Great waterfront rooms
Set overlooking the water at the centre of Chaloklum village and roughly modelled on a traditional trader's house, Mandalai offers easily the smartest rooms on Chaloklum, providing a comfortable respite from typical island bungalows.
Smart and comfortable rooms are arranged across both floors of the U-shaped building, with a small swimming pool at the centre and the beachfront rooms facing onto a shared terrace and the beach beyond. The rectangular pool is small but pleasant enough, with a couple of deckchairs and an aqua-coloured table setting shaded by a frangipani.
Rooms are very spacious, with oodles of space for an extra bed, immaculate hot-water bathrooms, plenty of windows with venetian blinds and all rooms include a Jacuzzi set right beside the firm bed. Decor is modern and well done, with a trio of small statues in an alcove above the bed, bedside lighting and dressing gowns in an inbuilt wardrobe. Other facilities include free WiFi, cable TV, complimentary coffee and tea and air-con throughout. While we had a second-floor pool-view room, if you can, you really want to get one of the ocean view rooms (preferably upstairs) to enjoy terrific views over the water – they are worth the extra money.
There are also table settings by the pool and out overlooking the water there are a couple more with linen umbrellas and a few small palms. There is no restaurant on site, but you're just minutes away from a gaggle of the seafood restaurants in the centre of Chaloklum. Staff are friendly and we found them to be super helpful and obliging, especially regarding suggestions on where to eat.
At the rear of the second floor beach-view rooms there is a staircase you can use to get onto the roof – there is no table settings or anything, but the views, especially at sunset, are great. Note though that neither the stairs nor the roof have any railings or other safety guards, so keep an eye on any kids!
Overall this is a smart and comfortable modern option which will appeal to those looking to break out from typical island bungalows. Recommended. Shop online for a competitive rate.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 24th October, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.