On paper I should really like this hotel.
It is reasonably priced at THB 20,047.50 for a week thats THB 2863. per night (or about £68) which is well over our budget and something we wont be able to repeat very often.
It’s in a good spot just off the beach.
The room’s are clean and comfortable (if you ignore the pillows which are rock hard) and the air-conditioning which is either on or off) a reasonable size and there is sufficient space to put things down, which is often lacking in hotel room’s.
But for some reason, i just haven’t taken to it.
When we arrived there was no help with the bag’s, the staff all seem to congregate around the reception area, which is also the dining area (they advertise a restaurant but there isn’t one. They do serve food but it’s eaten in the reception area or on tables around the pool).
There are a large number of staff on duty at any one time, including four people behind the reception desk, and at least one at the travel desk next to it, where you can presumably book activities but its primary function seems to be to provide a surface for staff to lean on. But they aren’t Customer focussed.
I don’t quite understand how they expect to know a guest has arrived from their vantage point at the Travel desk when the Taxis stop at the front of the Hotel, a long way away. So there is no possibility of them being able to greet anyone.
This seems to be symptomatic of the culture of the Hotel.
Breakfast is from 7-10am but they start clearing away at 0945. So, if you go down a bit late you are likely to find yourself surrounded by activity as they hurry to get the breakfast stuff moved and return the area to its original condition.
Toward 0945 food starts to run out and its not replaced (unless you ask one of the staff for it, then they will go and get more) plate’s are no longer available and the tables around the pool start to vanish. Yesterday Jaki got up from the table to get more Coffee and when she returned her table was gone.
It’s like they cant wait to get rid of you. This is the only time I’ve seen the staff animated.
The breakfast, (as is often the case with help yourself buffet style) is a ‘Bun Fight’ with pinch points around the popular item’s (Bacon and Sausage seem to be the most popular with all visitors) and a volatile environment of hostility around the toaster.
Yesterday the two slices of toast I put in were taken by some one else whilst I went for butter and Jam and today an English guy with a pony tail pushed in front of me to serve himself some sausage’s.
The Egg’s are fresh cooked at a separate table out on the terrace but they keep running out causing a minor queue. They also rush to try to keep up so the fried egg’s are often served up broken or underdone. The Omelette look’s good but I’ve not been hungry enough to have the patient’s to wait for one to be cooked.
There are a lot of heated Tureen’s with strange combinations of rice or noodles and this morning there was Spaghetti Bolognese which didn’t prove very popular with anyone!
In reality they try to cater for every taste and maybe they are trying too hard. Gordon Ramsey would say, cut down on the menu and deliver better quality.
I think he may have a point.
NB: Since writing this I have discovered a book in our Hotel room promoting the Hotel Restaurant which is called ‘JEP’s’ which aparently has internationaly recognise cuisine. However, we have been unable to find this restaurant and beliee it is no longer operational. WE will continue to search.
They don’t do decent English Tea in Thailand (at least not in Hotel’s or Restaurant’s). The best you can get is a Lipton’s Tea bag which is weak and insipid and tastes of fag ash.
So we bought decent ones in a supermarket in Bangkok and use them.
There is a big electric tea urn for hot water but its never turned up full. At best you get hot water rather than boiling but usually it’s no where near hot enough to make a cup of tea as they keep topping it up with jugs of cold water.
The staff here aren’t particularly friendly, they don’t make an effort to speak if they pass you by, they don’t make eye contact unless necessary and they tend to stay in groups talking amongst themselves rather than engaging with guests. I haven’t had a joke or a laugh with anyone so far which is surprising as the Hotel staff to date have been great.
There may be a management culture at the bottom of all this.
Their default position seems to be one of mistrust, which would explain the need to have a 3000 Baht cash deposit for damages to the rooms?
This perhaps explains why the Air con remote control is glued to the wall by the bathroom rather than left on a bed side table where it would be useful at night.
There is a note to guest’s in our bedroom headed.
“Welcome To Samet Pavilions Resort.”
It’s hardly a welcome notice though.
It lay’s out the following charges for any guest who dares to breach the rules.
1000Baht per hour surcharge for late check out till 1700hrs then a full day rate.
3000 Baht fee if guests smoke in the room.
2000 Baht fee if guests allow pets in their room.
300 Baht fee for loosing a towel.
In the event of loss or damage, guests will be charged accordingly.
Wifi is supposed to be available in each room but we have found it very difficult to access and even then it isn’t a strong signal. We found going to one of the beach bars and using theirs was a better option.
The TV has a selection of channels but picture quality is poor though the TV in the Main reception (the one the staff watch) has a perfect picture.
The Pavilion doesn’t have sun beds on the beach (as most of the other Hotel’s do) which means an additional fee to rent a sun-bed from some one else.
These are in short supply, primarily because during the day the tide has been high and there is little dry sand to put a chair on. Most of the beach is washed by at least one wave capable of floating away a stray flip flop.
We’ve taken to walking around to the next beach where for 50 Baht you can rent one of the oldest deck chairs in existence.
They are falling apart with bolts sticking out of them and frequent running repairs are needed throughout the day usually to accommodate rather large Russian guests.
But, they are surprisingly comfortable, offering a rather Bohemian way of getting a sun tan, well at least on the front. You cannot lie on them so theres no way of tanning your back other than by lying on the sand.
There are a range of restaurants which are all on the beach. Most offer the same selection of meals.
The bigger Hotels Like Samet Villas (Not to be confused with our accommodation which doesn’t offer any eating on the beach) look very enticing.
Nicely lit by coloured lantern’s, clean table cloths and candles.
There is a BBQ item on the menu which allows you to choose your fresh sea food and they will cook it for you whilst you eat a salad starter but the portions are small and I’m not sure how good a deal this is.
Others are old wooden tables weathered by the sea with paraffin lanterns that spew out a rather noxious smoke that I’m sure isn’t good for you but does keep the ever present Mosquito’s at bay.
Im not sure whether these rustic venues are any cheaper than the posh ones though?
I dont think the quality of food isn’t really any different. Its all about the ambiance. If you want a pretty environment to eat in, you pay for it.
We haven’t found a proper Bar yet.
We did try walking up the beach last night and we stopped and sat at two different places but no one came to serve us so we got up and left. So drinks are a bit expensive and you have to be careful of the Happy Hour deals which might not be as good as they seem.
You are basically a captive audience, you take it or leave it as theres no where else to go which means the management of venues can afford to be sloppy.
Guess thats the price you pay for staying on a less commercial Island?
I’ll keep you updated.