The Ammatara Pura Pool Villas is, to jump straight to the conclusion, absolutely beautiful, and a brilliant place to stay.
We would primarily recommend it to families with young children, honeymooners, romantic couples and people who want a quiet, relaxing stay in attractive surroundings.
It is located near the southern end of the main Lamai strip, and is placed right on the beach. When you first arrive, you have to go through a little maze of very steeply inclined narrow roads, before you get to a local style archway that leads to the fairly non-descript looking entrance to the hotel. As entrance ways goes, it is very low key, with only the pagoda-like reception area looking particularly impressive. Thankfully, looks are deceiving as they saved the effort for the bits of the hotel that matter.
You don't get much chance to look at reception, though, as they take you straight to your room and perform the check-in formalities there - a brilliant idea, as it let our kids spread out and explore the rooms and facilities, lets the wife relax while it's sorted out. After a long journey, it was a very thoughtful touch.
The word hotel doesn't really fit here when describing the rooms - of which there are not that many, 26 in total I believe. We were in the garden view villas, as we needed two rooms adjacent to each other (which they guaranteed in advance following an e-mail to them), so there was no sight of the sea. However, this wasn't a problem at all, as due to all the palm trees, ferns, buildings and statues in the garden area, the view was attractive, and relatively private.
Each of the rooms has an extensive list of facilities, including
a well appointed kitchen with an electric cooking hob, microwave, washing machine, fridge with freezer compartment (partly stocked with 'mini-bar' type contents), plus plates and cutlery for two and kitchen utensils (bottle opener, cooking knives, spatulas etc)
BIG bath with Jacuzzi function,
writing desk complete with a desktop PC with internet access, wi-fi, (note – no printer)
dining table for two,
LCD TV complete with a DVD player with USB connection
As you walk in through the outer door, the first thing that greets you is a tiled area which contains a large (covered) shower booth made from decorative stone with a raised area surrounded by white rounded stones that serve as the runoff. There is a patterned frosted glass door, so modesty is kept from others in your party, and the whole area itself is secluded so there is no danger of your privacy being invaded. There is also a rack for you to put wet clothes on to dry. As another reviewer has pointed out, while the location of the shower outside the entrance of the villa at first appears to be curious, the fact that you can come into the villa and go straight to the shower and leave the sand and wet clothes outside, is beautifully thought out.
The rooms themselves are very large, basically open plan (except for the kitchen and toilet) with patio style doors at the garden end that open out onto a little garden.
When you walk into the room itself, there is a large stone effect Jacuzzi / bath that would comfortably allow a couple to share. It has a shower head on a flexible hose so you can do your hair and rinse off, another nice touch. Again this is surrounded by a strip of those large white stones, so any water that goes over the side will not flood the room. A note - this bath was full of water with flower petals upon arrival, an attractive touch. While it's not a criticism, it is worth nothing that taking a bath is not something you do quickly; the bath is BIG, and takes a long while to fill - want a bath? Plan ahead.
Near the bath is the entrance to the kitchen, which is a galley style affair, wooden paneled cupboard doors and black granite work surfaces. The fridge is ideally placed at the entrance, and the washing machine is right at the end next to a sliding window that opens to the shower patio area, and the clothes rack. A sliding door closes off the kitchen from the rest of the room.
A little alcove with a table set in and a mirror on the wall is on the opposite side to the kitchen, and serves as a dressing table; power points are handily placed in the wall above the table for hair dryers etc, and there are lights set in as well.
There is a low black granite counter on each side down the middle of the room, dividing the kitchen / bathroom area from the living / sleeping / dining area. On these counters are wash-basins, one on each placed on the bath side, and topped by a mirror, with little cupboards for all your toiletries, plush toothbrush holders, soap dishes etc. Again, power sockets are sited for shavers.
Behind this is the living area, which is dominated by a large bed and bed head. The bed itself is made up of two large single mattresses with two separate duvets, so it isn't a 'proper' double bed. It is also an Asian style firm bed, which we love, but some might find too firm. The bed head is topped by a wide shelf, with separate directionable lights for each side.
The rear of the bed head is where the in-room PC is, sited on a low table next to a proper desk with a nice sized LCD monitor and mouse; the keyboard is on a pull out tray at the front of the desk. On each side are four power sockets, so anyone with needs for chargers and other electronic gizmos are well catered for.
Next to the bed on one side is a little dining area with a table set for two. This table is kept stocked with fruit. The dining area itself has some nice lighting, which can be used to give nice mood effects. On the other side of the bed is another alcove with a mattress type affair covered with cushions; we assume a third occupant could use this as a bed, certainly a child could. A walk-in closet with ample cupboard space and an electronic safe is also provided.
