Summary: A lovely, expansive property with beautiful surrounds and the usual friendly service you'd expect in Thailand
Pros: Good sized villas, lovely views, welcoming staff
Cons: the food, the beach
Firstly, two things I realized early on in my stay at the Napasai: I'm spoiled and Tripadvisor is ruining my holidays!
Ten years ago before I started earning proper money, before I lived and travelled extensively in Asia, this would have been paradise. For our European brethren, it still (rightly) is. The issue is that were I to compare this to a beach resort in, say, Spain, yes this is likely to score higher. But that is not the point of Tripadvisor - it is about comparing like with like.
If you've just spent 3 hours trying to get off the M25 to get to Heathrow, it's a 6 - I get that and fully concur. But if you visited the Mandarin Spa two weekends before and stayed at a villa in Bali two weeks before that, it's struggling to hold down its 4. Hey, I said at the outset I'm spoilt!
I understand it's subjective but we need some rigger in our voting colleagues. Let us not be handing out '5's like its confetti!
So please forgive me while I get picky: this may be helpful for some, the rest of you are welcome to think me a fussy so and so. (And this is why Tripadvisor is ruining my holidays - I'm getting even more particular!)
The point is, when you travel to Thailand, you should be able to take certain things for granted: location, weather, beach, set-up and people - and if you can't get the last one right in Thailand, you're not really trying.
It doesn't have to be a 5 star hotel - it has to be a 5 star experience: surely that's the point. So on that metric, are there things, significant (not trifling) things you would change - for me there are and hence it's not 5.
The two things that really let this resort down were the food and the beach.
Firstly to the food.
The food seems to be based on the four 'F's: French and Farang Friendly Food. The Thai food was pretty poor - and that shouldn't be the case in a resort at this price point in Thailand. It was more "Man Versus Food" than "No Reservations": big on size, poor on quality ingredients and preparation.
At the Thai buffet on Saturday night, there were no veggies with the main courses (well, excluding the deep fried and battered morning glory). Not very Thai, not very flavorsome and pretty average all round (apart from the green mango salad made fresh to order which had a lovely pungency, freshness and bite). It wasn't cheap and they seem to have predilection to include pork in everything.
My wife asked for no chicken in her noodles (which were prepared to order) - and she got chicken (in her very bland noodles). The next day, she said good morning and chatted to the omelette guy - so she got an omelette.
The prawns were mostly frozen (not fresh) and hence pretty tasteless.
They never really got it right on the food - even when they thought they were making an effort (because our dinner was taking a fair time), we were brought out a couple of mini chicken spring rolls with a dipping sauce (well presented in a shot glass): they were tepid and hence soggy! And we kept waiting... I suspect our dinner took up to 45 minutes and no one said anything.
Secondly, there is the beach.
When you enter the water, its slimy underfoot and very rocky. You can't really swim unless you walk out (gingerly) for 30 to 40m. It is not a pleasant experience and in the time we stayed, I only entered the water once - and I love swimming.
This does not detract from the fact that this is a lovely resort - it is just that it has considerable room for improvement and hence it could, with some effort, move to a 5. But its not there yet. (There is obviously little they can do about the beach, but the food could use a fair bit of work - the chicken hamburger I had for lunch one day was probably one of the worst I have ever had.)
It is pretty clear to me that this resort is pitched at the package holiday traveler from Europe - and I suspect it ticks the boxes not that front - a demographic I myself once fell into.
But in this price range, I think you deserve more. (I stayed at the Nora Beach Resort many years ago, and recall that had a lovely beach and pretty good food, large villas etc and was, from memory, a lot lot cheaper than Napasai and within walking distance to town.)
And that is the point I am trying to make in this review. And perhaps the fault is mine. When reviewing a property, it is perhaps prudent to know what the reviewers' other experiences are - not just the quantum, but the comparable.
You can get a lot more bang for your buck in Thailand and I would encourage people to look at other resorts.
I think the most telling thing is the feeling you have when you leave; namely, would I want to come back. Here, not really.
Yes, it's a lovely place - but you can do better.
- Also Known As:
- Napasai By Orient-Express Hotel Mae Nam
- Napasai By Orient-Express Hotel
- Napasai Koh Samui
- Napasai Hotel Koh Samui
- Napasai By Orient-Express Koh Samui, Thailand
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Napasai Beach Resort & Villas in Koh Samui, Thailand is a secluded luxury beach resort in Maenam Beach, on the fashionable north coast of Koh Samui. Accommodation comprises a selection of beautiful Koh Samui-style private cottages, some with private pools, and two and three bedroom private pool luxury villas for rental and sale. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orient Express, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia, Splendia, Olotels, Otel, Tingo and Jetsetter so you can book your Napasai by Orient-Express reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.