More about AKWA Guesthouse
Seriously Bad. Despite the owners/managers efforts to create the wow-Im-in-a-young-lads-private-home feeling, we could not ignore the BAD smell that filled the whole water damaged building. The ceiling was almost falling down just outside our room and you could clearly se green and dark mould stains in our room and outside. We filled the air with incense just to avoid puking. The volume from the live music venue nextdoor must be a pain in the ass even for the most wasted backpacker. Sure, we got a low price deal on internet, but was it worth it? Not a chans. I wouldnt stay there again even if I got paid. Maybe the rooms in main building on chaweng beach road is better? I will never find out.
Amazing value for money - budget luxury!
I stayed at Akwa at the end of November 07....so after the rain had stopped thankfully! I had a wonderful time there. This place is seriously value for money. If you are looking for perfection go elsewhere and pay the big bucks. AKWA aint perfect but I haved never stayed somewhere so luxurious on a budget before. I stayed in a Deluxe Room for 3 nights and the Penthouse for 1 night. Travelling on my own it was a bit of an indulgence for me to upgrade but I just had to experience it and I'm glad I did. The Penthouse has a big deck and heaps more space, lush!! I really enjoyed the bar as well. I felt comfortable talking to other guests from day one. There were some water problems at one point and Tim was nice enough to offer me free breakfast to compensate...what great service.
What more could you ask for
I had read good things about this place before I booked it and they were all true. The owner was very welcoming and will happily sit and chat with you and give advice on the area, he's a very interesting man. All other staff were really helpful and friendly as well. You pay a little more than you would for a normal backpackers place but you get what you pay for and more with this place.
We were in one of the rooms approx 3 mins walk from the main bar/reception, the decoration is great and you get a TV, DVD player (with DVD's to borrow), radio, air con and loads of little extras such as a beach towel, iron, tea and coffee, mozzy coils. We loved it so much we stayed an extra night. Oh and the food is superb.
Akwa was an amazing place to stay.
The Penthouse is wonderful with the deck and all of its funky decor.
Everyone there is amazing and so nice. My husband and I had drinks at the bar in the evenings. . ...Lee was really fun to be around and poured the only decent drinks in Thailand.
Its pretty great to wake up to the best cup of coffee you have ever had too. They use Illy . . . . yum.
I would stay here again in a New York minute.
Awful - Avoid at all costs
After reading some fantastic reviews for Akwa, we booked a room for 2 weeks...big mistake!
Firstly, we went about booking the room via the guesthouse directly, as their booking facility on the website was not working. This in itself should have alerted us to the bad organisation of the place. We sent several e-mails, all requesting confirmation that our booking had been received and confirming how much we would owe on arrival; Akwa is the only place I have ever stayed where you have to pay 50% of the price for your entire stay as a deposit. Needless to say, we only ever received one-word replies and never did actually find out what we owed. (Low season and all I ever saw the manager do was sitting on his laptop, so no excuse for this really).
When we arrived, their system was down, so they didn't know we were coming...not what you want to hear after over 24 hours travelling. We waited while they sorted something out and were eventually shown to our room.
Now, you'll probably read some reviews about the stairs and how steep they are, but nothing can prepare you for the climb ahead of you. Two of the stairs are so high that you have to literally pull yourself up the bannister. Don't even try it with a suitcase! It sounds like a small issue, but it really does become quite depressing knowing that that's what faces you every time you get in.
The rooms look amazing on the photos on the internet...they must have been taken years ago. Yes there is some funky decor, but nothing that's worth the price you'll pay for staying here. We went over the road to some beautiful looking apartments and found that rooms were significantly cheaper, and they included breakfast.
Some of the reviews are accurate; where they say that you are treated like a guest in someone else's house...what they leave out is that you are made to feel like the unwanted guest who the hosts are constantly wishing would leave. In our entire 2 week stay, the most the manager said to us was 'do you want to look at today's paper?' and even that was once he'd read it first!
There's a DVD collection that you can help yourself to and a DVD player in your room - really nice until you've wasted about an hour trying anything that looks remotely decent and found that none of them work because they're all cheap copies.
To their credit, the bed was nice and really comfortable, but the room wasn't cleaned every day, our fridge was inexplicably emptied one day and never re-filled, depite us asking for it to be done and the shower was always cold. The walls were damp and broken and there was a constant puddle on the floor from where the roof was leaking. Yes it was monsoon season and the weather was really bad, but there's no way the damage was recent.
The guesthouse isn't even that close to where everything's happening-unless you get a bus or a taxi, you're faced with a 15/20 minute walk every time you want to get anywhere, except the beach. The only thing that is nearby is a rock pub, which plays inexcusably loud music, so if you're hoping for some sleep, you'll have to get yourself up to the other end of the town and drink yourself unconscious.
