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“Pure luxury”
Review of The Sarojin

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The Sarojin
Ranked #2 of 69 Hotels in Khao Lak
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Pure luxury”
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Hands down the best place to stay in Khao Lak -- beautiful grounds, no children, best beach in the area, terrific service. Would especially recommend for couples, which is the vast majority of the clientele.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
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2 Thank West V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Hong Kong
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2014

I have stayed in top-end luxury hotels in the Maldives, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, USA, etc. I am saying this to give you a benchmark to compare the Sarojin with other luxury hotels. I know many of us reading Tripadvisor reviews don't mind shelling out top dollar for a comfortable stay but the most important thing is to see if the amount spent is worth it. Read on to find out.

First impressions:
Private transfers from the airport was smooth and easy. Great service in the private car - cold face towel, unlimited amount of beer and soft drinks, your own music selection, and you can even look at the menu and order food through the driver so that your meal will be ready at the hotel when you arrive. The car is a 4x4 so it is spacious for 2 people (and no more!). I would have preferred a saloon (or sedan) as you are paying about THB6,000 for a one-way trip, but all in all, I was satisfied with the transfer.
Upon arrival we were given a refreshing welcome drink and another cool towel (gosh I just love these towels!), and then a walk through about the resort and activities planned for the stay. We had a lovely guy called Jeep who was very friendly with a geniune smile. His enthusiasm is infectious and absolutely delightful. He showed us to our room and in the mean time pointed out the restaurants and spa. The hotel is gorgeous – very well-planned and designed paths, beautiful trees (it was a delight to see the flora of my childhood days in a tropical country), lovely ponds and a great pool.

Location:
Sarojin is located waaaay beyond Phuket town so please be warned! If you are looking for a hotel with easy access to all the party areas, you are in the wrong hotel. The hotel provides shuttle buses (USD3 each way, per pax) to the nearest town, Khao Lak, (15 minutes) which offers plenty of restaurants, massage places and supermarkets.
The Sarojin is next to the White Sand Beach - the beach is truly spectacular with the loveliest fine soft sand, and calm sea. There is a restaurant next door which is pretty good (and cheap!).

WiFi:
Free for use (you will be given a password upon check-in) but I found it slow and at times completely unresponsive. You also have to log-in at different places; they are not linked up through the entire hotel, which I found annoying.

Room:
Very spacious. There was a verandah in the garden which I found a nice touch, but not very practical. Why would anyone lounge in the garden with hardly any view, while the lounge chairs at the swimming pool is 10 yards from the door? Still, I found it a nice option to have.
The room itself is built in an open concept where there are no doors, except for the toilet - but that still has a "back view" to the plants and pebbles of the shower area.

The TV isn't very big but then again you are not staying at the Sarojin to watch TV, yes? There is a bluetooth speaker from Creative - worked very well and a great way to chill out in the room with your own playlist on your smartphone.

The bed is very big. The arm chairs in the room looks a little dated, and can use some work. Otherwise, I have no complaints about the room.

Bathroom:
The shower area is beautiful. The bathtub is big enough for two (and please have some common sense to know that the water that was in the bathtub prior to your arrival will not be hot - someone complained on Tripadvisor previously that it is ice cold - duh!?). Rain shower is over an area with black slate tiles and pebbles around it, so the "wet area" is very large and spacious. Amenities are from a brand called Juku, and I loved the lavender bath gel and shampoo.

Swimming Pool:
This is where the magic is. It is a large square pool where you can easily do short laps if you swim. It is large enough for a number of people to be in it and not feel crowded. There is a Jacuzzi right next to it. Plenty of lounge chairs, and the most beautiful ones are in the swimming pool itself! There are only three of them so come early to get a spot. It feels like you have your very own island, and if you need privacy, you can close the curtains around it (like a four-poster bed). The service at the pool was excellent - I cannot remember who it was who served us, but he was polite, warm, and anticipated our needs before we even ask for anything. Ice water is always served, and sometimes you get a slice of watermelon or fruit punch in a shot glass to cool off. There is a rinse-off area next to the pool and that is a slice of heaven: the rain shower is piped such that it hangs off a beautiful old banyan tree! You have to see it to believe it. Shampoo and shower gel is provided. Towels are fresh and clean (they don't use the green towels at the pool anymore).

