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Pandanus Resort
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Reviewed 11 August 2014 via mobile

The Pandanus Resort is without question one of the most beautiful hotel complexes, both myself and my wife have come across. The staff are welcoming and extremely attentive to your needs. It has wonderful gardens and surroundings, all metriculously, routinely maintained; a huge pool and beach bar section and a whole of host of activities for the hotel guest to access, including : a gym; tennis; karaoke and a spa to name but four. Prices are very reasonable and there are a number of local mini marts selling bottled water and offering essential holiday supplies. Furthermore there is a free shuttle bus, organised by the hotel, offering access to the local tourist beach town of Ham Tien. The town is excellent. It has a whole host of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. Indeed one of our most favourite meals anywhere in the world was a place called Jibes; we'll worth tracking down, simply superb food and service, we went twice.

So why not 5 stars? Put simply the flies.

I am amazed that having read back through a number of reviews on Trip Advisor, users of this website have not reported on it. Well there is one mention of it I can find. The problem is "disgusting". I chose my words carefully there as this can be viewed as a very emotive word and I suspect the staff at the resort may take this personally, including general manager (GM) Steve, who based on previous Trip Advisor reviews, carefully and skilfully responds to any, as he perceives at least, negative critisism. To be quite clear, this is a web site designed for feedback, not crtisism. Feedback is a chance to offer a point of view only; from a user's description of their holiday experience. It is important at this point to state that, just because several hundreds of other people have had a good or great experience whilst staying at the Pandanus, it does not negate one or two persons' experience. Logic dictates that both states of affairs can coexist and yet still be both true. I would be very unhappy, if my feedback to this review was met with such comments as: "other guests haven't complained" or "we have thousands of happy, repeat, customers" and my view was simply thrown aside. I conceed that lots of people are happy to stay here, as this website clearly states.

To be even more precise, the word "disgusting" came directly from our holiday representative on meeting him, when we mentioned the problem of flies. Not myself. He conceded it was a problem for only a few short weeks of the year, when the local fishing village dries out fish in fields surrounding the resort. Fair enough you might think, we must have got unlucky with timings. Two issues here. One, why didn't my booking agent tell me about this? I will be writing to them today and two, why is it when you ask other staff at the resort they have a variety of responses to the issue of flies. For example on one particularly bad morning the response was, "it's been very humid and is due to rain", it didn't rain. Or "it's the wind". Or a further morning a response of "it's very busy this morning with guests today, try a different time". We did. Same problem.

The hotel staff did offer to bring our food to our rooms if we wanted but we declined as to be quite frank it's not just the flies bothering you at the breakfast table, it's the swarms of them on the food which is sitting waiting for us. The food still comes from he same place. Baskets of fly covered food. I must add at this point that the food is all covered and there are staff with fly swats flicking them away at the food isle. Indeed they also spray pesticides around the food serving areas and regularly shake the bread baskets from flies. As you can imagine, despite their best attempts, flies do get into the food. Not a pleasant picture to view first thing on a morning I can assure you. As my wife pointed out to a member of staff one morning, "if this were in England, you would be shut down". Quite correct.

Now I fully appreciate this is a semi tropical country and that flies along with all other manner of bugs will be sharing our holiday with us. But this is not only unsightly, it is a health hazard when food is involved.

Solutions. My suggestion to anyone coming here is the following:

1. Don't eat breakfast there.
2. If you do eat breakfast there, eat quickly, avoid the bread, cold meats and fruits sections, these are the worst areas.
3. Spray the table and yourself with 50% DEET insect repellent. It keeps them away.
4. Sit near a door, not near the food.
5. Clear your plate away quickly, they decend on an empty plate.
6. When sitting at the poolside, once you have applied us notions, apply insect repellent, frequently during the day.
7. Sit in the pool as long as you can, they don't come near you.
8. Remain in you room until 6pm, they seem to leave the site by then.
9. Do not eat near the pool side or bring any type of food, including soft drinks to the pool in your bag, you are asking for trouble.
10. Avoid the beach, sand flies! Another story altogether.
11. Book another hotel, preferable in Ham Tien.

