlight whatsoever) and have a great view of a bunch of treetops, so you need to be shown more than one villa if possible... The next issue I have with this resort is the limited amount of privacy between villas, especially those in the center and west side of the resort. Given that that the resort is still somewhat new (it used to be a banana plantation), there obviously has been a great deal of construction and planting of trees etc., which means that because some of the villas are at 90 degree angles to each other, other guests can directly see into your pool area, which greatly limits the privacy that you have. Some people may feel that this is less of a concern, but again when you pay this kind of money and you know that there are other 4 Seasons properties (Such as Sayan in Ubud, Bali) there is natural disappointment. No doubt when the foliage grows further this problem will diminish, but the fact is that if you are staying in West side of even Center of the property your privacy will not be the same. When you check in you should look very carefully at the map of the resort and compare the pools of each villa. Only about 50% of the villas have the larger pool (everything else is the same in the villa), and this makes a huge difference as the pools can be double the size of others. You must try to get the larger one, and they are identifiable on the map (the villas with the smaller pool have a different shape as shown on the map). Unterestingly, if you go to the 4 Seasons website, they only show the larger pool on the villa layout page... The final main problem I have with this property (and again, attributable to its relative youth) is the erratic service. On several occasions I had to remind the staff for my breakfast order (one day I called 3 times for breakfast which I was told would arrive in 35 mins and we ended up eating it at lunchtime). On another occasion I received a note stating that my buggy would pick me up at a certain time to take me to the reception in orer to check out, but after waiting and waiting I called up the front desk and no one knew anything about this...This was not made any easier by the very poor english of the staff (and yes I know that I am in Thailand, not the U.S., but having to repeat yourself constantly is sometimes a little frustrating). No doubt with time this will improve substantially to the level of other properties in Asia. What did I like - a great many things. The food was excellent, definitely to the standards of the 4 Seasons Group. The quality of the villa's finish was outstanding - truly luxurious. The pool was huge - 10 meters long, great for laps, hanging out. The attitude of the staff was one of genuinely friendliness. The beach was private and very pleasant. Do I recommend this Resort - unfortunately, not yet. Having been to other properties and for this kind of money, you can go to Bali (Ubud), Langkawi or elsewhere and have a more enjoyable time, as the service is at a different level, and privacy is far superior. If you really want to stay here, you will most probably will enjoy it, but you must do your research in advance and be aggressive about what you want when you check in, otherwise you will swim in a bathtub and be hanging out with construction workers. You must stay on the West side of the resort, and you need to pick your villa very carefully in order to make sure that it is private and has the larger pool - it makes a huge difference to your stay. All in all, the attitude from management in insisting on charging the same amount for villas on the west side and not telling guests anything about the construction work is absolutely unacceptable - this is not to 4 Seasons standards of management."
- Travel date: 9th April 2007
Marvelous with capital M!!
"We just spent the most marvelous and relaxing beach vacation with the kids in this breathtakingly beautiful brand new resort. Kids friendly, full of smile, very helpful staff are so attentive to every little needs of our family with small children. Fantastic massage at the spa in a glorious ambience. Love the setting of the resort. The beach bar is our favorite hang out place, on those day beds, we can enjoy scrumptuous meal while the kids can run a round a little, happy not to have to be confined in a high chair. We will definitely come back."
- Travel date: 27th March 2007
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Thailand is also called
- four seasons koh samui
- koh samui four seasons