A Royal (dis)HHonor: Conrad Koh Samui

Introduction
Aloft San Francisco Airport
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to Singapore
St. Regis Singapore
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Singapore
SilkAir Business Class Singapore to Koh Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui to Bangkok
Le Meridien Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Royal Jordanian Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco


As I discussed in the introduction post, while the initial plan for this trip was to go to Bali, Hilton’s decision to more or less castrate their HHonors program caused us to change our plans and go to Koh Samui instead. The Conrad was available for four nights on an AXON award (available to those with a co-branded Hilton American Express card) for 145,000 points. The hotel went from ordinarily costing 50,000 points per night to 95,000 points per night. Meanwhile category 10 AXON awards will cost 300,000 points starting in a few weeks, meaning the cost of this stay has more than doubled.

The Conrad is an all villa property located on the southern tip of Koh Samui, almost exactly on the opposite side of the island as the airport. We had arranged transport with the hotel in advance, and it cost about $50USD for the hotel’s Toyota SUV (which was comfortable). The ride to the hotel took just a bit under an hour, and the last part of the drive was especially interesting, as we drove up a series of extremely steep hills to the top of the resort.

At the top of the hill was the resort’s reception area, which was open air. The views were stunning.


Resort entrance


View from the resort’s driveway


View from the lobby

It was early, still before 11AM, so they asked us to take a seat while they processed our check-in. They also offered us cold towels and some tea.


Cold towels and tea

Within about 15 minutes they found us a villa and explained some of the features of the resort before driving us down to our room. As HHonors Gold members we were offered complimentary daily breakfast, two drink vouchers, and certificates for bonus points at both the spa and restaurant for reaching certain spending thresholds.


Drink certificates and bonus certificates for reaching spending thresholds

The resort has a fleet of golf carts, and when I say fleet I mean it. The setting of the resort can’t be stressed enough, as it’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s literally set on the side of a super-steep hill, and there are several “rows” of villas of varying levels. Here’s a picture and map which hopefully illustrate it well:


Map of resort

Each villa is on individual stilts, and at times they’re 30 or 40 feet high. So as you can see above, there’s basically one main road which winds up and down the resort. These roads are extremely steep, and at times feel so steep that they’re hardly walkable. Interestingly there aren’t any stairs connecting the various levels, so in a way the resort is really designed such that you have to take a golf cart if you want to move up or down in the resort. More on that later.


View of resort


Golf carts

Anyway, our villa was 218, and the drive there took a few minutes. I’d say the second level is pretty ideal — it feels high enough so that you can still appreciate the unobstructed views of the water, but low enough so that you don’t feel like you’re in a skyscraper.


Road to our villa


Villa 218

The villa consisted of a main room with a comfortable king size bed, a desk, a couch with seating for two, and a table overlooking the flat screen TV.


Villa bedroom


Villa bedroom


Villa bedroom


TV facing towards bathroom


Desk


Seating area

Shortly after arriving we were brought a fruit plate and some cookies, which were placed on the table.


Welcome amenity

The bathroom was connected to the bedroom via two doors, and featured one heckuva massive bathtub.


Bathtub

There were also double sinks.


Double sinks


Amenities

Then there was a large walk-in shower. It’s worth noting that all the toiletries in the villa came in reusable dispensers which I don’t usually mind, but I found them a pain in the ass to use given that they didn’t “dispense” properly.


Shower

Then there was a separate room with a toilet.


Toilet

On the back side of the bathroom was a large closet.


Closet

The highlight of the villa, not surprisingly, was the outdoor space. There was a table with plenty of seating, two lounge chairs with an umbrella, a huge (~30 foot long) infinity pool, and amazing views.


Villa outdoor area


Villa outdoor area


Views from villa

The villas were for the most part pretty private, though if you looked over the edge of the wall you could see the other villas on the same level, or for that matter if you looked up you could see the villas on higher levels than you.


View of other villas

I mean, everything about the villa was awesome, and the wifi was even probably the fastest I’ve experienced in Asia — and free for everyone — which is kind of surprising given the setting of the resort. But the highlight had to be the sunset views, which were among the nicest I’ve seen anywhere.


Sunset view from villa


Sunset view from villa


Sunset view from villa

So, about the public facilities of the hotel. On the same “level” of the resort as our villa was the restaurant and concierge.


Restaurant and concierge “driveway”

Then one level further down was the resort’s pool and fitness center.