I have attempted to be as fair as I can about my holiday experience and as you will note offered a great number of solutions rather than simply moan about the resort. Therefore to repeat, I would be most unhappy to receive a piece of feedback from GM Steve, that would not be equally balanced in its tone. To conclude having visited Asia on 4 occasions, my next visit will not be at the Pandanus. With regret I cannot recommend this resort.

Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
7  Thank hevwalko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SteveMuiNe_Vietnam, General Manager at Pandanus Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2014

Hevwalko,

Thank you for staying with us and for your praise of our facilities and services. We strive to maintain a very high quality facility and level of service.

Your single complaint does not relate to either the facility or our level of service, but rather to a natural phenomenon over which we have no control. You state that your comments are feedback concerning your experience, rather than a commentary on the resort, yet you chose to give the resort a poor rating, even though you say that the Pandanus Resort is "one of the most beautiful complexes you ...have come across."

You have written the review as if the natural phenomenon you experienced is a regular feature of the resort, even chastising your booking agent for not mentioning it, while noting that other reviewers have not mentioned this phenomenon at all. There is a very good reason for this. The phenomenon you experienced occurs only occasionally during the summer months and some years not at all. To chastise the booking agent for not telling you would be the same as chastising the agent for not telling you that it might rain while you are staying with us or that the current has brought very warm water to our shores. All of these things are naturally occurring events that come and go.

Both you and Anne, the previous reviewer stayed in the resort last week, just after eleven straight days of heavy rain. The rain caused the flies that had been breeding on the shore down the beach from the Pandanus Resort to hatch all at one time. Since then, we have had no rain at all. Therefore, this week, the number of flies has gradually decreased. There are currently about 25% of the number that were here last week during your stay. By next week, the number of flies should be negligible.

Although irritating, these are simply house flies. They do not bite and do not attack. You stated that, were we in England, we would be shut down. As the flies are all over the entire Mui Ne peninsula, the government would then be obliged to close down every resort and restaurant in Mui Ne. They are not a product of the Pandanus Resort as this comment would imply. Also, were we in England, our restaurant would not be open air and we would not be susceptible to the natural environment as there would be walls around the restaurant that would keep out the flies.

As you indicated, we do cover our food on the buffet table with a basket net to keep the flies off the buffet items. We also use fly paper, fly sticks, various sprays and our pest control supplier does as much as humanly possible to eradicate those flies within the resort.

I apologize that you and your wife happened to be here last week when we had most of the flies. We do strive to give guests reason to rate us five stars as you suggested and I would hope that future guests would rate the hotel according to the facilities and services in the hotel, not according to the natural phenomenon.

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Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

Beautiful surroundings and lovely attended to gardens; breakfast was also delicious - we truly enjoyed the unsweetened yoghurt and passion fruit every morning!!!! Good thing they are covering the entire buffet with nets to protect the food from the hundreds of flies! This unfortunately doesn't stop the flies to come to your breakfast table sitting on you and your food!

The morning walk through the fishing village Mui Ne was great and Vinh did a great job answering all questions from us about local life! There are great photo opportunities!

Thai Chi classes at 8:30 are given by one of the gardeners who did his best. Unfortunately his English is limited so if you are new to Thai Chi it's less than satisfactory with missing explanations.

The deluxe room unfortunately was damp. We changed the room once, while the second room was slightly better the problem seems to persist in all buildings, even the towels have a mould smell. (I am very conscious about this kind of smell as I had to live 6 months once in a moldy flat and it took years to take the smell out of my cloths!) Observing Guest Relations & Receptionist while changing our room allocation it became evident that they are very well aware about this problem.

