First customers……Always right?!

I’ll start this post by posing you 3 questions.……

  1. Have you ever stayed at a hotel that didn’t meet your expectations?
  2. Have you ever been the first customers of a newly opened hotel?
  3. Has that nightmare ever turned into a dream?

We booked our first Thailand hotel whilst still in Kuala Lumpur. We were flying into Krabi airport in the south, so we wanted somewhere nearby and we’d heard that Ao Nang was nice. We opted for Ao Nang Beach, and this particular hotel because it was within budget but mainly because the main transportation method to all the surrounding small islands is long tailed boats which leave from a pier locally in a taxi style.

On the day before our arrival, we couldn’t seem find the hotel on a map but we figured that it couldn’t be that difficult to find it since there were other landmarks we could go by. When we landed at Krabi airport we booked ourselves onto a shuttle bus. All the other customers were saying their hotel names as they were getting on the bus and seemed to be receiving nothing but nods and thumbs ups, whereas ours was met with quizzical looks. Alarm bells were definitely ringing at this point.

Lots of head scratching was occurring amongst the driver and staff, followed by some asking around and conversations between themselves, but they said all good so we got on. At the first stop where some people were getting off, we were approached by someone saying “Mr Andy right? There is a small car waiting for you”.

We were asked by the hotel if we wanted an airport transfer when we booked, but we thought the price they offered was too high, so we said we’d sort it ourselves. This was not what we were expecting, but we got in the car and off we went to God knows where. We knew they were hotels staff by the way, so it’s not like we were getting kidnapped!

When we arrived at the hotel a few minutes later we soon realised something was wrong. Well, more along the lines of ‘not what we had in mind’ rather than wrong. The place seemed lovely, but it was clearly not on the beach road as advertised on Hotels.com. In fact, when I checked Google Maps we were in fact 3.3 miles away from the beach/town.

To say that we weren’t happy about this was an understatement to say the least. The staff were nothing but helpful and they were confused as to why Hotels.com had advertised their place in the location it had stated. To make things worse we were in fact their very first customers, and they had just opened! Imagine being so excited about your first customers arriving after opening, and then they aren’t happy and don’t want to stay there!

Well, we got things straightened out eventually, after the staff offering us a little sweetener of dropping us and picking us up in town whenever we wanted, and much complaining to Hotels.com. After all that, I must say the place is fantastic, and we felt really lucky to have to the place to ourselves for the first few days, including their lovely pool.

On our first day here in Thailand we thought we’d go and explore the local town, so we went and asked our gracious hosts if they would be kind enough to drop us in town. We were given the managers phone number and asked to call when we needed picking up. One of our tasks for the day was to get a Thai SIM card/number so we could have internet usage on the go via our phones. It’s something we had in India, and it makes life so much easier. So, we had our first glimpses of Ao Nang Beach, our first Thai meal and of course our first Thai beer/cocktail!

Our Thai SIM card was sorted very easily in a 7/11 store over the counter, unlike in India! In fact it was a breeze. We called the manager for pick up, and tried to explain firstly who it was, what we wanted, when, and of course where. This was easier said than done as the staff speak limited English, and my Thai is worse than my Turkish! The phone was passed from pillar to post, and at one point I swear I was talking to the guys Grandmother! After 5 minutes or so we finally understood each other and we waited for pick up. They dutifully came, and returned us back to the hotel safely, although from that moment on we decided it would be prudent to go for a pre-arranged time and place for pick up so save the confusing phone calls.

Here’s a short list of a few things we’ve noticed about this place, good and bad…

Of course with any new place there has been some teething troubles. Firstly it was the shower. Everything looked fine from the outside, but when you turned it on there was no hot water. The unit wasn’t connected to the mains, so a quick visit from the maintenance man and we were up and running in no time.

There is a chest of drawers in the room with 8 hangers in one of the drawers. Unfortunately though, there is nowhere to hang clothes in the room. No wardrobe, no free standing rail, no hooks…nothing. 

We had to hang the hand towel on the corner of the bathroom mirror as again, there is nowhere else to put it.

There is no bin in the room, so we have been utilizing the plastic bags we’ve been getting here and there. As seen on the picture.

One evening we decided to visit a local Night market. The driver had to stop to ask directions from 3 people and still ended up going the wrong way! I had to provide guidance via MapsMe app.

There has been a bit of communication troubles, especially with the driver. Not speaking english with 21 villas worth of guests (at capacity) could cause problems. E.g – Q… How are you? A… Yes!
Although sometimes it’s best not being able to talk, as we have strong suspicions that he is drunk most of the time but we can’t know, can we?

This happened again when picking us up and taking us back to the hotel one night. The driver slowed down as he “lost the way”. I say: next right mate, and I’ve only been around for 2 days!

Manager (l) and driver (r)
Nutty (l) and the amazing Mook (r)

They look after us well here. We hav e towels coming out of our ears, and of course they are all brand new. In fact, at the last count we had 11 of them……

We have a fridge in the room which sounds like it’s crying after everytime we open and close it, and occasionally it sounds like a waterfall.

Only I have a bedside table and Seda makes use of the floor.

Some kind of animals walking on the roof at night. No idea what they are.

Butterflies of all kinds flying around, and they are beautiful……

We have a kettle (brand new of course), cups and sachets of coffee which is much more than can be said for our modest hotel room in KL where the kettle didn’t work, we had loads of sugar sachets, but no tea or coffee!

Best was the pool though. Since we were the only customers for 3 days we had the pool all to ourselves. Only now there are 2 more rooms occupied which annoys us immensely as they might dare to swim in OUR POOL as well.

Every day we see them adding new things to their villas to get them all ready to be inhabited. A mattress, bedding, bins and even a few benches for the outdoor areas, but there are still only 5 sun loungers for 21 bungalows. In fact there is more gnomes than sun loungers!

The room randomly smells of cabbage when left closed up all day!

Their reception area wifi didn’t work in our room so after seeing us come down to reception to use the internet, they gave us the password for their neighbour’s wifi network and that works perfectly fine. Either incredibly sneaky, or they have some sort arrangement.

PS. Thai mangos don’t taste like soap!

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