All the windows have wooden blind type shutters.
Finally, a chest of drawers is at the end of the room with the TV and DVD on it so that people in bed can watch.
As mentioned above, past the patio doors is your own pool and sun lounge area. The pool is a reasonable size (about 5m by 7m) is 1.4m deep all around, and has two Jacuzzi 'seats' built in with a handy table between the two; you could sit in there relaxing with drinks by your side. It is an 'infinity' type pool, which probably makes more sense for the beach and sea view villas; for the garden ones, the effect is a little lost. Two sun loungers are provided under a decorative gazebo, and exterior lights are provided for the pool, the outside of the villa and under the gazebo.
The villas are arranged in a 'U' shape around the central gardens, with the open part of the 'U' fronting to the beach. The external architecture of all the buildings and the gardens is very Thai. The gardens are well tended, with grass, palm trees with ferns growing from the trunks, flowering trees, and Thai / Burmese decorations and statues. A temple sits in the middle of the garden. The effect is very green, lush and attractive, with the added benefit that it feels private.
Two constant depth (1.4m) pools are located near the beach, near the beach bar. There is no 'wet' bar'. The pools are just about big enough to swim in, but as the sea is 20m away, it is more for lounging in. A reasonable number of loungers are next to the pools and not once in our 12 nights stay did we struggle to get free ones for the four of us. Our boys were allowed to jump and play in the pool to their hearts desire, no over-fussy rules and overbearing staff.
Between the pools and the beach are two dining areas which are essentially six individual tables under gazebos, on little islands surrounded by water lilies; the effect is thoroughly beautiful, day or night. Again, carefully thought out lighting enhances the effect. The view is an unobstructed one of the beach.
The beach in front of the hotel is nice, and sun loungers, sunshades and some gazebos are available for use. The staff will bring you towels and drinks if you ask. Again, we never struggled to get loungers for the family. Note, no sunsets over the sea here, it is on the East facing coast.
The beach bar is good, and seats about 12 people, with the very helpful staff always attentive, happy and prompt. They are also good with kids. The view from the bar is great, whichever way you are sitting. The prices are reasonable for both food and drinks, and while the range of food is not very extensive, it was perfectly adequate to cater for our needs. There is no specific children’s menu, but there are meals that most kids would be happy with, plus I’m certain you could ask for specific things if you needed to.
The breakfast is served in a rather decorative restaurant until 10:30 in the morning. It is not a hugely diverse selection, but that is reasonable considering the number of guests the hotel can hold.
The feel of the place is more 'resort' than hotel. It feels very relaxed, and actually maybe would be too quiet for certain types of people. We can imagine people between the ages of 16 to 30 finding it too quiet for their tastes, assuming they are not on honeymoon. During the day, the maximum number of people we saw at any one time was maybe ten, not including staff.
The centre of Lamai is about 500 metres away, however how you get there is not immediately obvious. Don't take a taxi, as they have to take you 5km to get you the 500m! The best way is to walk onto the beach, go 20m until the stairs to the next hotel then go up through there to the road. The hotels seem to be more than OK with this, and it is no more than a ten minute walk right to the busiest area. If you go further afield and need to get a taxi back, take a card from reception - it's new enough that some taxi drivers don't know it. We personally thought Lamai itself was a little quiet for our tastes, but that is no reflection on the Ammatara Pura.
The attention to detail is impressive here, with lots of thoughtful touches. The staff are great, and when they clean the rooms they come in packs and work quickly, so very often you come back from breakfast to find it's already been done. The rooms have lots of little details like plenty of power points, storage space, complimentary mosquito repellant, and a myriad of others. The decoration of the rooms is top quality, you never feel that corners have been cut. This isn’t one of those hotels where power is cut when you leave the room, so the aircon will keep the room cool when you are not there. Most of the lighting in the rooms is of the indirect type, so lighting is pleasant.
Downsides? Well, nowhere is perfect, but in truth it is very hard to fault the Ammatara Pura. The bed not being a proper double would be one. There are loads of light switches in the rooms, and trying to work out which one turns on what is confusing, especially as some of the switches turn on lights outside. The outside shower could do with somewhere to hang towels and things. I'm sure everyone will find some minor thing to complain about, but the fact that I struggled to think of the above says it all.
Very well recommended, we will try to get back when we can.
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- Also Known As:
- Ammatara Pura Pool Villa Ko Samui/Lamai Beach