Hotel review: Panviman Resort Koh Phangan


Hotel Review: Panviman Resort Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan, June 2017




Introduction

Panviman Resort was our chosen spot for the first "beach holiday" part of the vacation in Thailand. I contacted the hotel directly to ask about an offer for a week, and receiving a satisfying price quote I booked us a Deluxe Cottage for 7 nights.

I studied different parts of the island and based on some reviews, hotel's location, nearby villages and restaurants, I picked Panviman. It is not a 5 star hotel and it doesn't pretend to be, but a very nice 4 star resort.



Steps to pool area in the evening




Check-in and lobby

We arrived at the resort at about 6.30pm after 40min drive from Thong Sala pier to the hotel entrance, and a resort´s own tuk-tuk kind of a car gave us a ride to the lobby, since it was a bit of a hike upwards.


Tuk-tuk

Lobby




After a friendly welcome from the staff we took a seat and were offered a drink while being given information about the resort, facilities and opening hours.


Lobby

Seating at the lobby



Deluxe Cottage

We were taken into our room 6402 by a tuk-tuk, since the resort is spread across quite a large area over the small peninsula between Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi beaches.

The room was quite nice with lots of dark wood and some Thai decorations. On the upper floor was a big king bed with a pretty towel decoration, and large windows with a door to a spacious balcony that had an
outdoor bath tub.


King bed


Deluxe Cottage, upper floor


Deluxe Cottage, upper floor


Outdoor bath tub, upper floor



On the lower floor were two single beds and a separate bathroom.

Stairs down to the lower floor


Lower floor, two single beds


Bathroom



There are air-conditioning units on both floors with separate controllers.

An electronic safe is provided and is free of charge as well as tea and coffee making equipment. A beach bag, umbrellas, a torch, slippers and flip flops are included, too.

At least six 600ml water bottles were provided, which is really nice in the Thailand heat. There are some brand water bottles in the minibar together with other drinks, and they are charged by consumption.

Beds were quite firm but for our taste not uncomfortably so. For each sleeper there were two pillows, the other one being a bit thicker and firmer.

Our first night was uneventful and fine, but on the second evening we noticed a little part of the bottom floor roof hanging and a little bit of water dripping into the room. Since it was quite close to a TV we notified the reception and they changed us to another room.



This one (room 6101) was even nicer than our first room since it had a bit less open space and thus felt cosier, but there was still ample space for our stuff. The second bathroom was missing here, but otherwise the cottage was quite similar to our first one. The view in the new one was better, too, and location was fine with a short walk to the pool and Pan Sea Restaurant where breakfast is served.


Upper floor, Deluxe Cottage 6101


Deluxe Cottage, balcony


Deluxe Cottage, balcony


Deluxe Cottage, balcony


Deluxe Cottage, balcony

Deluxe Cottage, balcony


Bathroom, Deluxe Cottage


Bathroom amenities


Deluxe Cottage, balcony





On the second evening in this room Mr Murphy came to meet us again. Due to some unfortunate circumstances we had to call to reception and ask for assistance. Even with swift help we had no chance but to change the room again. We packed some of our stuff to make it through the night and the next morning.
A new room was quickly found and a tuk-tuk came over to give us ride to our next room...




Family Deluxe Jacuzzi Grande

This one (6418) was very far out from the resort´s main facilities towards South-East and took a few minutes to reach by tuk-tuk. The upper floor had king bed and a toilet. A few steps down was a sofa and in the corner there were windows towards Thong Nai Pan Yai beach. The staff put the air-con on immediately as it was really hot in the room.

Upper floor, Deluxe Jacuzzi Grande


Upper floor, Deluxe Jacuzzi Grande


View from the upper floor towards Thong Nai Pan Yai


Upper floor, Deluxe Jacuzzi Grande



On the bottom floor was a very large bathroom with a lovely jacuzzi close to the windows, and a separate shower cubicle. There was even a separate air-con unit here.


Large bathroom downstairs


Jacuzzi


The bedroom downstairs had two single beds, a TV, and an area with three bean bag type of cushion chairs. The area was dark and peculiar since it seemed like a left-over and not really pretty. It was also really hot here and the air smelled a bit heavy and almost foul, but we switched the air-con on and hoped for the best since it was already very late.

