15 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A truly sensational experience
"A family group of 7 of us (2 couples & 3 adult children) from Australia were attending a wedding in Koh Samui and in order for us to stay together we needed somewhere with at least 5 bedrooms.
We searched the net and found that Holiday Velvet in the UK had a 5 bedroom privately owned villa at Karma Samui which we booked and paid online via their website.
Upon arrival at the airport we were greeted and all picked up for transportation in a van to the Karma Samui Resort (just north of Chaweng Beachand on the beach side of the road).
We were met at reception by the manager and his very attentive staff who explained how the resort operated and then moved into our villa.
The whole villa was spectacular - high on the hill with a fantastic view over the bay - and an infinity style pool to die for.
Every day the resort staff cleaned the villa completely from top to bottom (even did the washing up).
The reception staff organised all our travel back and forth to Chaweng when needed and also to other parts of the island. we also had extensive use of their very up to date library of DVD's and CD's.
The girls in the group all used the resort's spa facilities (massage,pedicure etc) as well as travelling to Chaweng for a little shopping and bargaining.
One of our party who was not attuned to spicy food was suffering as a result of the wedding feast elsewhere on the island and the manager personally organised for her to be taken to one of the local hospitals where she received the best of care.
We ate in the main restaurant (Padma) a few times but the highlight was on our last evening when we all ate on the verandah over the beachfront in front of the restaurant. The stars were out and the food and service was sensational.
Truly our stay at the Karma Samui was a never to be forgotten experience for all of us."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of January 2009
A World Class Resort without question
"We originally decided after reviewing Conde Naste to go to The Six Senses Resort or the Four Seasons Resort for 4 days. However after a lot of searching we decided to go with Karma Samui. It offered what appeared great villa's all with ocean view and a luxury pool. Well when we arived we were greeted by the extremely nice management team, very genuine nice guys who we liked alot. We were checked into Villa 10, and were impressed immediately. An upstairs Bedroom with large bathroom. And a large balcony looking over the ocean. Downstairs in the front Pavillion we had an enormous loungeroom and dining room with State of the Art Kitchen and Laundry. Big double doors opened onto the Double Sala and also two further Sun Lounges. The poool was in front of lounge and was great, could see the sea from it and was just the right temperature.
The onsite restuarant is also great if you want a meal by the ocean side or a cocktail. There deserts are amazing. My only comment would be wine was far to expensive at Karma.
Staff were so polite and friendly. It made for a great experience. We will certainly be back in the next 6 months for a weeks relaxation."
- Travel date: Fri 24th of October 2008
A very poor choice...
"I stayed for one night at the Karma Samui, and it is perhaps the worst experience I have had at a luxury beach resort.
Firstly, the location. The reception opens directly onto a main road, with passing traffic being able to look into the hotel lobby. Looks like a 3 star hotel entrance (at best). First supposedly luxury hotel I have seen without a setback from the main road. The villas are placed in a large area between the reception and a small, very rocky beach, in a concrete setting. No lawns or tropical scenery anywhere in the hotel and it looks like you are on the Costa Del Sol rather than an island in Thailand.
Next, the rooms. We stayed in a three bedroom villa and though it was very large (separate living room pavillion, with an additional two bedroom pavillions on either side of an open courtyard with a plunge pool), it was furnished to the standard of a mass market resort in southern Europe. The sofas in the living room looked cheap and the upholstery was frayed. The open courtyard was too sunny to sit in and there was no greenery anywhere. The view from the rooms was truly terrible with the most prominent sight being the roofs of other villas, with the sea visible at a distance. Not what one would expect at USD 1,000 / night.
The service. The resort appeared to be running on a skeleton staff with almost no one around to help with anything. The rooms did not get cleaned on time, maintenance was shoddy. And worst of all, one needs to wait 10-15 mins for an electric golf cart to even get to the lobby or restaurant.
And finally, the facilities, which are non-existent. This must be the only beach resort around without a real beach. In addition, there is no where on the property where one can lounge around are relax by the sea or in a beautiful ambience. There is what they call a spa, which has only two therapists offering basic massages in a converted villa (remarkably low on ambience). There is also one restaurant placed above a construction site, and frightfully hot during the day, but at least the food was pretty good.
