Most picturesque beach and best value for beach access room in Khao Lak. Trip with a 1.5 year old
PROs: quiet location, beach access from the room, swimmable at high and low tide, no sea urchins, seeweds etc., nice landscape with mountains and jungle as a backdrop, close to the Lam Ru National park, much cheaper than most of the other beachfront hotels in Khao Lak, beachfront restaurant
CONTRAs: old uncomfortable bathroom, very slippery room and bathroom floor, European food of questionable quality, more of a "sunbed-view" than "sea view" from the ground floor beach access rooms, no free wi-fi in the room, difficult communication with staff in English
I was in doubts whether I should rate this resort as 3/5 or 4/5, because we really had a good time here, but so many little things could have made it much better!
And now in more detail:
We choose Khao Lak for its proximity to the Phuket airport (1-1.5 h drive), but relative quietness comparing to Phuket itself. The Sunset Resort has a good combination of beach location and reasonable price (for that area). It is about 20-30 mins walk to NangThong beach and town where many restaurants and shops are (or you can take a tuk tuk taxi for 100 THB). Some nicer bungalow-style budget beach hotels got booked months in advance, but Sunset was available.
The beach is certainly what is best about this hotel. It is most scenic in the area, with jungle of LamRu National Park as a backdrop and nice slope good for swimming at both high and low tide. However, still, the water is often murky and not that turquoise color you can find in small islands... But the same goes to all the beaches in Khao Lak. Moreover, other beaches tend to be not swimmable at low tide, or disappear almost completely at high tide. The rocks you can see in the pictures of Sunset beach are big and easily distinguishable in the water, so no danger here.
We had a ground floor beach access room, which means it has regular doors opening to the corridor and French doors opening to the veranda. The idea is great, you can step directly to the sand from your room's veranda. It is so so relaxing to listen to the waves, to see the ocean any time of the day from your room (although through 5 rows of beach chairs). You may have a really magnificent view from the top floor rooms, if you do not mind climbing the steps from the beach. We had no trouble at all with insects, no mosquitoes etc. in spite of the location directly on the beach.
BUT! There is no water tap on the outside, so we kept bringing the sand in, until I bought a small basin from a minimart (the hotel could not provide it!). Also, there is no lock on these veranda doors, so if you go swimming, you leave your room open, or you need to go round the building, which makes no sense in the beach-access room.
The room is spacious. The bed is big and comfortable enough. There is a large closet, a safety deposit box, a small fridge and a water boiler. No complaint here.
But there is no free wi-fi in the room (only in the lobby). I ended up using mobile Internet from a local provider.
This is the main drawback of the room. I am not a fussy traveller, but this bathroom is well below expectations for the price of this hotel. The floor is slippery, the shower is fixed to the wall at the uncomfortably low height, the sink has no hot water and becomes blocked easily, the flush in the toilet broke down (although was repaired promptly).
We liked Thai/Asian foods, but had a dubious experience with European food, that is, I became sick after eating greasy "ketchupy" pizza. Never had any trouble with TomYums, Pad Thais etc. Thai dishes. The buffet breakfast is good, with a good selection of Thai foods, toasts, eggs, fruits, sweets etc. There is another couple of restaurants in the walking distance, and a large selection of them in the town.
The ladies at the reception were kind enough, but the communication with the hotel prior to arrival was difficult. They failed to reply to my direct inquiries for reservation at all!! So I finally booked through a well-known booking resource. So, when it came to the transport, we also had to arrange it elsewhere.
STAYING WITH KIDS:
It was a first trip of 1.5 year old daughter to the tropics, and I think Khao Lak and Sunset Resort with their beach access rooms was a right choice for this occasion! It is very easy to get to from Phuket airport and surprisingly not crowded even in the high season. It means, the area is quiet, no parties, discos, drunks, loud music etc. It is clean, no rubbish on the beach. It is very comfortable for a baby and parents to have a green lawn and the beach in a few steps from the room's terrace. They also can provide baby cots (we did not use it). As for the food, some of it was OK for a 1.5 year old, but it was not very diverse. So, I ended up buying a portable rice cooker to cook porridge, grains, potatoes, soups etc. for her.
We also had to be very careful with the slippery floor in the room and bathroom.
Hope this review is helpful and have a good trip!
Family - May 29, 2015