Overpromises and underdelivers.
This was our second visit to Paradise Pearl. Very different experience from 2009. Long Beach is expensive in comparison to other Thai islands and you have to accept that you won't get great value at all here. The rooms are a bit tired and definitely lacking in style. Recommend Phi Phi Blue Sky's Deluxe bungalows as a far better alternative for the same price.
We found the restaurant staff this time incredibly jaded - indifferent verging on unhelpful - although the food is very good value. We were also incredibly taken aback to find that Paradise Pearl have initiated the reserving of tables for dinner - something quite uncommon to Thailand - and most unwelcome. To arrive at 7pm to find no free tables but the best 6 beachfront tables empty and bearing reserved signs is definitely not very friendly.
On a plus, the spa is still as beautiful as ever. Prices are reasonable i.e. in line with others on Long Beach, but its a more pampered relaxed service. That said, the girls have clearly been trained to "sell" . It happened every time I opted for something under B500, they'd sweetly ask if I wouldn't prefer a different (and more expensive) massage! After a B300 1hr foot massage, I was offered a half hour shoulder massage for B200 (to bump up to the per customer target, no doubt), yet the next day when time was tight, a half hour service - even at offering more than half the price, was not an option. They preferred to let me and my money go rather than be accommodating despite having plenty of girls available to do it.
Lastly, PP have some brand new bungalows - K1-K6. They look smart, but beware - incredibly expensive, at B7000. Definitely not worth this. Or even the B5500 introductory rate we were offered. The workmanship is poorly finished and I suspect that in a few months the lustre will have dulled further. Lighting in the bathroom was poor and the design was such that watching TV was only possible from the bed - but you couldn't see the screen as it was obscured by the mosquito netting round the four poster. We couldn't move the netting properly out of the way, nor could we watch through the net. Small details like this are fundamental to the pricetag, and would be fine if it were a cheap room, which it wasn't.
The biggest problem with the build quality was that whilst there are smart windows and doors keeping the insects out, the gaps between floorboards weren't properly sealed meaning you could see daylight through them (bungalows are elevated on stilts) and hence the mosquitos can get in. The result was over 75 bites in just one night on just myself. We checked out the next morning as nobody wants to pay GBP£110 a night to get eaten alive and spend the night awake and scratching! On the plus side, I expected a fight at reception when I wanted to cancel and have our money back for the rest of the stay, but the reception staff were extremely courteous and apologetic, (possibly because we were repeat customers?) gave me back our money with no issue and took on board my comments on improvement. I guess its just teething trouble for the first few weeks of opening, but still, if you take these K huts, check the floorboards first!!
All in all, the location is great and convenient for Ton Sai, although getting busy with Russians, baby buggies and wheeled suitcases - not the old Thai experience some of us nostalgically yearn for.
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- Also Known As:
- Phi Phi Paradise Pearl Hotel Ko Phi Phi Don
- Phi Paradise Pearl Hotel