Walkway to pool

The pool was fairly nice, though in my opinion not incrementally nice enough to be used over the individual villa pools.


Pool


Pool

There were some nice day beds and even lounge chairs in shallow water, but I still didn’t think they were incrementally nice enough compared to the privacy/comfort of the outdoor area of the villa.


Daybeds at pool

This is also were the pool bar was, where we had our complimentary drinks.



Pool bar

The fitness center was next to the pool and located at the bottom of a spiral staircase.


Fitness center entrance

The fitness center equipment was nice enough, but limited.


Fitness center entrance

Also one level below the pool was an artificial beach.


“Beach”


“Beach”

That led to the dock, the very end of which featured some awesome views of the resort.


Dock


Resort view from end of dock


Resort view from end of dock

The resort also has a killer spa. Prices are higher than most hotels in Thailand, around $100USD for an hour-long massage, so I just had one massage. But I have to say the treatment was excellent, so I can’t say it was a total ripoff. I paid the same at the Westin Siray Bay for a massage that was mediocre at best.

And the spa itself is beautiful as well, with a very nice waiting room and a balcony overlooking the water.


Spa


Spa


Spa

One cool thing the resort offers is a complimentary boat transfer to a nearby island with a “real” beach. The transfer is available three times a day (10AM, 12PM, and 2PM), with returns 75 minutes after departure (11:15AM, 1:15PM, and 3:15PM). The boat ride there is pretty cool and takes about 15 minutes (though they go really fast), and while the island itself is quite nice, it’s otherwise pretty secluded, so you probably won’t want to do more than the hour or so there (which is how long you’re there before the next boat returns).


Boat ride


Boat on secluded beach


The beach


The beach


The beach

I’d say the one aspect of the resort that’s truly underwhelming is the food. Breakfast was served daily at ZEST, the resort’s more casual restaurant. There was both indoor and outdoor seating, so we sat outside for two mornings and inside for the other two mornings.


ZEST entrance


ZEST outdoor seating


ZEST indoor seating

The breakfast spread was underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it was by no means horrible, but as far as resorts in Thailand that I’ve been to go, I found the quality of the food to be the worst, which isn’t really something you’d expect at a property that charges over $1,000 per night.

There was a cooked to order menu, off of which you could order as much as you wanted, and then a buffet.

The highlight of the breakfast had to be the smoothies, which were delicious. Unfortunately they were all gone by about 9:30AM or so each morning.


Smoothies

While they had a good selection of pastries, muffins, croissants, danishes, etc., none of them tasted especially fresh, or for that matter tasted like much of anything. They only seemed to make them (or buy them) every two days, because they were fairly stale every other day.


Croissants/muffins/donuts


Pastries


Bread/cheese/salad

There was also a limited selection of fruit.


Fruit


Yogurt


Fruit

Then there were a few warm dishes. They were lukewarm, and I found the Thai dishes to be especially disappointing.


Hot dishes


Hot dishes

Lastly there was a cooked to order station with omelets and pancakes. They were actually quite good in most cases.


Omelet and pancake station


Pancakes


Thai iced tea and smoothie

I just want to be sure I’m framing the breakfast spread correctly here so nobody misunderstands me. It was still leaps and bounds better than what you’ll find at at the average Hyatt or Sheraton breakfast spread in the US, and it was all perfectly edible. But this hotel was literally charging over $1,000 per night for a base room on my dates, so with that in mind it was disappointing. Like I said, of the Thai hotels I’ve stayed at (all of which were otherwise under $300 per night), this was the most underwhelming spread.

Unfortunately the food didn’t get much better for lunch or dinner. One day we had lunch at ZEST, including tomato and mozzarella as well as a club sandwich. The tomatoes and mozzarella just looked weird, bread was borderline stale, and the club sandwich was just “bleh.”


Bread


Tomato and mozzarella


Club sandwich

Aside from the “fine dining” restaurant, ZEST is the only real option for eating dinner at the resort, so we had Thai food there one night. I love Thai food (and authentic Thai food, not the watered down stuff in the US), but it just wasn’t good. I had the prawn pad thai, and it had that “ketchupy” taste you find at cheap Thai take out places in the US.


Prawn pad thai


Sticky rice with mango

I hate to say this, but the best non “fine dining” option at the resort were their pizzas, which were actually quite good. And with the views available from our terrace, why not dine in room?


Room service

Fortunately there were a couple of decent restaurants only a short drive from the resort so we had dinner there two nights, which was a smart decision.

