Seeing we’re having a bit of a Samui week, let’s keep it going with another villa review! This one courtesy of Celine. As she noted, it’s actually quite difficult to find a luxury 3 bed villa on Samui. Most are geared up towards bigger groups with 4-6 bedrooms
Where: Palm Tara Villa in Koh Samui, Thailand
Who: Celine + husband, 2 year old son and grandparents
When: 9-16 Feb 2012 (nice weather with 2-3 showers over the week)
Direct online through www.luxuryvillasamui.com
Bangkok Airways Hong Kong – Samui (booked directly online)
Palm Tara is a luxury modern contemporary 3 bedroom villa located in a prime location on the beachfront in Bang Rak. The beach was 4 stairs down the pool with a private access. The beach is lovely and quiet (thankfully) as people walking on the sand ‘can see’ the pool so not having so much traffic was very enjoyable. There are lots of small, cheap and cheerful restaurants around.
The villa is easy access from the airport, about 10 minutes drive. We had a private transfer included in the price.
There are three bedrooms, one master and two smaller. Although they are all nice, there is a big difference between the master and the other two. All come with ensuite bathroom with a massive rain shower (80cm x 80cm). Sounds great but the water pressure is awful. There is no bathtub.
All bedrooms come with TV, DVD player, music options (but this one was computer managed as well and I’d had my quota of geek attitude after trying to sort out the lights and air-con!)
The living area is completely open on to the pool/terrace which makes you feel outdoors even when you’re on the sofa. The pool was nice and warm but a bit deep (1.6m everywhere so hard to play with a toddler when you’re not that tall)
This villa is not particularly kid friendly.
On the plus side, the ground floor was nice as it was big, open with no stairs so kids can easily run around. There are a further 4 stairs that lead down to the beach with nice sand and warm sea. I had requested beach toys for my little ones, which they brought.
On the down side, the stairs to go upstairs were super dangerous, the pool has no shallow area apart from 2 stairs and the massive rain shower/no bathtub was not a big hit. We were provided with a cot in which my 2 yo could hardly fit and with sides which were about 30cm high so I would not let him in it so he slept in the King sized bed.
We had requested for a private chef, which was not included in the original price so we had two full time ladies. We had never experienced a villa in Thailand before but we did several villa rentals in Bali. The staff in Samui were nowhere near as good as the Bali staff. Some might like the fact that they were never around but I found it a bit tiring to always have to go and look for them for simple things like cleaning the breakfast table. They would cook, put everything on the table from starter to dessert and leave, never offering extra drinks etc. They were completely useless for technical problems linked to the computers.
We usually like modern but in this instance it was a bit too much: light and aircon are computer managed in each room with a centralised system in the master. Nothing can be a traditional switch button when the staff had no clue how to work the computer! I won’t comment on the motion detectors to turn the light automatically when you jump in the pool at night, put it this way it might sound sexy but it’s not when the light goes on each time a bird flies over the water
Overall we had a nice stay, I cannot deny that. I’m just not sure that Palm Tara Villa is the best option with kids. For 4 adults + toddler it definitely ended up cheaper (although not cheap) than two rooms in a luxury hotel and the beachfront/space was enjoyable. The environment was great, the staff weren’t great but we are probably spoiled in Asia!