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“Exceptional location and accomodation but lack of service and passion”

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Haadtien Beach Resort
Ranked #15 of 49 Hotels in Koh Tao
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Exceptional location and accomodation but lack of service and passion”
Reviewed 15 February 2014

As a second to last stop of a four month trip in Asia Pacific we stayed a week in a beachfront Castaway Villa at Haad Tien Resort. The resort is located perfectly in the most beautiful bay (shark bay) of Koh Tao. It takes you about 5 minutes by motorbike to the next restaurants and shops. Unlike most other places you can't conveniently rent a vehicle at the resort so you have to make your way to the village to get this done. There is a free shuttle from the hotel to the pier which runs (unfortunately only) once in the morning, afternoon and evening.

The sandy beach with palm trees and the sea is absolutely stunning even though you have to swim roughly a 100 metres to find coral alive. If you're lucky you'll be able to see some reef sharks there as well. You have to be aware that the beach is public.

Our wooden villa (number 215) was classy, well equipped. It had a spacious veranda and offered a breath-taking seaview. It was also away from the sometimes noisy beach club construction site. We enjoyed it very much!

Nevertheless, we were extremly disappointed by the lack of service and passion throughout the resort. Here are a few examples:

1. With a few exceptions, the staff (a mix of locals and unexperienced foreigners) lacks friendliness and is not very attentive. They rarely greet you (even if you greet them first), more than once let us wait (up to 25 minutes) to take our order at the restaurant and they have a tendency to forget orders.

2. Not surprisingly before full moon, the sea washed lots of garbage ashore and the beach looked terrible in the morning. How did the resort react to these forseeable event? Not at all! There was nobody picking up garbage in the morning. Even worse, guests hat to take action and collected several bags of garbage (among other things dangerous needles, spiky glass or used condoms). The staff didn't seem to care and even laughed at us. We've never ever seen that in such a (pricy) resort before!

3. The resort has its own dive center. Compared to others on the island it's much more expensive (two fun dives are THB 3400, most other centers charge THB 1800-2000). As it was convenient, one of us went nonethless for two fun dives with them. The first dive was a joke as we dived over a sandy bay with nothing going on for most of the time. As our group complained the guide changed the second dive spot to Shark Island spontaneously and we got see a bit more. However, this time he struggled to navigate us back to the boat.
Once again, we've never experienced something like that and couldn't figure out why one should pay that much more for so much less. Of course we talked to the activities manager afterwards and we were happy that she agreed to a 50% discount.

4. The Castaway Villa is expensive and one would therefore expect a bit more. However, "the management" seems to think differently. Examples needed? Despite our request, we weren't granted an additional access to the wifi for our notebook (it has also to be said that the wifi is very slow and unstable). The turndown service was more than once forgotten. If you didn't hide your unused daily complimenary bottle of water, house keeping wouldn't place a new one the next day.

5. As the shortcomings had risen above an acceptable level in the course of the week, we decided to get in touch with Manager John who had welcomed us on our arrival. We sent him an e-mail describing our complaints. It took the resort more than a day to send the following generic reply: "Dear Guests, thank you very much for your email detailing your findings. John is no longer working with us at The Haadtien. New management will be joining very soon. We recognized our shortcomings and are certain that we would be able to correct and improve on the important points that you have raised. Thank you again for your patron." There was nothing else, no invitation to a personal meeting and not even a question at check-out if we liked our stay.

Overall, it kind of makes you sad to see such a beautiful place to be run that way. It seemed to us that the general attitude was that we were expected to be happy to stay here. But we (and quite a few other guests we talked to as well) expect more for such a high price. We also think that the resort will face new challenges when the new beach club will be opened completely and the number of rooms will increase significantly. The restaurant crew in the morning was by all means already struggling with the bigger amount of people. We can't recommend the place.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Matmate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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English first
Paris, France
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2014

This hotel is great, we had a castaway villa, a bungallow on the beach, it was expensive but so peacefull and so charming to wake up with the beach and sea in front! The beach is very nice even if there is wind so the sea is blurred, and not overcrowded. The beach bar is very charming and you can drink good coktails for a low price. The restaurant is the gap of this hotel, the staff do not always handle English and the service is long, food not so good and the breakfast is very basic. In the other hand the spa is the best I ever done! Girls are welcoming, smilling and very good! I even had an extra for my second massage and they braid my hairs. We recommand this hotel it was great! I only was disapointed once, on our arrival because the hotel did not answer to my email asking for a shutle to pick us at the pier. We had to pay a taxi to reach the hotel and I got an answer 1 hour after our check in that someone will come to pick us up???! Too bad because they have a free shutlle service...

