After a really rough 2019, my sister, my mother and I decided to treat ourselves to a vacation in Koh Chang. Most of all, we delighted at the thought of a relaxing stay in nature in a small hotel, enjoying some calm, quiet, “well-being and peace” (from the description on another website ). We were really enthusiastic about staying at the Privacy Resort, which boasted high reviews and promises of unspoiled natural beauty, great service and amenities. Boy, oh boy were we bitterly disappointed! First off, here are some positives, for the sake of a balanced review: -Breakfast was good. -Owners were flexible and allowed for a earlier check-in, at 1pm rather than 2pm -Owner Lili seems like a decent person stuck in an unfortunate situation Now the negatives. Brace yourselves, this will be a long list. Negative: Owner Steve picked us up and drove us to the Privacy Resort, and from the get-go bombarded us with this logorrheic outburst of a monologue ranging from his views on politics in the Middle-East (my mother lives in the Middle East), racist stereotypes, and pushing tours on us. His selling point for a boat tour was that the “big tours on the other side of the island” are filled with people that Steve considered to be of “undesirable ethnicities” that I think are irrelevant to name here. We arrived at the room, and saw that the location was not the pristine natural spot we had been led to believe, but closer to trailer-park type installation on a busy and noisy main road, nestled between latex farms (the smell…!!!). The closest restaurants were a good walk away on a road that is dangerous to walk on, especially at night with no lighting or sidewalks. The only amenity was the swimming pool, which was not useable due to it being decontaminated. The beach is not accessible by foot. My mother in particularly not keen on using motorbikes, as we had run into a close-call situation on the Island a few days prior. The room itself was shabby and very basic, a far cry from the “deluxe bungalow” that we had been promised. For the exhorbitant price we paid, I would have at least expected that the beds be made (the extra bed has sheets folded on it). The hotel is described as a “3 star resort”: a) I cannot imagine in which cereal box these “stars” were found b) a ‘’resort’’ is meant to refer to a “self-contained commercial establishment that tries to provide most of a vacationer's wants, such as food, drink, lodging, sports, entertainment, and shopping, on the premises.” (Wikipedia). It is unclear how this establishment fulfills these criteria. The advertising for the room appeared to us not only misleading, but outright deceptive (eg: the rooms list flat screen satellite tvs- there was no tv in the room, an office space which did not exist, etc). Owner Steve repeated to us several times that we should avoid the closest restaurant, a cute organic place with fresh papaya from their groves. It seemed evident that Steve has personal beef with the owner, and we found it creepy that Steve said later on the first night that he tried to track us down when we went to dinner to make sure that we didn’t go to that place. After a dangerous walk home from dinner, our party contacted the booking site to enquire about transferring to another place. Customer service contacted the owner, and what ensued was a total shitshow. It’s difficult to find words to describe the angry, unprofessional verbal diarrhea which was unleashed on us, but it’s certain that it was not a pleasant experience. We tried to explain our dissatisfaction with the room, saying for example how we were not keen on using motorbikes, and Steve retorted that we had previously boasted about how good we were on motorbikes (we were all basically first-timers). Steve refused our request for a refund, but said that he could list he room and that if he was able to book the room, he might allow for a partial refund. This situation seemed quite unfair to us, but Steve did not allow for any conversation. He literally shut off the lights, unilaterally declared the conversation over, and left. My sister is a marketing consultant whose area of expertise is service failures and costumer complaints, and I am a mental health practitioner who frequently deals with difficult people; we both felt at loss in this situation. We understood Steve’s point that this was a non-refundable booking, but this wasn’t a situation where we had changed our minds about staying there; this was a situation where we felt outright swindled and deceived. I travel extensively for work and leisure(I counted for fun- about 100 hotel nights in 2019 alone), and am familiar with how things should function. I have never encountered such poor customer service. On top of this, we discovered an insect infestation in the room, hundreds and hundreds of them in the bathroom and bedroom. Steve remedied the situation by spraying the room we were sleeping in with two types of insecticide- which smelled putridly and seemed unsafe to breathe. Steve suggested leaving the door to the hut open and that the malaria mosquitos would magically be deterred by a single coil on the ground. We decided to call it a night (not much else to do after sundown, anyway), and met Steve again for breakfast the next day. Steve asked us when we would be leaving and tried to push an overpriced taxi service on us. We let him know that if we were not getting a refund, that if we were paying for the room, we would be staying. Steve’s response can best be described as “batshit crazy”. Steve yelled at us, humiliated us, and harassed us publicly in front of other guests during breakfast, insulting us personally. We tried to reason with Steve, letting him see that he had more to lose in this situation than we did- after hosting on Airbnb for a long time, I know the damage a single bad review can do, and would imagine that any sane hotel owner would want to find a win-win situation, but Steve squawked at how we were “threatening him”. Steve refused any attempt at communication, stating that he would not converse with us but only with our mother- who speaks limited English, and is grief-stricken after having lost her life partner (our father) a few months prior, and her little sister for whom she provided end-of-life care, who passed away a few days prior. It became clear to us that even though we had paid for two more nights, we did not feel safe staying at this place and left- basically kicked out of the room we had paid for by the owner. We tried to remedy the situation by contacting the booking site again, but Steve was uncooperative with them. Of what I know through their customer service, he was refusing to speak to them, or saying that he didn’t speak English (he is a native English-speaker from New Zealand), or saying that he was out when we could locate him visually on the property. Another indicator of Steve’s demeanour can be found online, when responding to other poor reviews, often attacking them ad-hominem and questioning their moral integrity. Is this really were you want to spend your vacation, and hard-earned money? Bottom line: when considering the price charged for the extra bed, taxi service, and price of renting 2 motorbikes, it was cheaper for us to stay elsewehere in actual 4- star resort with fantastic beaches, free activities like yoga and snorkeling and exceptional, personalized customer service.…
The owners - Steve and Lily - keep this resort spotless. Breakfast was basic but very good, and the coffee was excellent. There is a restaurant nearby that has good - not expensive - food. We rented a car in Pattaya and brought it onto the island. The price on the ferry for two adults, 1 child, and the car was 650 baht each way. Amazing value. Steve told us how to feed the elephants as a non-tourist i.e. nobody else around.
We did a two night stay here and it was delightful. The accommodation is immaculately clean and the villas are set in lovely grounds. I would highly recommend Privacy Resort for anyone looking to stay on the east coast of Koh Chang. Lily serves up a fabulous breakfast of your choice (no cold fried eggs here) and Steve is on hand for tips about the island (ask about the waterfall at the south of the island) We’re only sorry we couldn’t stay for longer.
this resort is a great choice. very very clean and run by English speaking people. husband and wife run not some big company..so you feel like it's your resort like home..not like some number.The pool is nice and clean. Bungalows are big with clean ac and clean n hot water. It's very quiet part of island and not touristy loud and noisy . a lovely side of the island for going around on motorbike. My wife and I will definitely coming back to this resort. 5 star.
That was my first, but certainly not my last visit! Steve & Lily were excellent hosts, they have the perfect tips for the island for every taste, and there are quite a few of them. The resort is located on the quiet but even more beautiful side of KC. If you want to come down, this is the place to be. Perfect support for arrival and departure shuttle, and in my case even a very cordial and caring medical care (Steve & Lily, thanks again!!!). The scooters are well maintained and should be booked at the same time due to the quiet location. I am looking very forward to the next time!