We managed to get some sleep but it took quite a while for the air-con to work its magic. Downstairs felt too warm all the time and the smell didn't evaporate. There is easily enough space in this room type for a family four and I think you could add an extra bed or two if need be.

After breakfast I asked about the issue in our previous room and heard that it had been taken care of. We wished to return to that room since it felt cosier and the location was far better for us. Do keep in mind that the resort is sprawled across a large area where there are lots of hills and steps. If you're far away from the resort's main facilities, you might need to use the tuk-tuk a lot.

We packed our bags and moved to room 6101, only to face the same issue again in the evening. Off to Room 6418 again - staff was very quick to respond to our problems and we were whisked off to the Deluxe Jacuzzi Grande room by tuk- tuk.

I was getting a bit upset by packing our belongings and changing rooms all the time, so I wrote an email to the hotel GM Mr. Robert Schnabel who contacted us soon, was concerned of our troubles and very kindly upgraded us to a pool villa for the rest of our stay. A stay that was so good that 7 nights turned into 10...



Pool Villa

Our room was 6107, located only about a 100m further down the road from room 6101, still very close to the main pool area and Pan Sea restaurant where breakfast is served.

King bed


Pool villa

Towel decorations

Infinity pool

Infinity pool and view towards Thong Nai Pan Noi

View towards Thong Nai Pan Yai

Infinity pool

View towards Thong Nai Pan Yai beach

Pool villa


Panorama photo from the pool villa


The room isn't that big, but comfortable enough even with an extra bed. There were two chairs and a small table in front of large window looking East towards the ocean and the own pool. The view and the room were drop-dead gorgeous. We couldn't get enough of the fantastic sea view over the infinity pool. Well, who would?! There was a stereo setup, coffee and tea making facilities, and on the left hand corner was a big TV, a DVD player and below them a minibar in a cupboard. We didn't use any of these as the weather was great the whole time and we had other things to do.

Stereo setup


There wasn't that much extra space in the room, but on the other hand the room was cosy and pretty. Extra floor space can also create a feeling of emptiness which wasn't the case in this room. For us it was just about perfect! We didn't spend that much time in the room - the own pool, hotel facilities and nearby beaches and restaurants kept us happy anyway.


Night lighting in the Pool Villa


The bathroom is in a beautiful spot facing the pool. It gets warm easily in the morning since it's facing East.

The bed was similar to the ones we had in previous rooms so no complaints. I would, however, update the pillows or have an option of a softer one in addition.




Facilities

Restaurants

Breakfast was served in the Pan Sea restaurant, very close to the lobby. Breakfast starts at 07:00 and ends at 10:30. It's an open air restaurant so expect it to be very warm all year round. There are fans and movable air conditioners, but they don't necessarily affect every table.


Entrance to Pan Sea Restaurant



Breakfast consists of the "basic items" of a normal 4 star hotel restaurant: A few different juices, fresh fruits, breads and pastries, yogurt, cereals and muesli, warm dishes such as sausages and grilled tomatoes, a few different Thai dishes, an omelet station and another station preparing either Roti (an Indian type of pancake), pancakes or Thai coconut dumplings. The last one was perhaps our favorite. We thought it's a good idea to have some variability in the menu and to try some more or less typical Thai snacks.




Thai dishes


Jams and muffins


Fruits


Fruits


Omelet


Roti with chocolate sauce


A sweet Thai coconut dumpling


Egg & Roti stations


Hot dishes


There are two restaurants in the Panviman that are in operation in addition to the breakfast restaurant:
Pool Deck Bar, and Stone Beach Restaurant.

We dined in both places. The Pool Deck Bar is a more casual one, and we had a dinner there once just after we checked in to the hotel. The menu had at least pizzas and pastas, and we had a portion of each - both were good and tasty!


Pool Deck Bar at sunset


We had a lovely time dining at Stone Beach Restaurant on several occasions. The setting was magical:
on the beach with nice lighting, good service, a great menu and a very tempting price-quality ratio. The main part was of course the food. And it was good. So good that it was even too easy to return and enjoy some exquisite beachfront dining without breaking a bank. We did try a few different dishes, but we found our favorites: Tom Yum Goong and Green Curry.