Restaurants:
There are two restaurants at the Sarojin, Ficus and The Edge. Ficus is where you have your all-day breakfast (till 6pm), and I have to say that I enjoyed breakfast very much. The concept is amazing - you order your breakfast whenever you want, and order as much as you want. You can wake up at 3pm and have your breakfast. You don't fight with others at the buffet line, you don't eat stale food which has been sitting there since 6am. Why can't more hotels do this? Ficus is also beautifully designed. It is next to a large pond and set within beautiful old banyan trees, so you feel as if you are dining in a forest. The poached eggs were slightly overcooked, side dishes were a little small, but as I said, you can order as much as you want. Sparkling wine is also included with your breakfast and to my surprise it was quite drinkable. You can literally start breakfast at 11am and lounge around till 2pm. You will be full enough to last till dinner! Service at Ficus was hit and miss - we had a waitress called Jib who sounded so aggressive and snarky I thought she was pissed off with us; we also had great servers like Trai who was absolutely great.

The Edge specializes in Thai cuisine and I was pleasantly surprised with the level of cooking. It was beautifully presented and delicious. Service is also hit and miss, but definitely better than Ficus. Having the view of the sea while dining under the stars made this place special. The wine list is impressive but expect a huge mark-up, of course. I'm not bothered by that as it is expected at luxury resorts. That said, we had a starter and a main each, plus a drink, and it amounted to about USD50 so it's not too bad at all!

Snorkeling:
We initially wanted to do a diving trip but a snorkeling trip was already planned for the particular day, so we booked it ahead of our stay. It was tremendously difficult to book it because the email bounced back, and when I called, the person who answered the phone had very poor English. I had to spend 10 minutes repeating myself to get my message across. Now that by itself is not too bad, but when you are spending USD250 on a snorkeling trip per person or some other high prices for other activities, surely you can expect someone to answer the phone with half-decent English?

That aside, the trip was very good. A minimum of 6 people have to be booked before the trip goes ahead; we had 10 people on the boat and it didn't feel crowded. Lady Sarojin is the boat's name and it is a luxury speed boat, big enough for 20 people, so 10 guests + 3 crew made it comfortable. The trip out to Similan Islands took 1.5 hours despite the boat having 500 horsepower! The trip guide, Neung, was simply delightful. You can sense in his attitude that he truly enjoys showing guests around. Emphasis on safety was paramount with the guides, which I appreciated. The snorkeling was fun and safe (TOP TIP: bring your own rash guard to wear over your swimmies. It will protect you from the stings from random sea lice or jellyfish). We then had an hour to kill on the main island with Sail Rock, so it's up to you to do as you please. It was very crowded with other boats dropping hundreds of passengers off but as the island is pretty big you can wander about. We went up to Sail Rock despite being told not to go (I have been up before so I know that the path is not too dangerous; you just have to go up slowly if you are barefoot). After one hour, you return to Lady Sarojin and lunch is ready. Now this is where you feel you are staying at a luxury hotel. The spread was amazing - lobsters, mussels, crayfish, crab, tomato and mozzarella, fresh green salad, green papaya salad, baked salmon with avocado and tomato, etc. I was blown away. I asked for a special meal (vegetarian), and for once I didn't feel my meal was prepared as an after-thought. I had baked eggplant, my own papaya salad, lentils and goat cheese. The other guests even wanted to eat my food! There were two guests on the boat who were staying at the Marriott (I think they managed to get a spot on the trip because they had family staying at the Sarojin), and they said it was the best meal they have had in the whole trip. In summary, this snorkeling trip is worth it. If you are on the fence about it, just go and sign up before it is fully booked!

Spa:
We had a one-hour massage booked, and was advised to go 15 minutes earlier. The spa is set in the same lush tropical rainforest settings, which made it very exotic. It was all open-air; even the huts where you have the massages in are not air-conditioned. The huts had thatched roofs. The service at the spa was spectacular, in particular our massage therapists, Apple and Deung. I genuinely felt that they truly cared about how you feel and whether you are enjoying the massage. I opted for the aromatherapy oil massage while my partner had the Thai massage. It was a great experience other than the fact that my partner was bitten by a mosquito three times during the massage. I guess this cannot be helped as the huts had an "open-air" concept (the shower area is set literally under the trees!) and you can tell that they are trying hard to get rid of mosquitoes by having the incense burner in every room.
The Pathways Spa is definitely on my top 3 spa experiences list.

