Ibis Styles Krabi – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Ibis Styles Krabi threw open its doors to welcome its first guests on the 15th October 2014. Yes, it is spanking new and sparkling clean, with lots of bright colours in the signature Styles trend.
The lobby is open-air, with settee-style seating and grey, low cane chairs with pale blue cushions – the shades of the sea. Rock climbing etchings and quirky lamps in various colours and cylindrical as well as round shapes hang from the ceiling, giving the hotel a very modernistic, contemporary look and feel. Since I am here just before the onset of the festive season, I notice two unusual Christmas trees in the lobby; one made of a bamboo framework and the other, of used soda cans. Most unlike the Ibis cookie-cutter mould, there is a complimentary juice and munchies corner for guests that is laid out after breakfast until 7pm.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lovely play of colours throughout the hotel, including staff uniforms and guests may be forgiven at wondering whether the employees are wearing their private clothes! The F&B uniform is orange T-shirts, while Housekeeping has yellow, the front office ladies have pink while the men wear blue. HODs wear white T-shirts with green piping on the neck and sleeves – the Ibis colours.
However, the hotel’s USP is undeniably the spectacular view of towering limestone cliffs that are synonymous with Krabi. All the pool-facing rooms give on to this magnificent vista; indeed, the pool is as if nestled within the cliffs.
The Ibis Styles has 206-keys, simply categorised as Superior (twin bedded rooms available) and Family. Every room has cute little balconies with towel rails. Pastel hues in all the rooms give the illusion of greater space than there is; the sober shade is offset by brightly coloured dustbins. The Superior rooms have a bedside window with stunning views of the cliffs. There is a little settee in light blue beneath the window, while the window blinds have the same rock climbing motif. The bed backrest is of a light wood finish with some etching. The bedding is of high quality and exceedingly comfortable.
The bathrooms are slightly larger than the conventional Ibis properties; other than that, they are fancy-free, with the same soap and shampoo wall dispensers.
Family rooms are larger of course, with the little settee, bunk beds in one corner and a double bed in the centre of the room. The TV is wall mounted in such a manner so as to provide a split partition between the two; both sides of the room have a TV each, with colourful bean bags placed in front of the bunks so that the kids can watch telly. In the typical Ibis style, there are lovely, large stuffed toys on the bunk beds to make children feel completely at home.
All rooms come equipped with tea/coffee makers, electronic safes, minibars (not stocked, except for water) beach towels, umbrellas (expected soon) and 32” TV’s that are larger than what the Ibis otherwise provides. The hotel only supplies two bottles of complimentary drinking water per day, per room, irrespective of single or double occupancy. This is too rigid a policy and hotel staff are extremely unbending when it comes to asking for extras; not such a big deal after all and perhaps the management would like to reconsider its stance on this.
F&B options include The Cliff, a 140-pax all day dining outlet with a bar counter seating and high chairs, as also the more standard seating. The chairs are in different hues while the tableware and mats are in lime and lavender. Unlike the Ibis, all Ibis Styles hotels provide a complimentary breakfast to guests, while room service is available 24-hours. Apart from this, there is the Koh Bar in the lobby and guests can also order food by the poolside. Ivan Berthelot, the French general manager, confirmed that a new, lounge-based outlet serving finger food and Happy Hour drinks, is in the pipeline for the near future.
Conference facilities include a hall that can accommodate 160-pax theatre style and 120-pax with round table seating; all AV and other equipment is available.
Other services that the hotel provides is a tour desk (outsourced) in the lobby; massage facilities (outsourced) in the gazebo overlooking the pool; green spaces and a kids corner with colourful swings and slide also by the pool; two computers and a printer in the lobby for complimentary guest use and a free shuttle service to the promenade – although it is not more that a 6-7 minute distance and one can easily walk it.
Pest control is largely good – certainly, there are no geckos in visible sight! Perhaps some stringent mosquito control can be organised, given that the property is in the midst of nature and greenery and no form of mosquito repellent is available for guests.
Krabi is easily accessible by air as well as rail. If you have the time and an adventurous spirit, I would recommend taking the comfortable overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani (THB 750, 2nd class AC sleeper.) An additional THB 250 gets you the combo bus/van ticket that takes you to Krabi town. From there, take a songtaew from the 7Eleven for a mere THB50 per head, to Ao Nang beach. The Ibis Styles is down at the far end of the promenade, almost immediately opposite the mosque. If you would like to be spared the hassle, fly into Krabi’s small but efficient airport (approximately 90-minutes from Bangkok.) Krabi is also close to the islands of Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe.
IBIS STYLES KRABI
TEL: +66 75626388
FAX: +66 75626389