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“unique”
Review of Dolphin Bungalows

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Dolphin Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“unique”
Reviewed 5 February 2013

stayed in august 2010 and loved the place straight away,,, the whole ambience of the place was great and made us stay longer than we intended.... absolutely gutted kim and giet have left, as the last post states as we have recomended it to friends,and they really did make our stay a memorable one.. but sayin that we will return,,

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank kelo71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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140 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2013

After years of being away I recently returned to the Dolphin to find that all of the ambience is gone. It seems the couple that used to run the place (Giet & Kim) have left and taken all of the charm with them. The new management is unfriendly and not very helpful, and seems to have copied (or tried to unsuccessfully) the food and the beauty that was once the Dolphin.

The good news is that I found out that Giet & Kim are building a new bar & restaurant in the village. It's a shame it was not yet open while I was here but I am looking forward to it on my next visit.

Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Melanie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norway
Level Contributor
48 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2012

Me an my son stayed at the Dolphin for a week in one of the luxury bungalows. The atmosphere here is just so relaxed :) Enjoying the hammock outside our bungalow in the morning... The jungle feeling and decorations are unique. My only complaint is the bed. Rock hard. Would go back though. :)

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank CoctailsAndDreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shipton under Wychwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2012

My partner and I were travelling around Thailand and were lucky enough to meet two great americans who had a blue planet book that led us from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan and these beautiful bungalows. Gaiet the owner did a deal fro the four of us and charged us only 400baht a night per room and we had the best of times. It is beautiful, the location is amazing and the breakfast is so yummy - the porridge with banana is the best!
We travelled on a budget allowing only 300baht per day and Gaiet knew this. My partner and I shared porridge and 1 coffee each morning but never were we treated differently to anyone else. It always always came with a beautiful smile and they couldn't do more for us. Gaiet was full of wonderful advice and would always welcome a chat with my partner. Sadly Gaiet has been (cut a long story short) bought out and so unfortunately I don't imagine it'll be the same in the future. But right now, it's great, amazing and beautiful.

Room Tip: Get air con if you can afford to!
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank SMAD91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
German
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2012

We went to Dolphin Bar & Restaurant on Thong Nai Pan Beach, Koh Phangan for breakfast cause we checked Tripadvisor first. We get fruit salat, toast with Nutella (which turned out to actually be NOT Nutella), omlett, bacon and Cafe Latte. Quality was good especially the Cafe Latte was good for Thailand, but faar away from good cafe houses in Europe. We paid around 400 BHT. Staff was friendly. At least a good and nice place at the end of the beach, but less average value for money.

Next days we will check other locations. We seen some buffets close buy, and we love to brunch for hours in the morning.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Branwolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2012

I had not read the Trip Advisor comments about Dolphin before arriving there earlier this week. Out of curiosity I took a peak after we left...

To set the scene, so you know we are not just 'moaner travellers'... We are luckily enough to be able to travel a lot, Flashpackers! We have been in Thailand 6months and had a good look around and met lovely people.

Dolphin was like a slap in the face. We had not pre-booked. On arrival the man at the bar was disinterested and it was all a bit too much hassle to show us a room, but he did and we agreed a fan room at 600bhat a night (everyone has off days we thought). The setting is lovely, albeit very dark because of the trees and mossies love you! We ate at the restaurant three times over four days and were mindful that it is low season and they close in the afternoon for a few hours and were told that last orders were 10pm.

So the down side:
The owner is rude. There is no other word for it, there are many times he blanked us and made us feel unwelcome. On our second day we had dinner at the resort (food is not cheap, but is very nice!) and my husband ordered a shake after finishing the food. The shake was given to him, the bill was brought over without us asking for it, which we paid. Then halfway through his drink he told us "we are closed". It was 9:30pm. When we asked why, we were told it was because it was "...low season and there are no customers". That made us feel loved! We asked if we could stay till 10pm but were told they need to pile the cushions up. Like naughty kids we sat at the bar in the dark and finished the emails we were writing online. Husband gulped his shake and handed over the empty glass.

Throughout our stay I was mindful of other people at the resort and aware of how they were treated, and made me feel a bit better as the owner, and the other guy behind the bar were as rude to all the other guests, it wasn't just us.

So checkout... He had us down as staying 5nights, we had in fact stayed four nights. He was adamant and called the cleaner and the bar guy to come over. Three of them stood there pouring over their books and notes. Two other young girls came over and paid their accommodation bill while I was waiting, he was so rude to them, the poor things had their money taken off them and not even a word of thanks.

I was patient and not rude and sat waiting for about 30mins and politely told him that he could call the dive shop in Koh Tao as witness to the fact that we were in Koh Tao when he claimed we were staying at Dolphin that first night. I gave him the card for the dive shop and the name of the place we stayed to check their records. He did not want to call.

At this point he wrote a bill and laid it on the counter, no apology no eye contact. I paid and asked for a receipt, he wrote and I thanked all three of the men still standing there (the cleaner guy was fine).

Please check out other write up's I have done, this is the first one that has not been positive, but I don't like rude people and I am sure if I had been weaker I would have paid to save embarrassment of standing there waiting. I do not know if this was an honest mistake, but I get the feeling it wasn’t.

So the final rudeness was on leaving with our bags on our backs. I was blanked and my husband brought his hands up in Namaste and the owner dismissed it, just nodded - so rude.