Cycling to the waterfall:
Trek mountain bikes were available for guests to use. They were new bikes and are comfortable, with a laminated map of the hotel and the area mounted on the handlebar. It was a 30-minute bike to the waterfall - be sure to listen to the specific instructions! But when we got to the waterfall, we were very underwhelmed. It's pretty, but nothing really special. Skip the lunch box option from the hotel and just pack some fruit from your room to munch on when you get there. The only good thing about the ride was the scenery. Riding through the rubber tree plantations was pretty special!

Service:
In general, the service at the Sarojin is above average. You can tell that the hotel is trying hard to raise the bar to a luxury level, e.g. Four Seasons at the Maldives, Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and Tokyo. But it's not there - yet. Some staff are amazing - despite their Thai accent, they speak good English, have genuine warmth when helping you, and look truly happy to be there. Then there are some staff which make you question the kind of training they had!

In summary: The Sarojin tries hard to be a luxury 6-star hotel (the price certainly reflects it!) but there is still a lot more work to do. I am not saying that this hotel is bad; on the contrary my 3 day stay there was a great experience. However for the amount paid I am sure you can get a better hotel elsewhere in Phuket since just about every big name hotel chain has set up a hotel here, with many other top-end boutique hotels. And that is why I am only giving this place 3 stars. For the amount paid I was expecting to be "blown away" more often, and while I had some exceptional moments at the resort, I was left with wanting more.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank greenflubber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2014

We stayed here over Christmas, our first hotel in a two week trip followed by two more in Phuket and Bangkok. I wish we had stayed here last as it totally ruined the next two! I won't cover what everyone else has already said but suffice to say it's truly stunning, breathtaking and wonderful. We have stayed in some very high end hotels but this was just different. It wasn't commercial in any way, it felt like it was being run just for the benefit of guests relaxation. The restaurants were great, eat the ostrich!! It's as good as any fine dining in the UK. Spa was out of this world, had my first thai massage. Life doesn't get much better.

Room Tip: We usually go for a suite but as it's christmas and the price was astronomical we had a garden r...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kreeny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2014 via mobile

How could anyone not rate this hotel as excellent ? I booked this hotel in September and wanted to arrange a surprise birthday meal for my fiancée. They were so attentive, replying always to my flurry of questions and emails promptly.
We only stopped for two nights as it is quite expensive but it was definitely worth the money.
The breakfast is just out of this world ! The pool is fantastic and has the best sunbeds which all have access to shade.
Unfortunately my fiancée came down with a sickness bug an hour after we arrived and was confined to his room for the two days but the staff were so attentive. They brought us extra towels and even offered to take me to the pharmacy to get some medicine for him.
The beach is beautiful with the softest sand. And again the service there is spot on.
I didn't want to leave and am trying to convince my fiancée to maybe get married there! We were lucky enough to see a wedding take place and it was so beautiful.
I can't wait to come back!!!!!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Roundhaylady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2014

1½ hours drive north of Phuket airport and totally worth journeying that bit further. The Sarojin IS as gorgeous as it looks on the website. This boutique hotel is beautiful, stylish and serene without being stuffy. We had a garden room which is a larger than average room with patio and kabana at the front. The level of privacy depends on which one you get. We were lucky and had lots of tropical plants providing a natural screen. The accommodation is only ground and first floor, the latter have private balconies. Our room was spacious, really comfy bed with a huge bathroom and rain shower.

The gardens are beautifully landscaped with tropical plants, fruit trees (banana and mango) and flowers. Two massive ponds add a tranquility to the grounds, one with a carpet of water lilies adding a splash of color. The moment you step outside, you are aware of the natural, fresh perfume in the air and all you hear are the local birds chirping away.

