A top pick
Slap bang in the middle of Sunrise Beach, Gipsy Resort’s comfy rooms at reasonable rates have drawn us back time and again. The Spanish and Urak Lawoi (sea gypsy) managers do an excellent job of making guests feel at home while retaining the laidback atmosphere Lipe is known for. They also make a mean espresso and banana shake.
The majority of accommodation comes in two rows of clean concrete bungalows huddled facing one another along a path graced with bulging flower bushes. These get you blue tile floors, one large window, soft foam mattresses on raised platforms, two silk blankets and soft linens, high-quality mosquito nets, wall-mounted fans and/or air-con, clothes-drying racks and fully enclosed bathrooms with flush toilets, sinks and cold-water showers. Private porches are equipped with tables and chairs in addition to hammocks, and a water sprayer for cleaning the sand off your feet out front.
As of the 2014-15 season, Gipsy also offers simple woven bamboo huts for a lower price, though we were told that these will probably be replaced by wood bungalows for 2015-16. We do hope they keep the bamboo and wood bungalows that sit perched on the beachfront and present one of the only sea-view options left on Lipe for under 1,500 baht. Perfect for couples, these bag you large garden bathrooms and great porches.
At time of writing, a sharp two-floor villa had recently been constructed out of wood, cement and tile just back from the beach. They were putting the finishing touches on it during our visit, but we did take a peek and can say that it will be a great option for families once completed. The older concrete family room also comes with air-con and represents competitive value for groups.
The path that runs between bungalows emerges on to a magnificent stretch of Sunrise Beach; do try to wake up early to see what the place was named for. A beachfront restaurant pumps out entrancing downtempo music to go with consistently good Thai food, sandwiches, pasta and salads. The shakes and “Roma” espresso also get high marks, perhaps accompanied by a coconut roll sold by a woman who sings “Yoohoo, yoohoo!” as she roves the beach. Countless other dining options are found on nearby Walking Street.
Gipsy’s rates fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year, including a sizeable spike around Christmas and Western New Year, and the 10-day Chinese New Year. Depending on the room, rates jump by 100 to 500 baht during peak season, and the resort may close for all or part of the time between June 1 and October 1.
The bungalows are often full, so advance reservations are a good idea during high season. If you show up unannounced to find no rooms available, you might head a short walk inland to the under 1,000-baht bungalows at the sister property, Gipsy 2 Resort, which is also very good. Otherwise, you could try the relatively cheap but impersonal and unkempt Varin Village next door, or head down the beach to the slightly pricier (but not better) bungalows at Coco Cottage.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 12th December, 2014.