What Mauritiusfan, UK says about "Diving" ?
We're always trying to find good quality resorts with a great spa and excellent diving. This one ticked all the boxes and ranks alongside Oberoi Lombok and Tanjung Jara for giving us exactly what we want of a beach resort.
The service was in the main excellent and our room well appointed and very well maintained and serviced. We ate at all the restaurants except the main restaurant which had an international menu. The buffet breakfast was wonderful and the only downside was that the pancakes are not cooked to order. However, the choice of freshly squeezed juices and breads and pastries more than made up for that.
The dive centre was definitely the best that we have experienced. My husband did 12 dives and David and his team of five instructors/dive masters were very safety conscious and equipment was good. It was pricey compared with other dive centres down the beach, but having heard a few horror stories we were very happy to pay the price. Snorkelling from the dive boat was a nice day out for me. I was always accompanied by a member of the boat crew and saw plenty despite not being underwater.
As the previous reviewer has mentioned, they do like you to book your table in the evenings. We wised up to that having missed out one evening, but it's not dissimilar from any other hotel that we've been to in the area.
The resort is split into two with a new pool villa part up the hill across a road. It felt like a completely different resort. We visited the pool villa part of the resort on a few occasions . in our opinion it felt rather sterile and unfriendly, whereas the main resort was very friendly. We met so many interesting, fun and like-minded people and that made our stay even more special. However, for those who want to stay by their villas and eat there most of the time the pool villas would be an excellent choice - the only downside might be accesibility to the beach, spa and dive centre - see below.
We experienced some mixed service up at the pool villa area. We stayed by the Banyan Tree pool for three hours one day and were not once offered any sort of pool service - unlike the resort pool where our glasses of water were constantly refilled on the hottest days. We also had lunch at the poolside and service was poor. On the other hand in the evening at the Seven Seas restaurant it was excellent. We had a Bay View room which was spacious and had a beautiful view. It was also close to the pool and a five minute walk from the dive centre and spa. Had we been up at the top of the villa section of the resort it would have taken about 15 minutes longer to get anywhere. As we were up at 6.30 or 7 at the latest for breakfast before diving the pool villa location would not have suited us. We did take a look at the pavillion suites which are located on or very close the beach. These were larger, but we liked being up the hill because of the view.
All in all, the manager and his staff cannot do enough for their guests although it should be noted that most of the staff are local and the service is not as slick as in the city hotels, particularly when there is a buffet. it wasn't a big issue, but we did notice little things and try as we might we couldn't eat soup with knives and forks. The smiles and way in which the staff all seemed to enjoy their jobs, and attempts at conversation made up for it.
We will definitely go back. There are plenty more excellent hotels in Southern Thailand, but for us the diving gives it the edge over most others.