More about Renaissance Koh Samui Rsrt Spa
My boyfriend and I just returned from a trip to Ko Samui.
Unfortunately we couldn't get the same hotel for the whole trip so we booked two: the Sala Samui and The Renissaunce.
Both were great, but there was just 'something' about Sala Samui that made us wish we had stayed there the entire trip.
We had a villa in both hotels- both with private plunge pools...
They both had their ups... for instance, the decor in the rooms at The Renissance is quite luxurious (for Asian decor), while the decor at Sala Samui (though nice), is much more simplistic.
While The Renissance makes you feel like you are in a big, luxury hotel... the Sala makes you feel like you are renting a villa- and wow, there happens to be a restaurant, spa, beach, and 2 pools on the grounds!
The food at the Sala did seem to be a bit better than at The Renissance... then again, maybe the fact that you could simply walk out of your room at the Sala Samui, take a right onto the beach, only to be greeted by NUMEROUS CHEAP restaurants- could have helped out.
At The Renissance we didn't have this option. At The Renissance one has to either drive a ways, or eat on the grounds of the resort.
We also prefer the villas at the Sala Samui to the villas at The Renissance because (first and foremost)- there is a ten-foot wall that completely surrounds your villa and your private grounds (two sunbeds, plunge pool, and private bale) at the Sala Samui... there is also an outdoor bathroom with an amazingly deep bowl-like tub. You could literally do anything you want within these walls (as long as you aren't too loud) and no one will ever know!
On the other hand, the villas at The Renissance have very short walls so that anyone walking by can look over and see what is going on around the pool- or if you have your blinds open in your villa- tthey can see into the villa as well... thus, they are a LOT less private.
However there was one thing that The Renissance beats the Sala with... a gym. We were so disappointed by the fact that the Sala Samui lacked a gym (especially because we knew we would be putting on weight from eating all of the great Thai food!)... thus after spending 3 days being rained-in at the Sala Samui with nothing to do... it was a great relief for us to arrive at The Renissance and have use of a very nice gym.
Before leaving for vacation we had read a lot of complaints about the beach at The Renissance... and while it is true that the water is shallow- apparently the tide is low everywhere in May-- it definitely was at the Sala Samui.
Besides this however, the beach itself at The Renissance was much nicer than the Sala Samui's, in the sense that it was more private and was just, well... prettier (though the beach is teeny in comparison). If you are looking for a big beach with more action, then the Sala Samui is better... But if you are looking for more natural scenery- then The Renissance is the way to go.
In the end... if you are looking to rent a villa and you would like privacy, go for the Sala Samui.
If you don't care much about privacy, and luxury decor is more important, then The Renissance may be the way to go.
We did have one night in a regular room at The Renissance (before the villa) and it was very nice... just make sure you make a request for an ocean-view room.
If having a gym is important to you, then I would definitely recommend staying at The Renissance.
However, in the end, if my byfriend and I ever go back to Ko Samui, I am sure that we will just suck it up and forgo the gym- and stay the length of our trip only at the Sala Samui.
There was just something special about the Sala that really made us feel really comfortable and at totally at home.
Pool villas were lovely
We checked out so many websites before deciding on the Renaissance and we were for the most part impressed.
Our ocean view pool villa was one of the loveliest rooms we have ever stayed in and our private pool was just amazing! We hardly left our villa.....we ordered room service for lunch and just soaked up the sun in our pool area.
We ate at the TawaNN and it was very nice....very romantic! The menu is a little limited though.
We had a massage too which was wonderful. The Spa was awesome. The main pool area was very nice too but we didn't spend too much time there because we had our own private pool.
The main thing which let the Renaissance down was the beach. It is really very shallow and we had to walk for about half an hour to get to a decent place to swim. Also our ocean view villa wasn't really ocean view.....it wasn't quite how it was portrayed on the website. And the hotel is located quite a way from restaurants but taxis are pretty cheap so it isn't too much of a concern. If we ever do go back to Koh Samui, we would probably stay on Chaweng somewhere to be near the restaurants and the better beach.
We stayed at this resort July 20-24, 2006 and we never once left the grounds!