The Ficus Restaurant serves a huge breakfast menu from porridge to pancakes, bircher to a buck's fizz, fresh fruit to fried eggs. And table service with a smile; none of that bun-fight round the buffet. AND it's an "all-day breakfast! They also do a la carte in the evenings; the food is fantastic.

The pool is one of the best I have ever seen. Fresh water, large enough to exercise in or just float about to cool off. A Jacuzzi pool bubbles next to it. Most of the sun loungers are strategically placed around the pool ensuring personal space. Some are almost like a four-poster bed with white muslin draped over the frames for shade. Pool towels are provided and iced water is topped up all day.

Just when you think you are in heaven, head down to the beach. The hotel has managed to secure a private section of this white, sandy beach. Comfortable sun loungers, white umbrellas and beach towels are set up where you want them. Again iced water is on tap and The Edge beach bar menu has fresh fruit smoothies, lunch, snack foods and ice- cold beers. Next door on White Beach is another really nice beach bar and a great place for a massage or pedicure. You can walk along the beach in either direction; skeletal trees and a marooned fishing boat remind you of the tsunami devastation only 10 years ago.

The attention to detail at The Sarojin is faultless from the hand-bag size mozzie spray in your room to the water melon slices served on the beach at 4pm. It's the little extras that add a nice touch. And the staff are just lovely; attentive service without being intrusive. It is a resident's only establishment. Outsiders cannot use the sun beds, drink in the bars or even book a table for dinner.

This resort is not designed for young families; they don't allow kids under 10. This is more for the battle-weary corporate people who need to be pampered in a quiet, relaxed paradise. There are trips organised by the tour desk; we went snorkeling in the Similan Islands for the day. The hotel has mountain bikes and Khao Lak main street has shops and restaurants. It is over 2 hours drive south to Phuket Town. If you want the Patong club scene, then this is not for you but if you need rest and relaxation in a very pretty part of Thailand, then this is truly magical.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Bertiebertram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Wow.

This is a special hotel.

We stayed over Christmas and New Year in a garden residence and a suite, both excellent at their price points. We would be perfectly happy in a garden residence on a return trip. The rooms are expensive in peak season but the best places are!

The restaurants are priced more at 5 star than local food but the quality and flavours are excellent. We preferred the Edge restaurant for its setting and wanted to eat Thai food. We also used the restaurants on the beach and in KL, it was good to mix it up. The breakfast was the best breakfast setup I have ever seen and available all day. Extensive menu and all cooked to order.

On the flight home, we talked about the highlight of our trip, so far, the following are all joint top; staff, service, pool, beach, food, rooms ......

It is not the place to go if you want nightlife, evening entertainment or noise and that suited us just fine.

We have always taken the view that there are too many great places in the world to go back where we have already been but The Sarojin is such that we will come back!

Andrew, Kate and all the management - well done on what you have created and are maintaining.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank JP01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Forres Scotland
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

We had 10 wonderful days at the Sarojin and it was everything we had hoped for. Peaceful beautiful calm and restful with the best staff we have ever come across, nothing was too much trouble and nothing was overlooked. The owners and management should be very proud of what they have achieved here. We ate at the hotel a few nights, very good food but yes it is costly so we ate at the beach bars and in the town as well. All the food was excellent and very reasonable and its fun going out and about. The hotel provide a shuttle bus to the town for a small charge (100 baht per person each way) or you can get a taxi (very clean and air conditioned) which will then come back and collect you as well for 300 baht each way. The hotel has a happy hour from 5.30 to 6.45 when drinks are half price, but cocktails at the beach bars are just 130 baht (about £2.30) , the best Mojito was to be found at the Boatyard about a 10 minute walk along the beach from the hotel (turn left) . A word of warning for any other Scots the hotel will not exchange Scottish money and they said the banks would not either, the hotel has an ATM but it was not working when we needed it. There is an ATM at the Kantary Hotel next door and also a small but very well stocked supermarket, you can gain access to these from the beach.
If you want a special holiday this is the place to come.

Room Tip: All rooms are good. We had a room with our own small pool which was lovely but we did not get a lot...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Traveltimes57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Sarojin

Property: 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 Spa Hotel in Khao Lak
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 Romantic Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 Luxury Hotel in Khao Lak
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Khao Lak
#3 Family Hotel in Khao Lak
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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