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“Romantic Serenity on a Tropical Hillside”

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Sandalwood Luxury Villas
Ranked #1 of 62 Hotels in Maret
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 September 2011

What I’d like to write about most would simply be redundant of what’s already been written. From the exceptional service by the staff to the stunning views, it’s all true. As my title suggests, it was the perfect honeymoon experience. Therefore, I wanted to make a few comments for those who may be on the fence about booking a stay.

First a quick point of reference -- we booked the honeymoon package in the Plumeria Villa, dates Sept 14-19, 2011, traveling from NYC to Thailand the day after our wedding.

To kick off this review, I wanted to speak to some of the points brought up on the handful of negative reviews of Sandalwood on Tripadvisor. If you’re like me, you will thoroughly research something before pulling the trigger, especially when it comes to something like booking your honeymoon. So I read all negative reviews to get a full view of what might pop up.
1) Steep hill -- I will confirm the hill is steep. In fact, it was steeper than I’d even anticipated! But at the same time, it is exciting to go up and down, and in the car or motorbike it takes less than 1 ½ minute drive in either direction. You’ll also find that the steep climb to Sandalwood is a very welcomed and symbolic transition that separates you from the “hustle and bustle” down on the main road. It’s literally like a road to a sanctuary in the clouds.
2) Far from beach – Technically yes. However, Coral Cove is a 3 minute free car ride by staff. So it’s really NOT far from the beach. Plus, there are so many pool options at Sandalwood (with incredible views) you will eventually loose interest is going to the beach. The several times we went to the beaches nearby, we couldn’t wait to get back to the pools at Sandalwood.
3) Décor and patio chairs?? – I recall someone complaining about décor and things being a little run down. Our room was in impeccable shape with very stylish design touches everywhere you looked. Also, the patio chairs were new and VERY comfortable to lay out on in the sun.
4) Privacy – Someone once wrote they felt like they were in a fish bowl and everyone could see you. While there are maybe two spots on our patio deck where you could look out to public areas (e.g. the common pool), we were actually impressed at how smartly designed the villas are to protect your privacy. Almost everywhere you stand in your room or on our private patio/pool, we could not identify a single spot where someone could see us. This is an important detail for those on a honeymoon. Nuff said.
5) No toilet paper in toilet – We did not experience this nor did any of the staff explicitly say anything to us. However, it’s sort of understood that on some of the islands in Thailand, toilet paper in the sewage is an issue. So we did our best to avoid toilet paper in the toilet and made use (for the first time) of “the gun.” Google it. I was afraid of it at first but now miss it!

Next I want to mention a few things that may help enhance your stay at Sandalwood:
1) Rent a motorbike – Renting a motorbike literally changed our entire Ko Samui experience. It gave us the freedom to get out and explore and come and go as we pleased. Sandalwood arranged the rental, which was delivered practically to our doorstep. 250 baht per day, which is like $8.50/day USD. Don’t let all the ominous warnings people write about renting a scooter in Ko Samui deter you from renting a motorbike. It was easy, safe and lots of fun – even with the steep hill.
2) Take a walk – We met Robert, one of the co-owners, at dinner. He had some awesome suggestions for us, including taking a walk up the hill to see the golf course. Yes, a golf course is at the top of the hill/mountain! I HAD to see this. If you get cabin fever, go check it out. There are very nice views along the way.
3) Book a massage (or three) – The spa was awesome. The massage was awesome. While it’s a little more expensive than down at Chaweng Beach, you have the luxury of walking just steps back to your villa to pass out afterward. Plus they are professional therapists, which means you get more quality massage and avoid the “hoola hoop” girl scene.
4) Eat at the Sandalwood restaurant – It’s shockingly affordable. The “Larb” will kick your butt if you like spicy and the fried fish with sweet and sour sauce was the best we had our whole trip.
5) Eat at Spirit House restaurant in Chaweng. Look this one up online; it was such a cool dining experience. I tried to book dinner reservations last minute and was denied. However, we told the Sandalwood front desk about our poor planning and they made one call and we were in like that. It was unreal. Come to find out the manager of Spirit House used to manage the Sandalwood restaurant, which was apparent in the meal and experience we had at Spirit House. He even came to our table during dinner and we had a nice conversation.

