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“Problem after Problem after Problem however, generally a nice stay”

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Secret Cliff Resort
Ranked #106 of 135 Hotels in Karon
Reviewed 16 April 2014

I was holidaying with some friends of mine, 3 of my friends arrived at the hotel 3 days before myself and my other friend arrived. Upon my arrival we waited 40 minutes to be seen to and were asked to sit down and wait for assistance...

Problem 1) After 40 minutes a member of staff explained to us that there was a problem with our booking, they had no rooms available for us for that evening. This was an error on there behalf. This was annoying as we had plans with our friends who were also staying at the hotel that evening. To rectify the problem they sent us to there sister hotel the Princess in Karon (which was ok but not great) for the night. They drove us to there sister hotel and gave us free breakfast the next morning. They also paid for my friends to get a taxi to Karon to meet us so we could continue our plans. Originally the next morning they wanted to pick us up/transfer us back to Secret Cliff at midday...which was rather late for ourselves...so we agreed they would collect us at 10am. They actually arrived at 10.30am....not a great deal of difference but I am making a point of this as they can be very slow at responding to jobs/queries. They also upgraded our room and put us next door to our friends which was fantastic. We were very happy with the outcome and as much as it was an inconvenience upon check-in it was a blessing in disguise :)

Problem 2) We decided to book our daytrip to the Phi Phi islands via the hotel (we had booked an elephant trek with the hotel and were very pleased and had a great day). All was well and we had a great day until upon leaving Bamboo Island (Part of Phi Phi islands) we found out we were heading back to Phuket. It was 3.30pm at this stage and were very confused as we had paid for an all day tour which was meant to finish at 8pm. It worked out that the hotel had booked us onto the wrong tour yet we had been charged for the more expensive all day/evening tour. The hotel had to issue us a refund as it was there mistake. Seems they only do the day into evening tour 3 days a week therefore, we were unable to do some things we had planned to do whilst on holiday which was annoying.

Problem 3) The receptionist tried to over-charge my friend and I for our return journey/transfer to the airport. The receipt stated the journey was for 2 people, she insisted she thought it was for more people. This took a while to sort out as it had already gone through there admin/system/.

Problem 4) Certain members of staff at the hotel (reception) speak little English and there was often miscommunication between ourselves and some staff members. Clearly this was one of the reasons that caused problem number 2 and 3 (above). If you needed assistance you would often have to ask 2 or even 3 times to get it sorted. My friends had no toilet paper for 2 days...the maid forgot to leave some and they telephoned reception at least 3 times and no one came. They had to use there own tissues until we gave them some from our room. We had a blocked toilet and they did come and fix it yet we had to telephone them 3 times. We also had no towels on two occasions as the maid forgot to leave us any...again we had to telephone several occasions.

Problem 5) The maid did a great job at cleaning and was pleasant however she was very thoughtless and forgetful. She would often forget to leave toilet paper and annoyingly would rarely leave clean towels! This was incredibly annoying. She would take the dirty towels away but would forget to leave clean ones. When she did leave clean towels she would leave an odd amount of towels such as 1 big towel, 1 flannel or 2 small towels and no big towels, some days she didn't even leave us any green beach towels or any towels at all and we would have to phone reception 2-3 times for some. It was a good job we took our own beach towels from home. The balcony was never cleaned which was a shame as wasn't great getting sand on our feet every morning, just a sweep once every 2 days would have been great.

Problem 6) Upon check out the maid insisted there was one beach towel (green) missing from our room...she said (translated via another member of staff) that she gave us 3 and she could only find 2. Why would she give us 3 towels when there was only 2 of us staying in the room everyday? and as I said she didn't even leave us towels some days! The maid was pretty rude and they wouldn't let us leave the hotel even though honest honest we were only given 2 towels...this made us late for the airport and the taxi driver had to drive very fast. They even made me go back to our room to search for the supposed missing towel....I was so angry when I left!! The staff just told us to leave and didn't smile or say thank you for staying....this annoyed me so much!! All over some towel the maid thought was missing. What happened to the customer is always right and it annoyed me that they didn't believe me when I said we only had 2 towels...as if we had stolen one or something. I know some people do steal hotel towels but we would not do that sort of thing, especially as we have our own from home and it wasn't even a decent towel. I was so angry when we left that we felt like it ruined our last few hours in Thailand. Upon this principal I wouldn't stay here again! Terrible customer service and making us late for the airport.