Room Tip: castway villa are great with their own garden and long chair to lie on the beach. Ask to be far from...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maudhe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2014 via mobile

Pros
Location. It's tough to find a hotel in Koh Tao that is nestled on a pristine private beach.

Cons
Food
Horrible breakfast
Poor service
Tables not cleaned
Plates not wiped down
Disgruntled staff
The bar by the beach has better service

Room
We booked the beach front room but were put in the pool facing room

No cold water in the shower, after maintenance addressed the issue we no longer had hot water

The water from the tap has black deposits and this seems to be a known issue

Reception

The reception staff need to be friendlier and more accommodating to requests.

Note to the manager, instead of spending your time by getting defensive about reviews, learn and implement good hospitality from other leading resorts. We paid close to 400 usd per night for the room and expect better service.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Manav M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2014

We decided to move to this hotel after staying three nights in Koh Tao Star Villa which is on hill side that you can ready my review as well.
We moved here as we wanted to have beach and swimming pool access for few days, I must say, Beach very nice!
We stayed at Sea Balcony rooms not beach villas which cost much more. Sea Balcony rooms are good enough for two, smartly designed with minimum space, partial sea view, bed was massive, nice and clean, small shower and bathroom.

Breakfast is just standard, I do not think you can get more in Koh Tao unless you go to a restaurant yourself?

Remember this is proper hotel not guesthouse, homestay! and been build on massive area, although they have many staff all around but if you are after extra attention. you may try to go smaller hotels with lesser guests.

I would say it worth the money I paid for, they are not cheap but facility is great with nice beach. compare to other places with same price, I would definitely choose these guys.

We did not try their food there but dishes looks very nice and pricy!

When we were leaving they provided free shuttle service to main pier and their staff was so helpful to us and help us with all crazy stuff at the pier till we get to our boat.

Room Tip: Sea Balcony rooms on receipt side would have better sea view!
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank HesamSaroukhani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed in a family cast away villa in February. We are 2 adults and 2 children and have following conclusions:
Pros:
Location - The location is perfect at one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Tao.
Surroundings - Beautiful surroundings with small villas
Free Shuttle - Perfect with the free Shuttle to nearby small towns
Cons
Staff: we know this hotel is not a 5 but 4 star hotel, but the service level is very low. Examples:
Every day we had to ask several times for 2 extra towels cause we are 4 people in the villa
Most of the staff looked very tired and almost never smiled
We would expect thai people working in a place like this but found several foreigners/hotel management students in the place who never gave us the real thai hospitality we are used to in Thailand

Breakfast: Compared to other 4 star hotel the breakfast buffet standard was very standard -a little extra e.g including smoothies in the breakfast menu.

This place could be one of the best hotels in Thailand if the people get trained to a much higher service level and with much better breakfast.

Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank HenseDenmark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prague, Czech Republic
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2014