Anyhow, I hope this helps! We cannot say enough good things about our stay at Sandalwood.

-James and Nora

Room Tip: All rooms have an amazing view. However, ones closer to the reception area will have an easier walk...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Boz1200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 September 2011

This was the second time we've stayed at Sandalwood. We were married there last year and went back for our one year anniversary.

The personalised service we received was fantastic. We were greeted in our villa by a lovely display of flowers and a handmade greeting card. They put our wedding photo on the board in reception. The staff remembered our names.

Our villa was beautifully decorated, clean and well equipped. We had our own pool.

The staff are always there to help with a smile. They rented a motorbike for us and dropped us off for tours. On our last day there, or driver stopped off for us to buy souveneers on the way to the airport! This sort of 'above and beyond' service is the norm at Sandalwood.

Sandalwood is a perfect location for relaxing, peace and quiet. It is close to all of the attractions, yet its location up the hill allows you to be away from all of the tourist insanity.

We will be back for a third time!

  • Stayed: August 2011
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Thank Weaselfactory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2011

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. This was the third out of five stops on our Asia vacation, and it was nice to take a break from sight seeing to just relax.

I find it difficult to review places in "remote" resort locations such as this, because I need to remind myself that "five star" for north American hotel standards is not generally the same as "five star" in tropical holiday destinations. If you keep this in mind, you will less likely be disappointed.

Sandalwood does quite a good job in doing its best to live up to its rating. Some of the things that it has going for it, that live up to a five star standard no matter which scale you use:

- friendly service. All the staff are extremely polite and attentive. No attitude whatsoever.
- absolutely amazing views. If you want a high rise hotel with hundreds of rooms and businessmen wandering around in suits, then this place is not for you. If you want a quiet place "away from it all" with amazing scenery, then this resort with only a handful of rooms provides that private touch.
- comfortable beds. I am extremely picky about having impeccably clean linens and fluffy pillows... These beds were amazingly comfortable, I literally slept all day in them.
- free wifi. No limitations on number of devices, no set wifi areas. Wifi is available in your room, in the restaurant... Everywhere! This is great when you just want to chill out all day with your iPad or ebook.
- free airport transfer. Even most hotel chains do not over this service. This was a very nice touch.

What would I have liked to see to make the accommodations more on par with luxury hotel standards?

- hotter cooked food. Breakfast is included, which is a nice touch. It's not a huge expansive breakfast, but does the job. I don't think it's realistic to set out a hotel-style grand buffet when there are only a free couples staying in the hotel... That would probably be a waste of a lot of food. But we did stay at the resort restaurant a lot for lunch and dinner (too lazy to go out and didn't find any spectacular restaurants in town) and I would have liked to see the main dishes and the rice come out hotter, temperature-wise. It is more of a "bed and breakfast" feel dining establishment - so if you are foodie snob, this may not wow you.

- fluffier white towels. Having nicer bath towels, and more than just two in the bathroom would have made a huge difference, although I appreciate I am getting picky here. On the same note, most higher end hotels are now going with higher end or spa-quality toiletry products (e.g. Aveda, etc.)... This would also make the "resorty" bathroom feel more luxurious.

- additional shuttle stops. The price you get for staying in a more secluded resort is that you have to pay to travel into the city or beach area. I don't mind paying for the taxi service, as I don't expect it to be included. They offer a free shuttle to the beach once a day, and a return trip at 5 pm. I think that's great. Perhaps one additional midday drop off and pick up (say around 2 pm) and or evening pick up (say around 10) would have been a treat though, even if for a nominal fee, since currently we are now paying as much for a return taxi fare (800 baht) as we are for dinner in the city.

All in all, this was a pretty good choice.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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3  Thank Digicision
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2011

We have just returned from Koh Samui where we were lucky enough to spend 2 nights at Sandalwood. Based on the recommendations from tripadvisor we decided to try this place and were very glad we did. We were only in Koh Samui for a short time as we were heading over to Koh Tao so we were not interested in the nightlife, shopping, or hustle bustle of Chaewang. Sandalwood kept us away from all that in a small pocket of luxury.

