Updated: May 9, 2018
Beachfront, laidback, tranquil and convenient. This delightfully serene resort only offers villas, mostly separated and detached to ensure privacy and peace. Some are raised to catch glimpses of the sea, while those directly facing the beach were being upgraded in 2017. But most possible sea views are blocked by palms and pool buildings. Many villas feature a lovely design with lofty arched roofs. The Pool Villas are secluded behind walls, and contain two long sofas, a four-poster bed and sunken spa in a tiny private garden, as well as a swimming (not plunge) pool. The Premium Villas feature dark polished floorboards and plenty of windows facing lush greenery. The Infinity pool has wooden decking and faces the beach, which is public but very quiet and reasonably shady. It’s at the end of a 500m lane from Klong Prao, a village halfway down the coast with enough facilities to satisfy most.
Vast, tropical, convenient, beachfront and family-friendly. Guests can become easily disoriented among this immense – and admirably underdeveloped – area of ponds, palms, creeks and lawns. Some of the exteriors need a lick of paint, but the mustard shades, wooden edges and thatched verandas are attractive. With limited windows, the Superior Rooms are dark, but maintain the overall tropical ambience with bamboo lampshades, wood carvings and a rattan bed-head. The gorgeous balcony/veranda is spacious enough for a table, sofa alcove and two chairs. Both beachside pools have areas for the kids, while the main one also features a thatched swim-up bar and shady fruit trees. With a waterslide, kids’ club and playground, it’s also ideal for families. Facing a wide sandy beach, with views of nearby islets, it’s about 700m from the main road in Klong Prao, a village halfway down the coast with enough shops and cafés to please.
Fine location, beach frontage and trendy design. Based in a narrow block between the beach, road and creek, the lobby resembles a concrete bunker and the design doesn’t really improve much. The Deluxe Rooms are huddled together in blocks facing the concrete pool and concrete swim-up bar. Rooms are reasonably spacious and nicely decorated, but dark inside and narrow, with the bathroom sharing the same outside windows as the bedroom. All villas are round, so the layout of the furniture is unconventional, and they have limited windows, so they’re always dark. Also built too close together (sometimes barely five metres apart), the exterior is unusual, bordering on ludicrous: some are totally concreted, while others feature a bizarre thatched façade. Facing a public beach, which is wide, curved and shady, it’s 300m from the main road in Klong Prao village, home to a reasonable array of low-key shops and cafés.
Peaceful, beach frontage, village setting and family-focused. Most rooms are in attractive three-level blocks, with a decent-sized balcony/veranda overlooking the pools and lawns alongside artificial creeks, or facing the distant hills, while a few do boast sea views. The spacious rooms in the Deluxe Premium Wing feature extended windows, a petite colourful sofa and concertina bathroom door. Better are the suites with a substantial lounge area with double sofa and dining table, huge marble bathroom, and two balconies facing the pool and ocean. One of the pools is especially for children, but lacks sufficient shade, while another is long, raised and beachside. The sand is a little scruffy in parts, but the curved bay is virtually private and sprinkled with postcard-perfect palms. And for families, there are kids’ menus, activities, water-sports and a games room. The entrance is barely 100m from the main road through Klong Prao village, with enough facilities nearby.
Compact, functional, affordable and downtown. The overwhelming advantage of this motel-style block of rooms is its position in the centre of White Sands, the busiest and most popular area on the island. With plenty of facilities at the doorstep and a lovely palm-fringed beach across the road, it’s also only a short trip by songthaew taxi truck from the ferry terminal. Deluxe Rooms feature a pleasing contemporary brown-and-white design, with a full-length window and undersized desk. Those facing the front have limited sea views and also overlook the street, but traffic noise is buffered by effective double-glazing. Those at the back facing the adjacent hills are quieter and offer more scenic views. The rooftop pool is almost within clutching distance of the jungle-clad hills behind the main road. The pool bar/lounge area alongside is inviting, with views of the street, sea and sunset adding to the appeal.