We arrived at the Karma Samui from the Oriental in Bangkok (which despite being in the centre of the city feels more like a resort than this hotel does - and its cheaper too!), and I wish we had not bothered!"
- Travel date: Sun 24th of August 2008
Pampered by the Sea
"We have just spent 5 days at Karma Samui which was just fantastic.Ourselves and 2 other couples spent 2 weeks in Thailand to celebrate our 60th Birthdays.after 3 days in Bangkok then 5 in Phuket all of which were great we had elected to pamper ourselves for the last stop.We were not disappointed from the time we were picked up at the aiport by a lovely hostess with a cold drink & cold towels.We were at the resort in 10 mins to be met by the Resident manager Nat ( who was just terrific she couldnt do enough for us)to be then taken to our villa .we could not believe what we had in 3 huge bedroom's all with King size Beds ensuite ,a huge lounge and kitchen with all mod cons .then a great courtyard with our own pool & bale.we had a fully cooked breakfast each morning in the restaraunt overlooking the sea with terrific staff catering for all of our needs.
On the first night the staff put on a cocktail party by the main pool which was great to meet all the managers and other guests .the finger food was out of this world with no dinner required that night..
The resort is well set out with views from the rooms over the sea .
Chewang is only 5 mins away ( the resort car would run us down to explore all the markets local restaeraunts etc.)
All of the staff just couldnt do enough for you without being obtrusive & Nat once again was terrific in advising and organising a trip around the Island as well as what to do in Chewang.
We have travelled a lot but we have not found many resorts of this standard anywhere and would definitely recomend it to any one who want a restfull break ,be fully pampered at a realistic cost
Thanks Karma Samui we hope to be back"
- Travel date: Sat 3rd of May 2008
The ultimate relaxation (Honeymoon)
"well, firstly, we arrived at the Koh Samui airport by 7pm after a long day in and out of airports, to be greeted by two lovely staff members with cold towels, cold water and a luxury limo ( new toyota wagon) which was great. We arrived at karma to be greeted by 4 staff, congratulating us on our marriage. we were taken down to the villa ( no.24) and we were speechless, the villa was amazing. We had booked a 1 bed villa and had been upgraded to a 3 bed villa with our own pool ( 8x5m - big!!). We had our own kitchen/dining/lounge area which was beautiful. Also in our outdoor area was a 2 person sala where we had countless in-villa massages, and a couple of sun lounges too.
The resort grounds were beautifully maintained and picture perfect at all times.
Our package included breakfast which was better than the buffet style breakfasts we'd had at other resorts. Many choices of thai breakfasts which were delish, but still the choice of bacon, eggs,etc if you felt like it. You've got to try the granola with poached fruit - divine!!
All the staff went out of their way to help in any situation. So friendly!! Housekeeping came twice a day which was a bonus.
We hired a scooter which was a great way to get around the island, alot cheaper than taxis or hotel transport, and scooters were alot of fun! $60 for 11 days...
All in all, it was absolute heaven for us ;-)"
- Travel date: Sat 26th of April 2008
"The villa that we were given was beautiful and separated into 3 villas. The master bedroom in one villa with a beautiful bathroom and shower; the lounge, dining area and kitchen in another villa which had large glass doors which opened onto the patio/swimming pool area; and another villa for the remaining two bedrooms.
We stayed for one night which happened to be the night of the monthly barbeque. The staff were extremely attentive and made sure we had drinks in our hand all night. When the part y got very busy a staff member named 'Sit' made sure we were well looked after and made sure that even though the bar was busy, we never had to wait for a drink. He was a great member of staff and I hope the management take note of this!
The fridge was stocked with everything we needed and the room service was very impressive. Everything was laid out for us and drinks prepared. The plates left over from this were whisked away without us knowing whilst we were at the party and our bed and mosquito nets were prepared for when we returned.
