The place has evolved over the years, finally fusing the old Ark Bar Garden Beach Resort and Ark Bar Beach Hotel into one massive resort under a single name.
The resort’s layout could be mistaken for the floor plan of an urban housing project, with two-storey concrete stacks built close enough together to easily toss a basketball from one building to the next. If you can get past the lack of charm, the well-kept rooms come with soft beds, TVs, WiFi, air-con, safes, fridges, ensuite hot-water bathrooms and private balconies. One of the rooms that we inspected features a painting of the Donald Duck Rock from one of the Similan Islands
off South Thailand’s west coast – not in the vicinity of Samui but, hey, many guests may not know that. We found little difference between the superior and pricier deluxe rooms.
Receptionists didn’t try to hide the fact that those staying in any room located near the main swimming pool, where the parties are centred, will have to deal with noise until around 02:00 every night. It’s not the greatest value if judging by the accommodation alone, but here you get the party atmosphere and central location along with loads of facilities. Orange-clad staffers led us through two restaurants and multiple bars, including a large swim-up bar in the beachside pool. A larger pool has a see-through sidewall, while a smaller one set in a corner of the labyrinthine grounds is quieter.
You would not want to stay here if seeking peace and quiet, but Ark Bar is a magnet for younger travellers looking to party and mingle. Non-guests can pay 300 baht to use the pool and a lounger for a day.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Superior double room, low season: 1,700 baht, high season 2,000 baht. Notes:
Room: Deluxe double room, low season: 2,100 baht, high season 2,400 baht. Notes: Add 800 baht for a sea view room