It was my third time in this resort and once again I wasn't disappointed . This is the ideal place for a quiet holiday. Given that this is a bay and resort located further away from the populated part of the island , it is also a great place for kids .
I'm therefore writing only a few notes for the hotel management to have the opportunity to obtain information from their client.
The resort has a recently built new part, this time it is several hotel-type buildings . For this I was unfortunately disappointed because without these buildings was paradise on Earth. Even though there were not many of these new rooms opened during my stay, the whole place was rather full. Personally, I admired this resort because of the huts and plenty of space, unfortunately it will not be so in the near future. This is business , so I can understand this decision, but again I would prefer smaller bungalows instead of hotel buildings .
A note to the previous assessment of the unsealed toilets and showers . I do not have any objections to this form . I already have experience from another hotel in Amsterdam whe the toilet was literally in the middle of the room with no door. It's a matter of style , and this is one of the reasons why Haad Tien is so exceptional. It suit the villas perfectly. I cannot even imagina having a door there.
To my surprise, the resort began to change personnel. And specifically Thais for other nations. Given that this is a resort in Thailand, I would prefer the Thai staff . Not only does it keep the atmosphere of Thailand, but the Thai staff also has a completely different attitude towards the customers. Thai people have their pleasing mentality and they only need to learn how services should look like in a resort of this type. Because I wanted to talk about specific people , I noticed that the staff does not wear any labels , which should be remedied . That way the guests will have an opportunity to evaluate individuals. I must say that apparently the restaurant manager (the man with the glasses? ) is not on the right spot. If that is indeed the manager, I would imagine that he should take action to teach other staff to operate everything properly and notice things that they often overlook . He should therefore walk around the restaurant and notify the personnel about their mistakes . Instead, this man was a rather small helper (controller sales and greeted guests). I would say that this person is really unnecessary here . I do not have enough information to say this clearly, though. The Thai staff has its flaws , but you can not say that it is bad . They just really need to learn how to treat their guests properly. Eg . If staff carries some order for the guests, they should automatically take the dirty dishes from the food tat has already been consumed and look around at the other tables for these details . Usually the used dishes were carried away with the signature of the bill. Furthermore, some staff in the restaurant seemed totally useless to me. For example those that carried the dishes didn't do anything else most of the time. I would replace this personnel with professionals. Also, I did not understand the menu at all. I really love Thailand and Thai food. This list, however, is like a mix of nothing. The pizza that I had to taste, because there was nothing to choose from was terrible . If you do not have a pizza oven then do not offer pizza on your menu, please. I would say that it was a frozen product just shoved into the oven. Absolutely bland taste even though the title warned that this is a dish for garlic lovers. There was nearly no trace of garlic whatsoever . From my previous visits I remember a menu of Thai dishes containing a smaller number of international dishes . I think it was a better option than what is in the sector today. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Christmas and New Year's Eve dinner. During Christmas dinner, the staff was really confused . They didn't serve enough plates for food, soya sauce on sushi was nonexistent (not to mention there were no bowls for this sauce), the people at the grill couldn't manage all the demands, because they were not prepared etc. The food was great . But there was just too much. New Year's Eve has been better , but still lacked sauce for sushi. And once again, there was just too much food. Unfortunately, there was one error, which the hotel manager will not forget for a long time. The toast was held at 11 instead of 12, therefore it had to be repeated one more time . Personally, I took it as a good joke , but things like that should not happen.
The resort is very clean, but there are not many bins outside of your room.
Given the ever expanding resort some thing should also be added (there were not enough sunbeds at the pool etc.).
I was positively astonished by the pices of the mini bar. While they are higher than in a store , they are still pretty reasonable and not excessive as in other departments. After all, when the restaurant and bar are closed, the host shall buy something for a fair price.
Overall, I definitely rate this as the best resort on the island. Beautiful beach, interesting hotel design, friendly staff . I will visit this resort again in the future. However, I hope that it does not rise its prices. In my opinion, they correspond to the services provided .

Room Tip: Do not take a hotel room.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Pavel P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DGC_9, Manager at Haadtien Beach Resort, responded to this review, 5 February 2014
Dear Both,

Thank you for a wonderful review and great feedback and constructive comments, it was nice to welcome you back once again, in regards to the gentleman with Glasses he was an internship student though now he has been elevated to a permanent position and is moving forward, all our points during the Xmas and new year were recorded and written down, and yes the soy sauce and small dishes were replenished though all wanted to taste the sushi.
in regards to the Menu, we have now created a 80% Thai food menu and working to implement his over the next few months, upon your next visits you wont be disappointed with chef Joe and his team.
the resort next door called the Beach club by haad tien, has taken off very well, though only certain amount of rooms, a brand new spa is now fully operational, and in a few days the brand new Reef dive center with its own training pool.
we will improve the haad tien over the coming months and towards the end of 2104 to add value and bring the operation up to par, those points you brought up and other guest have been recorded and looked at, a push will be
made to improve overall value for money.

thank you once again, we are all looking forward to welcome you both back in the near future!

Best regards,
John Morris Williams
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2014 via mobile

This is is our third visit to Haad Tien and we were not disappointed. I think the truck they pick you up in is really cool, and the whole place has a unique style that blends comfort and simplicity. Many of the same staff still work here since our first stay and greet us like old friends. They take good care of the beach which is possibly the most special one on the island. The dive staff are great and the new spa is a superb addition. Sure you can get cheaper massages elsewhere so for a bog-standard Thai massage it wouldn't be my first stop. But try a coconut full body scrub and sport massage for half the price you'd pay in the UK and it's worth it. We"ll be back.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Caro T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DGC_9, Manager at Haadtien Beach Resort, responded to this review, 5 February 2014
Dear Both,

It was a pleasure to welcome you back once again to your favorite resort and making it so special,the whole team is thrilled this is a great motivator to push harder to achieve.

we are all looking forward to your next visit!

Best regards,
John Morris Williams
Resort Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Haadtien Beach Resort

Property: Haadtien Beach Resort
Address: 19/9 Moo 3 (Shark Bay), Koh Tao 84360, Thailand
Phone Number:
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Koh Tao
#3 Spa Hotel in Koh Tao
#4 Luxury Hotel in Koh Tao
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Koh Tao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Haadtien Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HaadtienBeach Resort is a boutique destination set in a stunning backdrop of beachfront panoramas, featuring its own 380 metre secluded beach situated at the southern tip of Koh Tao. The property contains 70 private villas thoughtfully spaced amongst over 45 acres of land, which features a stunning natural bay, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Haad Tien Beach Hotel Koh Tao

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