I can't urge people enough to re-consider staying at Akwa...it really isn't what it's made out to be and I'm sure most of the reviews on here must have been written by the manager, because it's just not that great...not even that mediocre.
Best in South East Asia
After backpacking in South East Asia for 10 weeks I can safely say that this is the best place i found or stayed at in the whole time i was away. They offer uniquely styled and very comfortable rooms (all you could ever need at a guesthouse: great location, T.V., hot shower, big comfy bed, DVD player, secure etc). Coupled with the great food offered and the homely atmoshphere the friendliest staff we met create, who bend over backwards to help you out and share a drink or a laugh with you, we finally found somewhere to really recharge our batteries after 7 weeks of hard travelling. You know you have found somewhere great to stay when you return 2 more times in as many weeks and leave feeling like you're leaving behind friends you've known for years. Congratulations to Tim, the host, who has earned a place in my memory as one of those great people at a guesthouse that always makes you smile when you think back to the times you spent with him and the top notch service he provided. Hope to go back as soon as I can and would recommend it to all kinds of travelers passing through Ko Samui.
A home away from home!
Although a first, my stay in Koh Sumui at AKWA compelled me to write a review to inform future travellers of the experience that is AKWA itself, and to not miss out on it! Perfectly located on the main street of Koh Sumui (which runs parallel to Chaweng Beach), AKWA is only a 10 second walk away from letting your feet touch the sand. The vibe in the bar/restaurant is incredibly relaxing when rarely a few seconds go by without hearing a laugh (no doubt helped by the amazing cocktail menu with over 100 choices and the venomously sarcastic owner, Tim). However don’t let the sarcasm fool you though because underneath is the most caring man who will do anything to help you as nothing is too much for him. The rooms are spotless and cleaned daily, with a large flat screen TV, DVD player, toilet, hot shower, A/C and double bed with perhaps one too many pillows – which only helps to make the place feel like a home away from home. However it is the little touches that count in AKWA, whether it be the complimentary DVD and novel collection, the tasteful artwork and colourful walls, or the fluffy toy on the bed. Lastly I would strongly recommend everyone to indulge in their breakfasts at least once a day (!) as they are easily the best on the island and Jamie Oliver himself would be pushed to do any better.
AKWA - Cool Funky Guesthouse run by an Australian
Sometimes the best things come from last minute decisions!
We visited Koh Samui the week before XMAS 2007 and stumbled across AKWA on the internet. Not having been to Samui it was a leap of faith to rely on Tripadvisor testimonials...and I'm really glad I did!
The owner Tim Schwann is an Aussie-expat who is very helpful, down to earth, no-nonsense guy who will give you the western perspective on life in Samui/thailand - I didnt feel like he was 'selling' any recommendations or advice he gave and that made us all feel much more at ease in unfamiliar surroundings. We used his recommended travel agency to organise cooking lessons, boats to Hua Hin/Bangkok etc and were very satisfied. His staff are very friendly and helpful.
The rooms are funky and quirky, painted in colours blue, red, green (definitely not minimalist in any sense!), kitted out with a range of extras I dont normally see at £20 per night: DVD, & CD player, clean and well built bathrooms, AIR CONDITIONING - but it was the small touches that added character: a huge DVD library in our room, cable TV, books, cold water, fridge, reading lamps, lounges (in the larger double rooms). Our rooms were cleaned daily and stocked with extra beach towels whenever we needed them. Tim stocks newspapers from UK and OZ too.
I was travelling with 3 adults (my mum and 2 siblings) so comfort and safety/security was important - we always felt safe.
Be aware the AKWA has 3 separate properties within 5 mins walk of eack other, I didnt have a problem with this but my mum preferred being in the main guesthouse - I can appreciate other people might have a preference. The furthest property is only 30 secs walk from the main drag in Chaweng but did feel a bit removed from the main guesthouse, across any of the properties you are at worst between 45 secs to a 2 min walk from the beach, a no-brainer considering how much extra you'd have to pay to be on the sand.
If you are staying in the main gueshouse you can access free Wi-Fi - useful if you are carrying your laptop and dont want to be cut off from the big bad world (although there is an internet cafe about 5 mins up the road).
As for the bar itself, its like a cosy veranda off the main drag - good for people-watching. Overall the food is very good, the milkshakes are great.
I'd definitely return to AKWA if I were visiting Chaweng Beach in Samui. I'd encourage Tim to open up more premises, you're on to a good thing here with AKWA.