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“Great Villa On the Beach”

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Thai Island Dream Estate
Ranked #25 of 212 Speciality Lodging in Ko Lanta
Certificate of Excellence
Trang
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Villa On the Beach”
Reviewed 3 February 2013

I would like to say thank you for a great stay at your villa. My wife and mt two small children really enjhoyed waking up in the morning playing in the pool and only being steps away from the beach not forgetting the wonderful Koh lanta sunsets.

The Villa is set out on one level which is great for children, the rooms are divided with a wooden walk way. All the rooms are well eqipped and very comfortable and spacious. The pool is located at the front and there is a sala to relax on.The villa is speretaed from other villas with a high wall which kept it private. We also had a car hired from Krabi airport for the week and enjoyed the private parking area connected to the villa. The villa is located on flat grounds and it was easy to stroll along the road with the stroller - also along the beach

I met Ben and Alena who mages the property and would like to say thank you for your help and assistance whilst we stayed with you.

I would highly recommend this villa for people looking to be close to the beach, not far from many amenities and also who want the independance and not a resort. I hope to return next year and this is the first place I will book again

Thank you

Rob

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RobL690
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Cleanliness
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Manila
Level 5 Contributor
82 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2013

As usual, let's start with the nice bits. The villa is spacious, the layout is quite original, with the complex divided into 3 separate bungalows with an open air corridor with a wooden plank floor in the middle and a little pond on the side. The bungalows on one side are the sleeping area, with 3 bedrooms (one bungalow is for the masters bedroom and the second bungalow is for the 2 other bedrooms, which are not communicating). On the other side you have the third bungalow which comprises the living and dining area, plus the kitchen.
There's a smallish private pool perpendicular to the corridor between the two wings, just before the path leading to the beach. The Asian style layout is quite pretty and one really enjoys the feel of being free in front of an almost empty sandy beach (although when the tide is low swimming gets a bit awkward as big rocks surface).
The place is overall quite user friendly for kids (with a caveat though due to the surfacing rocks, and - what's worse - hordes of mosquitoes and aggressive ants), which was good for us since we were 2 families with 3 small kids all in all.
Although the second and third bedrooms were quite basic, the villa was quite tastefully designed, with nice exterior lighting.
So much for the nice part. Now for the not so nice one.

First of all, upon booking, the management made us pay a hefty non-refundable deposit of about 1,200 dollars by Paypal (this was the only payment method offered), and, what's worse, they charged us the Paypal fees, which is illegal. In fact they sent me a receipt showing an amount paid which was more than 1,300 Bht less than what I had actually paid and they justified this by saying that that was the net amount they had received.
We tried to discuss this issue right away (and for several times) but the management kept ignoring the topic altogether.
When we booked the transport from the airport to the villa (about three weeks before the start of our rental period), they asked me to pay by Paypal a deposit even on the cost of the transport (they wanted 800 Baht deposit again via Paypal on a total transport cost of 2800). This time I simply refused to pay in advance and they backed off from asking a deposit on the car transfer.

When we arrived at the airport the day of our check in, the driver who was supposed to pick us up was not there. I tried to call the number we were given in case of problems and there was just an answering machine in Thai. I emailed my contact person, but no reply. The driver eventually showed up about 15 minutes late.
When we arrived close to our destination, it came out that the driver had no clue of where the villa actually was and had to stop a couple of times to ask for directions. When we finally arrived at the villa, we got the most unpleasant reception one could possibly imagine, i.e. no reception at all. The driver helped us unload the luggage in front of the house, which was open but with nobody around, and left. After wondering around the area for a few minutes I located a woman in a building nearby which was supposed to be the 'sales office' of the villas. She just dumped in my hands the keys of the house and, before we could say anything, she left saying that the following day she will come and collect a further deposit of 10,000 Baht in cash to cover for any breakages. It was 6 pm, we were tired after a full day of travel, with 3 kids (2 four years old and one 4 months old) and we had now to figure out ourselves everything about the house.
The baby cot we had requested had not been provided, nor the extra mattress for our son.
In the bathtub of the master bedroom there was a dead cockroach, and of the 3 rooms only one had hot water. Of the other 2 bathrooms, one had no hot water at all, while the masters bedroom had a dripping sink which had flooded the whole bathroom. But unfortunately there was nobody at all to help us with all these problems.
Also, there were no decent grocery shops in the vicinity (as opposed to what we had been told when we made the booking) but fortunately there was a resort nearby where we managed to have dinner.
The following morning, in a pouring rain, we went back to the 'sales office' where the woman of the previous night was supposed to be but she wasn't there. She came after about an hour and she admitted she had no clue of how many we were supposed to be and of what were the requirements we had discussed in the exchanges we had had with the manager of the estate, who, by the way, had left for England and didn't endorse anything to her.
She didn't even know we had 3 kids with us and had no clue about the problems and the provisions of the house. We told her about the plumbing issues and all the things which were missing. She said she would send a plumber and a maid, and then insisted on the deposit she had mentioned the night before. So we paid it.
She disappeared again and after a few minutes the plumber came. It took him a good 3 hours to fix all the plumbing problems with several trips back and forth from a supplying shop or quarter. Unfortunately, even after fixing the drip, the master bathroom kept smelling like stagnant drainage water whenever the aircon was kept off for more than 30 minutes. This was probably due to the fact that the shower was placed above the WC and having a shower meant flooding the bathroom, whose drainage was not that good and the floor was permanently wet.
In any case getting hot water remained a fiddly affair throughout our stay as it was coming and going incessantly while taking a shower. And having hot water coming out of the faucet and the shower at the same time was wishful thinking.
At 5 pm the maid/cleaner was still nowhere to be seen. We located her near the 'office' busy... sleeping. We literally woke her up and dragged her to the villa where she just dumped the lining and the things we needed, but didn't clean anything as she appeared far too lazy and disappeared saying she would not come on the following 2 days because it was a holiday (although the 31 Dec is not a holiday in Thailand).
This episode ended our first full day at the villa: so much for relaxation at 550 USD per day.

