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“Uber stylish - but some ragged edges”
Review of The Sarojin

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The Sarojin
Ranked #2 of 70 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 January 2013

I have so much to compliment that it feels harsh to criticise at all. Every aspect of the hotel itself looks stunning; the staff are beautifully presented and attentive; management has thought hard about lots of little touches to pamper and entertain its guests. And we loved that bicycles and all sorts of non motorised water sports were available FOC. When everything works, it's sublime - spacious, tranquil (children not allowed) and luxurious. BUT, The Sarojin is compromised by its location, hemmed between more mass tourist outlets with only a handkerchief sized private beach; our sons' room had plumbing problems; service in the restaurants was not always slick and we were not whelmed by the food itself. It was unfortunate that when we checked out it sounded as though we were being accused of taking a hotel beach bag - perhaps we misunderstood. Khao Lak itself is a disappointing riband development. Go to the Sarojin if you like being cocooned.

Room Tip: Choose a room near the beach - that will put you close to the (stunning) pool and the beach restaura...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Richardreynolds1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 January 2013

We have recently returned from 5 days at the Sarojin as part of our honeymoon and how disappointed were we!!.

If you believe you are booking a '5* luxury' resort then read the other negative reviews. You will see that many of us have the same issues. All the rave reivew's don't sound the Sarojin we stayed at.

Need of refurbishment (see my photograph's), service, lack of attention to detail, quality and layout of rooms, over charging, lack of GM, management, small (not luxurious or private) beach and the list goes on..

But my biggest issue and why I refer to it as BUTLINS is the constant UPSELLING. This is such a focus for them that they have now employed a full time English member of staff who told us he had been bought in because the majority of staff at the hotel did NOT speak English so therefore were struggling to sell the excursions, themed nights etc.

One example of the pressurised UPSELLING (one of many) was when we arrived at the Sarojin. We were asked by FIVE different members of staff in less than 2 hours if we would be joining the "lobster" evening.

Another example was when we went to relax by the pool a member of staff came over with an invitation for us to have a welcome drink at 3pm. I thought this was lovely idea until I read the invitation!

The invitation was offering us a welcome drink at the "excursion hut" so we could discuss the excursions we could book during our stay. We did not go but were then asked by 3 members of staff on day 2 of our stay if they could arrange another time for us to speak to the excursion representative.

In the end I called reception and complained about feeling bullied into attending the themed evenings and planning excursion. The receptionist barely spoke English (like most of the staff) and didn't understand what I was saying.....

I will finish by saying that we spent our last 5 days at the Wanakarn (so glad we planned it as the last part of our honeymoon) which is 50 minutes drive heading back towards Phuket.

This truly was a 5* luxury retreat. I would strongly suggest that if "Paradise" is what your looking for then don't choose the Sarojin.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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18  Thank 0508Angel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2013

We wanted to love this place. It was heavily recommended by our travel agent and was meant to be on the of the highlights of our honeymoon Thailand tour. But....

Here goes:

ARRIVAL: Place looks impressive on arrival. Nice gardens, villa designs, large pool and short stroll through the grounds to beach.

THE BEACH:
One of the highlights should be the beach.. this is Thailand after all but.
- The beach is crowded/noisy. A new resort has opened on one side of the Sarojin and the other side has an ever-expanding public beach club. We counted over 200 loungers there with noisy families, hard-drinking Scandinavians/Russians etc all next door.
- Beach staff were fairly lax. Spent most of the day with their feet up chatting with the security guard.
- Hotel had hired an elephant for a wedding party... The elephant arrived on the beach at 3pm... it dropped its dung 3ft from the loungers... and there the dung stayed, stinking in the sun for 3 hours. Nobody cleared it up until several people complained. The beach boys then dug a 6inch hole and buried the dung in the sand... right next to the loungers. Beware where you tread on your visit.

