A relatively new resort, past experiences at Katathani and The Shore, an air of excitement and once again I was undecided in the way of expectations that had graced my mind. I had viewed pictures on the internet but had not formalized an opinion of the up and coming holiday at the Sands.
I carried in my vision a picture of happy, contented and an eagerness to serve, help and be of assistance; a staff that would care, be efficient and greet you like long lost family. A further image, that they would give you your space but be around if help was required while smiling and wanting to converse and improve their language skills. To go that extra step and recognise you wherever you were in the resort with grace and humour. I wanted them to know what was going on in the resort and keep up a high standard of service.
Accommodation I imagined would be varied, updated and welcoming, maybe with a new touch of style and practicalities while the amenities be very usable for all and stylized. The architecture I hoped for was to have that style that was so familiar from Katathani in Phuket. I was not expecting The Shore to be transferred to The Sands.
Physically I required safe walking tracks, a pool where I could swim and not just lounge and a satisfactory gym where I could go to vary my exercise program.
I wanted restaurants where I felt at ease any time of day but not as many as Phuket, maintained and offered flexibility, as I wanted to eat some street food this time.
These visions I carried to Khao Lak and with the hope that these would in some way be fulfilled.
On being picked up from the airport in Phuket, we travelled to Khao Lak by The Sands courtesy car, where with a number of smooth snoozes we arrived at The Sands and we were met with a large clean and attractive front of the reception and a staff to assist with the luggage and an escort to the main reception desk.
On entering the area we were seated and treated very warmly with a staff we thought we had met at Katathani and presented with a fragrant moist towel to freshen up. Arrangements were made for the stay, and room keys issued; bags picked up by the staff and transported to our room by golf buggy and warmness by the young men.
The foyer of the resort had striking lighting, seats for waiting and a great panoramic view of the resort by overlooking the water feature then the lagoon and pools to the beach, flanked by the rooms, bars, restaurants and centres on either side.
I was taken by the room design and colour scheme on entering.
The layout was simple and very manageable – a small entry hallway with sliding doors on the left hiding the bathroom with another sliding door at ninety degrees to provide privacy from the rest of the room. A further division was created by a desk bench that acted as the bed head. The bed was large – I think two king singles together followed by a small step down into the lounge section of the room containing the lounge and television on the wall. Passing through the sliding doors onto the balcony, was enclosed by a glass barrier in front that became a viewing aspect of the resort. The day bed and the table on the verandah were great but maybe a chair could also be included in the future. The fan was fantastic on the balcony and very welcome to me.
The interior colours were a mixture of white, pale, grey, beige and brown that all worked in harmony and the “frieze” of mint green that decorated the bathroom and one that joined the lounge to the balcony. The simple tables and art work, the repetition of circles and ovals throughout the room brought a note of consistency overall.
The ablutions area contained a more than adequate sized shower, a bath, a very functional toilet and fittings, a large bench below the mirror and frosted glass for separation and privacy.
The room was clean and was maintained to high standard by Nnatan throughout the stay and along with Chaiwat on the last day.
The grounds were immaculately groomed and kept that way on a daily basis. You could see the care taken by the way the gardeners knocked the leaves and storm damaged flowers off on a daily basis. I was so pleased to see Callistemons planted around the resort. Although the resort is still young and you can see great growth on the plants. Similar features in planting are a carryover from The Shore.
The massage area by the beach was great and I spent five sessions of one hour was spent with Su and from the first session she knew my back and neck extremely well. Great massages!
The staff were absolutely brilliant to us – they were caring, interested, offered great service, were warm and welcoming, constantly smiling and courteous. Many showed a sense of humour and smiles were the order of the day.
The greet staff at The Floating Restaurant were great, a smile a definitive rapport and knowledge of the game was quite clear. Mr. Pongsaton and Armelo were of a high standard of greeting displaying great warmth and care. The wait staff were absolutely lovely and efficient – Trainees 71,72,73, 74 were standouts, Mr Pitapongwas gracious and helpful and Fang was an absolute delight. Nittaya deserves a special mention as she was willing to engage in excellent conversation, was constantly vigilant, saw to all duties with a broad smile and humour and was respected, as far as I could see by all staff. A wonderful personality! The trainee who was continually cutting up the fruit at breakfast time was an absolute delight with a warm welcoming smile.
The boys at The Egg Bar – a happy pair, willing to converse, smile, joke and be involved with all who fronted the bar – the boys Mr. Piyapitol Kopongpibool and Mr. Noppon Samutwaree will always be remembered.
The staff working at The Coconut Bar were efficient, smiling and ever willing to take an order. I could have mentioned all of them and not have wrong but Joe Matthawat and Jirawat were brilliant. We were served well at the Talay by Sukanya, Suthep and Kittisak.
I read on one review that people did not have enough variety at breakfast. In my opinion after eating there at the The Floating Market, the variety of food and the change in some speciality areas such as roti and the Chinese type section close to the room entry were very good. There was hot, cold, fruit, juices, water, eggs a variety of Asian food, yoghurts and cold cuts. Pastries and bread were rotated daily and the cold cuts were always available.
The pool facilities achieved everything that I required and were able to fit the needs of the younger children well. The gym was adequate, well maintained and clean. It gave me enough variety in my exercise program when I did not swim.
It was a quiet, peaceful resort that was definitely suited the older client and not teenagers and young adults. It serviced all my needs and gave us a very relaxing time with care, consideration and service that made us feel at ease during our two week stay.
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