We booked the Bandara for the second leg of our honeymoon (after staying at an AMAZING hotel called the Chedi in Chiang Mai) after reading lots of good reviews on Trip Advisor.
Overall, we were pretty disappointed in the Bandara and as it claims to be the best spa hotel in Asia, I dread to think what the others are like.
I think partly it could have been that we had just had a week at a really brilliant luxury hotel in Chiang Mai, and the Bandara was the same price so we were expecting the same quality.
Our room was shabby, sun bleached orange curtains, plastic cover on the balcony lounger, wires showing out of the bathroom lights, outdated shower. Our room was overlooking the bar and we were worried that it would be really noisy but actually it wasn't. Our balcony door was broken when we got there and we immediately called reception and they sent up the repair guy. He did a botch job on the door then left. We called back and he came back, he added tubing so that there wasn't an inch gap all the way up the door, and even though it was not perfect, we didn't want to move rooms in case we got put above the pool, so we settled with the just-mended door. We then realised the air con wasn't working, so had to call the repair man back. It was getting quite embarrassing now but he was friendly though he didn't speak any English.
Room sorted, we got on with our holiday. There were quite a lot of families with kids at the hotel, and the remainder of people there were honeymooning couples! Breakfasts were adequate but not great. Quite a big selection of food but it all looked a bit tired. We only went to the main pool which was nice and big enough to swim. There were lots of plates around that weren't cleared up all afternoon. It was messy, in fact the whole hotel was a bit messy and tatty. Staff were very friendly, but they generally didn't have very good English and when we tried to ask how to get the shared taxis the lady didn't understand our question. That said, their standard of English was much better than our Thai...
The standard of housekeeping also wan't great. Always clean but always forgot something each day so we kept having to call reception for more toilet roll etc, which was annoying.
Bophut was a really good place to be, and it was about a ten minute walk along the beach to get to the village. The beach was REALLY hard to walk on but doable. Loads and loads of lovely restaurants in the village - Thai, Italian, Japanese etc. All we went to were good and great food. Not cheap though, about the same price as a meal out in the UK and wine too expensive to get (beer and cocktails pretty cheap though). We had cocktails a few nights at a really cute bar right at the very end of the village (opposite end to the beach) - really cheap and friendly bar tenders, I think it was their house and they had the bar in their front yard - much more individual than some of the bars, some of which were quite wine bar-y.
Instead of turning right out of the Bandara to walk down the beach to Bophut, I'd also recommend turning left to the beach front restaurants, most of which were really really cheap with tasty food and cocktails. Very romantic being right by the sea. Most weren't posh at all, quite informal, but cuter and cheaper than Bophut. There were also a number of massage booths on the beach here, which were SO cheap, can't remember how much now but dirt cheap, especially compared to the Bandara spa prices (though we never worked out where the spa was and weren't given a tour of the hotel or anything). A few nights we had a beachside massage to the sound of the waves, followed by dinner and cocktails. Divine.
Bophut village also had some great shops, a few vintagey places which surprised me. Not cheap but not expensive compared to the UK. The Friday night street market was fun, good for cheap dresses and presents.
We did a few day trips, including to Ang Thong national marine park (amazing, booked via a place in Bophut).
So, Bophut is a brilliant place to stay for a chilled out holiday with loads of bars and restaurants, quite near other beaches for day trips. A very touristy place though, completely set up for tourists - mostly from Russia and the UK, and with prices to match.
The Bandara was OK, but too expensive for what it was and didn't match our expectations. The Hansar hotel down the beach looked much nicer and we wished we'd stayed there. That said, it was probably partly because we'd just come from a really luxurious hotel, and we still had a brilliant time.
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- Also Known As:
- Bandara Hotel Bophut
- Bandara Resort And Spa
- Bandara Resort Koh Samui
- Bandara Hotel Koh Samui
- Bandara Resort & Spa Ko Samui/Bophut