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Reviewed 15 February 2018 via mobile

The Grand Mandarin Betong portends to be a four-star hotel. It isn’t. It’s four-stars, perhaps, in a small town in Soviet Russia. In fact, it kind of reminded me of that. In a city with little competition, it’s a standout, despite its failings. I left confused as to what its purpose or its vision was. It definitely started with one, though I have no idea what it could have been. Why would Betong require such a large, imposing hotel, with cavernous spaces left unused? Perhaps a few times per year (such as with the impending Chinese New Year), throngs of folks show up for the holiday and the 240-room hotel is largely occupied. On the two nights I was in town (yet I only stayed one night), only 20 rooms were taken each night.

The Grand Mandarin provides comfort and quiet. The bed is on the hard side, but it’s good. The room is spacious. The view of the surrounding mountains and Betong city is striking. For the price of US$47/night, it’s a steal. For US$200/night, it’d be highway robbery.

There are so many problems and details overlooked with the Grand Mandarin that it’s hard to imagine. The hotel employs a vast number of people to keep itself maintained, and, at least while I was there, there wasn’t enough to keep people occupied. As I was leaving my room, I observed a maid lying down on a couch in the next room staring out in the distance. For twenty rooms for the night - and she only cleaned some of them - that hardly provides a full day’s work. The staff in the breakfast room were indifferent. When I arrived at 9a (breakfast is served from 6-10a), there was only one other table. I’m vegetarian and asked if they could offer something. After much ado about nothing, I was provided a greasy plate of fried rice. The poor employees in the restaurant were as bored as can be, attending to a cavernous space that no one hardly uses.

Check-in was more of the same: indifference and none of the traditional Thai hospitality. Be aware that the Grand Mandarin keeps one’s passport as ransom (I imagine, instead of collecting a security deposit) until one pays and checks out. They do not offer any explanation upfront about this either. The things that they could do to make the experience more seamless would be so minimal, and yet, they fail on every account.

The problems with the room are rife, and were I paying true 4-star prices, I’d be up in arms about it. I uploaded photos to many of these effects. In the bedroom, the carpet is terribly stained. There were burn marks in several spots as well (see photo). There were no outlets on the bed side of the room, meaning that my extension cord needed to be plugged in next to the television and dragged across the room, causing a tripping hazard. In the bathroom, the shower curtain was so high off of the floor, that the floor of the rest of the bathroom flooded each time I took a shower. It was ridiculous. And yet, it was the best shower I’ve had in Thailand. It was a real gas-heated shower with tremendously strong water pressure. It was heaven and for US$47, worth the hassle of the flooded floor. There was also a bathtub, but it remainder unused by me. The lighting in the bathroom, by the way, was atrocious. As previously mentioned, this seemed like a Soviet Era hotel built to impress but it hardly ever gets used so much of it continues to wallow in disrepair. The swimming pool is off of the 6th floor. The rest of the 6th floor (and probably other floors as well) is uninhabitable. The rooms house paint and other supplies, with no obvious indication that renovation is forthcoming.

All of the lack aside, it was quite. I heard nothing from the town or the street or the neighboring rooms . . .perhaps a murmur from the hall every now and then, but it was incidental. I slept well. I had space. I had a view. And the price was just phenomenal. If I could enjoy those same compromised standards every day for the same price, I would willingly do so. I’m currently writing from Yala City (which doesn’t have any listings on TripAdvisor) and this town could use a Grand Mandarin. The options here are terrible.

Enjoy the Grand Mandarin Betong. Accept its Four Stars on a troubled curve. It has the makings, certainly, of a four-star hotel. It lacks service; it lacks upkeep; it lacks hospitality; it lacks warmth. For US$47, who cares? Sleep in quiet and enjoy what it offers and be thankful that such a deal exists.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled solo
3  Thank SalsaB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2018

The Mandarin is huge hotel, located at 3 mn walking distance from town centre where there are many good eateries. The buffet BF is a Chinese breakfast choice, but there are some fresh fruits. I choose a city view room on a upper floor, because last year the loud music on mountain view side kept me awake part of the night. Unfortunately there is now a very loud karaoke on the other side, starting at 10:30 PM until 2:00 am. Earplugs not helping much.

Room Tip: Higher floor = trying to stay higher from night the loud music
  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled on business
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank aae191
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2018 via mobile

Hotel is strategic located center of the town. Walking distance to temples, tunnel, restaurant & park. Room is clean & comfortable. Staff are friendly & helpful. Facilities are well keep. Price are including breakfast, which is awesome

Stayed: January 2018, travelled with family
Thank Lee C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2017

Stayed at this hotel while my companion visited family in Betong.

Hotel was easy to access and rooms and public spaces were very spacious. Staff very friendly and the helpful. The Hotel has a great restaurant where we had a great breakfast every morning. Food on offer was western and asian including dim sum. Very tasty and comfortable place to eat.

Rooms were comfortable and well appointed - showers and bath tubs. Water pressure was good and lots of hot water.

Overall a nice place to stay with great staff and reasonable tariff.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Pivotalguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2017

As Betong is not on the regular tourist trail for Europeans we were slightly unsure what to expect. However it is a well trodden path for Malay and Chinese tourists, mostly at this time of year to enjoy the durian harvest.
So this hotel is well experienced in providing clean, well maintained bedrooms and bathrooms with comfortable beds. The view over Betong town from the 23rd floor is spectacular.
Some of the hallway carpets need replacing and there are shades of former glories in some public areas, the bedding and towels are well used but adequate.
We did not eat at the hotel preferring a more authentic experience at the nearby restaurants.
Staff could be a little more friendly and helpful, it would add value to travellers overall experience.
In summary, this hotel is an OK place to stay for a short visit to the area.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank manorom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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