Sai Kaew Beach Resort, Koh Samet. Why –NOT– to stay there.

I rarely use my blog to give negative reviews, but there’s a first for everything. Sai Kaew Beach Resort on Koh Samet (Samed), Thailand, earned a bit of blogging fire and brimstone for a particularly bad experience, and for being a not-what-it-claims-to-be resort. If Koh Samet is your destination, find somewhere else to stay. (View counter: 400+ views.)

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Problem Number 1:
It’s a jungle resort, not a beach resort.

If you’re thinking of staying at the Sai Kaew Resort, you’ve probably seen all kinds of photos on their site of a nice beach view. It looks like you’re right on the beach. Well, you’re not. When we showed up, they put us on an EV cart and drove us about a half a kilometer to our “bungalow close to the beach.”

In fact, most of their bungalows are nowhere near Sai Kaew Beach. The closest “beach” is Pineapple Beach…which is definitely nothing to write home about. And even that is a 5 minute walk away. Here’s a screen shot from a video I took of the bungalow layout map in our room.

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Bungalow Map. Note, that beach you see isn't even Sai Kaew Beach. That's the crappy little "Pineapple Beach." Sai Kaew Beach is way the hell on the other side of the mini peninsula.

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Bungalow Map. Note, that beach you see isn’t even Sai Kaew Beach. That’s the crappy little “Pineapple Beach.” Sai Kaew Beach is way the hell on the other side of the mini peninsula.

I actually chose the Sai Kaew Beach Resort because I used to stay there all the time about 10 years ago. Back then, all of the bungalows were within 30 seconds walk of the beach. But they have rebuilt it so the beachfront is all restaurants and a few Premium rooms. Now the bungalows are NOWHERE NEAR Sai Kaew Beach. Here’s a video showing our “view,” some crappy bungalow exterior (actually way more expensive than the one we were in), plus some commentary.

And if you still don’t appreciate how far the Pineapple Beach bungalows are from Sai Kaew Beach, here’s a (tiny) map I marked up. Hope you have good eyesight! (Or right-click / control-click to open it in a new tab to see it close up)

Koh Samed map showing how insanely far Sai Kai Beach Resort bungalows are from the beach.

Koh Samet map showing how insanely far Sai Kai Beach Resort bungalows are from the beach.

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Problem Number 2:
You pay for a “garden view,” but you get a concrete wall.

A garden view? Not from our front window. Check it out!

The view of concrete wall from our $125/night (and that's at a hefty discount!) Sai Kaew Beach Resort bungalow.

The view of the concrete wall from our $125/night (and that’s at a hefty discount!) Sai Kaew Beach Resort bungalow.

That’s right, a concrete f-ing wall. So when you see all the gorgeous photos they use to promote themselves, keep this in mind. In fact, most of those photos are from the front restaurant-bar area…which you won’t use anyway because there’s so much going on up the beach at night…and of the few ultra high-priced Premium rooms beside that area. But for the rest of us 99%, we also pay crazy high prices for a fine view of a concrete wall. Paradise!

Actually, there were some plants growing around the sides of the bungalows…but when you see what you can get on Samet for a fraction of Sai Kaew’s price, it’s nothing but a rip off. If I just wanted to stare at a wall, I would get myself thrown in jail.

Sai Kaew Resort concrete wall view. This is from inside taken with real light (no overexposure to compensate). Pretty bleak.

Sai Kaew Resort concrete wall view. This is from inside taken with real light (no overexposure to compensate). Pretty bleak.

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Problem Number 3:
The bungalows smell of mold / mildew.

When we first checked in, we were already supremely disappointed with the long drive away from the beach. Then we were greeted with a mildew smell that really wasn’t what I would expect for the price we paid.

Sai Kaew Beach Resort Problem Number 4:
Zero customer-satisfaction ethic.

The first thing we wanted to do after checking in was to check out. But first we just asked to be moved closer to the beach. “We can, if you pay an additional 4000 Baht (about $120) per night. Riiiiiight. So we said that we were really displeased with the fact that we were a 1/2 Km from the Sai Kaew beach…and since we hadn’t used the room, we were happy just to check out and have my card refunded.

No go. They don’t do refunds.

No worries, I have a blog. And if I save just a few people from getting sucked in by the Sai Kaew Beach Resort, I’ll have helped a few people avoid overpaying for a smelly, tiny bungalow a half-click from Sai Kaew Beach.

My pound of flesh… ;)

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