As far as the service goes, I found it to be okay for the most part. By Western standards it was no doubt phenomenal, but compared to other places I’ve stayed in Thailand I couldn’t help but feel like the employees were all a bit disengaged. Some were friendly, but there was a bit of a lack of sincerity, I found.

Conclusion

This resort is relaxing, possibly one of the most “disconnected” getaways I’ve been able to have in a long time. The villas are stunning, the private pools are much more than plunge pools and are actually “swimmable,” and the views from the resort are among the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen. Spending four nights here was perfect, though I wouldn’t really want to do more than that. I wouldn’t want to spend a week here, given that I don’t like to disconnect for that long. All of those are things that speak for the hotel.

At the same time, the resort itself is boring. But if you’re looking for a disconnected getaway that can be a good thing. Because the rooms were actually nice enough so that you wanted to spend time in them. The food was also disappointing. They have a lot of work to do in that regard, and you are fairly “captive” when you’re staying here given there aren’t all that many alternatives to dining at the resort. Don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t horrible for a maybe 3.5-4 star property, but for a five star property they really need to do better.

At 145,000 Hilton HHonors for four nights this was a steal. An absolute steal, possibly my greatest use of hotel points ever. But I also like to look at things in terms of the revenue rate, which is in the high season about $1,000 per night. Going back a few years I figured it was a moot point to even judge that, since I couldn’t imagine ever paying that much for a hotel. But a couple of years ago I stayed at some Amans in India (Aman New Delhi, Aman-i-Khas, and Amanbagh), and finally realized “hey, if you have the money, there are actually hotels in the world that are worth north of $1,000 per night.” But it has to be a truly all around perfect experience for that to be the case, in my opinion.

Even if I could afford it, this isn’t a property I’d spend over $1,000 per night at.

But if you’re planning on staying here soon (which I assume a lot of you are, in anticipation of Hilton’s devaluation), you’ll have a great time. Bring some books, don’t have high expectations of the food, and be ready to unwind and relax, and you’ll almost definitely leave satisfied.

Anyone else stay here, and if so, what did you think?

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Comments

  1. Dude you’re making me cry. I didn’t even have an HHonors stash and these pics are making me sad about the devaluation. What an epic redemption.

  2. I loved the place. I found breakfast including the service to be very good. The avocado smoothies were incredible.

  3. Thanks for the report. Is there a mini-fridge should one wish to bring provisions? When you went to the nearby restaurants, did the hotel have to call a taxi or do they wait at the hotel? I also have a stay booked in January and want to be prepared. Thanks!

  4. Will be there over Christmas this December, and then heading down to Conrad Bali. Two questions:
    1. Will I find a way to get there from Bangkok using United points, and if not what is the best paid option for flying there?
    2. Due to it’s remote location, does renting a car make sense for a 5 night stay?

  5. Kind of bummed now. Had to cancel my stay here for next week at the 14 day cancelation window when I couldn’t figure out the flights. 🙁

  6. If you like Thai food, check out Pestle Rock in Ballard. A little pricier than others but really good northern Thai dishes

  7. Just wanted to pitch in my two cents about transportation and getting around the island: I’m by no means an adventurous driver – definitely don’t prefer driving on vacation either – but with the Conrad being so secluded and transportation being relatively expensive, we did end up booking a rental car and were really glad we did. The cheapest airport to hotel transportation we could find was $100 round trip, but the car rental for our four night trip cost a grand total of $120 + $30 gas (booked at avisthailand.com). There are many local restaurants, both casual and upscale, not too far outside the Conrad, and valet parking is free.

    I was apprehensive about the Thailand / international / left-hand side driving, but having done it, would highly highly recommend it!

  8. @ Rich — Hmmm, the order looks correct to me. Are you using the mobile site by chance? Have occasionally heard issues with the order of pictures on the mobile site.

  9. @ Shanghai9 — Hmmm, there was a minibar, though I don’t recall there being any room to store other items in there.

    Generally when I made a restaurant reservation the hotel would also arrange a taxi, as they aren’t readily available otherwise at the resort.

  10. @ JakePB — The only option for using United miles to Koh Samui is on Thai Airways through Bangkok. They don’t release much award space on that flight and if you’re not able to book an award ticket on it, don’t worry. Fares are usually quite reasonable on Bangkok Airways, which is a decent experience as well.

    As far as driving goes, I’m not adventurous enough to drive in Thailand, though it’s definitely a possibility as Justin outlined above.