It is a shame because the setting is nice, but there are nicer with better value. We are now staying at Pan, along the beach and the warm welcome from the ladies there is like a big hug!! Bright airy room, smiling faces and that calm warm feeling - ohhh and beautiful beach and ocean!

So if you are looking for a bit of that Thai warmth have a look around it is out there still :)

Room Tip: Choose somewhere else to stay
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank DawnieM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 May 2012

Before going to Thailand I'd read myself stupid on Tripadvisor trying as best I could to ensure that paradise would be as heavenly as possible. The problem is obviously that paradise is a subjective idea, and so this review speaks for two young men of 26 and 36 who aren't particularly bothered by insects or by the dark. I'd read a lot of reviews of resorts on the islands of Thailand that bemoan the proximity of 'jungle', the presence of insects, of low lighting at night (in the jungle), etc etc etc. These reviews seem terribly ill judged; let me begin by affirming that at Dolphin Bungalows you are in the jungle, which is to say that your bungalow will be surrounded by trees and plants and protected from the sun and the rain by the forest canopy, connected to the rest of the resort not by concrete walkways, but by the natural floor covering of sand and grasses (so nice!). This means also that you are in the company (you are the guests) of the various creatures that live in this environment, the lizards, ants, flying insects, semi-wild dogs. Some of which may enter your room at some point during your stay (not the dogs, but they may sleep outside and make noises at night). And at night, yes, its dark, but then, we can hardly expect flood lighting in the jungle on a small tropical island in the gulf of Thailand can we? This is what you get.

All of that said, Dolphin Bungalows is almost shamefully comfortable. It looks and feels authentic, like an island settlement, nestled amidst the trees just beyond the beach. There is no concrete, sandy paths connect the bungalows and the bar/reception. Outside each bungalow is a little water container so that you can rinse your feet before you retire. Gentle lighting is hidden amongst the vegetation, I had the impression that this was to avoid interfering too much with the natural habitat, but it also created a wonderfully dreamy atmosphere too, when swinging on one's personal hammock on the bungalow porch before bed. And the room was comfortable, the bathroom was big, it was clean, we had everything we needed.

At the bar there is wifi and a seriously great menu. If you order the thai beef salad make sure you ask for less chilli, unless you are a fan, because it was seriously hot. I felt terribly western dashing for the toilet before I was even half way through. The breakfast is comprehensive and it is thoughtful. It isn't just a series of western dishes warmed up, there are interpretations. Everything is though about. Cocktails aren't half bad either. And the ambience is so nice. It made me think about the lounge/trip hop era of the late nineties. I seemed to have found the source of all that posturing. But I couldn't tell if this was based on that, or vice versa. There were certainly several chilled ibiza style playlists in the air, and the oriental decor wasn't exclusively thai nor authentic. But it all worked. The various tables, seating areas were all raised off the ground, they encouraged you to remove your shoes, running water was audible around you... The cliché brought to its logical conclusion but in an environment where it can't fail to seem natural. I can be a culture snob of the worst proportions, but I was totally happy, stretched out on the floor with a coconut shake by my side, afloat a haze of cicadas and, i don't know, nightmares on wax or Talvin Singh, glimpsing the play of fire on the beach beyond the trees..

We were here for the full moon. For those who are interested, the taxi to and from the full moon is fine, it isn't long. But the routes vary, and you may be lucky or you may be unlucky, it might be smooth or it might be hellish. On the way back from the full moon, if you're of a delicate constitution, you might get a bit queasy. But its worth it to be able to chill out in the luxury and calm of thong nai pan yai, as opposed to the filth and rancour of haad rin. to each their own though.

There were quite a lot of boats (the traditional pretty kind don't worry) moored on Dolphin's side of the beach. So when swimming we tended to walk up the beach a little way, or often to the other side near Candle Hut /White Wind. Not a problem for us, but something to bare in mind for someone who wants the minimum of transition between bed and beach. Oh and there is no swimming pool. Which was one of my favourite things about the place.

Thong Nai Pan Yai is what it is all about. It is quiet, oh so quiet. Yet there are myriad places to drink, eat, and the Pharmacy Bar a little down the beach from Dolphin can sort you out for something to smoke if you are that way inclined. Just be sensible and don't make too much noise about it. In the little village on the road behind the beach there were young Thai guys openly smoking outside a tattoo parlour all night one evening. The place is eminently chilled.

At the end of the beach there's this big traditional house built into the cliff. Its a massage parlour/restaurant called White Wind, with a high end feel (but still completely affordable for those wielding western currencies). Book yourself a massage here, it was seriously the best we had. Best i'll ever have I'm sure. The food is nice too. Not special, but nice. It is raised a little way off the beach, so you dine overlooking the bay which is nice. However, the place is next to Candle Hut Resort, one of the most commercial on the beach, which is noisy and panders to the kinds of holiday makers that really ought to stay in the Costa del Sol, producing the occasional whiff of sewage/stagnant water to boot too. The only negative on the whole beach.

And did i mention how beautiful this bay is?

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Elliot L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bungalows

Property: Dolphin Bungalows
Address: 61 Moo 5, T. Bantai, Ko Pha Ngan 84280, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 356 Speciality Lodging in Ko Pha Ngan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dolphin Bungalows 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
To all our friends the new Dolphin Bar % Cafe is soon to be launched at its new location in Thong Nai Pan Yai.Find us in the heart of the village close to Thai Terrace Bungalows..Another creative space for travellers and friends to enjoy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Bungalows Hotel Koh Phangan

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