Problem 7) The taxi driver that took us to the airport on departure was a driver that worked at the hotel. Even though we were running late due to the hotel keeping us, he decided to take a detour and took us to a tourist food souvenir store and told us to go shopping for 10 minutes! Clearly hoping we would purchase something to gain commission or some payment of some sort.

Other problems/suggestions for improvement:
Rooms could do with a lick of paint...lots of scuffs and marks on the walls, the bathrooms should be tiled ceiling to floor as again dirty marks on the walls and some cracks in the walls / room service need to collect dirty plates regularly...we had dirty plates outside our room for 2 days!! / trees and plants need trimming around the pool...not much sunlight and branches and heavy fruit would fall off at random times...a branch even fell off next to my friends sun lounger...and it wasn't small and I am not exaggerating! / Need someone manning the pool bar - pool bar also needs background music (some days it would be on, others it wouldn't) / It is a very hilly complex so therefore isn't suitable for those with health problems. The location - you can not walk anyway, you need to get a taxi to either town...this can be annoying. / Room service - understand there are service charges when staying at this hotel...I was unaware of this / The free shuttle to and from Patong and Karon beach every day - one day we waited for the return shuttle bus from Patong...it never came so we had to get a tuk tuk back, we even waited early to ensure we wouldn't miss it.

Positives:
The décor of the hotel its pretty beautiful, colourful, lots of natural wood, trees and flowers and plants. Its very beautiful. The décor of the rooms - again lovely design and very modern. Great views of the ocean and great view from the pool. / The restaurant onsite and the pizzeria...fantastic food!! everything is yummy and again beautiful views from the hotels restaurant...however its a little more pricey than that in the nearby towns. / The room was kept clean. / Certain members of staff were wonderful...a special thank you to Ya (hotel driver) who drove us around for 4 hours taking us on a mini tour...this was fantastic and cheap between 5 of us, much better value than paying for a tour with a random company! Ya was a pleasure and so eager to please and was very jolly. The management...they tried there best. Despite the issues and lack of thanks and rudeness upon leaving, Shirley was very warm and friendly and dap (male manager) was patient and speaks perfect English so is the person to speak to if you have any issues. The location...great views and close to both Karon and Patong, nice and peaceful. Generally the staff members were friendly and nice:) The free shuttle is also great ... most of the time.

I had a lovely stay, the hotel in general is lovely it just has many problems which need to be dealt with. It could be great if they improved/dealt with these issues. I would not stay here again due to the issues experienced and the location on the hill. I've never had so many issues in any hotel/hostel/campsite in the world before and its a shame.

Room Tip: Get a room with a view its worth it.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank HeartSummer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 April 2014

I'll get the quick negative parts out of the way before I start with the positives. When we arrived at secret cliff we were disappointed that our room seemed to have been double booked (even though we booked 4 months in advance )and were offered to stay 1 night at a hotel 5 minutes away. To be honest, we had arrived over 4 hours before check in time and were totally exhausted from our journey from the UK and accepted the offer immediately so as to at least get some sleep and a shower etc. The hotel we were put in was adequate for 1 night.

We we're picked up after breakfast the following morning and taken back to Secret Cliff for check-in. This was carried out efficiently and with the usual happy Thai hospitality and smile.
We stayed in the deluxe sea view room on the second tier of the cliff and had a fantastic view of the Andaman Sea. Room was clean, tidy and really quiet. We had a situation with the aircon drizzling water all over the sideboard during the 1st night, but was sorted out swiftly by the staff in the morning. As said in earlier reviews, you are pretty much in the middle of Karon and Patong and would have to take a tuk tuk to either town. Going rate is 200 to Karon and 300 to Patong which we found a reasonable charge. When we arrived back from an evening out the staff have small electric type golf carts to drop you back to your villa if your not feeling the steep hill walk back. This was never a problem for any staff and they were always willing to do this without hesitation. The small pool overlooking the Andaman Sea was fantastic, clean and great to relax around and watch a bit of nature whilst soaking up a bit of hot sun. We only used the restaurant/bar for a couple of drinks one evening and never ordered food as it seemed to be a little overpriced for this part of Thailand, opting to eat in either town. To sum this place up, we really enjoyed our stay and would certainly return again. We stayed 5 nights.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank sameoldscene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2014

The main buildings (restaurants, front desk), which are on one side of a busy road are nice, across the street where the villas are, it's less than ideal rooms. Dirty and interiors, mold around caulk lines in the bathroom, garbage strewn on rooftops of villas in front of each villas balconies; lack of a single designated moped/scooter parking area - instead hotel occupants park near their respective rooms and love to rev the engines 24/7. The hotel's pictures are nicer than the actual rooms. Though the pool is nice, it's not worth a repeat visit.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank stennerc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

The hotel manager acts iresresponsible! She doesn't provide us service we payed for (breakfast) and wouldn't reply when we asked what is the problem! We lost our money but she just sayed that we have to double-pay for the breakfast!! Don't spoil your holiday and waste money in this hotel! I warned you.. :(

  • Stayed: April 2014
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3  Thank Stenbb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2014

I submitted my review on booking.com before I went back and compared the room I had to the room I was supposed to have.