  11. I agree with ABC – this great trip report is now the closest I will ever go, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. There are other places in the world which are a lot easier to get to and even more beautiful (and luxurious, if that’s what you want.) i would be bored silly there.

  12. Great TR Ben, as always.

    I had a similar experience, although tried the spa more times and realized some employees were excellent whereas others were trying their best but were simply undertrained. Also re. food, it helped that I got recommendations from the chef — some offerings are so much better than others. In sum, Conrad Koh Samui is lacking the consistency you’d expect from the prices they charge, but it was a great redemption.

    I would add that Koh Samui is at a great location for day trips. We all have different tastes, but I personally would have considered it a huge missed opportunity if I had made it all the way down to the gulf of thailand and neglected exploring such tremendous nearby destinations as ang thong marine park or koh tao.

  13. Nice review. This always begs me the question… Would I be willing to pay for a room at a certain hotel when it’s also available on points? For example Park Hyatts very nice hotels but almost of them very comparable in price to the Four Seasons hotels. And for the most part if I’m paying cash for a room, ild rather go Four Seasons. Or in Thailand Trisara.

  14. “I love Thai food (and authentic Thai food, not the watered down stuff in the US)” … why’d you order the Pad Thai then?!

  15. I was just there a few weeks before you and generally agree with the review. We did a bit better at Zest, maybe just due to some luckier choices. One dish that I thought was a particular standout was the Laab Tuna, which was made like a typical Laab Gai, but with raw tuna as the protein instead. It was totally delicious. The best dishes at Jahn were also kind of Thai fusion style, so it may be that this was more their strength. We didn’t have any of the Mediterranean dishes. The cooking class was a pretty fun and well done activity.

  16. JakePB – I second Lucky’s recommendation of Bangkok Airways. They’re really a classy operation, even in economy. I don’t know if it’s still true, but a few years ago, just by being a member of their FF program, you got access to a lounge in BKK. It’s not the greatest lounge in the world, but there’s free snacks and juice – and best of all, if you’re traveling with young kids, there’s a separate play area for them equipped with toys and objects to climb on. And on top of that, if you book far enough in advance, their fares are very reasonable. Have a great trip!

  17. How are the roads and traffic signage to find your way from the airport to the Conrad and v.v.?

  18. @Lucky, even now with the increased points requirement for Koh Samui, would you recommend this being a worthy trip for people saving tons of HH points?

  19. Lucky – Which local restaurants did you go to? What type of reviews would you give them? You mention they were “decent”…..I am assuming one was Green Ta’lay? Worth going to or not?

  20. Ben- “The breakfast spread was underwhelming.” I thought as a Hilton Gold or Diamond in addition to the buffet you could also order anything off the breakfast menu and in as much quantity as you wanted?

  21. Yes, you can order off of the breakfast menu as a gold.

    As for the comments about being bored. I could have sat in the infinity pool all day every day and not been bored. The pictures really do not do it justice. I must have quietly said to myself “I love this place” a thousand times.

    BTW, I found driving to be easy. I would definitely recommend it as we took various day trips everyday. The warning is that like other Asian locations, there are mopeds everywhere.

  22. My wife and I found the eggs Benedict at breakfast to be awesome. They had a side menu that you could order off of at breakfast. Also dud u take advantage of happy hour drinks which were 2 for 1? I believe it is offered only like every other day or so.

    We didn’t take advantage of the mojito brunch which is all you can eat appetizers and unlimited mojitos from 12pm to 3pm. I believe it’s $50 per person but we will try it when we go back in August!

  23. Josh- my wife was looking for shopping so I will answer hour your question. No there wasn’t any shopping near the hotel.The closest option is Cheung Beach which was absolutely disgusting. Ie, think Tijunga Mexico which gobs of no class bars and trucks going up and down the street blaring Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby to promote the Ice Bar. The only real option is Fisherman’s Wharf which is 1 hour or more away depending on traffic.

  24. On some of the days we were there, we hardly saw anyone in late November. One morning it was just us at breakfast.

    Driving was not that bad, but the resort is hard to find. We rented a car from Hertz and used the Garmin iPhone GPS app for Thailand.

    I liked the hard product at the hotel but overall just didn’t love it. It is so out of reach of normal people and felt not authentic. There were no Thai people that stay there and everyone was surprised when they saw me.

