My first stay at this hotel was in November 2003 in one of the little beach bungalows facing Tonsai Bay (pre-tsunami). To this day, Phi Phi was one of the most beautiful places I had ever stayed. The bungalow I stayed in was peaceful, clean, with amazing views, friendly staff and the hotel had a solid breakfast, the best swimming pool on the island and was directly next to the town if my partner and I felt like taking a quick stroll to either shop, grab a few drinks at a bar or check out a show. It was the best trip I'd ever taken.
Fast-forward to November 2010 and I find myself staying in the Phi Phi Island Cabana again, this time in the main complex (the bungalows on the beach no longer exist). At $5,000 Baht per night, the room is overpriced.
The single biggest issue with this hotel, and the reason I will never stay here again, is the brand new dance clubs that have sprung up all over Lo Dalum beach. The trance/house music from these clubs is so loud that even though they are literally on the opposite side of the beach from the hotel, the music from their speakers is causing the water on my desk to shake. Even with soundproof earplugs and all doors/windows shut, I can feel the bass from the speakers thumping through my body and shaking parts of the room. Every night this mind-numbing music continues from midnight through 3am (approximately), making it impossible to sleep. As I write this, it is 2am and I am scheduled for a morning dive at 7:30am, but cannot sleep until the music stops. I love trance music, love dancing, love my parties and am a pretty avid clubber - but there is a time and a place and I came to Phi Phi for relaxation. With these clubs, that is impossible and the continuous lack of sleep has made this a miserable place to stay.
Other relatively minor issues include:
The water pressure comes and goes and is never very high, which would be bearable except for the fact that there is also no hot water. At best, the water trickles through the shower at a luke-warm temperature. Additionally, the toilet does not flush properly and it is a crap-shoot (pun intended) whether or not it will flush on any given occasion.
The breakfast has gone completely downhill from the last time I stayed here. The food quality simply is not what it used to be. It's still decent, edible food - but for $5000 Baht per night, you'd expect a bit more in terms of selection and quality.
I would steer clear of the main Tonsai isthmus, if possible. Phi Phi has some beautiful places to see, but it is clear it has been overdeveloped since the tsunami, with the smell of raw sewerage and vomit relatively common as you walk through the main town. Most of the sewerage/laundry waste from the main town is pumped into Lo Dalum making it dangerous to swim in (even though it still looks magnificent) and Tonsai is completely choked with speedboats and ferries. Even the locals on the main Tonsai isthmus are not as friendly as they used to be. It almost seems as though the tsunami washed away all the good-natured, spiritual Thai's and replaced them with a seedier breed of Thai's. Don't get me wrong, there are still some incredibly warm, friendly Thai people on the island - but the vibe is different and there is definitely a more seedy underbelly than there used to be.
All that being said, visit Phi Phi, avoid the hotels on Tonsai (including this one) and take a longboat to Tonsai if you really want to visit the town. Otherwise, be prepared for a lack of sleep and other unpleasant surprises (especially if you've visited here before and are returning).
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- Also Known As:
- Phi Island Cabana Hotel
- Hotel Phi Island Cabana