Staff makes it great
The tried-and-true Paradise Beach Resort got its start in the 1990s when a Swiss traveller decided to stick around and build comfortable rooms aimed at German and other European tourists on the site of an old bungalow joint. After numerous expansions, the large resort is still a fabulous midrange choice on the quiet east end of Mae Nam Beach, with a notably good-natured staff.
The resort offers five room types, starting with “deluxe” editions in two-storey concrete buildings with Thai art, rattan furnishings and private balconies facing a wide and shady lawn. These are spacious, spotless and comfy, with hardwood accents and ocher-tile floors in addition to the expected extras – TV, safe, desk, minibar, bathrobes and large bathrooms with rain showers. This same vicinity hosts a newer two-floor stack of “grand deluxe” rooms sporting sofa nooks built into sleek white floors and walls. We liked both styles, though our thriftiness would keep us from spending more on a newer room that offers nothing extra apart from the more modern design.
We would consider splashing out for a suite with Thai woodcarvings and separate living area or, better yet, a villa featuring vaulted ceilings and gingerbread-style railings on private balconies with daybeds facing the beach or a huge lagoon-style swimming pool that curves around coconut and umbrella trees. Also including fretted-wood exteriors painted ice blue and many wide windows, the villas are simply gorgeous.
Those staying in the cheaper rooms can walk for a minute over to the beachfront pool or step into a second large pool set back in the garden area. The resort also offers a spa, seaside restaurant, several watersports, motorbike rental and even an on-site diving outfit. Families are welcome and kids will have a lot of fun exploring the grounds, trying out both pools and building sandcastles on the terrific stretch of beach that fronts the property.
We found it hard to fault Paradise Beach’s design or atmosphere, but it’s the staff that pushes it from very good up to outstanding. The receptionist welcomed us with a smile and offered to show us several rooms before we even asked, sending us off with a junior staffer who explained the facilities in very good English. We didn’t detect a hint of the bored or patronising attitudes that are so common at resorts – even expensive ones – elsewhere on Samui.
Do keep in mind that Paradise Beach’s location is rather isolated; you might consider staying at Smile House or another resort over in Bophut if being able to walk to a lot of restaurants and shops is important to you. If you’d prefer a smaller place with cheaper rates that also has a wonderful staff, check out Mae Nam Resort at the opposite end of the beach. Rates at Paradise Beach fluctuate throughout the year and deals can be scored online.
Address: 18/8 Moo 1, Mae Nam, Ko Samui
T: (077) 247 227; F: (077) 425 290
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º0'32.57" E, 9º34'6.14" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Deluxe double room||2,200 baht||2,750 baht|
|Deluxe Suite||3,200 baht||4,000 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Samui