Tongsai Bay Cottages & Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Tongsai Bay Cottages & Hotel Bophut
We loved Tongsai!!
We stayed here last year and are wishing we were there right now! The food, location, rooms and spa were amazing. The Spa was nicer than any of the top spas in London, you felt relaxed just walking into the entrance.
Our room was at the very top of the hill overlooking the bay and was very private and quiet. We were concerned about the walk every AM to the beach or breakfast, but they had golf carts to transport you, they were usually at your door in 1 or 2 minutes after you called.
The staff and quality of service were better than any top hotel I've stayed at. We were playing tennis up at the courts which are a ways away from the lobby and about 20 minutes after we started playing in the heat, one of the staff came up there with a bucket of ice, water (free) and towels for us. We hadn't even asked and they just anticipated that we would need it.
Don't miss the BBQ on the beach, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit on the edge of the water and eat all the freshly grilled seafood you can eat.
Wonderful Destination for Peace and Relaxation
My wife and I spent our honeymoon at Tongsai in March. From the moment we arrived at the property, we were thoroughly impressed -- that is: when we weren't too relaxed to care. When compared with other destinations in Southeast Asia, the island of Ko Samui is hardly tranquil. I don't know that I would return to Ko Samui if it weren't for Tongsai Bay. However, once inside its boundaries...all descriptions must be localized to the resort itself in order to do justice to the experience there.
A great deal of effort must go into making the place feel so easy-going and comfortable. In ways, Tongsai has qualities present in many resorts: restaurant options, a selection of activities, multiple pools -- many ways to occupy the time. But by our fourth or fifth day - when the only people we had spoken with were a few members of the accommodating staff - we felt as if we were simply slipping in and out of the public parts of our honeymoon to offset the serenity of our villa.
The most outstanding part of Tongsai is the staff. They pay attention to every detail but never cross the line into over doing it. In fact, one of our favorite pastimes during our stay was to discuss how well the staff is trained. If you spend time discussing the intricacies of staff operations while on a vacation, the service must be top notch.
The villas themselves are terrific: very attractive, clean and comfortable. Many posts describing the Tongsai use these words and one may be left to believe that "clean" is a term used merely to suggest that no bugs are present or that the sheets don't have stains. While Tongsai is not The Ritz, it is one of the "Small Leading Hotels of the World." Therefore, its standards are exceedingly high. When you read "attractive" -- think polished teak wood, crisp white bed linens and afternoon breezes lightly grazing the sheer curtains that hang in your window. When you read "clean" -- think fresh and immaculate. When you read "comfortable" -- think of your favorite well worn shirt. You will not find brass and chintz at Tongsai; the setting is much more in keeping with the natural world around you.
Tongsai is not without its areas of improvement. Spending 9 nights in any one spot will reveal them to you. My personal complaints: the Internet cafe charges in bhat once 15 minutes have been logged (seems the wrong policy considering the aggressive room rate), the breakfast buffet is slightly overpriced (although abundant and delicious) and - similar to the thoughts of another recent post - the airport transfers could be thrown into the price of the room. But these challenges fade in comparison to the wonderful experiences we had there.
I highly recommend this property to anyone who may come upon this post.
Unique bathing opportunity !
This was our first trip to Thailand and to the Tongsai Bay. We have travelled to many places but this is probably one of the best hotels that we have ever stayed in. The sea view cottage suite was excellent and was well worth spending a little more to get the sea view. We had an outside bath on our balcony, it was fantastic bathing whilst looking out over the sea as the sun sets drinking a glass of wine !! although there was a shower and a bath inside we didn't use them once. The hotel setting is superb with many suites located high on the hill side and with golf buggies to get around in we hardly walked anywhere. The food at the hotel is superb we we most impressed that everything was cooked fresh, even the breakfast no matter what you ordered waffles, bacon, rice etc.. However, the one thing that makes this hotel stand our more than others is the high quality of the staff, they couldn't do enough for you and everyone was professional but friendly. We tried to learn a new Thai phrase each day and this helped us form a brilliant relationship with the staff during our stay.
We are definately going to return to Tongsai Bay within the next 2 years we were so impressed. However on reading other reviews we will probably try to book direct with the hotel and not bother going via a tour company.
We stayed at the hotel for 10 nights and met many other couples and everyone was commenting on how brilliant the hotel was. Infact not one of us could find anything to complain about even if we wanted to. Having read some of the other less impressive reviews I wonder what motivates these people, perhaps they have got too much time on their hands. I would recommend this hotel to all my friends and family, it's a delight and something different, but don't go thinking it's like a city/business hotel it's very much built around the environment and is superb for a honeymoon or special celebration. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Lovely Friendly Hotel - for children also
After having read some reviews I was slightly dubious as to whether this hotel would be suitable for a family so I emailed the hotel directly - their response was that even though they don't have kids clubs etc children are more than welcome - and this was the case. The hotel is itself a little oasis of calm away for the hustle and bustle of Ko Samui itself. We booked a cottage suite which was fantastic and plenty big enough for the four of us. The hotel has 2 pools, one of which is for adults only and there is one restaurant that is for adults only - a good idea for those without children without reducing the enjoyment for thoses that have them. All in all a fantastic hotel - looking forward to returning one day.