IN-ROOMS SERVICES:
- Internet was OK but not particularly fast and they need to sort networking so that it is seamless. Every time you move location you have to log into another router. It should all be bridged.
- Minibar was overpriced. Bread and crisps were free (but were stale on both occasions we triend). There are lots of hidden extras... ie a 'deli-tray' in the room with the odd ugly slice of ham on it (£3) presumably to eat with the stale bread... Very confusing as to what is free and what is charged. Beware the hidden costs.
- Trendy design feature but toilets do not have a back wall... Very strange and quite unpleasant if your partner is not well!
- Overall the bathroom spaces were grubby... Dirty tiles, black/mouldy silicone, stained bath etc.

RESTAURANTS:
FICUS - This is meant to be Italian fine dining but it's more failing trattoria. We were on full-board so were made to feel inferior by having the full menus removed from us in front of other diners and instead offered a choice of 5 dishes only... Served some very unappetising dishes (incl fried fish covered in strawberry mousse..). Our tiramisu arrived frozen (Do they buy it in?) Service was poor. No sign of a restaurant manager on any evening we visited. We complained and, the next day, were offered a 'complimentary' a la carte dinner by the gushing GM (see below) but on checkout they tried to charge us for the dinner... So much for service recovery.

BEACH CLUB RESTAURANT: this was better than the Italian. good thai food. but very dark in the evening. cannot see what is served. And quite often this restaurant was closed for 'special events' meaning one was forced to either 'cough up' extra money to eat here or go back to the Ficus.

There appeared to be only one main chef and when he was not around the restaurants struggled with quality.

UPSELLING: Everyday at the resort staff attempted to upsell us onto excursions, evening events (lobster bbs etc). This became really tiresome. We had booked for luxury beach retreat and instead felt like we were in a Center Parcs or Butlins!

SERVICE: Poor, very low-level of English spoken. Staff seem afraid to help.

WINE / CELLAR:
A lot has been said about the Sarojin's wine offer but:
- The wines generally were overpriced vs quality.
- The staff were not trained how to open wines or pour / decant them (we both had glasses full of sulphites)...
- And the staff are obviously instructed to keep topping up, topping up trying to sell another bottle.... More upselling in disguise?
- We detested the patronising promotion of wines by the 'wine expert' manager... I don't need someone telling me why a dessert wine should be drunk at the end of a meal!

MANAGEMENT:
We met the Dutch manager Dawid just once during our stay. We insisted he see the photos of our poor dining experience. He gushes in to our villa, doesn't introduce himself (must think he's famous) and offers us a comp a la carte meal to show what the restaurant can do. He asks us to email the photos (which we do but he doesn't acknowledge) and the guy doesn't even check how our 'second meal' went (actually not very well either - see the photo of sulphites in the wine glass/no restaurant manager available). On checkout we were then charged for the 'comp' meal... Of course, we demanded it be taken off the bill.

HIGHLIGHTS:
- All day breakfast is good. You can take it easy and stretch this out to lunchtime so you'll only need dinner.

THOUGHTS:
- This place was probably fantastic when it opened but it now needs a major spruce up, serious staff training and re-positioning of its target market. It is not luxury retreat for seasoned travellers but more a hyped-up CenterParcs for young honeymooners.
- The beach is disappointing - not secluded, not quiet or peaceful.
- Management is really slack. No sign of any restaurant manager during our stay. The GM is not visible. No response to our issues. And every couple we saw checking out had issues with their bills.
- Tacky upselling of overpriced lobster/ladyboy dancing nights are not VIP/luxury experience.
- This is NOT five star luxury boutique. It has lost its way... The web site talks about "Ultimate concierge service" but it's non-existent. And as for 'imagineering' our stay..? Well the management may have read books about 'experience engineering' but hasn't a clue how to deliver it.

Recommend? No
Return visit? No thanks...