It was great to have out own pool too - even better to take a dip after too many cocktails in the evening to help us cool off.
I was extremely impressed by the hotel and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone."
- Travel date: Sun 9th of September 2007
Beter than Expected
"With the amount of new resorts coming up in Koh Samui, I was quite pleased that the Karma lived up to expectations. The villas are well designed and spacious and the staff are absolutlely brilliant. In Villa dining, BBQ as well as massages make this a treat. Except for the fact that the whole development is dense (developers tried to stuff too many villas in a small location) and hence you can end up viewing roofs of other villas, I cant find any faults with Karma Samui. ...... . Must insist on a villa either in the first or second row, otherwise very restrictive sea views. Dont expect a usable beach on site as well...you have to travel about 2kms for that. However if you want fine service, privacy and relaxation, Karma Samui is well suited"
- Travel date: Mon 27th of August 2007
Great Villa - not sure about the island
"Stayed here for 5 days at the end of a china trip so only wanted to lay in the sun . Originaly was going to stay at new 4 seasons but after reading reviews on here decided against . (was good decision) Agree with many things in last review on this place.
Original villa (no 30 ) was fine except the view was limited . When new manager asked if we were happy we told him that we were not happy with the view so after 2 days he offered us villa 12 (when it became free) the view here was great , but had a small problem with the pool ( milky- but the fixed it ) . The villa was great - large in every way .. while housekeeping friendly - a bit erratic and they need a better way of you being able to tell them when you want the place serviced.
Staff and management are great - women at the front desk are fun and friendly. - we were a gay couple and they had no problem .
As for the island itself - seems to be strugging with with lots of development - but limited infrastructure - something is going to give soon ..
Karma prices seem a little high compared with whats available ( for a couple) but if you need the space - say for 2 couples travelling together or family they are a good value as they are a great setup for groups ."
- Travel date: Sat 25th of August 2007
"Karma Samui is an peaceful oasis amidst the shabby and litter strewn island of Samui.
My partner and I stayed 8 nights in August 2007 and loved it. The Karma is a small resort that cant seem to make it's mind up whether it was a hotel or a group of privately owned villas but dont let this put you off. There are about 35 villas in the complex of which about 10 are privately owned and thus empty most of the time. This means that staying there as part of a small group of tourists you are pampered when you wish to be and left alone if you prefer. Conveniently located 10 mins from the new airport, luxury transfers are included in most packages
The villas are all large and spacious and all looked to have sea views. We stayed in a two bedroom which had a separate sleeping block. The master bedroom was spacious with verandah, walk in shower, walk in wardrobe (with proper padded hangers - nice touch). enormous 4 poster bed and a very nice bathroom. Downstairs, in a separate unit, we had a huge living room, vast sliding patio doors to two walls, with fully fitted Smeg kitchen, laundry room, very large dining table, sofa's, flat screen tv, dvd and sound system all set in a well looked after and well designed garden with day bed, loungers and private pool which was about 4m x 3m. Overall the standard of finish is very much in the top of the market luxury category. The smaller villas are designed to offer almost complete privacy so after years of wondering what it was like I skinny dipped in our private pool. And in case you are wondering, after that we never bothered with swimming costumes the entire time we were there. A truly liberating experience.
Closer to the beach the larger 3 & 4 bed villas dont enjoy this level of privacy but they are absolutely stunning with very large private pools, lawns and steps straight down onto the beach.
The staff are helpful and attentive, any request, even small ones like a glass of milk, are met with a speedy and polite response.
The beach area is secluded, too rocky for swimming but to be honest with you I would not bother with swimming in the sea around Samui.
The bar does mix good cocktails but has not got much to offer by way of atmosphere. The restaurant is small with wonderful vews but the food was a little disappointing. That said as we were there a new chef had arrived and a promised overhaul of the menu was in prospect. My advice to the kitchen is back to basics please. Simple foods well prepared with quality ingredients should be the name of the game. Even the breakfast at the Karma was a contemporary haute cuisine extravaganza when something a little less fussy would have been more than welcome. Having said that the home made meusli and its crunchy "granola" variation was delicious if a bit sweet for my taste.