Nice, but not a bargain
My girlfriend and I stayed for 4 nights costing around US$1900 with meals, etc. A nice place - the people are well trained, the rooms are clean and the environment is nice.
Pros: nice people, nice views, lots of nature.
Cons: expensive - don't expect any extras like free breakfast or free airport pickup either, the island outside is not very charming, can be a bit boring and isolating.
From the website and reviews, I was expecting more isolation. But there are other resorts that share the bay. Their bright lights can be distracting, and they seem to rent out alot of noisy jetskis.
Try not to think about the cost, and our vacation was great. Just layed around, read and ate some good food. But I probably won't be back. For the amount of money you could probably find a nicer setting.
This is a truly relaxing place to stay. Very poular with Honeymoon couples and very few childeren if that's a factor for your enjoyment.
The staff are extremeley friendly, and attentive and most have been at the hotel for some time and all speak pretty good english and other languages.
We stayed in a garden villa which was very nice and the bath on the deck was a novelty. As my wife and I had the flu for the first week of our stay, I think the management took pity on us and upgraded us to a Grand Villa. These are well worth the extra money, very spacious and a huge deck with a bar, day bed and bath, some with private pool. I would definately book this if we return.
Also recieved a get well card ( nice touch, and unexpected)
The location is perfect, a little remote but peaceful and relaxing, yet only five minutes from Chaweng resort in a taxi which is the equivilant to £2.00each way. There are two lovely pools with drinks waiters and all bottled water is free. The half moon pool is quieter and strictly no childeren.
The main pool is bigger and right on the beach with more of a breeze.
All restaurants are good and some change the theme on a nightly basis.
Sometimes you can dine on the beach where they provide a great BBQ with fresh lobster and other Thai dlicacies.
Other restaurants in the Chaweng and Boh Put areas are worth a short trip.
Prego in Chaweng is a good upmarket Italian. Zico's also in Chaweng is a great Brazilian restaurant which also has a very kewl bar. Also try Bar@C for great cocktails and very kewl atmosphere, and good music.
All in all, I have stayed in many great hotels around the world and this is not the best but has everything you want if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing time where the service is excellent and the staff are freindly and attentive. Try speaking a little Thai, they love it and have a good laugh, with you, not at you. It could be said that the Hotel is a little tired in places but they recognise this and it's going to have a major refurb later this year. Don't let this put you off, it's stilll fresh and very nice as it is. Highly reccomment it. We nearly booked the neighbouring Sala Samui Hotel which is brand new. Glad we didn't as we went to have a look and it has not quite got it right yet.
childeren, the main pool is right on the beach and gets more of a breeze.
A very special place
We have been to Tongsai Bay twice, first for our honeymoon in Oct 02, and then for our wedding anniversary in Oct 04 when we initially booked to stay at a hotel in another part of Thailand, but got ourselves transferred back to Tongsai as we were so unhappy with our initial choice.
We were delighted and relieved to be back at Tongsai Bay and find it just as wonderful as our first stay. The setting itself is unique as the cottages are scattered amongst the hillside with wonderful views of the sea (from your verandah with outdoor bathtub) and surrounded by beautiful gardens with colourful Bougainvillea and palm trees. The cottages are very private, quite simple and stylishly decorated. We loved our four poster bed with the decorative nets around it - very romantic. Fresh fruit, drinking water and little jars of cookies are complimentary each day. Everything is kept spotlessly clean.
The resort is peaceful and tucked away and the beach, although not huge and with slightly shingly sand, is private so there are no pedlars or children trying to sell you things, no noisy bars and no stray dogs on the beach (unlike on Chaweng beach). There are two lovely swimming pools, and very few children (although the one or two that were there did occasionally spoil the tranquil atmosphere -this is very much a couples resort.) The service around the pool is excellent, nice fluffy white towels and complimentary iced water as well as bar service with delicious fresh fruit juices and special cocktails served in a whole coconut or pineapple.
The food is excellent and top quality in all the restaurants, very fresh and reasonably priced, although obviously more expensive than outside the resort. However, another advantage of Tongsai is that if you do wish to venture out (although it is an effort to drag yourself away) it is only 10 mins by Taxi to frantic Chaweng or, as we preferred, the lovely fishing village of Bophut which has a number of very good and reasonably priced restaurants.
The Tongsai Bay has one other thing that sets it apart, the staff. They are truly wonderful, always smiling, friendly and helpful, you get the impression that they are really enjoying their work and this seems to be genuinely the case, a number of the staff have worked at the hotel for many years. Nothing is too much trouble and whatever your whim or wish, it will be delivered with a smile and greeting. The standard of English, particularly in reception and at the bar and restaurants, is excellent. As a guest you feel really special at Tongsai Bay, it is family owned and run and has a really lovely relaxed atmosphere. By the end of our second stay we felt that some of the staff had almost become friends. We were extremely sad to leave, but we will be back a third time, I'm sure, which will be a "first" for us.
