The Le Meridien Koh Samui is a nice resort, but not as spectacular as I had hoped. Our Flight into Koh Samui arrived 2 hrs late and we arrived at the hotel around 9pm. There was on one to greet us when the hotel car dropped us off. A security guard pointed us towards the hotel. We wandered towards the hotel – the front of the hotel is ugly and reminded me of a motel – but once you pass through the actual entrance you get that resort feeling you expect. The hotel has the most amazing water and light feature that you walk through to get to reception. Someone from reception finally greeted us at the top of a stair case (we carried our own bags up the stairs) and she showed us to reception. Check in was not smooth, but the staff worked hard and got everything sorted – eventually. That’s the theme of this review – service.
I booked a verandah suite and used the new SPG Suite Night Awards Benefit to upgrade to a suite. I was upgraded to a Pool Access Suite. However, the word “suite” is very deceptive because there is one room with a bed, desk and TV an outdoor open-air bathroom and a patio that provides pool access. The hotel counts the patio as the “living room” and the front desk staff insists that makes it a suite. It would be better called a “villa” (which is what other Le Meridien in Phuket and Khao Lak call it). I was very disappointed to learn that the Suite Night Awards could not be used on any other “suite” types at this property. And in addition, another platinum member traveling w/me was upgraded to the same Pool Access Suite without using the upgrade awards.
After checking in, I went to my pool access suite and was disappointed with what I found. Not only did I find dirty sheets on the bed, I noticed that the duvet cover was stained and the towels were stained as well. The hotel staff changed the sheets, duvet and towels and the GM made a point to assure me the next morning that she would see that the staff had the room cleaned perfectly. And it was cleaned well after that point. I was impressed that the GM made the point to meet me and discuss the issue. Very impressive service.
The out-door, open-air bathroom takes some getting used to. If you’re not into outdoor living, you may to book elsewhere (the W has indoor toilets). You’re exposed to the elements – I almost stepped on a worm one night while using the toilet. A bird flew in while I was in the tub and sat perched on the sink vanity. The bathroom was very hot all the time, night and day, because Koh Samui is hot and there was no air flow. I wish the bathroom had a fan – that would have really helped. It would also be nice if the hotel offered mosquito nets to guests at checkin or before checkin. (which they actually did provide a few days into my stay)
There are mosquitoes everywhere (hotel can’t really control that, but they do a good job of putting coils and citronella around to help as much as possible). The room has French sliding doors as the main door to the room that open directly to the patio and pool. Whenever those doors or the door to the bathroom were open, bugs flew in. Be prepared to wear a lot of bug spray – all the time! (I had the same problem with the mosquitoes at the LM Khao Lak too, it’s just the area.)
The room is small for a suite, but the bed is very, very comfortable and the room is decorated nicely in a colonial Thai style. There is a large TV and working desk in the room. There’s a mini-bar and plenty of drinking water. The patio had a couch – which was in pretty bad shape – and a chair that looked onto the pool and directly into three other pool access suites. The downside to the pool access suites is that you have no privacy unless you keep all the blinds closed and if you close the blinds you lose out on the pool view. It was nice to be able to sit right in front of your room and have your feet in the pool.
There is only one restaurant on the property. The restaurant serves a good breakfast buffet and a la carte menu. Service at breakfast is very good and the GM is always present to ensure service standards. Unfortunately, lunch service falls a bit short – I think this is due to the fact that the GM is not present. There are long waits for drinks and checks and you often have to request the check several times. The food is good, but the lack-luster service at lunch got frustrating.
The pool is nice, but a bit small. It’s very well maintained and the pool chairs are relaxing. The view from the pool is spectacular! I spent a lot of time sitting pool side enjoying the view and some great drinks. The beach is not well maintained and the water is gray directly in front of the hotel -you have to go pretty far out for beautiful blue water you expect in Thailand. There’s a long dock that extends into the water but it was surrounded by brown frothy water that was not appealing. Again, not sure how much the hotel can control this – it is a huge body of natural water.
The spa is very nice, the rooms are beautiful and the massage treatments are exceptional. The manicure and pedicure services are less than average. I would highly recommend the massages, but would not recommend the nail services. Prices are a bit higher than most other Starwood spas but they do offer discounts for early/late appointments and I took advantage of those.
Every evening there is an end of day ceremony. The ceremony is beautiful and a great way to end the day. Part of the ceremony, weather permitting, is the release of Chinese lanterns into the sky. Guests are invited to join the staff in the lobby wading pool where the lanterns are lit and released. The ceremony was breathtaking and a must-do! An absolute highlight of the trip.
On my last day, as I was checking out, I met Ben, the director of Sales and Marketing for the hotel. I was extremely impressed that he took the time to meet with me and talk about the hotel. He was genuinely interested in what I had to say. Ironically, about a week later at the Sheraton Royal Orchid I ran into Ben. I was unbelievably impressed that he remembered me and said hello. Again, service!
I’m not sure if I’d go back given all the other SPG choices in the area. I have high hopes that the management turns it all around…but for me, it really comes down to personal preference. If you like outdoors and open-air bathrooms, then you’ll love this hotel. If you like more modern facilities, than you might want to consider a stay at the W or other SPG property in the area. So in the end, while I didn’t love the hotel, I would highly recommend it.