Koh Samui was a shabby and disappointing island. Chaweng, the main resort area, was truly horrible with unpleasant restaurants and touts at every step. The town permanently smelt of sewage. There are good restaurants in and around the island and even in Chaweng but expect to pay a steep price for good food, most unlike my normal experience of Thailand.
As a diver Samui is also disappointing. the only decent diving is around Ko Tao which is a 90 minute bumpy ride in a very fast boat. Too bumpy, too long, too expensive but very nice diving once you get there.
Put the Karma on Phuket or in Hua Hin and I would be back like a shot, it was a peaceful and relaxing stay in superb accommodation. Samui is the problem though and it's time the locals woke up and realised that if things remain the same they will never attract the kind of tourist that consistently pays the bills and fills up the new boutique hotels that seem to be springing up."
- Travel date: Sat 11th of August 2007
"We stayed at Karma Samui with friends in August 2007.
On arrival we were greeted warmly by the manager, Mark Kitchen.
We arrived early and our villa was not ready, so we were offered another villa and were moved seamlessly later in the day, once our villa was ready.
The villas are well-appointed, luxurious and well thought-out.
The spa and gym are good, and the restaurant excellent. Karma Samui has the best cocktails on Koh Samui - a real highllighght. The Kiwi chef cooked great fusion cuisine.
The beach is nice but less appealing than at some other resorts we have stayed at. Water sports would have been good.
The staff were attentive and friendly. Nat was very helpful with tips on things to do around the island.
We've stayed at many five star resorts and and have exacting standards. We liked the Karma concept a lot. Because each resort is small, there is a club atmosphere, and guests receive personal attention. Mark and his team are extremely friendly and helpful and we very much appreciated their attention. They run a tight ship.
We had a couple of nights at the Four Seasons after Karma. We were a number, rather than a valued guest, although the Four Seasons experience is undoubtedly very nice. Next time we will go back to Karma, which compared very favourably at half the price.
- Travel date: Thu 9th of August 2007
"I have just returned from a wonderful holiday at Karma Samui. being in the industry myself, I can tend to be rather critical of properties who rate themselves as 5 x star and fall well short of expectations. Rest assured, Karma Samui delivers a 5 x star + experience! The location is ideal, situated 5 x minutes drive from Chewang Beach. The Villa's are beautifully appointed, private swimming pool, fabulous views, quality Spa, attentive staff, divine breakfasts and an extensive F&B selection.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this property for anyone wanting a luxurious break away, I just hope I can return again soon!"
- Travel date: Wed 11th of July 2007
"This is a new property (well under a year old) and its lots of villas all private (i think around 40). They gave us a 3 bedroomed villa for two of us!!! And it's WOW!!! I think families would really love this, as the kids are safe etc, but anyway, for two of us we used the main suite which had an awesome view from the bed of the sea. There is also a seperate lounge area and FULL kitchen - this was quite nice for the odd day when we just wanted to do our own lunch (Chaweng is just 5 mins away by car and they take you no problem). One night we also had the chef cook us a private BBQ dinner which was fabulous, anbd very romantic too!!
We had our own pool, which whilst wasnt massive wa larger then most plunge pools you sometimes get.
They have a spa too, and a fab restaurant - the food was knockout. A good variety and of course lots of great Thai food. And as for the cocktails - PHEW! and not badly priced either.
On my Samui Review i mentioned the party that was held there - very relaxed (not a noisy rave) with it seemed all the islands cool people there, haha, and us!!!
Can you beleive i forgot to take my camera on this trip so sadly no photos, sorry!!! Yes i know, ive had it 'in the neck' already!!!
We went 4 years ago and stayed at Santiburi, which was fine, but this is a real step up in class. We went to Santiburi again, but it looked a bit tired, sadly.
Also went to Four Seasons which is brand new - really nice, but glad we stayed at Karma, as the atmosphere and staff just seemed more relaxed and 'island' like!! Service, spot on by the way.
- Travel date: Mon 19th of March 2007