Aug 292011

This resort is located on the southern end of Ko Chang, just a bit east of the town of Ban Bang Bao; and can be reached by walking down the beach, or by driving down a half-mile or so of sandy and muddy lane that serves as the hotel’s driveway.

The accommodations are contained in a handful of buildings – some one story, some two story. There are four categories of room. We stayed in the second category – a deluxe room – which placed us in the second floor room of a two-story building.

The room was well-constructed and well-maintained. It was also of good size, with a very high, loft ceiling. The floors were hard wood, as was the ceiling. The walls were finished dry wall. The curtains were good quality, as was the furniture. The bathroom had a shower, bathtub, Western style toilet, and tile throughout. The room had air conditioning, a small refrigerator, coffee service, and a television with DVD player. There was a large balcony with partial ocean view.

Overall, it was well done.

The rest of the grounds – located on the beach – consisted of an open-air lobby, restaurant, and open-air dining area. While we were there, a construction crew was busy building a swimming pool.

The going-in, off-season price for our room was US $100 a night. After promotions for staying several nights, we paid an average of US $56 a night. Even at this price, it was pricey by overall Thai standards. But, by Ko Chang standards…well, it might have been a good deal for the room quality. In the high season, however, it would have been insanely expensive (as with all things Ko Chang, I imagine).

Breakfast was included with the room. While it had your standard SE Asia offerings – coffee, juice, eggs, toast, fruit – the quantity was greater than most, and the staff showed an interest in accommodating a meatless diet. But the coffee…well, it just plain sucked.

We also had dinner at the restaurant, and the papaya salad and tom yam soup were both pretty good. The price was about 50% higher than the Thai average, but competitive for Ko Chang.

Balanced against the above positives were the following negatives:
– Laundry service was very expensive (35 baht for just a shirt).
– The wireless router signal was solid, but actual Internet connection was continuously absent, despite our being told at check-in that wireless Internet was available. This problem was continuously raised with the staff, to no avail – fault was placed with the telephone company.
– Swimming pool construction started as early as 7:20am, so sleeping late was a non-starter. Off-season construction is something we regularly encounter during our travels in SE Asia, but usually the hotels have enough consideration for their guests to start later in the morning.
– The hotel required payment up-front for the entire stay, which is not something we encountered anywhere else in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia – although we have read it is the norm for Ko Chang.
– Before attending to our room, the cleaning staff took an hour-long break on our balcony entrance – this despite seeing us waiting for them to get the job done, and my having twice prompted them to get going. It was only on a third, more direct prompting that they got started.
– Another negative was inflexibility in the pricing. After promotional offerings, a four-night stay came to an average of $56 a night. However, if we stayed six nights, the price jumped to an average of $62 a night. The staff was unwilling to extend the $56 rate the additional two days, despite our being one of the only two sets of guests in the hotel. They were apparently happier with a vacant room at the higher rate, than they were with a filled room at the lower rate.

At times, these negatives made it seem like the hotel really didn’t want guests – that we were distractions to which they were indifferent.

So, Chivapuri is a mixed bag – excellent rooms, but an attitude of indifference toward guests. At off-season prices, it’s an acceptable trade-off. At expensive, high-season rates, it would be intolerable. Of course, during the high season, their attention probably shifts from construction and girl-talk on the balcony, back to their customers.

 Posted by at 1:11 am