Some thoughts on Khao Lak (and the Le Meridien)…

I’ve been staying at the Le Meridien Khao Lak for the past several days and have had a very nice stay. I chose the Le Meridien in part because of the very reasonably priced villas they offer. I’ll save the details for my trip report, though just a few thoughts/observations as I get ready to depart to my next port of call:

  • The view and setting in Khao Lak is stunning, plain and simple.
  • The weather has been beautiful. Monsoon season? What monsoon season!
  • The villas here have “hosts,” as they call them, that look after you (though I’m not sure what exactly they do). The funny thing about it was that as we checked in and our “host” introduced herself to us and explained she would help with making arrangements, get us anything we might need, and help with packing and unpacking, but finished by saying “I am NOT a butler.” LOL!
  • This place is a friggin’ wildlife preserve. I’ve seen crocodile-sized lizards, snakes in the pool, rats, geckos in our room, etc.
  • Why do breakfast buffets in Thailand have to be so good (and extensive)? I don’t think I can even swim anymore…
  • The service has been much more genuine than at the Westin Siray Bay, though not especially polished. We were told our private pool would be cleaned every day, though it hasn’t been cleaned once. We got turndown service the first night, but not for any subsequent nights.
  • I generally love small towns in Thailand, though Khao Lak really isn’t all that interesting. Furthermore they have a “taxi mafia” here, so charge as much to get into town as a NYC cab would…
  • The food at the hotel has been generally good and reasonably priced. The Italian restaurant here is honestly the best I’ve eaten at outside of Italy.
  • The GM here is very hands on. I haven’t actually talked or interacted with him, but I’ve seen him at least a dozen times a day just walking around and making sure everything is okay.
  • After staying in a formal “villa” for the first time, I have to wonder what the big deal is. I wish I would have just booked a basic room and gotten a suite. Not once have I actually gone into my “backyard,” since it’s basically a wildlife preserve. If I want to sit at a pool I’d much rather sit at the main one.

More to come with the trip report. Now it’s off to another exciting destination. I’ll give some clues in a post tomorrow, so let’s see if anyone can guess where I’m going. It’ll take three flights and over 20 hours, and it’s a destination I’ve never been to.


Beach at sunset


Villa at night


Breakfast


Lizard or crocodile?


Best pizza outside of Italy

Comments

  1. Looking forward to the trip report – Will be heading to Khao Lak in December and debating between the Le Meridien and JW Marriott. Enjoy!

  2. I don’t think Maldives would take so long to get to. I am guessing someplace more in the South Pacific.

    I am not a beach person so I think I would probably go insane at a place like this. But it does look pretty nice for a very short visit.

  3. Was considering a trip here in December, but I’m not a huge fan of wildlife – e.g., rats and snakes in the pool.

  4. @Dealswelike — My wife and I stayed at the JW Marriott last year in Khao Lak and truly enjoyed it. We didn’t check out the Le Meridien, and they did not have private villas, but if you have Marriott Status, they take great care of you, we had a nice Executive Suite, and truly enjoyed the beach, largest pool in Southeast Asia (their claim), as well as a swim up bar with daily drink specials… The Spa was quite reasonable as well.

  5. We are also going to Khao Lak in December. I have Platinum with Marriott but I’d like to give the Le Meridien a try. It sounds a little more laid back which is exactly what I’m looking for right now.

    Ben, have you had a chance to see the suites there? If so please try to include a few pics in your trip report. No much has been posted about the suites as everyone raves about the villas…..Thanks

  6. Was at the LM Khao Lak in March and agree with almost all of what you’ve said, especially about the villa. While nice, I think I would have preferred a big suite instead. We had a beachfront villa and didn’t want to hang out back there because the public could easily see in as they were walking down the beach.

    As for breakfast, it looks like you were at the main buffet. As a SPG PLT you could get a free buffet at the Thai restaurant by the lagoon. That buffet was exponentially nicer in our opinion (the free champagne didn’t hurt!)

  7. We have stayed at te LM 7 times over the past few years with our children an have loved it. All therooms are nice an the staff are incredible. The GM is very hands on and easy to talk with. We love the dinners they have and like walking down the beach to the little restaurants that only cost 3 dollars a plate. It is a great place to relax especially with kids. You don’t have to walk much to get to pools or the beach.

  8. Haven’t been to the LM KL, but in general, Ben, I think you’re just not the target audience for a villa: the value of a villa is much more for a romantic or family getaway than for a traveler who likes cool upgrades / luxurious surroundings.

    On a romantic trip, it’s not just about the privacy for a little poolside canoodling without being engaged in too much PDA — it’s about the luxury of being able to wander out and dip your feet in the pool without the pressure of worrying about how you look, and, especially for women, the ability to go lie by the pool without being ogled by every guy who walks by. In the family instance, the attraction is that a villa “feels more homey” than a big suite and gives you a space where the kids can play without bothering other people / needing to be supervised quite as closely. S

  9. @Lucky – yeah, I was wondering if I should just book a normal room rather than the villa. While I travel up-country quite a bit in Thailand for work and am comfortable with the wildlife, I think I might be more comfortable with a basic suite, which I understand are easy to upgrade at this property.

  10. Dear All, I have read through all your comments and thanks to Lucky, Travis and David for sharing your holiday experience at Le Meridien Khao Lak. We always welcome our guests’ feedbacks to help us improve and maintain our service.

    Some of you are worrying about the wildlife mentioned in Lucky post. Please allow me to clarify, yes, there are some small wildlife here as due to the fact that our hotel is located in between forests and along this 13 kilometres beachfront land, there are only 3 or 4 hotels occupied the land, so there are still plenty of forests around here that house small wildlife. But having said that, we do not neglect this nature fact, we have engaged with pest control to minimize some of the wildlife, but certainly we are unable to eliminate all due to the open areas. The lizard is not that big.

    Regarding the butler, in fact in past, we used to call it Butler, but then we changed it to Villa Host, which suits better for the service they are providing.

    Joediver, I saw your question, you may log into http://www.lemeridienkhaolak.com, I have just loaded our guestroom pdf brochure, which will give you a better view on the interior of our room, suite and villa.

    David, due to the low occupancy we do not open Baan Thai restaurant for breakfast during May to October, instead we offer SPG Plat members and Villa guests a complimentary in-room breakfast, plus the choice of buffet breakfast.

    Should you need further information about the hotel, SPG upgrade and etc, you may contact me at Flyer Talk or our reservation email: reservations.khaolak@lemeridien.com.

  11. @ rktoledo — In fairness it was one small snake in the pool. I saw a bigger one near the pool, though. That was the extent of my snake encounters, though.

    @ David — Hmmm, I wasn’t aware of the ability to have breakfast at the Thai restaurant as a Platinum. Too bad.

    @ villafan — Good point!

    @ NYBanker — The long and skinny ones with two eyes. 😉

    In all honesty, I’m not much of a snake expert, unfortunately. They looked harmless enough.

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