The whole cleaning affair was actually going to become one of the highlights of the inefficiency of the management. Even when the cleaning staff re-appeared on Jan 2, they did a very cursory job in the bungalows, and left the kitchen area untouched. We mentioned this to the 'office' and a few minutes later they came back to clean the kitchen, which meant basically only emptying the trash can... The following day no cleaner showed up and the following one we had to go and look for the maid again to make her come.

The villa complex, although pretty, had several quirks and was not very functional overall. We soon realized in fact that the bathrooms had limited space to put the toiletries and only one small wall bar to hang the towels, there were no bedside lamps and the small bedrooms had basically no furniture at all apart from the bed and a small cabinet which forced us to live out of the suitcases on the floor for the whole week.
Moreover, the front gate had no lock and the back was just facing the wild wide beach, with no form of security whatsoever.

As a result, in the morning of the first day we saw from inside the room local strangers wandering around the premises for no reason whatsoever and when we mentioned it to the manager she shrugged it off saying that probably they were workers. This wondering around of strangers kept going on throughout our stay. Two days later I found the lights in the garage switched on, although I remember switching them off the night before and none of us ever went there to switch them on again. Also, we found the third bedroom locked with one of our two set of keys inside and none of us had done it. Nothing was missing but obviously there were people wondering around who were not supposed to be there.
Not a nice feeling considering that the locks of the rooms were all very flimsy and the 'safety box' was a light and tiny one, freely moving at the bottom of a cabinet so that anybody could just lift it and carry it away. In any case it was locked when we arrived and therefore of no use.

The whole dining- living- cooking area was equipped only with ceiling fans (no aircon) and the kitchen had only an electrical stove with only 2 plates (whose functioning we were left to figure out ourselves) and was far from complete in terms of utensils. So it was practically impossible to cook anything serious. In any case the only acceptable supermarket for groceries was about 15 km away and far from complete.

Other small details: a generally pretentious design, but the dust bin was an ugly plastic bucket and the curtains of the bedrooms were so thin that getting undressed with lights on at night time could offer a fine entertainment to by-passers on the beach. Lastly, the villa was infested by hordes of huge mosquitoes whose bites disfigured the face of our four year old son and which were impossible to eradicate even after a full day of toxic coil burning. Let alone the nasty ants which kept biting the kids (and us) throughout our stay.

I should also mention that getting a car from the villa to the supermarket area was a lengthy and costly affair: a wait of one hour to get a car with driver, a return fare of 600 Baht and an almost 30 minute trip.

Even in the main market area of the island there's not much choice in terms of fresh food so overall in Koh Lanta it is advisable, in my view, to opt for a resort rather than a rented villa.

Another surprise came in the evening of 31 December (we had arrived on the 29) when I got a reply from the contact guy (supposedly the manager of the estate) whom I had emailed from the airport when we were waiting for the driver. He was just saying that he had been informed that the driver had not collected the payment for the transport and that we should pay it to the lady in charge since he would be back to Thailand probably after we will have left. Not one word about the check in or any interest whatsoever in how things were going!

Electricity was also a flimsy affair. It was cut off at least a couple of times, the second time for a couple of hours.

Half way through our stay we were asked to pay the whole balance. I then explained the issue of the Paypal fees to the lady and she accepted the amount without the Paypal fees (about 40 dollars), but with reservations, as she needed to clear it with the 'manager' in the UK. Eventually, we did not hear about this topic any more.

On our last day, on the way back to Krabi airport the driver of our van inexplicably stopped at a Thai massage parlour, went down and started talking to a woman of the Thai massage and both started making mobile phone calls. After a few minutes I went down and asked for an explanation. None of them seemed able to speak a word of English, but the driver at some point said 'you pay to her'. Basically he had stopped to make me pay the transport fare to somebody at a Thai massage parlour. I resolutely told him 'I'm going to pay you if and when we get to the airport' and we finally proceeded.
This was the last hiccup of a generally less than relaxing holiday (we also had a less than pleasant experience with the '4 islands tour', but that bit doesn't belong to this review - you can ask me if you want to know more).

So the bottom line is don't choose this type of property (unless you really know who you are going to be dealing with) because you are on your own for everything. In our case, the place was managed by foreigners who, although not 'mean', were obviously not professionals of the hospitality business and had serious difficulties getting to grips with the local environment to provide a serious service. At least in a resort you have somebody managing the place, not just somebody asking you to pay. Oh yes, and let's not forget that at the rented villa, for 550 dollars per day, you don't even get any form of internet connection.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GiloManila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2012

We went during the off-season and there had just been a massive storm, which dampened things a little because all of the restaurants etc along the beach were severely damaged and the beach was littered with debris. However, the villa was excellent and the manager very helpful. We spent a very relaxing week and will return!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank bushmanparis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Thai Island Dream Estate

Property: Thai Island Dream Estate
Address: 356 Moo 6 | Koh Lanta Yai, Ko Lanta 81150, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Krabi Province > Ko Lanta
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 212 Speciality Lodging in Ko Lanta
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Thai Island Dream Estate 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
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