The Executive Chef Mattias Pawlik is a fine gentleman and was constantly listening to guests´ comments on food. We dined at least four times at the Stone Beach restaurant and were rather impressed with the price - quality ratio. All of the portions were beautiful, tasty, and of good size. Even the kids´ portions were terrific and showed appreciation to food and the smaller guests. We gave compliments about this and Mr. Pawlik agreed that it is important to serve all customers well when it comes to dining and was serious about the quality and presentation of the dishes. Everything we ate was good, and our favorite dishes were Tom Yum Goong and Green Curry.

Our kid seemed to be extremely happy with her portions of Fried Rice with Chicken, and a Burger.

For dessert we had to test Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Ice-cream. Delicious!


Sticky rice with mango and coconut ice-cream


Stone Beach Restaurant



Pool

Pool area is in a nice central spot close to the Pan Sea restaurant and the lobby.
There are smaller pools with just a few sun chairs before the bigger one that has plenty of room to swim and play.

On the left side you'll find the Pool Deck bar and bathrooms.
Happy Hours are 13.00-15.00 and 17.00-19.00.


Smaller pools before the bigger one


Pool with a view


Pool area


Happy hour at pool area


Spa

Panviman has its own Spa and you'll find the entrance on the left side of Pan Sea restaurant.
You'll need to take some steps down and you'll then reach the Spa reception. There are quite many different treatment rooms and huts, and an extensive Spa menu that you can also find in your room.

The Spa area occupies a prime spot in the little peninsula between two beaches and there's an outdoor treatment hut with a superb view to the sea.

Service and the treatments were excellent: professional and relaxing in such beautiful surroundings.
Sure you do get a normal Thai Massage in one of the local villages cheaper, but then again this is a real, high-quality spa in a fantastic location.

First you'll get a cool towel and a drink before the treatment, and you should arrive 10-15min before so that you won't have to rush it.

It's a bit funny that you'll sign the bill (with a possible tip) before the actual treatment, which we found a little uncomfortable.

Otherwise we really couldn't fault anything.


Panviman Spa


Steps down to Panviman Spa


View to Thong Nai Pan Yai with an outdoor Spa treatment room


Herbal tea with cookies after massage



Fitness center

A few steps down from the lobby is a fitness center with both an indoor and outdoor sections. The indoor one is quite small and cramped, so don't expect any big and fancy gym.


Outdoor fitness center



Service

The one thing we really appreciated in this resort was the good, personal service. Some of the staff were just really super and we had a tremendous pleasure talking with them. Sure in some 5 star hotels the service can be a bit more uniform, polished and crisp, but it can easily also be much cooler, distant and impersonal. We appreciated the general warmth and family-like feeling you don´t always encounter.

A few examples:

At breakfast the welcome was brilliant every single morning, and after the first day the lovely young lady welcoming the guests (Ms. Orapin) remembered our daughter´s name and thereafter ours, too. Her English was splendid and she welcomed every guest with a happy, enthusiastic smile and couldn't possibly have been nicer. Our daughter drew her a picture one morning and the next day Ms. Orapin had made us a lovely card with a wonderful drawing of our family and brought us some Thai snacks to try. Although she said she hadn't had education in travel industry, she is naturally so good at what she does that she is a great asset for the hotel and would make any hotel manager content for having such an employee on their payroll. Although we have been happy to have met many nice people in hotels, Ms. Orapin is one of a kind. It is no wonder other guests seemed to feel the same, too.

One night our daughter was taking a video of a fire show - it was at the Stone Beach Restaurant, Panviman's beachside - and one of the staff (Mr. Sittisak) saw her, and took her to an even better location to film it. We were very impressed because it seemed he was obviously not doing it because he felt he had to, but because he was simply so sincere and wanted our daughter to get good footage. In addition, he is a very good photographer himself and took a superb photo of our family.

Mr. Niki (Nicky?) at the restaurant is a great guy with a good sense of humor and a fine, service-oriented attitude. These people worked hard and created such a wonderful atmosphere for our holiday.

All in all, it was a very memorable stay. There is something that made this place special for us. Perhaps it's the combination of a brilliant location on a lovely island, good food, nature and the fabulous staff...

Despite our initial room issues we felt we were taken care of, and our well-being was of concern for the staff, so we were more than satisfied with our choice to stay at Panviman.

It doesn't happen too often that you come to a hotel as a guest and leave feeling like a part of family. I guess it's not difficult to say whether we would recommend this resort ;)

-ABSOLUTELY!