Suwan Palm Khao Lak Beach Resort with the Tribe
Marked by the Khao Lak Lighthouse, Nang Thong Beach is a lovely strip of coastline. We stayed at Suwan Palm Khao Lak Beach Resort. Nestled among other more pricey hotels, Suwan Palm was a good price for ocean side accommodation. Suwan Palm is one of the only hotels to survive the tsunami and it’s currently undergoing a style overhaul from classic Thai to industrial modern. From the street you’ll wonder if you’re in the right spot, but once you’re past the reception building, you’ll enter the pool courtyard to see the hotel in all of it’s concrete, clean-lines glory.
Instagrammers far more savvy than us would have a wild picture taking time here. The modern structure, ocean views, and use of greenery is so very inviting. Breakfast is included and is served at Chaw Mart and Meals, which is part of the hotel on the street side. It’s all you need to start your day right. The front desk staff were simply aces and they made us feel so incredibly welcome.
Design, location, price point, and welcoming staff – sounds like a total win, but there were a series of misses that left us befuddled on how we feel about Suwan Palm Beach Resort.
Our two-room family suite with ocean view smelled damp. The musk of moisture was strong and we were thankful for our essential oil sprays to mask the odour. But hey, oils and open windows for sea breeze – we could do it. The more we used our room, the more challenges we found. For a beach / pool hotel, there was nowhere to hang swimsuits and towels to dry. Everyone’s balcony was lined with drying items which kills the hotels sleek glass look. Our rain head shower was broken and the water was warm, never hot.
Between the hotel and the beach is a green space with palm trees, it is lovely and has three Buddhist shrines which prevent the hotel from developing this space further. This means that anyone with mobility issues would find the beach almost inaccessible as the stairs to the garden are uneven, there is no path, and getting to the beach means stepping down between tree roots. With no lift and a lots of stars with no ramps, this is not an accessible hotel.
Our oddest encounters came with house keeping. From issues at check-in regarding a baby cot, not replenishing our room’s tea and coffee, going two days with no soap (props for using refillable bottles as long as you refill them), leaving dirty dishes in our room, putting our personal pillows on the ground while making the beds (we walked in while they were cleaning and there was a scramble to get our stuff off the ground), consistently giving us 4 towels though there are 5 of us, and claiming that chocolate we cleaned from our baby’s face ruined the towels.
There’s so much to do in Khao Lak. Read about it here and then go out and do it!
We had seen reviews of this hotel mention that guests’ things went missing from rooms and we experienced this as well. It was only after a few visits to the front desk and using our best Thai cultural skills (smile, don’t yell) that the item in question appeared in our room again with no explanation. The housekeeping staff would stand outside of our room door as there was an alcove in the hallway. Here they could check their phones without being seen, except by us as we came and went. The staff also sat outside of our patio for their smoke breaks which meant the AC would pull the smells into our room.
We really like Nang Thong Beach and we would explore some of the other great hotel options in the area. The Seaview Resort Khao Lak looked lovely, but sits on both sides of the road and the majority of rooms are not on the ocean side. The hotel which truly caught our eye was the Khao Lak Laguna Resort. Located at the far end of the beach, it is nestled among the rocks on the shoreline with a great view over the ocean.