At the time my actual room did have a superb view and I mentioned as such in my review. What I failed to realise was that the room I had booked on Booking.com was a MUCH nicer room in their photos than the one I ended up with.

So I will address that misrepresentation here, as it became a sore point this trip with some hotels NOT delivering what they promised, and others over-delivering.

Apart from the above, whatever I said on booking.com remains true. Despite the million dollar view (from my less than promised million dollar room) I can't recommend this place. A) because what you book and what you get are not the same I now know. but mainly because of....
B) the room I had was so DAMN NOISY. It's a concrete building, and the main restaurant is housed above the rooms, so every night starting around 5 and going thru til midnite you hear the sound of chairs and tables being dragged on bare concrete, and that goes STRAIGHT to your room like fingernails on a blackboard. Then it starts again at breakfast.

Also, and to be fair I knew this up front, the hotel is not in easy walking distance to anywhere, and so you pay higher than average prices for what they offer on the menu, and you cant just slip down to Patong or Karon for a taste of the nightlife, unless you are prepared to get ripped off, and I do mean ripped off, by the taxi mafia in both directions. ie Karon is a 40min walk down hill, its a 5 minute drive back up the same hill, for which they want 250baht. 350 if you want to go Patong, which is a little further away.

But if, hypothetically, you had wanted a cheap room with a million dollar view and its your honeymoon, and you have no intention of leaving the room for 3 days, and you have a bag full of pre bought food and drink, then you might find this is the best place you've ever been. So again perhaps to be fair (or fairer than they deserve), the prices on the food when taken into account the price of the room (I paid $49 per night) the value isn't too bad. But what is unforgiveable is the noise, and the fact that they don't give you the room you see on line. That's dishonest, and if I can lose the hotel just one client by telling the truth, that they lie, then I'll rest easier.

I specifically booked a room called the "Deluxe double with Ocean View" on booking.com. So compare the photos of that room with my actual room photo attached and you'll see what I mean

Room Tip: Location in so far as its on a cliff delivering awesome views, gets it a 4. On the other hand, those...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled solo
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2  Thank blisteringbarnacles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

The hotel is nicely located on a hillside with nice sea views. It is a bit secluded from the road noise and from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Our room was on the very top of the resort on a very steep road. We have been using our scooters to move within the compound and to go to the breakfast room/restaurant that is located on the other side of the main road. Some days, traffic was so intense that it was difficult to cross the road to go to breakfast.
Rooms are O.K. but very basic. It was relatively clean even if the garden/access roads were not well taken care of.
The worst part of the hotel is the staff who is having a terrible attitude. Almost rude at times and totally not reflecting the Thai legendary hospitality. Receptionists seemed overwhelmed and were simply incompetents. Restaurant staff was just O.K. as long as you do not ask them anything.
Own transportation mean is necessary if you stay at Secret Cliff.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Antoine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

We spent 7 nights @ this hotel in early March and had a very relaxing break. The food was beautiful, although a little pricey but with magnificent views over Karon Bay, it was well worth it.
They have a pianist play most nights while having dinner, which, whilst taking in the night lights of Karon and the fishing boats out working, is a great way to finish off the day.
A shuttle leaves after breakfast for both Karon and Patong which is a simple 5 to 7 minute ride.
The staff were fantastic, as most Thai people are and always with that loveable Thai smile.
Rooms were a bit small where we stayed, but with a big balcony looking out over the Andaman Sea, why would you want to stay in your room?.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the Restaurant side of the road as there are two sides of the highway used for the...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SSS1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secret Cliff Resort

Address: 707 Patak Rd. | Karon Cliff, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Phuket > Karon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#49 Spa Hotel in Karon
#64 Luxury Hotel in Karon
Price Range: £33 - £207 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Secret Cliff Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 139
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Also Known As:
Secret Cliff Resort & Restaurant Hotel Karon
Secret Cliff Resort And Restaurant
Secret Cliff Hotel
Secret Cliff Resort Phuket/Karon

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