We stayed at the La Flora from the 11 Apr – 18 Apr 2012 for 17 nights. This holiday was to celebrate my 60th Birthday on the 13th April and it seemed a good idea to celebrate this on Songkran in Thailand. We have visited Thailand many times but Khao Lak is an area new to us and we decided to give it a try. The holiday overall was very good and the hotel lived up to its Trip Advisor reviews, there is some truth in the poor reviews but in my experience these were grossly exaggerated. For an explanation of the title see Disappointments below.
Our arrival was delayed by a day due to the earthquake on the 11 April. We were 15 km from the hotel when the transit company turned around and took us to Phuket Town where we had to spend the night until the all clear was given. Our arrival on the 12th was dealt with very efficiently and genuine concern was expressed at our disruption. The hotel was evacuated until the tsunami all clear was given so there was no real alternative.
We had booked a pool access room, my wife’s choice, but I was unsure about the privacy given some of the reports on Tripadvisor. I therefore e-mailed the hotel and requested one of the rooms 801-808 which are not as over looked and the hotel kindly told me that we had been allocated room 808, which although close to the pool bar was not too overlooked. Unfortunately this had been booked when we arrived and the alternative room 810 was not acceptable as it was directly opposite the bar and by the bridge over the pool offering no privacy. When I told the front office staff that I was not happy they apologised and upgraded us to a garden villa immediately, although we were probably lucky one was available. The amenities in the pool access rooms looked good and matched the description on La Flora’s site, the rooms are overlooked but the pool is quiet during the day as it does only seemed to be used by the room residents plus a few other people as the public sun bed areas here are not extensive. We were given garden villa 511 which although close to reception was private having a nice view over the main pool toward the sea. The amenities were excellent fully matching the description on the website. The provision of a coffee table and easy chair would have made the room even more comfortable. The day bed was great but you could not watch the TV from it, so if you wanted a night in you effectively had to lie on the bed.
The grounds are not extensive and the hotel has packed as much as it can in to the area it occupies. This is not a Sheraton or Evason resort hotel however and I did not expect extensive grounds. The gardens were immaculate giving an open feel and continually being maintained and the hotel can take pride in this.
Free in the rooms and the hotel grounds, the best wi fi we have had at any hotel.
Main Pool and Pool/Sunbed area
Nice pool, although not the biggest I have seen, split in two, adults favoured the lower pool and children the upper. Perfectly adequate for the size of the hotel it was very pleasant to relax by this and it was always clean. There were children at the hotel despite it being term time but they were not noisy unlike some other hotels I have stayed at.
Some young groups of guests did insist on taking drinking glasses into the pool, against the hotel rules, particularly at happy hour and even left their empties on the infinity lip of the pool where other guests or children could knock them over. The hotel took immediate action when this was pointed out and it did not re-occur.
The main sunbed area just behind the beach was not as packed as made out in other reports; I have seen hotels in other parts of Thailand which have been far more packed. Except for occasional noisy groups people seemed to respect each others privacy in the sunbed area.
Almost a white sand beach, the hotel staff ensures this is kept very clean, particularly after the storms we had. There is only a single row of sunbeds at the back of the beach and it never seemed over crowded. Had many pleasant walks up and down the beach, but if you want to walk to Khao Lak do this at low tide to ensure you get across the river. Several beach restaurants to the south of the hotel and the Chong Fah to the north, ideal for a mid afternoon snack. The sea was safe to swim in.
Typical Thai style breakfast buffet, plenty of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal, cheese and meats for a continental breakfast. Three fruit juices on offer, pity there was no mango. Usual egg station that does a wonderful Thai omelette, much better than the folded one, a small supply of fried eggs were pre cooked but were always hot and to be honest tasted nicer than may I have had fresh cooked. Pork sausages ok but definitely more Germanic than English in style, but the bacon was the best I have had at any hotel in South East Asia not just Thailand, and my wife said the same for the French toast which was savoury and not sweet for a change. The provision roast ham and beef at breakfast was welcome and usual only found in a 5 star hotel. No breakfast mushrooms though.
Only one restaurant, View 59, which also served as the breakfast room, Ate here on Songkran and had an excellent buffet and traditional Thai entertainment. The themed nights seemed well attended but as they were mostly Thai nights similar to the Songkran entertainment we did not bother. Unfortunately the early rains and thunderstorms seemed to have stopped the barbecue night. The restaurant appeared almost empty on non themed nights probably because of the number of local, and cheaper, restaurants available. Like al hotels in Thailand the hotel shows prices before the ++ additions, a pet hate, however the prices did seem a lot more reasonable than hotels such as the Evason and Sheraton. For example the Evason Hua Hin charged 1650 baht in 2010 for a barbecue and this hotel only 690 baht both ++.