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank CupletBalsac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2013

We have just returned from eleven nights at The Sarojin. We have been lucky to stay in some beautiful hotels over the years and though there were some plus points- The Sarojin is past its best. The rooms are spacious etc (we had a pool room) but jaded. Very hard bed, cracks and stains in the bath and basin, and though I'm sure the loose pebble floor idea was once a novelty it harbours dirt and detritus!! Little touches are missing, a dead flower left in its vase for the duration of our stay, I- Pod connections which don't work, erratic cleaning of the garden/pool area. The staff are friendly but seem under pressure to sell guests the "special food evenings"-crab/lobster/thai. They are all the same, and expensive-don't try more than one!! The food is good but drinks are very expensive and the extra 17% added to every bill is a killer!! The grounds are attractive but the beach area which the hotel uses is tiny and now sandwiched between a new hotel on one side and several bar /restaurants on the other so their policy of no children under twelve doesn't mean the beach is secluded or romantic!! However, long walks further down the beach are lovely. I think what sums up the "near miss' of being a 5* is the 300bt a pair charge for the bedroom slippers should you wish to take them home- after wearing them for ten days isn't that just wrong??!!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Jeni T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2013

We spent five days of honeymoon at the Sarojin and we were amazed by the quality of the service and attention to details. There are so many good things to say that I can not list them all.
Staff is extremely nice and does it's best to ensure that you have everything you need (and most of them speak english despite what emily g wrote in her comment).
Breakfast is served any time of the day and you can choose all you want from a large menu (five days were not sufficient to try everything). Dishes are served at the table and their presentation is fantastic.
We enjoyed our pool residence (201) so much that we ordered room service several times. The service was always quick and the food so good! The restaurants are also great and I have to say that the prices are not that high compared to European standards.
We also appreciated to have access to bicycles free of charge and to get fresh towels the moment you get back to the hotel. Also, the staff ensures that you always have a glass full of cool water next to you when you are at the beach or swimminpool.
Finally, a last word on the SPA where we enjoyed a few massages. The staff was briiliant!
I definitely recommend the Sarojin if you are looking for a relaxing and quiet time.
Thanks again to Dawid and his team for this amazing time!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tweety2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2013

I, too am bewildered by Emily G's comments. I don't recognise the hotel described in her post. We are currently at the hotel and have loved every moment of our 10 day stay. We are staying in a garden room which is beautifully appointed , spacious and clean. The outside sala is wonderful to relax in after a hard day on the beach! We have eaten three evening meals and four or five lunches at the Edge. The food, whilst not cheap is outstanding quality. The staff here do speak good English and are to be commended for their friendly relaxed manner, nothing is too much trouble for them. They go out of their way to talk to everyone and knew our names from day one. They are welcoming and professional. I must mention by name Maria, Ben , Alex , Kade and Wuth all who made us feel very special. The gala dinner last night for new year was spectacular and beautifully presented with flair and class, Dawid you should be proud of your staff and your hotel. My partner and I travel extensively and would absolutely recommend this hotel as an excellent choice for a relaxing holiday. I must quickly mention the grounds which are gorgeous!

Stayed: December 2012, travelled with friends
Thank lisaandbobby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2012

My wife and I are about to check out after 4 fantastic nights here. The staff is truly committed to making sure you have a great experience. We did a bunch of the activities they offer, including an amazing snorkeling trip around the Similan Islands as well as a fun and interesting cooking lesson. Really great food, the beach is beautiful, the grounds and landscaping is insanely nice...really can't say enough good things about it. Also, don't miss the spa - my wife and I the best massages we've ever had here.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JimmyBrooklyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Sarojin

Address: 60 Moo 2 Kukkak | Takuapa, Khao Lak 82190, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Khao Lak
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Khao Lak
#1 Spa Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 Romantic Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 Luxury Hotel in Khao Lak
#3 Family Hotel in Khao Lak
Price Range: £153 - £520 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Sarojin 5*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Multi award winning luxurious boutique beach resort, just 55 minutes from Phuket on a stunning, secluded white sand beach in Khao Lak. Exceptional personal services, top class facilities. Ideal for couples, romantic breaks, honeymoons, weddings and adult family groups. Designed in a contemporary Asian style with just 56 luxurious guest residences. Wide range of activities and facilities - cruise on a luxury boat, jungle adventures complete with champagne, glimpse authentic Thai local life in association with responsible and sustainable tourism commitment, rejuvenating spa massages lulled by the sounds of the Andaman sea, Thai cooking classes, lazy gourmet lunches, romantic diners on a secluded beach or by a candlelit jungle waterfall ...The limits are only your imagination. No children under 10 years permitted to stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Sarojin Hotel Khao Lak
Sarojin Hotel Khao Lak

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