Coming from hospitality ourselves, I dislike huge menu selections such as the blue lagoon menu. There is no way to keep all ingredients as a fresh mis-en-place (which would cause major daily spoilage costs), so it wasn't rocket science that few items we wanted to order where out in the same evening (chicken kiev and sth else I can't remember now.)

The flies will drive you CRAZY! They are on top of you if just lay by the pool, and millions will come as soon as you orders drinks or food!! Even inside the sun terrace! They are warning from sand flies when going on the beach but they seem to be elsewhere as well. The 'funny' thing is I collected another 30+ bites on the day after the 'weekly non-toxic fumigation of the resort' and I left with 50+ bites (sand flies or mosquitos) on my body despite using high deet repellent. This is the main reasons why we didn't end up extending as planned!

Pool area is beautiful and sufficient sun beds are provided. It would be lovely to see some of the wooden swings by the sun terrace and grass area rather than in the kids playground! Large four post sun beds (similar to the massage huts) for hotel guest would make this a real romantic treat for couples!

Sorry, we won't be back due to the flies.

Stayed: August 2014
4  Thank Anne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SteveMuiNe_Vietnam, General Manager at Pandanus Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 11 August 2014

Anne,

My thanks you and your partner for staying with us. I'm sorry, however, that you gave us such a low rating as a result of the flies, over which we have very little control.

I knew from the minute we met that it would be difficult to please you as you were complaining about the sand flies before you had even been bitten and were wondering what you would do for the six days you were booked to stay here.

You had mentioned that sand flies had been a problem at other resorts around the world in which you had stayed. As you know, sand flies only bite certain people. There is something in a person's chemical makeup that attracts them and people usually know when they are susceptible. For whatever reason, Vietnamese are seldom bitten by them.

As for the regular flies that bothered you during breakfast and at poolside, I do apologize. The fishing boats that dock on our side of the cape from June to September unload and dry their catch on the beach just two kilometers away from the resort, This creates a perfect breeding ground for flies. After every major rain storm during these four months, the flies hatch and many appear at the resort for a few days. You just happened to be staying here right after a large storm, so the flies had just hatched.

Our gardeners do not run the Tai Chi every morning. It is run by our sports staff in the security department, whose job it is to play tennis, badminton, ping pong, etc. with guests that have no partners, and also to run the morning Tia Chi and afternoon yoga. You are correct that their English is limited, but normally guests are happy to just follow their movements without too much discussion.

This is the peak of the rainy season, which means that the humidity in the air hovers around 80-90% most of the time. We try to air out the rooms and we spray an air deodorizer in them to keep them smelling fresh but with such high humidity and heat, the rooms can begin to smell "musty" very rapidly. My apologies that your rooms did not smell fresh.

We have clientele from all over the world with variable tastes in food. Therefore, we have a large and varied menu to please as many guests as possible. Most items are basic (beef, pork, chicken, etc) and do not require "mis-en-place", but our turnover is sufficient that there is not too much waste.

Thank you, again, for your visit and I hope that the next resort you choose is not on a beach or in a country with sand flies.

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Reviewed 26 July 2014

Perfect resort to chill out.

