This is a tricky place to review. When we first arrived we were quite disappointed with our Deluxe Bungalows, which despite delivering spectacular views high across the cove, were very tired and old in style (and smell).
However, after we raised our disappointment and an additional incident in the pool area my partner complained to the manager (something you should always do if you're unhappy because they can't do anything about it if you keep it to yourself!). She tried to placate him with a food and beverage discount and we decided "Oh well. We'll just sleep here anyway and spend our days and nights out and about.".
Then we got a lovely surprise in the shape of an upgrade to a pool suite.
Wow. It's like we're in a different resort entirely. I can only assume these are new as the design style is much more contemporary and fresh. The pool is amazing. I've stayed in pool villas before which tend to have a small 'plunge pool', but this is something else! A huge jacuzzi linked into a larger swimming pool which opens out onto a view of the bay that you could stare at all day.
Today is our first day staying in the pool villa and we just don't want to leave. It's incredible that such different standards of accommodation exist here. I would be interested to know the plans for this place and hope they include a big refurbishment of the existing rooms, as well as whatever is being built over at the back of the property.
Other stuff. The beach in front is small but has never felt crowded. The chap looking after the bar brings down drinks menus (extra) and the odd chilled towel (desperately welcome!).
The pool is well designed across a few levels running down the hill which makes it feel like there's a place for everyone. This was where we encountered the 'issue' which basically involved some kids running amok, leaping from pool to pool, dismantling the safety rings to play with and throwing around balls with no care of where they may land. I understand that it it is not the resort's responsibility to entertain or 'nanny' kids staying in this resort, but they should consider the impact on their trade this may result in. Not to mention the potential ramifications of an injured child, after all the parents may not have been interested in controlling their kids, but they would certainly sue if one of them fell and hurt themselves.
Of course, this is all coloured by my love of peace and tranquility!
Food-wise, the breakfast is a simple buffet, but nice enough to set you up for the day and the staff couldn't be more welcoming! We ate at the beach barbecue restaurant last night and I enjoyed that thoroughly - accompanied by a couple of wonderful singers who performed a mixture of contemporary and classic songs, with great voices and style. (Afterwards we went for drinks at the Beach Club at Buru Rasa and their singers were like poor karaoke contestants by comparison!).
As this is quite a large resort spread up and down the hillside, they have laid on transport which can be called on at any time to ferry you around (especially when it's dark - as opposed to my being too lazy to climb the hills!). We were even walking through the local village when one of the vans drove past, recognised us and asked if we wanted a lift! This is a very good service. Although not good for my expanding waistline!
I think that overall I would say if you are looking for a place to flop the deluxe cottages are an adequate option, but if you enjoy your own space, then the pool villas are a must.
If the resort keeps refurbishing and renewing it's old rooms it will be fantastic.
(Sorry for the mixed review, but it really does feel like we're in a different resort than we were yesterday!)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Resort with 72 rooms, 8 categories, 3 restaurants, 2 bars and room service, infinity view swimming pool, private beach, kayaking and more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Panviman Resort - Koh Pha Ngan Hotel Koh Phangan
- Panviman Hotel Ko Phangan
- Panviman Resort Ko Phangan