The idea here is great. This is a FAMILY focused resort with lots and lots of kids. The average age when we were there was about 10 years old. So it was easy for our kids (3 and 4) to find friends and play all day. Good stuff. The staff are really great. They understand the needs of families, they were all great with the kids, all helpful and friendly. The resort has done a great job in matching up the kind of staff you need to work well with a family resort.
The price is great. The rooms are not expensive at all. They are pretty basic- but that goes hand in hand with the family focus. No worries about breaking anything valuable. The bed is good, they are happy to add extra bedding if needed, bathroom is decent, the little TV works great, the AC is good, and the rooms are clean. Keep your expectations reasonable (it's not really a 'resort'), and you will be fine staying here.
Great beach right out front and the area is pretty much free of the wandering barkers and sellers you find in other areas. The whole area feels very safe. Super for families.
A couple of things bring down the rating. First there are some things that really need to be renovated, replaced or redesigned. The swimming pool is the centrepiece of activity for the kids, but there are lots of tiles missing on the bottom causing some tears and scrapped feet and the slide is looking old. A little maintenance and maybe adding another slide would help quite a bit.
They have a selection of bikes with kid seats to rent. The area is pretty flat so this is a great thing to have. But most of the bikes are broken in some way. A few minutes after starting a ride with my son I looked back to find he had part of his safety seat in his hands. The staff are upfront about this and will tell you not to use the 'old' bikes. But really, they need to have them at least not falling apart.
Next there is the problem of the indoor playroom. As a family focused resort you would think they would have a decent space for this. But the playroom is little more than a small dark storeroom. It is not supervised, there are things in it that are old and really filthy (a huge bear) or just plan dangerous (industrial shelving). Given the amount of kids they have staying here, there is no excuse for this. In the rain or the heat of mid-day a much better, larger, safer, cleaner and more creative space is desperately needed.
Finally I need to mention the food. Morning breakfast is OK. Quite a limited election, but OK. The rest of the menu however is bad. Really really bad. The pizza is made with a sweet sauce and a crust of cardboard. My kids would not eat it. The grilled cheese sandwiches are soaked in so much butter you can't tell where the bread ends and the cheese begins. My kids would not eat that either. The french fries are done with so much oil they are hard to eat. Even the Thai dishes were dismal. I love Masaman Curry- but what I got was a bowl of watery grey liquid with onions. Just unbelievably bad all around. By the second day we were already looking for other options and we were not alone. About the only thing we ate here after the first day was the ice cream (which, thank goodness, was not made at the resort)
Fortunately there are other good places to eat nearby. A very nice pizza place 3 minute walk, some great Thai places (where I had a fantastic Masaman Curry) and even a little outdoor pub with a Mexican menu. But this just makes it even harder to understand what they are doing in the kitchen at Dolphin Bay.
There is Wifi access which works OK most of the time, but don't come here thinking you can do heavy work over the internet while the kids play. This was fine for us, but others were clearly frustrated at the dropped connections. Also worth noting that the rooms have AC and the little dark playroom has AC-but nowhere else. There is no common area or eating area with AC. Again that was fine for us- but really emphasis the need to dramatically expand that indoor playroom.
So great family atmosphere, good price, decent room, good beach and great staff. But some seriously under maintained amenities and a really dreadful kitchen bring the rating down.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Only 38km from Hua Hin, far from crowded beaches, bright neon lights, and noisy tourist hangouts typical of Thailand's other vacation destinations, Dolphin Bay Resort lies on a spectacular, unspoiled 5km beach with panoramic views of the bay, nestled between mountain peaks and dotted with lush tropical islands.Enjoy our comfortable accommodations, friendly, laid-back but efficient service and great recreational facilities at affordable prices in a family-friendly atmosphere of relaxed Thai beach hotel hospitality. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dolphin Bay Hotel Hua Hin