Where do I begin?
This resort is simply wonderful. Every night there is a complimentary wine half hour where Steve (The Manager) spends time to offer advice or just chat. It's a lovely way to begin the evenings. Steve is fantastic. He has his finger on the pulse of everything that is going in in the resort. If there were ever any issues or concerns Steve would rectify them immediately. Our friends and I loved chatting to Steve each evening over a glass (or two ) of wine.
The resort offers many complimentary excursions. The 6.30 am walking tour is really excellent. I would highly recommend this tour and it's free! There are lots of other free tours.
The hotel also offers free Tai Chi near the beach. This was a lovely way to begin the morning as well. There is also yoga.
The hotel massages were great. I enjoyed one each day after a glass of wine and thoroughly enjoyed the pampering.
The resort is situated right on the beach. It has beautiful gardens. The pool is excellent.
The rooms are lovely. I don't think it would matter which room you choose. They are lovely. We choose two bungalows beside each other overlooking the pool and ocean, but the Junior Suites were really very nice and I suspect the standard rooms are good as well. (Although I did not see inside a standard room)
The food at the hotel
Is excellent.
Breakfast is magnificent. There are some great little family restaurants across the road.
All if them are great. Make sure you try the seafood here. It is unbelievably delicious.
You can also get your laundry washed very cheaply across the road. Just carry your bag of washing and ask. Keep walking until someone says yes. They don't necessarily have a laundry sign.
You can catch the little local bus across the road from the hotel and go to the next village. Just get off when it looks interesting. When you want a bus home just wait anywhere on the side of the road and wave to the bus and it will stop. (Number 1 bus both ways.
About 10,000VN Dong/ $1)
The shop at the hotel is also very good. Not the usual junky souvenirs. Some really nice things.
The staff at the hotel try so hard and are so friendly and helpful.
This resort surpassed my expectations. I was not expecting it to be any where near as wonderful as it was.
Our only regret is that we only stayed for three nights. We needed longer.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
7  Thank Suesuetonge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2014 via mobile

We had a bungalow just beside the pool and the kids really enjoy it!!! The walks in the morning on the big beach was a plus. Bring mosquitoes repellent. The staff was friendly, my family really enjoyed our stay at Pandanus, would recommend.

  • Stayed: December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank soumy183
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SteveMuiNe_Vietnam, General Manager at Pandanus Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 25 July 2014

Soumy,

Thank you for your review and for staying with us. I just wanted to clarify one thing.

It is true that we suggest having mosquito repellent, but it is not for mosquitoes. We really have very few mosquitoes here, but there are sand flies that live on the beach. So we suggest that people who wish to walk along the beach put on mosquito repellent first so that they are not bitten by the sand flies. We fog the resort weekly, with a non-toxic insecticide, however, so that guests are generally not bothered by them within the resort.

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Reviewed 20 July 2014

Having previously visited southern Vietnam, we were looking for a nice kite surfing spot whilst enjoying full service accommodation. Pandanus Resort certainly did deliver. The hotel offers direct access to the beach with all the amenities you could wish for (beach chairs, bar, restaurant, huge swimming pool) and provides great kite surfing just steps away from the hotel. Most guests seem to have come to enjoy the swimming pool area, leaving the beautiful beach to only a handful of surfers.

As for the breakfast buffet, I honestly cannot think of anything one could miss in its sumptuous offering, ranging from western style food to typical Vietnamese dishes.

In terms of location, the Pandanus is catering to people looking for peace and quiet, well illustrated by the beautiful gardens of the hotel.
Those looking for action are better off near the Phan Tiet main strip. Note that Pandanus Resort is actually closest to the authentic fishing village Mui Né, easily reached by a 20 minute walk or through one of the free bicycles offered by the resort.

If I were to have remarks, it would be the basic room types not having a terrace.
In addition, booking one of the resort's activities (yoga, cooking classes, ..) can be somewhat difficult from time to time. Luckily, Pandanus has an excellent Guests Relations Manager who provides a solution to all of this.

Overall, We truly enjoyed our stay at the Pandanus Resort and will definitely return.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank IslandFan32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SteveMuiNe_Vietnam, General Manager at Pandanus Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Islandfan,

Thank you very much for your kind review and for staying with us during the kite surf season.

I just wanted to say one thing about your comment regarding the room. We have six room types and bungalows, but the only room type in the resort without a balcony or terrace is what we call a standard room. There are only sixteen standard rooms and they are offered to travelers on a budget. What most consider to be our basic room type is our superior room. Half of all the rooms in the hotel are superior rooms, which are larger than the standard rooms and do have balconies.

The winds will be back in November, so I hope to see you again this year with your kite surf equipment. As you know, our beach faces east and the winds that time of the year come from the north and east, so it is much more challenging than Rang Beach at Ham Tien ward, which faces to the south.

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