basic bungalow, bored staff. I guess not the best you could get on Koh Samui
- Free Wifi
- Free Parking
basic bungalow, bored staff. I guess not the best you could get on Koh Samui
We spent 5 days here, me, my wife and two sons 24 and 26 plus the girlfriend of my younger son. We had three junior suites in the main building, which give excellent value for money. Ok, the "lovely garden view" is somewhat exagerated, but what does it matter the few minutes you spend in the room in daytime? I would not spend the 1000 Bath extra for the pool view. Very short way to the pool and the beach and the bar & restaurant. The rooms are big with a lovely bathroom and separate toilet with handwash basin. Good workin airconditioning. Good service, nice people. Very good food in the restaurant. The breakfast is also ok, but you do not get as many choices as in some other places.
The location is alright, close to Lamai with lots of restaurants and everything else you expect in Thailand. But of course Lamai is quieter (some might say more boring) than e.g. Chaweng, but this depends on your preferences.
Overall, we were very satisfied with this resort
Me and my partner arived in the first week of july. We came from a weeks stay at an excellent resort at Bophut Beach where we had got fantastic service and just owerall a plesent stay regarding all matters. Therefore we were very dissapointed when we arived to Sand Sea Resort and Spa. We had booked a semiatached superior bungbalow on their webside and were to stay there for a week.
The first thing we experienced when we went into the bungalow was a distinct smell which smelled af little like urin. The bungalow was also very dark and there was only two lamps in the room which both gave very bad light. There was no lamps by the bed which was a little unpractical. Also we noticed that both the windows and the mirror was very dirty.
The bathroom was kind of new and appered more modern than the rest of the bungalow. It had a bathtub in "nature style" as they call it. However, we found that this bathtub couldn't be of any use because it took way too long to fill it up, because there was so little presure on the water. Also it was not nice to sit in because the bathtub floor was very rough. We were applied with some bath soap - however these small "hotel soaps" had already been used by others and there was only a little left. Also we couldn't enjoy being in the bathroom because it smelled like sewer which we guessed came from the discusting river just a few meters behind the bungalow. This smell spread to the other room. Also the bathroom roof was covered with dirt which didn't alow the "natural light" to get through.
We slept in this bungalow for two nights before we dicited to go to the reception and complain. When we came to them it was like they already knew what we were going to say. We had only just mensioned the smell before they said that some people did not like to live in bungalows. They didn't apologize at all but went directly to inform us that we could upgrate to another and better room. A little against our will we opgrated to a hotel room. We only had to pay a bit more. We went to see some different kinds of hotelrooms. They were wery beatifull and luxurious. However, the "garden view" hotel room was right next to the smelly river and some very ugly pipes, so I wouldn't recomment to open the door at all! We chose to stay at the first floor, where we had a view into some tree tops.
This eppisode made us very unsatisfied with the staff. They wasn't friently and did not know how to give good service. That we came to notice several times. They wasn't very helpfull when we went for advices regardíng trips and they didn't listen to us when we spoke, although we always approached them in a friendly tone. It was as if they would rather be without us asking about anything at all. We also had troubles getting the free transfer we were entitled to. It was as if the reception staff did not have things in order an didn't know about the agreements they made with their costomers.
The restaurant served good food, but the service here was very poor too. The waiters lost patiens with us if we were too long to desite which made them almost completely forget about us - this was at least the impression we got. The morning breakfast buffet was ok but we had to struggle a lot to get cold milk. They just didn't understand why we wanted cold milk for our cereals!!
Also most of the staff found it very difficult to smile!
Ok, I have to mension the good things too. The pool area is great which is a good thing because the beach chairs at the beach are all broken and very old.
We were a little hesitant to book our accommodation online, but in the end booked and paid for our 11 night stay through direct rooms as they claim accurate hotel information.
This is a statement on Direct rooms website. - "We review and check all our hotel information on a regular basis to ensure its accuracy and aim to present this in an unbiased, factual format. We also operate a restrict complaints review process, to ensure we list only the best hotels in each category."
The photographs and details listed on the Sand Sea website and Direct rooms website do not represent the real state of the resort. We checked out as soon as we found alternative accommodation (The weekender resort 5 mins down the road – Superb everything!!)
In total we spent around 2 hours on the resort.
When we went to check out, very conveniently the staff could not speak English.
We spoke to Direct rooms and they were no help either.
We ended up having to pay the Sand Sea Resort a 3 night charge.
We later found out from The Sand Sea and Direct rooms website that they operate a 1 night cancellation charge.
I have been writing to Direct Rooms since our return in April and still have had no luck in getting a refund for the 3 night charge. They haven’t been able to produce the document showing the 3 night cancellation rule.
Below is part of the letter I sent to Sand Sea and Direct rooms. I have also attached some photos. More are available if anyone wishes to see them.
When we arrived, (after numerous emails to direct rooms and the hotel requesting to be collected from the airport) the disappointment immediately kicked in.
1. Being collected from the airport in a 4x4 that stank of fish.
2. The smelly dirty river on arrival - Please see photo 1.
3. The reception area being away from the resort itself - Please see photo 2.
4. Direct view in to the kitchen, which looks like it could do with a refurbishment - Please see photo 3
5. A row of motor bikes underneath the small sign welcoming us to the resort - Please see photo 4.
We were taken to our room.
