My first visit to Ko Samui was a bit of a last-minute change of plans and I had to find a hotel on Chaweng beach quickly. As this was part of the ASEAN Explorer budget-y trip, I settled on the Mercure Chaweng Tana Resort, and it was a good choice.
Location: The Mercure Chaweng is on the Southern end of Chaweng, about a 15-20min walk to the heart of town. That’s a good thing, as it is far enough from the party noise – or a bad thing, if that sounds like a very long walk to you. There are plenty of taxis and share taxis available on the road in front, if you don’t mind that they are ridiculously overcharging for what they offer. The hotel doesn’t have direct beach access – you will have to go through a construction site (3 minutes to the beach, but a little odd to walk through the construction and I’d not recommend with kids) or a little further via a public access road. The rooms face the road or a neighboring hotel, so you don’t get much of a view. Fortunately, there is not a lot of noise, so you do get a good night’s sleep.
Service: The front desk staff was friendly and knowledgeable. The check-in was quick and the staff acknowledged my Accor Gold membership with a free welcome drink from the bar! Housekeeping was thorough and the staff at the pool bar and restaurant was friendly and responsive. This is the kind of service I have come to expect in Thailand, friendly and professional even at mid-scale hotels, and wish I’d find elsewhere. Fortunately, at the Mercure it hasn’t become jaded like in other touristy places in Thailand.
Room: The room is one of the highlights at the Mercure. It’s a large room with big windows, held in a modern decor. Somewhat odd that the mix of orange/earth colors and faux concrete look suggested more Tuscany villa than Thai Beach, but I liked it. You have a huge bed, a small sitting area and desk and closet and bathroom separated by sliding doors. The concrete/color scheme continues in the bathroom and works well. The TV, kettle and safe were all in good working order and the room was clean and well maintained. If you were wondering why it doesn’t look like your typical Mercure hotel at all – it was a private boutique hotel Mercure acquired three years ago!
Amenities/Restaurant: The hotel has a small pool with comfortable loungers and cabanas around it. While it was busy, there were enough loungers for everybody and I was able to relax in the shade after a day on the beach. Even better, I was able to enjoy my welcome drink at the pool – it was a big and colorful cocktail, although cocktail aficionados would probably scoff at the mix. I skipped the breakfast, based on the comments of friends who didn’t like it very much, and headed for breakfast on the beach instead.
Bottomline: The Mercure Chaweng was what I was looking for: a nice, inexpensive room near the beach and bars/restaurants of Chaweng, without the noise that comes with those. You get a pool, too, to refresh after a day by the beach! If you want a more romantic or luxurious getaway, check out the luxurious side of Ko Samui and my review of the InterContinental Samui! You can find current rates here!
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