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Taatoh Resort & Freedom Beach Resort
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Reviewed 1 May 2013

Let me start by saying that you would be hard pressed to stay in such an amazing location in most parts of the world. This resort consists of little bungalows that are glued to the rocky outcrops that form the south-western point of Koh Tao. We stayed in the very last one, which was up a flight of stairs that only led to our place, so it was very private. The next bay around is a private beach which you can access by road or by walking around the concrete walkway that gets you from rock to rock. At this beach is a bar that pumps music into the bay, the water filled with young and old all smiling and feeling free. You can snorkel out and in the middle of the bay is a coral reef that is still semi alive and you can see lots of nice fish swimming around.

If you walk up the road the other way, there are shops and resorts with restaurants. I would recommend those over the restaurant at Freedom Beach Resort which was fairly standard.
The location is idyllic and for this reason I am happy I stayed here. However…

The staff are not attentive and always seem grumpy. Upon check-in we were almost put into a room which was attached to the main part of the resort (not where you want to stay given the other options), when we hesitated there suddenly appeared another option for a room that would sleep four people and we hesitated again and then suddenly a perfect solution of a bungalow for two appeared. Although this may be because we had indicated we only wanted to stay one night (we ended up staying 5) and they had wanted to keep the nice room for a longer staying couple.

If you don’t like or unable to use stairs this is not the place for you! It wasn’t a problem for us but worth a mention.

The room was very basic. Upon showering there would appear an awful smell, not sure what the cause of this was, whether it was the water from the shower or the stench from the drain. Nevertheless the sea was a preferable option and an early morning swim prevented us from having to shower too much.

There is little to no consideration of the environment, with showers from the bungalows emptying directly onto the rocks below (and into the sea). There was rubbish everywhere, on the rocks and floating in the sea and broken glass in between the rocks. The staff didn’t seem to care and we suspect a staff member kicked a nappy that we had seen on the path into the ocean when we saw it floating there after he had passed.

Like I have mentioned the location is stunning however we could not see any evidence by the resort of any attempt to preserve this bay or the environment surrounding it which can make for a saddening and frustrating stay.

Room Tip: Go for the very end bungalow on the Freedom Beach end (towards Buddha Rock)
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Alicialicia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here one night as had had enough at looking at different places on Ko Tao. We stayed in a clean, nice but basic bungalow for 1000 baht (£22) for one night. This was our most expensive accommodation throughout out trip and by no means the nicest. The cheaper bungalow at 700 baht (£15) we looked at was too grim for us and we had been staying in hostels as well as other bungalows during our stay in Thailand. We are not that fussy which says a lot about the condition of the cheaper option. On the positive as I said our bungalow was nice, the food was good and the staff polite and helpful. The resort itself is in a beautiful setting with a shallow beach of its own (not great for swimming but perfect for cooling off and for children). We moved on to a cheaper resort with as nice bungalows after searching through trip advisor. Oh apart from the first bungalow we saw the place was clean as far as we saw but I am taking it into account in my scoring on cleanliness.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank Isobel_m-s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2013

There is one reason and only one reason to stay here, but it is a good one: the location. Freedom Beach and its sister resort, Taatoh (which is where I stayed) have three private beaches with gorgeous white sand, clear blue water, and a ridiculously perfect sunset view. So despite all the cons (of which there are many) I would probably stay there again, under the right circumstances.

First off, I stayed in one of the 1000 bht per night bungalows, which were amongst the cheapest there, and from what I gather the more expensive bungalows are significantly nicer. So if you're planning to spend a little extra money, my impression of the rooms may not apply. The bungalow was spacious enough and had a nice balcony. The "sea view" was a bit of a lie - I could see a patch of water between trees and some electric cables, but I guess technically I did have a view, albeit a kind of crappy one, of the sea. The bathroom was primitive; the drainage for the shower was a hole in the floor with no screen, meaning that gross little bugs (like the ginormous cockroach I saw) could come right in if you forgot to cover it. There was also no good place to put your toiletries, which was especially frustrating since the shower is not separated from the rest of the room - just a shower head strategically angled to miss the toilet (put the seat down anyway) and the sink. Note: this is a very common set up in Thailand. That I didn't mind, but a shelf somewhere to put my toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc, would have been handy.