We have been to Tongsai twice now and returned in March 04 for our honeymoon. I can honestly say that this is the best hotel I have ever stayed in.
We emailed the hotel ourselves (as returning guests you get a huge discount) and picked our villa (Hide-away cottage) which was tucked away with 180 degree views of the sea!!! We had found paradise, we had a huge bath (could probably comfortably fit 8 in it!) a day bed and two very comfortable wooden sun loungers. All this makes it very difficult to want to leave the terrace especially when you can also order room service. Our room itself was huge with Thia silk everywhere. And from our bed in the morning we could see the sun rise from the sea.
I must say the staff are a pure asset to the hotel nothing is too much trouble on our first trip my husband had brought some cheap DVD's at the local market and noticing that some rooms had a DVD player he enquired at reception as to whether there was one going spare - although it was raining heavily 2 members of staff turned up within 10 minutes with a brand new DVD and small table for it to sit on, we did feel throughly spoilt!
As mentioned in previous reviews the food is excellent we didn't hardly leave the hotel as the variety and standard were 5*. But we did have a brilliant night out at Big John's Seafood restaurant on the other side of the island - tip get the hotel to book you a table and you recieve complimentary taxi to the place - brilliant for sunsets.
All in all this place is perfect I just hope not too many people find it!!!!!
We will be returning very soon........
I just had to write and tell everyone about a little place of heaven. We have been to Tongsai twice now, and both times have come away feeling blessed by this wonderful place. It is actually hard to explain what makes this place so unlike anywhere else, so here are a few adjectives. Warm, safe, relaxed, special, tranquil, respectful.
The Prana Spa is amazing on site, but if you want to really indulge and would prefer not to spend too much money, take a drive North as there are a number of independent Spa's that are excellent. You can have 4 hours worth of treatment for about £25.
If you are looking for glitz, marble and polished mahoganyand brass, Tongsai is not for you. But if you want a 5* hotel that earns its rating on service, ambience, quality and friendliness, then there is no better.
If you go in April it is extremely hot, but you may also catch the Thai New Year - Songkran which is great fun.
Service, staff & surroundings are second to none
Just returned from Honeymoon where we spent 10 fantastic days at Tongsai Bay.
It really is first class luxury. The staff seem to out number the guests and can't do enough for you - The private beach is never crowded, and the food in all three restaurants is excellent to say the least. This is a must for nature lovers too - on our open air terrace, along with our bathtub overlooking the tropical beach below, we had Mynah birds, Gheckos and even a friendly snake for company. This truly is a magical place - I can't wait to go back. One thing to point out though - because the resort is set into a cove and many of the cottage suites are set high up in the rainforest overlooking the bay, it may pose problems for anyone with walking difficulties. ABSOLUTELY 5 *****!
TripAdvisor Reviews Tongsai Bay Cottages & Hotel Bophut
Travel Blogs from Bophut
EO: Well it really is a hard life, but not whilst transferring from resort to resort around Thailand. This time after 4 days in Koh Phangan we were speedboated back to Koh Samui and then mini bussed to our new resort, the Tongsai Bay. Whilst I loved the other two resorts, for some reason Tongsai became my favourite, which made it the hardest to …
... and pork. We spent a lot of time cruising along various parts of the Mekong River. It is the 12th longest river in the world - it is a trans-boundary river flowing from China, through Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. For most of the tour we hopped on different size boats visiting the various farms mentioned earlier and observing locals go about their day. Being a city girl I was extremely fascinated by what happens in the beginning stages of the fresh produce ...
... for a romantic cuisine experience.
The sea is never rough by Chaweng Beach, which stretches for six kilometres. Take a walk along the beach at dusk, it will ease away your weariness. It is a world away from the world at night. It is totally a different world with neon lights, hawkers and massed bars.
Many restaurants have marked the signatory emblem for years. And it is called beach dining. As the sun slowly sets into ...
... all the details, I will just say that what I took out of it was a focus on breathing and meditation in a way that creates stillness in the monkey mind (I must have a lot of monkeys up there).
We practiced breathing and meditation a few times daily and had discussions with Annette. It was interesting to learn from her vast knowledge having lived in Tibet for 5 years. It was such a different perspective then what I have typically experience ...
... can do attitude by the Thais, it could easily be mistaken for poor service. We ended up being separated from our travel mates at the taxi rank where fortunately 'Nomad House?' got us a positive look and a nod from the driver. Good job really as we didn't know how to direct him to it. Island transport monopoly meant there isn't much negotiating. It's 100 baht regardless and from whatever taxi driver you ask so we hopped in. At Nomad we were greeted with hugs ...