Our stay was essentially flawless. There are two basic types of accomodations at this resort. There is a low-rise building (four floors) with about 40 rooms, and there are bungalows with private pools strewn about the property. There are two pools....one VERY LONG lap pool next to the low-rise building (away from the beach), and the main pool located next to the beach. Both pools were nice and none felt over crowded. We spent most of our time at the main pool. It never felt over crowded, and the attendants were quite responsive to any requests.
Our room was in the low-rise building. We had a fabulous view of the ocean and island from our 6th floor (only two rooms are located above the fourth floor). The room was great! The sleeping area was standard hotel size. The bathroom was completely seperated from the sleeping area with a nice sink area and two fogged glass doors opposite it. Behind one door was the toilet and behind the other was a shower. There were doors from the bathroom out to a jacauzzi tub out on the deck. It was very relaxing to sit in the tub at night during a thunderstorm. The tub is connected to the remainder of the deck which has two nice reclining chairs and a table.
The restaurants were also very good. The nice thing here was that, despite having three restaurants, none seemed much used. In fact, about 50% of our dining took place in total isloation...not another guest around! It was very romantic!! Food quality was good, and about what you would expect to pay at a resort hotel ($22 for buffet breakfast, $30 for lunch, and around $35-60 for dinner).
During our stay, the timing of the tides was not great. When the tide goes out, there is a large expanse of exposed beach to explore. Lots of shells and coral washes up. When the tide does come in, the water is down-right HOT! Much warmer than the pool, which is plenty warm as it is. The beach area itself is nice, with tables and chairs. It is possible to dine there.
The hotel has a full service spa, but we did not use it. They also offer a complementary shuttle bus to Chewang, the main town area.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay at this resort and we would not hesitate to return!
Fantastic... but yet also very disapointing
We stayed at this resort for 8 nights at the beginning of October. The resort, while beautiful and very well designed and laid out is a little shabby round the edges and beginning to show signs of age. My main concern with the resort was the loaction, after reading many reviews on Trip Advisor before booking we expected it to be slightly out the way, but by no means isolated with cheap taxis easy to get a hold of. This was NOT the case. Renassance Ko Samui is 45 - 55 minute walk to Lamai Beach (there are no pavements and access onto the beach is only possible 1km away from the resort by going through another resort and onto the beach) We know it takes this long as we walked it, expecting to find signs of life closer by. Taxis are not available as there is no number to call them and the hotel arranges a private taxt for 400 bahts if you request one. Chaweng is not near enought to attempt to walk to but the resort offers a mini bus to this beach - the bus goes at the most ridiculous times which are really no use and in the time we stayed there hardly anyone used this service (which I think was the point - if there was no way out you would have to eat in the over priced hotel restaurants). The impression we got from day one was that this hotel isn't doing to well and everything is a profit making exercise rather that looking after the guests. The bus went at 10am (nothing opens in Chaweng until 12) 2pm, 4.30pm and 9pm the last bus at night was 9.30pm. We tended to take the bus at 9pm as leaving the beach in the middle of the afternoon to go out for the evening seemed silly and we would get a taxi back - not proper taxis but pick-ups that drive passed tooting their horns at tourists in the hope of picking up a fare - we paid between 150 -200 bahts for this.
After reading reviews I was expecting the quality of food to be excellent within the resort and the prices to be reasonable, this was not the case. The hotel has the main restaurant The Banana Leaf, which has a relatively limited menu, the lunch menu for the Banana Leaf is also the menu for the bar and for the pool bar - further limiting your choices. Prices are on a par or more that upmarket restaurants in the UK. Which is ridiculous compared to independent resaturants in the area. TawaNN also had a very small menu but the prices for a restaurant of such acclaim was reasonably priced, although we never ate there. The tapas bar only opens after 5 pm and has a few dishes, more like a list of a few bar snacks than a full tapas menu.
More disturbing than costs was the fact that the restaurants were desserted almost all of the time and there was absolutely no atmosphere in the resort at all. Although there were plenty people about during the day. On 2 of the 3 occassions we used the bar we were the only guests there, and the music was put on when we sat down. On evening there were a few others but everyone had left before 9pm.
