Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Resort, Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 1 vote

I booked into Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Resort for one night as a special treat. It’s out of my usual price range but for my last night on Koh Samui before a long journey, I wanted something nice. I had driven past Buddy’s and liked the look of it, in colonial style buildings with its own shops. This would be somewhere different to other hotels I have stayed at. Bedroom at Buddys

I checked in early and service was excellent. My garden-view room was upstairs and the colonial theme continued to the interior design of the bedroom. It had colonial-style shutters on the windows, a comfortable four-poster bed, old-fashioned pictures on the walls and even some old books on a shelf. A TV with some English-language channels, noisy but effective air-conditioning and tea/coffee facilities were provided, as was a minibar. The bathroom had a powerful shower, and free toiletries. Room service was fast and efficient and the menu had a range of local and international dishes, including Mexican food. Bathroom at Buddys

Buddy Oriental has two swimming pools, which is just as well because the beach was disappointing, neither good for swimming nor appealing for paddling or sunbathing. One swimming pool is located across the road from the beach in the hotel atrium, in the building that houses the guestrooms. I enjoyed swimming in this pool which was in shade for large parts of the day, meaning I didn’t need to use sun cream. There was also a jacuzzi hot tub beside the pool. The other pool was over the road by the beach and the hotel restaurant. That pool was crowded with sun seekers sprawling on sun loungers. Swimming pool at Buddys

Swimming pool 2 at BuddysThe colonial style makes Buddy’s feel different to other hotels I have stayed in, making it feel almost theme-park like. If I had wanted particularly to use the beach I would have been disappointed with Buddy Oriental, but for only one day I was content with the swimming pools and my luxurious room.

Beach at Buddys

The Sundays Sanctuary Hotel and Spa, Koh Samui, Thailand

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 1 vote

The Sundays Sanctuary looked like a relaxing place to stay, with some very good reviews, set in the hills on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, and was very reasonably priced. I took a taxi from my previous hotel and was surprised when we turned down a little road and it felt like we were going off into the countryside. The hotel felt more isolated than it was, however, as there was a small market and food centre opposite a minimart with an ATM at the junction with the main road. Unfortunately it was necessary to brave the dogs that hung around in the tree-lined street with no one nearby in order to get there, and I’m not the only guest who didn’t fancy doing that on her own in the pitch-black dark.

Communal area at SundaysThe hotel itself was unusually decorated in concrete with second-hand style furniture in the lobby/breakfast area. There was no restaurant or room service at the hotel, and breakfast was the only meal served, a choice of toast, egg or muesli. The lobby area had some beanbags for relaxing, as well as chairs and tables. Wifi was only available at the lobby and the pool (contrary to what it said on Agoda when I booked).

 

The pool was by far the best part of the Sundays Sanctuary. With a lake-like feel, I swam under the trees, watching the birds. Apart from the inevitable leaves and insects, the water felt clean and the pool was of a decent size and depth. Deck chairs were places around the pool, in the forested surroundings, it was a great place to relax. Swimming pool at Sundays

The rooms, however, were very disappointing. I was initially given a standard room, in a building up the back away from the other hotel buildings. After discovering that my balcony door would not lock, I was moved to a pool view bungalow. When it says pool view, mine was near the back, and you could just about see parts of the pool through the trees. Bedroom at Sundays

The concrete design meant that the room was permanently dusty, and the bathroom was covered in dirt that had fallen down from the ceiling. The futon bed was nothing special, the TV was very small, and the air-con old and noisy. The room had large floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, with white canvas curtains covered in brown damp stains. The wardrobe had sliding doors that would not budge an inch. But the most bizarre thing about the room was that in the bathroom as well as a shower there was a concrete bath.

Concrete bath at SundaysIt was in its own little area, with a corrugated plastic roof with holes that let in rain and leaf litter from the trees above. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to use a dirty, dimly lit concrete bath tub! The room was cleaned daily, but not thoroughly at all. The bath was never cleaned, dirt on the shower curtain stayed there throughout my stay, and a dead cockroach was left on the floor for several days. Dust, dirt and insects pervaded my stay at the Sundays Sanctuary, which should be priced as cheap budget accommodation rather than a medium-priced spa-style hotel.

The view from my pool view room!

The view from my pool view villa. Spot the tiny patch of blue – that’s the pool view!

Swiss-Garden Beach Resort and Spa, Kuantan, Malaysia

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 1 vote

I enjoyed five days at this resort hotel on Malaysia’s mainland East coast. Taking the bus from Singapore up to Kuantan and getting a taxi to the hotel was straightforward, and much cheaper than flying. I had found Swiss Garden Beach Resort and Spa hotel while searching for holiday accommodation in Malaysia, accessible by land from Singapore. Although the hotel had mixed reviews on TripAdvisor we thought we’d give it a try.

Swiss-Garden Beach Resort and SpaThe resort hotel is laid out in typical Southeast Asian resort style, with the reception area, lobby and bar near the hotel entrance, and the restaurant downstairs. The swimming pool was pleasantly large and only got busy during the late afternoon when the Malaysian guests used it. We were there during the Malaysian school holidays, and the majority of the guests were Malaysian. There was also a children’s swimming pool and a large outdoor jacuzzi hot tub.

 

Our room was fine, though the décor felt old-fashioned. We had a bath with a shower over it, air-con, TV, and a balcony with sea view. Unfortunately the room we were given was an adjoining room, with just two flimsy doors between us and the next-door neighbours. When new guests arrived next door on our second day, and their baby cried for the whole night, we had to complain or it would have ruined our holiday. After trying to make us move to an inferior room, the hotel staff eventually agreed to move the newer guests with the screaming baby. The trouble that we had to go to in order to not have to repack and move everything in the middle of the night showed a poor level of service.

Swiss-Garden Hotel Room

The hotel restaurant, where we had breakfast every morning, and ate other meals on occasion, was very good. The breakfast buffet had a great range of foods, and the a la carte menu for lunch and dinner was also good. Outside the hotel, across a very busy main road, were two other eateries where we enjoyed eating Malaysian food.

 

The beach, where sun loungers and shelters were supplied, was often completely empty, and I enjoyed gazing out to sea. The strip along the beach was not full of resort hotels, as is common in Southeast Asia, but was tree-lined, with only a couple of other hotels visible quite far along the shore. This made it feel more like a real place, rather than some tourists-only area.

Kuantan Beach Malaysia

We swam in the sea. Although there was a red flag flying throughout our entire stay, we saw another woman in the sea, which appeared calm, and decided to go for it. It turned out to be perfect for swimming. Although it wasn’t too shallow, we found we could go quite far out while still being able to touch the sand with our feet, and swim easily. I have rarely been in sea that is so well-suited to swimming.