    The food was mediocre. I’m Thai though, my BF thought the food was great. Except the breakfast.

    http://www.thaitum.com/blog/2012/11/16/mikes-version-of-events-day-5-part-1/

  25. @Justin Your comments show how much advance planning for logistics pays off……it just isn’t finding a great resort and a great flight……there are a lot of messy details in between………

  26. @ Carl — The drive involved enough back roads so that I know for a fact I would have gotten lost pretty bad. The actual road conditions and flow of traffic wasn’t so bad compared to elsewhere in Thailand. So if you’re adventurous go for it. I know I’ve had enough bad luck with rental cars that I wouldn’t rent one in Thailand.

  27. @ John — Good point, forgot about the extra menu, though updated the post with a picture of it. Only had one of the options one morning and didn’t find it to be great, so stuck to the buffet.

  28. The Green Talay Restaraunt 5 min down the street is a very good choice for a Thai dinner near the Conrad. We went there for dinner 3 nights out of 5 nights while staying there.

  29. David when we went to Green Talay the ex pat owner was screaming at his wife and employees. We felt terrible for them.

  30. I didn’t like the Green Talay restaurant. I don’t understand why it gets so many raves on TripAdvisor.

    We did enjoy the Sabeinglae Restaurant on Lamai Beach. It’s a bit further from the hotel though, about midway to the airport. It’s not as quiet or upscale, if you can call the Green Talay upscale, but is right on the beach.

    The Conrad concierge recommended it as a place popular with Thai people when they visit the island.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1188000-d2232061

  31. We stayed at the Conrad for 2 nights in December and agree with your post. I actually found though that the service was pretty poor. The employees were so slow and just not that interested in being there. The room and private pool were beautiful, but I would not have spent my own money there.

  32. I crossed out Hilton from my life. Won’t give any business to a company that does not care about its customers and devaluates their points like we did nothing to earn them.

  33. The best hotel I have ever stayed!

    However, my girlfriend and I both had symptoms of food poisoning after our dinner at Jahn …

    Other than that, everything is perfect! … :S

  34. A good review IMO and excellent pix, especially of the sea view and sunsets. Never been there, can’t quite figure out where it is, and heck no, I’m not paying $1k per night for a good view and a nice pool. Nuts. As for the food, the ‘resort’ must be a significant distance from their suppliers. ‘Resorts’ at that price point generally do a LOT better with their food. I’m just guessing here, but based on the several pix of breads and pastry offerings, 1) they are NOT made on-site and may even be from frozen stocks. (If they were made on-site, they would look better and you’d probably be raving about them.) An ‘exotic’ and interesting location perhaps, but I cannot see this as a preferred destination, even for a last-minute, pre-devaluation points burn. Whoever put the place in the 5-star class, or set the basic rates apparently imagined something that just is not there. FWIW, I’m likely a poor judge of ‘resorts’ of that type – they’re just not my thing. If they were, I’d probably value the place in the $300-$350 range at most. For me (and travel partner), a far better experience is a remote B&B with it’s own special charms, plenty of walking space and privacy – and generally in the $200-$250 range. I know… Few of those establishments grant or accept major reward program points, but for the additional benefits, we don’t much care. In recent years, we’ve typically made three trips each year, one to a long-favored B&B-like family home in the Bavarian Alps (15+ years and counting) and two others, usually to spots that are new to us. If we don’t find any new spots that appeal, we toss-in the towel and return to visit our now genuine friends in Bavaria for a second trip, regardless of the season. (Sorry, but I’m not revealing the name or location. The guesthouse is so small that they can accommodate only two couple at a time and we don’t want ever want to be told, ‘sorry, full-up that week.’ I guess should add that we’ve become so close to this family over the years, that we’ve hosted pairs of their kids in our own home, twice and with a third visit pending.) Despite the urge to explore new places, we’ve come to love our visits in Bavaria and we’ve made many, very dear friends in the unmentioned tiny town. Nuff said. -C.

  35. Amazing view! Did you have to pay or use additional points to get that room or is this considered “standard” room for the 145,000 points?

  36. So I assume there is no other way to redeem the Conrad Koh Samui w/145K points before June 15th?

    I had plans to go on my honeymoon to Thailand and get rid of all my points at this resort, any other suggestions for Cat 7 resorts?

    I am willing to consider going to a completely different destination just to take advantage of the AXON 145K redemption beofore June 15th!

    What would be your best advice?

  37. @ Alex — Correct, since it’s already a category 10 property, unfortunately not. Frankly I don’t think you’ll find any other category 7 properties of this caliber, so I’d probably still redeem for the Conrad Koh Samui in your shoes.