Breakfast is buffet style and costs 500 bahts per person, which is very expensive especially considering that a full breakfast in the bar on th path between the main road and the resort is 60bahts!!
Please note that everything in the hotel is subject to 10% service charge and 7% government tax - this is not included in a prices you see but added on afterwards.
This leads me onto service - Variable is probably the best way to describe it, some days you would arrive at the pool and someone would follow you about and stand right next to you the whole time (overbearing) other days you would be ignored. The staff seem to expect to be tipped and hover continuously which I hated. We had many difficulties with the language barrier and could never get ourselves understood, even whilst making basic request, ie. for towels or ordering drinks. This was only the case in this resort, any were else people where more open and friendly, as opposed to vacant looks we received at the Renaissance.
The Pools at the resort are lovely and really well designed as are the rooms. We stayed in a garden pool villa (glad we did as the beach view villas are situated around the pool and people around the pool can see in) The accommodation made it for us and if it was on this alone I would giver the resort 5 stars. The pool was fantastic with fresh exotic flowers being put in it every day, the rooms were spotless with a massive and very comfy bed. Roms are cleaned every day and turned down every evening. We had wooden loungers and a little table on our patio and a living room seperated from the bedroom with sliding screens. The pictures on the website show most of this. We did have problems with the continuity of service here too as we didn't have turn down every evening, room service dishes were left for up to 5 days and 2 days our dirty pool towels were removed but fresh ones weren't left and when we phoned no one understood our request for towels, eventually they promised to bring some and an hour later we had to call again as they hadn't appeared. Similar problems like this occured regularly. If you need to do anything at reception set aside a long time - it takes about 20 mins to change money and 30mins to check out. Again the staff just don't seem to konw what they are doing.
The beach as other have mentioned is very shallow but I didn't find this a problem, although I did expect the beaches on the island to be very beauiful - not the case - sand is stony and dark and the water is rocky and murky - very disapointing. We hired a jeep and went round the isalnd in search of the perfect beach but they are all the same - if you are looknig for a tropical paradise I would urge you to rethink Koh Samui.
Chaweng was great, busy lots of restaurants and food stalls - varying choice and budgets, I would strongly recommend staying here somewhere rather that at the Renaissance. The resorts are set apart from the busy main street and remain traquil and an oasis from the busy town - we had the impression that Chaweng was tacky and noisy and that we would hate to say there but really this was not the case, it was typical of any main street in a toursit area but the resets are well set back and some looked really nice.
In conclusion we had a fantastic time and the resort was really beautiful with amazing villas but the location, costs and staff made it 3/5 instead of 5 for us
Good Points & Bad Points
To celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary on Sunday and my husband's birthday on Monday, we wanted a relaxing and romantic holiday. I reviewed through numerous hotels in this website and decided on Renaissance. We stayed 5 nights in Sep'06. It was off peak period, so less people around and cheaper acoomodation. Weather still very sunny. I am sure you would have found the other reviews of this resort helpful and I would like to summarise the good & bad points my husband & I experienced during our stay. All things said, I would still say that we enjoyed our stay there and have happy memories to bring home. So read on and decide yourself.
- Surprise. We informed the frontdesk about our special days and asked how we can celebrate them in a special way. We were surprised with a birthday cake with my husband's name on it ! It was placed in our room when we went out for dinner, so we were pleasantly surprised when we returned. When we thanked the frontdesk the next day, they informed us that they also prepared sparkling wine for us on our anniversary. They said they called us but we did not get the message. Such a waste !
- Towel art. The housekeeing used the bath and hand towels and made them into very pretty and creative figures of annimals. When we 1st arrived, it was elephants. On our anniversay, it was 2 kissing swans ! There is bed turn down service with the next day weather and a small tidbit to eat every night.
- Premise and facilities. We stayed in the room (not the villa) and it was very comfortable, clean, modern, spacious and well laid out. There is a jaccuzi on the balconey so you can soak and look out. The bed is extra king size and very comfy. The common areas and facilities were also clean and well kept. The lush vegetation created a very relaxing atmosphere.
