The last time I had visited Chaweng Beach was as a backpacker in the early nineties. Twenty years on I returned with my young family and mother, for ten nights at the Buri Rasa in early January 2014.
My how things have changed and not all for the better. Fortunately we had a sanctuary from the mayhem at the wonderful Buri Rasa Village. The staff could not have been more accommodating or genuine, from the guys at the beach, to the restaurant staff and the uber helpful front of house , all greeted us with warm smiles and gave us the kind of Thai hospitality long forgotten in these parts.
We had a large family room with a couple of fold away beds for the kids to sleep in in the living area and this worked out fine for us. Our king size fourposter was perfectly comfortable and the room came with all the amenities one would expect with this hotel class. The walk in shower and giant tub were great and the kids loved swimming in the bath it was so big.
There was a little bit of street noise at night (the hotel provide ear plugs), but this is after all Chaweng. If you want a deserted resort in the jungle then look elsewhere and be prepared to pay silly money for the experience. I suffer cabin fever in those kinds of places after about 48 hours and the feeling of being trapped or being forced to take a hugely expensive cab ride to civilization makes this reviewer a very unhappy camper.
Chaweng itself has become very busy and developed in recent years. So a little noise is a price worth paying, as on your doorstop is every conceivable cuisine, bar and restaurant all within a short walking distance at your disposal. That said though, we didn't venture out too often as the food at the hotel was first class from the extensive breakfast buffet, to the excellent beach club lunch offering. I got a real taste for the minced pork with holy basil at lunch time and had it most days. The dinner menu is a good mix of European and Thai cuisine served in a beautiful beach side setting under the stars. My only word of advice is to tell your waiter to cook with a Thai taste if you want your meal to taste authentic. Unfortunately in recent years, despite people traveling further afield and being more intrepid, their taste buds have not, so many places in Thailand including Buri Rasa cater to this as default setting. But after my first meal and telling the waiter, I prefer things seasoned a little more authentically it was duly noted and I never had to ask again.
The hotel grounds are beautifully maintained and lush, with orchids growing out of the palm trees and offer a real sense of tropical sanctuary. The use of reclaimed woods and old temple doors really give the place a sense of history and permanence.
The thing that I particularly like about Buri Rasa is that it feels more like you are staying in a private residence than a resort. There are more than enough sun loungers for everyone with fresh beach towels, the beach vendors also don't bother you unless invited to do so. Despite full occupancy when we were there, it never felt crowded.
The pool is small but well maintained and very refreshing as it has a very low chlorine content. Every afternoon there is an activity or complementary afternoon tea to enjoy. I learned how to make a killer tom yum soup and spring rolls on respective days. Freshly made snacks and fresh fruit ice popsicles were handed out during the afternoon. All in all we were made to feel very welcome and special, my daughter had her hair pleated by one of the barmaids several times and was felt like a real Thai princess. That is what you are paying for I think at Buri Rasa, amazing hospitality and relaxation.
There was a little bit of noise pollution from an adjacent Beach club, but I know the Management had the problem to hand and by now I am sure it is resolved.
If you are looking for a Conrad, Shangri la, Four Seasons experience, do not come here because that is not what Buri Rasa is, or tries to be. If you want a small boutique offering with simple yet elegant rooms set in beautiful gardens, with a great stretch of beach and a very relaxed shanti atmosphere then this is the place for you. We will be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Award-winning Buri Rasa Village located at the very center of Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui. Buri Rasa is an enchanting traditional southern Thai dwelling in a Garden of Eden. Echoes of halcyon days with once upon a time tales of aristocracy escaping to country or paradise island retreats with a full compliment of servants and services to meet their every need & requirement. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buri Rasa Village Hotel Chaweng
- Buri Rasa Village Koh Samui
- Buri Rasa Village Samui Ko Samui/Chaweng