We booked a room at The Small hotel at Ao Nang (outside Krabi) as we got a pretty good deal (free nights at we were going to stay there for 10 days). Our other main criteria were to stay relatively close to Ao Nang beach as there are lots of restaurants and shops there. I booked the hotel at the hotel homepage and it was 4200 Baht per day (or 140 USD) for the room including taxes and breakfast and we went for the Moon deck suite as that seemed to be a large room – the rack rate for shorter stays were 9500 Baht! Keep in mind that this review is written after we came from a wonderful stay in a suite at Le Meridien in Bangkok. For the record I can also say that I travel quite a bit for business and pleasure and I have stayed at a lot of various hotels in Thailand.
We took a taxi from Krabi airport to the hotel and it cost 600 Baht and took 40 minutes. The hotel lobby is small but we were greeted with a glass of orange juice while we were being checked in. We got room 3012 located on the third floor and the receptionist took us to the room. The room was smaller than expected - one web page that we looked at indicated a room at about 80 square meters and that was clearly not the case.
The room was tiles with large white tiles and the walls were white painted concrete while one of the walls was painted in brown color. The room was average size and included a regular size twin bed, a small stereo, a Samsung flat screen TV, a small work desk where there was a fridge with a small selection of cold drinks and there was also a small bench and a stool/chair. The bed was rock hard and it was quite the opposite of what we had at Le Meridien in Bangkok. The sheets seemed to have some stains on it and that is never a good first impression when you look around the room.
The room had windows in two directions and it was nice to get some light in – one of the windows led out to a small balcony with two chairs and a table. There was also a window between the bathroom and bedroom (with a blinder).
The bathroom was also tiled and painted and included a shower corner, a bathtub and of course toilet and sink. There were some amenities and the shower stuff (shampoo, conditioner and shower gel) were in large containers in the shower – I’m not sure I would call this “indulgent amenities” as stated on the homepage. The door leading into the bathroom was a bit strange as it was not easy to close from the outside – not a good idea when you try to close of the room to let the air con do its business. Talking about air con: there was air con in the room but it was rather noisy even at the lowest speed. The room also included a wardrobe with a small safe, some hangers, a couple of robes, flip flops (for outside and inside) and a couple of umbrellas. After a few days we also got a wake up clock with an iPod docking station (that didn’t fit with our iPhones). There is no iron /ironing board in the room but it was quite cheap to get this done by room service.
The room also included a spiral staircase leading up to the rooftop terrace – I guess this is what is included in the room size presented on the one homepage. The terrace was big and included a couple of chairs and two sun beds and from the terrace it was possible to see to the ocean.
The breakfast was not that impressive and the restaurant area was very small compared to the number of rooms – but then again, when we had breakfast a bit after 9 one morning we were the only ones there. But when we came there before 8 am it was quite crowded as that is when most people get picked up for various tours. The breakfast included eggs to order, bread with toasting facilities, some sausages and ham, small pancakes and spread like jam and honey. There was also a bit of fruit on display and most things were covered by a net as the restaurant is semi outdoors and hence there are flies. The salad bar must be the saddest salad bar that I have ever seen and the coffee must be one of the worst coffees I have ever tasted at a hotel breakfast.
There are two pools at the hotel…one on the roof on 4th floor and one triangular pool by the rooms on the ground floor. Most of the rooms there had direct access to the pool from the room which is a pretty neat feature. On the first day when we were there, there were no sun beds by the triangular pool. It is also possible to use the pool at the resort across the road as it seems to have the same owner. There were facilities for a pool bar but it did not seem to be operational when we were there. So the phrases on the homepage “Two bars are available for your enjoyment “G BAR” our Swim Up Pool Bar on the ground floor” is actually just nonsense. When we asked if we could eat at the “hotel restaurant” when we arrived we were told that there was no restaurant but we could order room service – not sure I see the logic in that.
The hotel website also describes a library with a selection of books and DVDs etc. It just looked like a selection of books left by previous guests and there were books in Norwegian, Danish, German, English etc.
Location is not bad as you can walk down to Nopparat Thara Beach in like 5 minutes or you can walk to Ao Nang beach in about 10 minutes. There are also small mini markets nearby and you can also find pharmacies, restaurants and bars in the area. There are always tuk-tuks around and they only charge 20 Baht per person to drive to various locations on Ao Nang beach.
There were a few things that we were not that happy with. When we booked it said that it included Wi-Fi. There is Wi-Fi at the hotel but in our room the signal was very weak and it was difficult to pick it up on e.g. iPhone. On other days it seemed very unstable at best. After we checked in it didn’t take long before the room went all black as the power disappeared. We called the reception and they sent a repair man pretty fast and he climbed into the ceiling to fix something in the air con unit and then the power was back on. The power also went out for about 6 hours another day but that was the same for the entire Ao Nang area.
The door leading out to the balcony was not completely sealed and hence there was a big gap where mosquitoes, geckos and various insects could enter. The bathroom interior seemed a bit flimsy – the handles in the shower seemed a bit loose and actually came of when my wife took a shower, the sink didn’t seem to be in level and there was a hole in the wall next to the toilet with a typical phone connection was hanging from a wire – I guess they never got around to mounting the phone in the bathroom. The roof top terrace that we had was nice but one drawback is that it lets in a lot of light and there are no curtains for this area.
Calling the room a “suite” is pushing it in my opinion – it is a room with a large roof top terrace. The breakfast was quite sad and the coffee must be one of the worst coffees that I have tasted at a hotel. I also think it is a bit unethical of the hotel to promote services on the hotel homepage that does not exist. Maybe they have plans for some of the things in the future but at the moment, some of the issues are not true. It also strange to see that there were hardly any chairs and no sun beds around the pool on the ground floor – the pool at the top floor is nice but there is no shower there in order for people to rinse of before jumping in the pool. There are also roof top terraces next to the pool that are empty at the moment and maybe the hotel has plans for these areas in the future but at the moment they are empty.
The hotel service was very inconsistent and there is not a lot of focus on details. I can’t understand why you have a sink where there is no place to put a bar of soap. And why choose a tap where the hot/cold knobs are totally slick? At a beach destination people will most likely put on sun screen while you are in the room - with sun screen lotion on the hands it was almost impossible to turn on/off water. We also ran out of toilet paper one day as there was not an extra one as a backup.
Communication with the hotel staff was a challenge – one example is when I called room service on the last day to ask if I had to pre-book a taxi to the airport but I had to give up on the conversation as I couldn’t understand the feedback I was getting.
Thumbs up to the hotel for using energy saving light bulbs at the hotel and for promoting towels to be re-used in order to save water and energy.
Bottom line: The hotel and room was not bad but it is absolutely not worth the rack rate of 9500 Baht. At 4200 Baht the value was not bad but as you have seen from this review, there are some issues with the hotel that should be addressed. My score of the hotel might seem very harsh but this is when taking into account the expectations that we had, the fact that the hotel is promoting services that they don’t have and that our room was not a suite at all.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Asian Chic Hotel, Located on beach front road, a few steps to Noppharatthara beaches and 300 meters to Ao nang, the small hotel enveloped by the warm atmosphere of its Asian Chic architecture with a smooth blending of rustic simplicity of the furnishings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Small, Krabi Hotel Ao Nang
- The Small, Krabi Ao Nang