Trip to Samui -
My wife Nikki and I went to Samui many years back (see trip report from back then). Back then we stayed at Fair house on Chaweng Noi on the southern tip of Chaweng. As in Bangkok I had decided to look for a hotel that was above average and I also wanted to stay at a new location. I sent requests to various hotels and I got replies from some. We got a very nice answer from Kandaburi Resort and Spa on the northern part of Chaweng and the price offer of 5000 Thai Baht (about 150 US dollars) per night for the room including breakfast was not bad either. I also checked with places like Briza, Buri Rasa, Muang, Amari etc. Some gave rates that were ridicules compared to the rates that you can get on various hotel websites and some didn’t bother to answer at all.
When we came to the charming airport of Samui we were together with our friends Olav & Allis and their two kids. We got a minibus to drive us to Kandaburi and it cost us 600 baht which is astronomical in e.g. Bangkok. But there are not that many options even if the beach is not that far away. The welcome at the hotel was great - they helped us carry in the suitcases and we were placed at a table in the open air reception and we got a welcome drink and a cold, damp cloth while the paperwork was taken care of. Nikki and I got room 157 which is located on the ground floor closest to the pool and beach.
The room was big, had dark wooden floors and white wall. As you can see on the pictures we had a big bed, a sofa (that could work as another bed at night), a small table with a couple of chairs, a minibar, water boiler, a desk, a TV with various channels etc.
The bathroom was equally big and had both a bathtub and a shower. We did not use the bathtub while we were there and I was not very happy with the shower as the shower head pointed more or less horizontally and there was also just a shower curtain (which can be a bit creepy). But after a few days our shower head was replaced and that made it easier to shower. There were a few bathroom amenities in ceramic holders. I used the shampoo and conditioner and those were OK but the lotion was useless in my opinion. In the bathroom there was also a big bench that were big enough to hold both our suitcases…excellent idea. There was also enough wardrobe space, a mini safe, hairdryer, two bath robes, slippers etc. The room came with towels to be used in the room and also beach towels that were replaced every day.
The pool area was on the beach itself and it also included the restaurant (where breakfast was served in the mornings) and a “beach” bar. There was a separate children’s pool and an adult pool that was about 1.5 meters in depth. There were sun beds around the pool and it was never a problem getting one of these in the morning…and there were also a few parasols for the ones that have a fair skin and need some protection (like me :-). We spent a lot of time playing in the pool with the kids and at some places the tiles where a bit unevenly laid down. I had the feeling that I had cut myself several times due to this and I think Olav actually did cut himself in the children’s pool once. There are dark wood around the pool and this can get VERY hot when the sun is out so make sure to bring your flip-flops :-)
The breakfast at the Kandaburi was
good. They had a nice selection of fruit, bread, cereal, omelettes, bacon,
sausages etc. Due to previous visitors I was tempted to also check out the
banana pancake and I can certainly agree that they were very tasty :-) We
also had dinner at the hotel one night - there was a seafood grill event
with Thai dancing as entertainment. Unfortunately there were hardly any
people there at night so there was not much of an atmosphere.
The beach was a bit disappointing at first. It is quite shallow outside the hotel and the sand felt a bit muddy once I got into the water. But once we walked a bit further out the water and sand was lovely and great for splashing around. Be careful as there are some areas with dead corals and it is not a good idea to walk on these barefoot.
The hotel is located far north on the Chaweng beach and it is not really a problem walking over to the “city centre”. It felt faster to walk on the beach instead of the road but maybe that is just my impression. If you don’t want to walk it is also possible to get a free shuttle bus into the city centre (only takes like 5 minutes to drive) at certain times of the day. The rest of the day you can pay the hotel to take the bus into town. I felt that the hotel was just a bit too far out of the city centre - the Amari which is located just a few hundred meters away seemed to be better placed in this regard.
The hotel facilities included a free internet café, wireless internet connection if you were close enough to the restaurant area, a booking office (where you could pick up brochures and get help in booking tours) and there was also a spa that we didn’t get to try out. The exercise room was tiny by the way but I guess you don’t head of to a beach destination to work out inside :-) The hotel is about to expand to the other side of the beach road…it seemed like they were in the end phase while we were there so I assume that soon there will be lots of more rooms at the Kandaburi.
Let me start
with a summary of the things I was not completely happy with at the hotel.
The pillows in the bed were huge and very uncomfortable but I guess that
depends on what you are used to. The TV was far from the bed and it could
not be turned and hence it was tricky to relax in bed and watch TV. I have
already mentioned the shower head that was a bit strange, tiles in the pool
that were a bit sharp, the location that was not completely ideal and the
prices in the bar that were a bit high.