1. Over the broken pathways - Please see photo's 5&6.
Passed what I think are staff quarters? - Please see photo 7
2. When we arrived at our room we were immediately shown the padlock on the door - Please see photo's 8&9 and instructed not to leave anything on the balcony as it may be stolen.
3. Once the member of staff had left, and after taking a look at the bathroom and surrounding beach area we were very upset.
4. The bathroom was disgusting. The bath had a ring of dirt around the rim and base and the pipes visible in the bath wall were black with grime. - Please see photo's 10 - 16
5. We discovered what I believe to be 2 ants’ nests on the bathroom windowsill. Please see photo's 17&18.
6. There were holes underneath the bathroom window frame. Please see photo 19.
7. The cheap blue shower curtain used in the bathroom as shower screen and curtains is visible through the windows and gave the appearance of a back packer hostel, not somewhere that charges £** per night. Please see photo 20
8. Newspaper was instantly visible filling the holes in the ceiling directly above the bath, also wiring visible. Please see photo's 21 – 23
9. The bathroom wall does not reach the ceiling, but has at least 10 inches of wire netting/screening held together by staples, with random pieces of netting hanging from the ceiling over the shower head. Please see photo 24 -25
10. The corrugated plastic ceiling in the bathroom was filthy so let in no natural light. Please see photo 26
11. The 4 poster bed has netting nailed to the wood holding it up. Please see photo 27
12. The beach was filthy, full of rubbish and seaweed. Please see photo 28
13. There are wires running under and around the bungalow. Please see photo 29&30
14. The sun loungers we were told we had full use of were old and broken. Please see photo's 31&32
15. The wardrobe is nowhere near big enough for 2 people. Please see photo 33
16. The sign on the dressing table makes you feel unsafe. Please see photo 34
17. The unidentified liquid in this 'water' bottle is dangerous. Please see photo 35
18. The air conditioning unit is old and hardly works. Please see photo 36
19. The room is much smaller than the spacious rooms shown on the Sand sea website. Please see photos 37.
So to compare the photographs yourselves and the hotel have on your websites is very misleading.
Before we decided to check out we went to the bar for a drink, I was the only person at the bar, and had to approach the barperson to be served, he didn't speak to me at all, which I found to be very rude and so different to the warm welcome we had received in other areas of Thailand. The pool was small, with most sun loungers being taken. I say most there were only about 6.
We then walked down the beach looking for an alternative resort; we came across the Weekender Resort and Spa who were able to accommodate us for the 11 nights we had planned at Koh Samui.
My partner then rang direct rooms , Reception, direct rooms...................
The final time my partner went to reception the staff all of a sudden became very hesitant and their English from earlier became very broken and unclear.
It was obvious that they did not want to deal with him; however they managed to tell him that we would incur a 3 night cancellation charge. We had no alternative but to pay this charge.
As far as I am concerned we had no other option but to leave the Sand Sea resort.
It was not the accommodation we were lead to believe we were booking and we were not ruining our holiday because of it.
Like any long distance traveller, there can be a sense of anxiety about the choices made regarding accommodation however on arrival to the resort it was quite apparent that it would not fail to deliver. Lamai beach is definately the better option for those wanting a beach style holiday without feeling packed in like a sardine. Its far smaller in comparison to the other main beach called Chaweng. It presents as a quiet spot with optional shelter from overhanging palms throughout the day. The water was clear however a tad rocky which was offputting at times especially if you feel like a proper swim but it was perfect for cooling off in the sun. The staff were efficient, friendly and were very willing to aid with the booking of excursions or to even just give directions. My partner and I benefited from hiring a scooter from the resort however do take caution as the introduction given to riding a scooter is minimal, no license needed etc..and coming from the UK were driving safety is of extreme importance this can be quite a shocking concept to grasp. BUT don't let this put you off because with careful driving a scooter is without a doubt the best way to explore the island. The roads are clearly marked and there are free maps available at the reception. The waitstresses and bartenders were always pleasant and welcoming. The restaurant provided excellent meals. The inclusive breakfast buffet was pretty good however I personally became a bit sick of the same types of food everyday. There are many other restaurants nearby which can be accessed via the beach. The holiday was very cheap and if you find the right bars and restaurants you can get a 3 course meal for less than £8.
In conclusion an idyllic location with easy access to shops and markets, friendly staff, beautiful scenery, lovely beach huts, great value for money. I would definatly return!
We stayed here for 4 nights which unfortunately coincided with some unseasonably unstable weather. However the resort itself is very nice and having walked the length of the beach and looked at the other resorts would still be my first choice. We stayed in a beachfront royal suite room which was in a superb spot. The views are incredible, the sound of the sea clearly audible and it is just great to step straight out onto a pretty good beach (pretty good in that the beach is very nice but a bit stoney and reedy in the water compared to other beaches in Thailand). I would say that for the money and being the best rooms in the resort that they are starting to look a bit tired but the location for us more than outweighed this. Excellent buffet breakfast and shops/restaurants within easy walking distance either along the beach or via the road. We looked in at Chaweng and thought it was like the worst parts of Phuket etc i.e. very busy and Blackpool esq. If you want peace and relaxation but with easy to reach shops and bars but no noise at night i would reccommend the sand sea.