Only used a couple of times and only busy during the happy hours of 16:30 to 18:30 and 21:30 to 22:30. Cheaper alternatives outside with more atmosphere.
Excellent and efficient and we were allowed to stay in the room until 14:00, the time of our pick up. One small fault with the bill but this was rectified immediately.
I have stayed at many hotel chains in the Far East and the staff are always good, however they seem to go the extra mile at the La Flora similar to the Evason at Hua Hin and nothing is to much trouble. They are wonderful people who greet all with a smile. The chambermaids were excellent as were the front desk staff. They helped make our stay a memorable one.
This area is relatively unspoilt which was a welcome change after the over development in Koh Samui, Phuket and parts of Krabi. Not as quiet as around the Sheraton in Krabi or the Evason near Hua Hin but still a welcome change too over development.
Bang Niang - Very good market on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, The strip along the main road about a mile from the La Flora is not attractive but you will find Moo Moos Lady boy cabaret and the English Mars Bar here as well as the Tsunami Museum. All are very good and worth visiting. The roads between the hotel and the main road have several bars and restaurants; we ate at the Mali, Chong Fah, Green Pepper New Restaurant, Pinocchio’s, the Candle, Jungle Bar etc. All food was well prepared and inexpensive. Pity about the tailors but the guys were very pleasant. There are also several souvenir shop, check out Baan Saun Kaew (Kim_collection@hotmail.com)for some more original items, on the right just up from the Mali restaurant.
Khao Lak -.Slightly larger more attractive town about 2 miles from Bang Niang, you can get to it down the beach, about 40 minutes walk. It costs 300 bahts return taxi for two and all prices are displayed on notice boards .More choice of restaurants, shops and bars here, we ate at Ten Star, very good and O’Connor’s, not so good. Reasonable range of shops but the market at Bang Niang sold all the same items.
The local people are very friendly and helpful.
Quote from the internet before we booked “hot temperatures during March, April and May. An occasional afternoon thunderstorm may roll in to bring a bit of welcome relief”. However the rains came early with several days with more than one thunderstorm per day, plans to explore the area in local taxis were curtailed. Also very very humid and hot, but we still enjoyed it!!!
Most trips are the same as ones we have already done from Krabi and Phi Phi but we did do the Koh Tachai island trip. This was excellent and although expensive at £122 for two was worth it, we used Sea Star. The island is beautiful, and ecological rules are fully and strictly enforced, as the two young Germans who tried to smuggle sand off they island found. They were totally embarrassed when they had to hand it back.
1. The complimentary toiletries were provided in small pottery dispensers. The Evason at Hua Hin, an eco hotel, also had this practice but their dispensers were much larger. I feel this was a money saving exercise by the hotel rather than being ecologically friendly, you were always in danger of running out. We never bring shampoo or shower gel with us as the complimentary toiletries are usually very good, the quality was definitely there but not the quantity.
2. Khao Lak is an area apparently favoured by Germans and Scandinavians and this proved to be the case. Over 90% of the hotel guests were German an experience we have never had before, we saw very few Scandinavians We have been in hotels with many other nationalities but have never experienced such dour unfriendly people who meet a smile with a scowl and seem to ignore you when they hear an English voice. By no means was this all of the guests, a few were polite and friendly. Luckily we have thick skins and it did not spoil the holiday too much. And why the skin tight Speedos on overweight over 40’s men.
3. We have been to Thailand on my occasions but this is the first time we have been made to feel a stranger, not by the lovely Thailand people but by the other guests.
We normally stay at 2 or 3 different places in Thailand, however we enjoyed our 17 night stay here. I have given the hotel 4 out of 5 based on the deal we got from Hayes and Jarvis, the facilities and staff at the hotel and tried to base my review as if we had the pool access room as the villa certainly upped things. However if we had paid the going rate as advertised by Destinology this was over £1200 more than the Hayes and Jarvis price and for that money I would have expected La Flora to match those facilities available at a Sheraton or even a Shangri La with extensive grounds, large pools and several restaurants. I can therefore understand some of the over priced comments in other reports.
My thanks to the hotel for providing the following for my birthday, this was much appreciated; Heart shape with flower petals on the bed; Special flower arrangement in room; Free a bottle of wine; Birthday cake. It was a pity the cake had my wife’s name on it but the thought was there.
If you like your privacy avoid the pool access rooms. Villas very good but are expensive, Beach vill...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC