Sai Kaew Beach Resort, Koh Samet. Why –NOT– to stay there.
I rarely use my blog to give negative reviews, but Sai Kaew Beach Resort on Koh Samet (Samed), Thailand, earned a bit of blogging fire and brimstone for a particularly bad experience. Sai Kaew Beach Resort is not what it claims to be. The bungalows are far as hell from any beach, and they reek of mildew. If Koh Samet is your destination, find somewhere else to stay.
Nice! Just hit 2700 page views here! If a few people saved their money by choosing to NOT stay here, then I feel that Sai Kaew Beach Resort’s waste of my time, and the terrible customer service experience is paid back in full.
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.
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)
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!
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! WWhen 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 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… 😉
Thank you Mike for writing this review . It’s easy to write a positive one , but it was takes some courage to write a negative one. Although I would never pay anything remotely close to price you paid (i travel for less than $25 a day , as you know) I’m sure it will save someone from overpaying their stay.
I’m waiting for more posts from your holiday .
Hi Cez! How’s your leg coming along? Ready to run marathons? Hope you’re at 100%.
And yeah, when I’m traveling, I usually have a pretty good spidey-sense for finding great 3-star+ places that are also less than $40 a night (I stopped my $25/day thing after I turned 30 lol). But this one was a return to Samed — a place that I always feel kind of special about — it was the last-horrah! of my summer trip, and I was with a friend so I didn’t mind paying a lot more than I usually would. After all, I used to love staying there.
And the reason for the negative review was because of what I felt was false advertising on their part…combined with the fact that they wouldn’t let us change our mind about staying there. The management were just dicks to us…probably because they get this reaction from everybody and they just don’t give a rat’s ass anymore. Anyway, usually, if a hotel kind of sucks, it’s my own fault because I ignored reviews or warning signs, so I never blast them on my blog, just on tripadvisor. This was a special one. lol
Great Review! my wife has sent me a lot of emails recently tryng to get us to book this Place this Winter. Unfortunately we ar 4… 2 adults and 2 Children and its difficult to get something big enough on samet for all of us. DOnt needs anything flashy just nice 3 star near a Lovely beach.
Are there any such places on samet that take 2 adults and Children ?
Hi Denis. I go to samed a lot and I definitely see adults with kids there. As for specific places, if you go through Agoda etc, most of those sites let you filter your search on the bed types, so you can get two big double beds or whatever you need. I know there’s a place on Vongduan beach that is very kid friendly. But it’s a bit remote. The beach you’re talking about it Hat Sai Kaew beach — and it is definitely lovely. But in the winter it will be heaving with package tourists, mostly from China. So I’d start with one of the beaches just south of there. Ao Pai or one like that. Anyway, wherever you go, you’ll love it. It’s the ultimate in places to chill near Bangkok. And now the junta has cracked down, all of the discos and stuff shut down their music fairly early.
i used to stay there, but not anymore. i didn’t get the concrete wall treatment, but the resort is vastly overrated and overpriced. recently, i’ve just turned up at sai kaew beach, walked around, and found decent accommodation above the beach restaurants for around 1000-1200 baht a night. the only time this might be a problem is during thai holidays. i’d rather spend the money i save on good food and drink, rather than hand it over to a greedy resort owner. power to the people 🙂
Yo Martin. I didn’t know you were on WordPress! Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I used to stay there all the time before the renovations. But it is beyond rip-off prices now for what you get. And the fuck-you attitude we got from the day managers was unacceptable. On a bright note, I got my money back from the booking agency, although I think they took a loss on that one, as I’m sure Sai Kaew didn’t refund anything. And as you said, even 3 or 4 minutes walk up the beach and you can find decent digs for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the distance from the beach.
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I so agree, totally rip-off and an attitude
Thanks for the warning. I was going back to Samet and looking for a place to stay, Here btw is my brief entry on Koh Samet island hope you enjoy
Great post you have there, Rich. I tried leaving a comment, but I couldn’t get my login to work. Anyway, I just got back from Samed a few days ago. As you wrote, it’s definitely a good chill place. Although every time I go back there are more and more late-night discos opening up. If you want to get away from the crowds, you now need to head to the bays below Ao Pai. Having said that, I’m usually up super late just sipping beers listening to music watching the waves, so Hat Sai Kaew works for me lol. But yeah, give this resort a miss. Total rip off.