Phanganburi Resort Koh Phangan – A Review By Punam Mohandas
The Phanganburi Resort at Koh Phangan has been acquired by the Best Western group last year and the hotel is still in the process of adapting the BW standards.
The Best Western Phanganburi Resort as it is now known as, has 96-keys, of which 61 are Deluxe rooms, four corner suite rooms, 24-cottages, two beach-front cottages and five beach-side cottages. Room amenities include the usual such as safety box, coffee/tea maker, mini bar and so on, with complimentary wi-fi throughout the resort. Additionally, there is a computer in the lobby that is meant for guest use, as also a little room just beside the restaurant, with two work stations for complimentary use.
The rooms are adequately-sized and furnished as per standard hotel design and all come with a balcony/terrace where guests can relax and enjoy a cup of tea. The overall look is traditional Thai and the canopied beds make one expect a punkahwallah at any moment. All rooms are non smoking; smoking is permitted on the balconies. Some rooms are equipped with a bathtub/shower combo. The bathrooms are surprisingly large although a bit lacking; if not a shower cubicle, then at least a shower curtain would come much in handy. Towel quality could do with some improvement too.
Business facilities, apart from the wi-fi element as detailed above, includes a multi-function room that can take 80-pax classroom-style and 100-pax theatre-style.
The resort offers only one 80-cover beach-facing restaurant (not 24-hours), serving Thai as well as western cuisine. Also on the menu is a selection of coffees and ice creams, while there is an extremely adept bartender to otherwise cater to your thirst. Prices are fair. Room service is available but this F&B area needs major improvement. The staff require to be trained to understand and take orders in English; the food has to be served to the room while still hot and, more importantly, the food carried from kitchen to room needs to be covered rather than left open to the elements. Also, the plating, set and presentation is off – either napkins are missing or the cutlery is.
There are two well-maintained swimming pools, one nestled in the garden, around which are guest rooms, and the other beach-facing. Service at the pools, including F&B, is adequate. The garden-facing pool is obviously quieter, as guests prefer the second one from which you just climb down some steps to the private beach and thence swim in the sea; however, the hotel was in the habit of playing some extremely unsuitable music at ear-blasting volume on a loop through the day. Now registering guest feedback, I am informed the music has been changed to a more apt and soothing trance.
Further recreational facilities include a spa offering massage and beauty services; pool table; beach volleyball and football; mountain biking where the helmets are provided and water sports such as kayaking where life jackets are provided. More beach sports can be availed of at Haad Rin beach, which is a 10-minute walk away. The hotel can arrange for motorbike, mountain bike and car rentals.
The Best Western Phanganburi Resort is strategically located. Once out of the hotel gates, it is barely a 6-minute walk to Haad Rin beach on the sunset side – which is the much nicer, quieter, cleaner beach even though it’s got its share of souvenir stores, eateries and trance music. Back in the hotel, take the beach path past the second swimming pool and you’re at Haad Rin’s little ‘market’ area within five minutes, with lots more kitsch shops, bars, and cosy eateries serving international cuisine. Here too are travel agents who can book you on the next ferry out with minimum notice. The Haad Rin sunrise beach – the scene of the Full Moon party – is about a 10-minute brisk walk through the market, veering off to the right.
Getting to the hotel from the pier is easy; you can take a songtaew (open minivan with canvas/tin roof and bench seats on either side) for a 100baht per person, or else inform the 24-hour hotel Reception desk of your pick-up requirements.
Getting to Koh Phangan is either by plane/train/bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani and thence a bus/ferry combo, or else fly into Koh Samui and do the 45-minute ferry/speedboat ride to the island.
Overall, I would say staff training needs to be put into place immediately, facilities still require to be brushed up and revamped (wi-fi is very slow), while room tariffs are surprisingly fair, given the amenities provided. If your sole intent of visiting Koh Phangan is to be here for the Full Moon party, I recommend this hotel, given its proximity to the beach, the security available and the fact that the hotel staff are quite capable of dealing with situations that arise from after effects of the celebrations.
BEST WESTERN PHANGANBURI RESORT
TEL: +66 77375481
FAX: +66 77375482