  38. Here now- sadly weather is very overcast with 100% cloud cover every day, but otherwise a very nice setting. Have yet to experience any service lapses, but agree the food is unremarkable.

    FYI for those considering renting a car and driving- this just became much easier as literally yesterday signs were added at pretty much every turn you need to make to get to the resort. Before this there was maybe one sign on the whole island, so a marked improvement.

    Anyone have any restaurant recommendations for a more authentic experience than Green Ta’lay? The food there is only marginally better than the hotel in our opinion (though at 1/3-1/2 the price), and the only diners we saw were tourists.

  39. Are the Hilton Reserve certificates good for redemption here? The exclusion list says Conrad Residences, not sure if that’s the same thing?

  40. Hey Lucky,

    Just booked this for my gf’s bday with cash+points. Had about 40k sitting on my account and figured why not. We are gonna be at the Sala in Koh Samui, and then spend her bday there.
    Any recommendations? It seems like there’s no upgrades, so is there anything you think I could ask them for since it’s a “special occasion”? I have HH gold for what it’s worth.

    Thanks

  41. @ acs — My guess is that they’d provide a cake and/or champagne, so it can’t hurt to email them. But not really any room types to upgrade to.

    Enjoy your stay!

  42. @ Hong Kong Airline News — I’d love to, but given the expensive revenue rates and inflated points rates, I’d have a hard time justifying it.

  43. Ben, sorry for the late comment but a quick question. Last year, I booked this award for March 2014 and as my trip is coming up, I am revisiting your koh samui post and I have a quick question – how did you book your ride from the airport to the hotel? I’m trying to figure this out but seem to be stuck without much luck. Any suggestions/help here would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  44. You can book a taxi at the Koh Samui airport on arrival. It costs 1500 baht (around $50) and there are plenty of taxis on standby. The Conrad can arrange a car, but I think it is more expensive. There is also someone that gets good reviews on the Flyertalk thread that you can contact by email, but I think it is the same price as booking at the airport.

  45. Next time you go to Koh Samui try Vana Belle, Le Meridien, W, or InterContinental. W was good and the others seem good as well. (It’s not like there’s any reason to go to Koh Samui after going there once, but…)

  46. First of all great review Lucky.

    We are currently on site on honeymoon. So far we loved it here and we do agree with your review. Except we still need to experience the breakfast.

    In regards to transportation we booked it via http://www.samuitaxi.com/ for 2190bath for a roundtrip. However you could also book it via Conrad for 1500bath one way.

  47. We stayed at the Conrad in the Fall of 2011 for 4 nights, and had exactly the same experience and impressions as you. The Conrad officially opened in September, 2011 so we took some of the faults in stride, chalking most of them up to teething pains. We too loved the room and thought the private pool ranked near the top of any villa resort where we have stayed. We also used HH points and stayed on the 2nd level, and I agree – level 2 or 3 is ideal. I don’t believe the shuttle boat to the neighboring island was operating yet, so that is a newer feature, and probably a good one that expands the activity offerings which are minimal.

    The big downside to the Conrad is its remoteness. That in and of itself would not be so bad if you seek privacy, but for us, it was a real inconvenience because of the poor quality of the food. We were saved by a very delicious local restaurant about 20 minutes away that had, I must say, some of the best green curry I’ve ever eaten. The resort does not make it easy to come and go, and arranging either a hotel car or taxi was troublesome. During our stay there was a security check point below the gate that required taxis to wait sometimes 10 minutes while they sent a hotel van down to offload you, and transfer you up to reception in their own vehicles. In any event, the food at the resort was so shameful that we persisted on traveling out, and aside from 1 terrible dinner and 4 mediocre breakfasts on site, we refused to eat there. For $1000 per night price I cannot believe that they have not yet gotten the quality up by the time of this review.

    Finally I would say that the staff was lackluster and appeared inconvenienced and out of sorts. Check in was sort of perfunctory and not terribly friendly. Upon check out there was a mistake on the bill regarding a surcharge on using their shuttle service. The hotel will take you complimentary to points just outside the resort, and we had negotiated a destination (the good restaurant) that was just beyond their route. It was all fine in the end, but they became aggressive at first about the validity of the charge until we could confirm their earlier agreement to making it complimentary.

    Frankly the management is were the resort lags. Food, beverage and training. Which is a shame given the setting.

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