The cheaper your bungalow is, the further away it is from the beach, so I had a bit of a hike up and down a hill (there are very steep stairs) to get to and from the beach, so you really don't want to forget anything. I knew from other reviews that this was going to be the case, but it was worse than I had expected, and an annoyance nonetheless. If you have mobility issues, either upgrade for a more expensive bungalow close to the beach, or stay elsewhere.

The staff was supremely unhelpful and rude. The woman I assume was the manager looked annoyed every time you asked for assistance. They do not tell you that you can get your room cleaned if you leave your keys at the front desk, which would have been nice to know. And they don't keep the entryway very clean. I don't mind taking off my shoes to go indoors, as is often expected in Thailand, but if I am going to, I'd like the floor I walk on to be relatively clean. The free wifi is in the reception/restaurant area, and parts of the beach, only, and constantly wasn't working. That was really, really annoying.

Food service is very slow, you practically have to go to the waiter to order and pay rather than waiting for him to come to you. That said, the restaurant is GREAT, far better than I'd expected. I thought it'd be more catered to tourists, but the food was very traditionally prepared, and they don't skimp on the spice. The Tom Yam soup had me in a sweat - and I mean that in a good way,

Another issue (not to do with management) is the distance from the main town, Mae Hat. If you don't have your own transportation, the only way to get to and from town is by taxi. The resort will call you a cab for 200bht, and to get back it's 300bht (about 10USD). I ended up just walking into town and back, which was actually fairly enjoyable despite the heat, but not something you want to do more than once. Plus the hill to get in and out of the resort is really, really steep - like San Francisco steep - not pleasant at all in 90 degree weather.

As a previous reviewer said, this is not a great place for a solo traveler if you're looking to meet people as it's mostly couples or groups of friends. I wasn't looking for that, so it was fine, but it should be mentioned.

My verdict is that if you have a scooter and can stay in one of the nicer bungalows, this place is perfect. If you have no transportation of your own and don't like roughing it, then you have to deal with some real inconveniences. I felt that the location was just nice enough to make the inconvenience worthwhile. It really is that good.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the nicer bungalows if you can afford it. Be prepared for a little discomfort otherwise.
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Pam E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2013

If you are looking for a 5 star resort this is not it. If you want a superb location, excellent bungalow overlooking a beautiful bay and opportunities for sunsets, this is it. Yes, there may be some insects and the walk to the room is long, but this is the tropics. If you want a 5 star resort hotel stay somewhere else. This is what being in Ko Tao is all about for me. Little more cost than I am used to, but I did have AC, great bungalow with hot shower, spacious room, clean room (put your keys at the front desk if you want your room cleaned), and a gorgeous place to eat breakfast. I did not have issues with the staff -- everyone was fine, perhaps not with the sunny, sunny disposition of many Thai establishments, but from the reviews I am wondering if guests are expecting a Western style hotel/resort for a price of a moderate accommodation in SE Asia -- and expectations are far more than you are going to get and staff is tired of that. Depends on how you want to travel. I like feeling like I am in another country and have never stayed (or wanted to) in a fancy all inclusive resort hotel.

Room Tip: Concrete bungalows are superb!
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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Thank canadianfamily007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Freedom Beach Resort for 5 nights as the setting came highly recommended by friends. We loved the beach, the beach bar and beautiful snorkeling areas but the resort itself really put us off our stay... We were put in a room miles from all the others, which was filled with spiders. We moved to another, which was better but still not great. (And we were left to move all our stuff up and down steep pathways alone). The staff were exceptionally rude and unhelpful to guests (many people complained). Because the resort is so far from town, you are forced to eat at the restaurant - which can be quite expensive if traveling on a budget.
Although we loved the setting, I will go back for a day trip rather than stay there - purely because the staff are so rude and the resort is relatively isolated.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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1  Thank Katelighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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