Contemporary style, village location and better than a motel. With a chic box design, this boutique hotel was still being completed in 2017. The rooms are similar inside – with a bright red or blue décor – but the bathroom and corner desk are tiny. Views of the city, pool or mountains are equally unremarkable, and oddly, some balconies are enclosed with slats obstructing views. The Family Studios are accessible along a ground floor corridor lined with fish tanks. They are spacious but narrow, with an open-plan lounge, kitchen and bedroom sharing one window, so they’re notably dark inside. The outdoor pool is a decent size, with wooden decking and swinging egg chairs. It’s along the main street of Klong Prao village, with plenty of low-key shops and cafés within walking distance. The beach is a 10-minute stroll, although guests can jump on a shuttle bus and use the wonderful facilities and beach at the sister Emerald Cove Resort.
Main street convenience, with hillside and beachfront settings. With one wing facing the beach and another alongside the hilly backdrop, this is a cut above the motel-style rooms offered elsewhere. All sorts of rooms and suites are offered at the Hillside Wing. They overlook the huge pool, which is constantly noisy with a waterslide, bar and kids’ pool, or face the creek, trees and hills, which are far quieter. The rooms are compact and functional, while the suites are twice as big – some with an L-shaped balcony loaded with outdoor furniture. The Seaside Wing over the road offers chalets and villas in attractive blocks, some with a private pool and others boasting perfect sea views. The main pool there is round, beachside and especially inviting. The Kacha is halfway along the main road through White Sands, the most popular area on the island, and a short trip by songthaew taxi truck from the ferry terminal.
Downtown, superb beach, ideal pool and family-friendly. One of the island’s first, this resort was built along both sides of the main road, with a dramatic hilly backdrop. Rooms in the Seaside Zone are in three- and four-level blocks but only those on the second floor would enjoy views not obstructed by low hedges or high palms. Rooms are spacious, with Thai decorations and a sizeable balcony/veranda. The villas are less attractive, but some are barely 10 metres from the beach. Rooms over the road are motel-style, although still appealing, and the rooftop pool is superb. The beachside pool is postcard-perfect – shapely, with Infinity edges and a swim-up bar – and the beach is equally inviting. And with a children’s pool, waterslide and kid’s club, it’s ideal for families. At the top of White Sands, the most developed part of the island, it’s only five minutes by songthaew taxi truck from the ferry terminal.
Stylish, spacious, Crusoe-esque beach, but remote. Part of a massive area with a luxury marina, golf course and private villas, the Peninsula offers rooms along a lengthy bay of golden sands and angled palms. Also facing a national park, the resort is along an isthmus, providing views of the sunrise and sunset. The area is also perfect for walks, and the Infinity pool is impeccable. Most of the rooms, suites and villas – some with up to five bedrooms and a private pool – face the palm-studded beach. Junior Suites are spacious and serene, with an extra-long desk, and a closet accessible from the bedroom and substantial bathroom. The beach is 20 metres away, with only an extensive balcony, patch of grass, and lounge chairs with an umbrella in between. Only five minutes by vehicle from the ferry terminal, it is, however, remote. There are two cafés onsite, but nothing else within walking distance, and it’s not accessible by public transport.
Sumptuous, serene, beachfront but a tad isolated. This gem is about 1.5 kilometres (by infrequent shuttle bus) from the main road in Klong Prao, a quaint village with enough simple shops and cafés. The resort faces an extended curved bay of white sands and sloping palms, and the main pool is similarly alluring. With only 50 rooms spread across luxuriant tropical gardens, each features an adorable Thai design of curved and carved roofs, but are fairly similar inside. The elegant and spacious Deluxe Pool Access rooms are in clusters of five that share the same private pool, with bridges and spouts. Long windows face the wide veranda with chairs, stools and direct access to wooden decking and the pool. But with verandas not separated and facing others across the pool, privacy and quietness are not always guaranteed. Those facing the gardens are not as nicely decorated but probably quieter.