- Spa. The service at the spa was very good. We had 2 massages each. About US$57 for 1 hour massage per person.
- Mosquitoes. I got bitten almost every time I was at the Banana Leaf restuarant (the breakfast & main restuarant). Not sure if it is seasonal.
- Pricey food. As the resort is not within walking distance to shops, we have to eat in. The food at Banana Leaf and Tawaan (award-winning chef) is good but pricey. For example, a simple lunch of fried rice at Banana Leaf for 1 cost US$13. However, we found a cheaper alternative ! Just walk 1 miniute to the Bayview Resort next door and eat there. It cost only about 40% of Renaissance's price. Nothing fanciful but good for a simple meal. We ate there 3 times. Friendly service and peaceful (we were the only ones at lunch).
- Beach. It is low tide till about 1 pm when the tide slowly comes in. It is good for swimming only around 5pm and must look out for the rough rocks in the shallow waters. Water is not clear. Not pretty looking when low tide.
- Transport. We chose Renaissance for its seclusive location instead of a hotel in Chaweng. However, you must go to Chaweng at least once to soak in the atmosphere, shop, eat etc. Renaissance provides a free bus transport to and from Chaweng at scheduled times only, so it is a little restrictive. Ask the frontdesk to call a taxi for you, but it will set you back by US$8 for the 20 minute ride (one way).
- Chaweng. You must slash the price given by the merchant by At Least 50% and start bargaing from there. If you don't get the price you want, move on. He may call you back. If he doesn't, don't worry, the next shop will sell the same thing. And then you start bargaining again ! Quite fun actually.
- Day tours. Take a day tour round the island. We went elephant riding, visited a mummified monk, waterfall, "grandfather & grandmother rock" etc. Interesting break from lazing at the resort.
- Free food & excursion guide books. Get these from the frontdesk. very useful.
Happy holiday !
A Pleasant Surprise
Having read the other recent reviews, I had some fears about my stay here. However, I have just returned from a fantastic week long stay and would highly recommend the Renaissance.
Staying there over the Xmas & New Year period, I was worried the hotel would be crowded & noisy. However, although the hotel was at max capacity, as there were 2 pools which were quite far apart, there were times when my partner and I were the only people by one of the pools.
The food is fantastic, I highly recommend treating yourself to a meal at TaWAnn, their gourmet restaurant.
We stayed in the cheapest room, a Deluxe and it was great. We had our own jacuzzi on the balcony and an enormous, comfortable bed.
Other reviews had said the location was disappointing. Yes, the courtesy minibus goes at inconvenient times and the hotel taxi is expensive but I wouldn't want to be staying in central Chaweng. It was nice to the have the opportunity to go there for dinner but it also gave the hotel a nice secluded feeling which is especially welcomed in comparison to the busy resorts in Lamai further up the beach.
Overall, if you're looking for a beautifully landscaped, well equipped hotel for a relaxing, peaceful vacation then I thoroughly recommend the Renaissance. I gave it 4 stars as in comparison to the Sala Samui where I stayed last year, the Sala is just that tiny bit more magical....
Beautiful but inconsistent
We stayed here mid December 2006 in one of the pool villas. The villa itself was beautiful, far exceeding our expectations, from the beautiful smell of the polished floors when you walked in to the huge comfortable bed and sunken rain-shower. The villa pool itself was small but adequate. High tech touches like the surround sound dvd system compatible with ipods blend well with tradtional Thai decor. All in all, a perfect holiday home.
The resort itself is beautiful, however the main pool was closed for 4 days of our stay and no compensation was offered for this. Other areas which let the resort down were in the areas of service, particularly housekeeping. Examples of this include: Pool towels were not replaced on several days, the daily newspaper was not received on the last 3 days of our stay, the towel art which is supposed to be done everyday was only done on the first 2 days of our stay. Also, the prices in the hotel restaurants were considerably higher than we would expect to pay in Thailand. As advised by a previous reviewer, we dined in the hotel restaurant next door for a quarter of the price (and better quality).
Overall, we enjoyed our stay here, however, the lack of attention to detail and over-pricing spoiled what could have been an amazing resort and rendered it just average.