From the moment you are picked up at the airport it is clear that the staff have been well trained in customer service and courtesy. We were amazed at how high up the hill this place was but the views (as you can clearly see from the reviews) are spectacular. Our room (although we could not get the villas with the private plunge pool) was fantastic, spacious, and comfortable (we stayed in Jasmine) and it was close enough to a pool that it felt like our own.

As we were there in early September it was clearly their slower season and we felt like we had the resort to ourselves!!! Wonderful as I cannot imagine anything else.

As for the hill - yes it is steep - but if you are fit and active it is a great walk down to the bay below (Coral Bay) and once there you can swim or rent a kayak for 200baht and paddle around the island. The walk back is a killer but hey - you can work off the wonderful food. We did this both mornings we were there and loved it.

The food is great and all of the staff did their best to make our stay special and perfect. One of the owners was also there (Robert) during our stay and he also made a point to make it perfect and magical - even setting up a private dinner (complete with roses) on our balcony.

If you are looking to be away from the craziness of Chaewang but close enough to visit - this is your place.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank alisummers1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2011

Arrival:
We were met from our ferry by the hotel four wheel drive taxi and transported in style to the resort, which sits high up a steep hill. Once we arrived to the resort we were warmly greated by the receptionist on duty (Thaeg) who offered us a beautiful juice and then showed us around, leading us to our villa where our bags waited for us.

Villa:
We stayed at the Jumpee villa which can only be described as beautiful, the view from the room is amazing and we had a pool right outside the door which was not used by any other villa. We also had a jacuzzi at the side of the villa where we could relax and take in the views. On our first night this view including fireworks taking place on the beach and it felt very special.
The villa was extremely spacious and I loved the decor. It really seems like they put a lot of effort into designing the villas.

Food:
We ate dinner twice in the restaurant and found it be be pretty reasonable. The appetizers were always very tasty however the mains and desserts were just not as nice although still enjoyable. Breakfast was nice, nothing amazing.

Spa:
We had a massage during our stay and it was very reasonably priced which I think is great in a resort like this. The spa staff were very welcoming and the treatments were great, had we stayed longer I would definitely have returned for more.

Service:
This is what makes Sandalwood stand out, the service is simply amazing. The staff are extremely friendly, they make it a truly unforgettable experience. When doing the turndown service they leave chocolates/drinks on your pillow with a 'Sweet Dreams' message, they also give you a photograph of you when you leave. You just leave feeling great.

The best thing about this resort is the fact that despite the extremely high standard of accomodation and service offered the prices for food, drinks and spa treatments are extremely reasonable and there is free wifi and dvd/books loans, I would hope that this would not change as I plan on returning as many times as possible. The only negative was that we had to pay 500BHT for a transfer from our ferry, however we did get a free transfer to the airport when departing.

Room Tip: Reserve the Jumpee villa
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank AG1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandalwood Luxury Villas

Address: 211/7 Moo 4, Maret, Ko Samui 84310, Thailand
Phone Number:
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Samui > Maret
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Maret
#1 Romantic Hotel in Maret
#1 Luxury Hotel in Maret
#2 Family Hotel in Maret
Price Range: ₹ 9,845 - ₹ 45,142 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandalwood Luxury Villas 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, our fourteen Thai style pavilions are positioned around nine infinity edge swimming pools. Each intimate and secluded villa has a panoramic ocean view and is linked by landscaped gardens with intricate stone walkways. We provide exclusive and sophisticated accommodation while seamlessly blending traditional Thai architecture with a modern contemporary style. At Sandalwood Luxury Villas, we strive to give each guest an outstanding level of quality service with our warm Thai hospitality. From the moment our professional drivers pick you up at the airport, our staff is available to cater for your every need. Whether enjoying an authentic Thai meal in our Blue Ginger Restaurant or a massage at our Sanctuary Spa, our goal is to make your Sandalwood stay a special experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandalwood Luxury Villas Hotel Koh Samui
Sandalwood Luxury Hotel
Sandalwood Luxury Koh Samui
Sandalwood Luxury Villas Ko Samui, Thailand

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